Newport by no means is a bustling metropolis (although on certain holiday weekends there may be a few disgruntled natives who would heartily disagree); but it is a small city nonetheless–and as such our backyard is small, our front yard is our street (and a potholed one at that), and the closest chicken is at Stop and Shop, sitting on a styrofoam tray and wrapped in plastic.
Today, though, we spent a serene afternoon at our friends’ house in Charlestown, Rhode Island–a beautiful wooded spot that boasts flora, fauna, and plenty of room to roam. At several junctures throughout our visit I remarked that Edgar was going to have a hard time leaving. From the moment he arrived, he allowed the setting to envelop him–the surrounding woods a treat for his senses–so much so that he forgot to eat or sit still. He seemed content in the country, as though he belonged. And while he didn’t seem any “happier” per se than he does at home in Newport, he did seem immediately at home.
We can never be sure as parents if we are raising our children in the right place. There are many young people who clamber at the first opportunity to leave the small town their parents chose to live to raise them; and I am sure there are many young city-dwellers who long to hear crickets instead of sirens as they drift off to sleep.
Tonight Oscar joined Don on our front porch and remarked how much he enjoyed our visit to our friends’ house today but then quickly added, “But I love this place, too.” Newport may not be where the boys ultimately choose to live, but it will always be their home.
August’s first birthday photos, which were taken yesterday, occasioned a little (well, actually, a lot of) reminiscing. Looking back at Oscar’s and Edgar’s photographs from that very same milestone nearly four and five years ago reminded me of the importance of taking the time to have these photos done. You can’t stop time or even slow it down but you can mark it–in fact, after looking at these photos and then my beautiful, nearly five- and six-year-old boys playing quietly in the other room, I realize that it’s all you can do.
Oscar at One: August 2005
Edgar at One: August 2006
I have been to art museums all over the world, and truly never have I been more struck by a gallery than I am by this one:
“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” Henry David Thoreau
This series of stickers adorns the window of my car. It’s our family: Don, me, Oscar, a boy standing on his head, August, Gabrielle, and Dolores.
That boy standing on his head (his requested position, by the way) is, of course, Edgar.
And tonight I want to thank Thoreau and Edgar for reminding us all that we should let those who march to the beat of a different drummer step to the music that THEY hear.
Edgar, you may not always “keep pace with your companions,” but that–I predict–will be your strength. Keep stepping (or standing on your head). I love you!
Wishing all the moms, grandmothers, godmothers, aunties, teachers, and those who are “like a mother” to our children a very Happy Mother’s Day! The strength of a mother and the power of this day is enhanced when one accepts the larger embrace of love, help, and support of the community of women who want to be a part of our children’s lives.
Thank you to the varied and phenomenal community of women who love, teach, inspire, and care for Oscar, Edgar, and August. Our lives are richer because of you!