Showing posts from 2017

Shitty Kidding

My oldest daughter couldn’t stop crying the other day, which was surprising. She doesn’t cry nearly as much as she used to. Broadly speaking, this is a good thing. The sound of your child’s inconsolable sobs can cause physical pain; a sonic cocktail of fingernails on a chalkboard, an injured dog, and Richard Harris’s “MacArthur Park.” As a young child she cried often. Rarely did I understand the reason. Even more rarely could I get her to stop. When she wailed, I would experience a gauntlet of emotions, from sad to befuddled to frustrated to enraged. Too often, I heard myself venting to an imaginary parenting coach, “She’s crying for no fucking reason!” Sometime during my parental maturation process, I realized that no one cries for no reason, least of all a child. The failure to understand your children is probably not a failure at all. And if it is, it certainly isn’t a failure on their part. A child’s job isn’t to make itself understood. In fact, I’m beginning to bel

Lost and Found

It must have been 1994 or 5. My ex-girlfriend was home from college for Christmas. We had begun sleeping together again, as we often did when we were both home over holiday breaks. Her mother was living in a one-bedroom apartment on Sutter and Jones in the City. The neighborhood, which later became known as the Tendernob, was a uniquely urban one, bordered by Michelin-starred Fleur de Lys at one end and St. Anthony’s soup kitchen at the other. In between, theater goers in Wilkes Bashford suits and I Magnin gowns mixed blithely with drunks, junkies, and tourists, in a delicate Herb Caenian romance that may never have existed but is clear in the age-enhanced memories of 20 th Century San Franciscans. I climbed those hills, arm in arm with a woman I suspected I would marry, our sweat cooled by Carl the fog. We’d sneak in, close to midnight, through their medievally heavy door at the end of a carpeted third-floor hallway.   Her mother slept on the couch when my ex was home for th

Growth Mindset

            “So what do you think we’ll do today?”             My son asks this question frequently.             His grandfather sits at the round table with the checkerboard pattern. He methodically works the New York Times crossword puzzle, periodically throwing clues in H’s direction.             “Winnie-the-Pooh catchphrase?”             “Uhm…honey?”             “Eight letters.”             “Uhm…”             “We’ll come back to it.”             H circles the table peripatetically.             “South American range?”             “Oh!” H breaks from his orbit and walks to the framed world map hanging near the refrigerator. All geography clues send him to the map. “Ahn-dess,” he says, carefully adding Spanish pronunciation.             “Anne-deez,” my father corrects him.             “What! But it’s Spanish!” H cackles in feigned exasperation.             He has been taking a Spanish enrichment class four mornings a week for nearly two years. He has learned

Tamalpais Spring

The native brown path bends be endlessly fore me like an infinite serpent. On either side, a tightly woven carpet of winter’s afterbirth in shades of onlygreen, frosted with the downy death of last summer’s meadow. The foamy shoosh of waves a thousand feet below harmonizes with the wind whispering through the oaken hollow, begging me to be quiet and just listen to the sound of nothing, the deafening din of the absence of all that is not me but daily plays the part.