Kate and I had newborn care class yesterday morning, and breastfeeding class in the afternoon, and the little baby is growing larger and larger and continuing to do fetal karate. I’ve been reading a chapter of Anne of Green Gables to Kate and the baby every night (and now, sometimes in the middle of the night when Kate can’t sleep.) We started with Penrod books, but they were full of shrieking boys, and since the family is now likely to be two-thirds female, I accepted the majority preference and we switched from Penrod’s mustachioed and ensanguinated “HARoLD RAMoREZ THE RoADAGENT” to Anne’s much more feminine dryad.
And, of course, we’ve been thinking a lot about parenthood:
By Billy Collins
The other day as I was ricocheting slowly
off the blue walls of this room
bouncing from typewriter to piano
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
I found myself in the "L" section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word, Lanyard.
No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one more suddenly into the past.
A past where I sat at a workbench
at a camp by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid thin plastic strips into a lanyard.
A gift for my mother.
I had never seen anyone use a lanyard.
Or wear one, if that�s what you did with them.
But that did not keep me from crossing strand over strand
again and again until I had made a boxy, red and white lanyard
for my mother.
She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard
She nursed me in many a sick room,
lifted teaspoons of medicine to my lips,
set cold facecloths on my forehead
then led me out into the airy light
and taught me to walk and swim and I in turn presented her with
"Here are thousands of meals" she said,
"and here is clothing and a good education."
"And here is your lanyard," I replied,
"which I made with a little help from a counselor."
"Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth and two clear eyes to read the world."
"And here," I said, "is the lanyard I made at camp."
"And here," I wish to say to her now,
"is a smaller gift. Not the archaic truth,
that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took the two-toned lanyard
from my hands,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless worthless thing I wove out of boredom
would be enough to make us even.”