My daughter does not have to be the one to help around the house. You can direct the same request to my son sitting right beside me. The rampant patriarchy that is so entrenched in our community needs to stop.
Our own internalized misogyny, regurgitated on the new feminists of the world needs to cease. The talk I had with my daughter, on the drive home, after a pit stop for some Starbucks, probably sounded like the teachers do in Charlie Brown, an endless drone, just because I stay at home, the work I do is not “women’s work”. You do not have to be trapped by the same small minded beliefs that chain the owner of a thriving pediatric practice to separating helping dad hammer nails to boy’s work and washing dishes to girl’s work.
I was ashamed, for the doctor, and flabbergasted. I wish I had been able to break out of my stunned stupor to correct the her right then. Right there, where and when it mattered. So that same idiotic vomit wouldn’t work its way into my daughter’s psyche.
Heartbreak is a curious thing. It’s quite like childbirth; the size and shape of it unknowable until it happens, your experience uniquely your own. The dull pain of it never quite gone, thrumming just below the surface. The joy experienced before exponentially greater than any regret at the unending sorrow of the aftermath.
My baby bangs were much work, so much that that tiny section of my hair needed it’s own wee flattening iron, and an arsenal of product to keep them neat, but not like I spent too much time. For those of you not in the know, looking like you didn’t spend any time on something takes far more effort. Effortlessness is a giant headache.
I was somehow able to beat them into submission in Albany, but in the sweltering, peaches and mint julep land that is where I now live, I have surrendered. My trusty sidekick in this has been a handful of bobby pins, with which I skillfully pin back the bangs (that will one day be a side sweep) from my glowing (sweaty) forehead.
How is it, that a woman who like, MAN SWEATS, land up first in Mumbai (god I miss Mumbai) and now in (this is the farthest I’ve lived from the coast) Georgia, at the foot hills of the Appalachians, this end of that famous trail. I suppose it’s fitting since I worked for the NY State Park commission one summer to repair the fire ravaged area at Bear Mountain park, ok, I guess not fitting really but kind of sort of not very interesting to anyone but me. The weather here careens between white hot sunshine and downpours.
I have it on good authority that sudden, intense and ephemeral tornadoes are old hat here.
My first pair of branded shoes were a pair of miss piggy Adidas. They were pink and perfect and I wore them until one had a hole at the right toe. The hole became so large that my mother guerilla maneuvered to throw them out while I was at good old Watsessing Middle school having my name mangled. To this day, my mother does not understand how much and what those shoes meant to me. When I wore them, it was a way to be just like all the others.
I could pretend to be the kids with the ring dings and bologona sandwiches, that I didn’t smell a little like curry, that my name too was on those name keychains at the rest stops along the New Jersey Trunpike. As the years went on, through the freshman 15, the bar hopping in NYC, the ravages of pregnancy, to the carousing until late in Mumbai, my waistline fluctuated, sometimes wildly, sometimes not, but shoes, my darlings always fit. [DISCLAIMER except if you experience the yoga spread, then…well you knew what you were getting into.]
At a given time, I have a base shoe collection of 12 pairs of boots, a couple of flat sandals, 2-3 pairs of sneakers, and at least 2 transitional peeptoes, all teetering, except the sneakers. I have owned most of them for years, they have been much loved, cared for, resoled and lovingly stored. The years I spent in Mumbai, my shoes were housed in the USA, in loaned basement space. The first weekend after I returned, rather reluctantly, we made the trek from Albany, NY to Newark, DE just for my boots.
I have a particular weakness for Frye Brand boots and shoes. The near obsession began my freshman year at Vassar. My favorite person came back from an NYC trip with a pair of black Frye harness boots. I saw and coveted.
It was love.
I never looked back, they have never let me down.
Shoes are transformative. And while I love all of my precious lovelies equally, I have a soft spot in my heart for boots with stacked heels, some of my favorites below.
Strutting in a pair of fantastically architectural heels, hips swinging, head thrown back, sunshine on my face, there’s nothing like it, it’s euphoria, a little like love.
I’ve lived my entire young adult to grown life in big cities. It takes a certain amount of time to adjust to the still and dark of the deep suburbs. After moving back to the States, from the constant hum in Bombay, it was odd…bleat of traffic missing, constant cacophony of birds, black nights.
The dogs woke up early today.
I woke up to the swish of Clover’s tail, her nose an inch away form mine. Her sharp eyes waiting expectantly, no one keeps Clover waiting. Off we went, swift and unkempt into the early morning. And it was odd. The pitch of night present, too early for birdsong. We three ambled down the road to the spot they like, the shuffle of my too loose Croc’s, the click of their nails against the tar road the only sound breaking silence, until relief.
Inky early morning and finally the dawn chorus began, as I punched in the code to the garage door and we ducked in. The song of birds echoing through the early morning, unexpectedly, oddly reassuring.
I moved back to the United States in the middle of Fimbulwinter, arctic temperatures, whipping wind and extra snow. The winter seemed perpetual, an endless spanse of cold and grey, the melting and refreezing continuing for ever. But then, a warming, the good people of the subrubs appeared out of their houses to tend to their yards, collecting tree debris and leaves into neat brown lawn and leaf bags that stand through the inevitable last gasp of snow and freezing rain.
And then, just like that, forsythia, bright and pert blooms. The pear, apple and cherry blossoms follow suit, the buds turn into leaves and in the span of a week Spring (all caps!). All of it, stunning and sudden, about a month before Summer vacation begins. The greenery, the volume of bird song, boney kneed children louder than before.