Thursday, November 25, 2010


Seated at a round table in the middle of the restaurant, my dad to my left, Chloe on my right, and my aunt and cousins adjacent, I heard the familiar guitar of Green Day played gently over our conversation. I hope you had the time of your life... This song always reminds me of the video dad made of our childhood super 8 footage and generally spurs a sort of reflective state. As I sat there, surrounded by one side of my family and preparing for the return to the other half, I felt completely content. 

I mentally took flight from the table and returned to treasured moments the last month provided me; seeing how absolutely in love Danny and Mel are and witnessing their wedding vows, rekindling my beautiful bond with Amanda, fondue with my high school sweeties, Keikai breaking through the oddity of our arrangement and making me laugh like old times, watching football with Chloe and dad, reminiscing with Meredith, Emily, and Laurel about our old shenanigans, reuniting with Megan and seeing how beautifully happy and gifted she is, and seeing all of my college friends succeeding and moving through the world with incredible velocity. I did have the time of my life I thought, and I am thankful for all of it, the good and the bad. 

When faced with leaving Mexico a month ago, I was scared and unsure, hesitant to leave the tranquil wild west to return to my old stomping grounds. Now, 1 day away from traveling back to my new home, I couldn't be happier. Though this month flew by, I accomplished everything I set out to do. I laughed, cried, worked, and laughed some more. I baked 5 pies for Thanksgiving. I had several giggle-filled days with Amanda, Ophelia, and Aaron. I spent almost every second with my beautiful baby sister whom I love more than words can describe. Before I came back, the space between Pozos and Minnesota seemed like a gaping hole of nothingness that I was attempting to cross as safely as possible. After a month here, I feel that the pathway is paved with connections from me to them, them to me. Loving phonecalls, emails, energy and thoughts being transmitted through the miles of separation. So as I gaze out my frosted window at the leafless trees black against the colored streaks of the early morning sky, I see love. Passages of mine and other peoples love strewn through the sky, illuminating it with shades of salmon and baby blue. The stark maples and oaks sprawling branches reminding of my roots and my journey. 

This Thanksgiving I am grateful with every fiber of my being for my extraordinary family and friends. Happy holidays everyone, I love you all.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Short Trip

Well, it's 10:30 now do you want to go to 11:00 mass?
I don't know, maybe I'll read the paper first.
We heard them converse as we walked the long hallway to the elevators.
I'm just going to stay here until they turn the corner.
My 94 year old great grandma waved one last time.

A day earlier we arrived in Atlanta, 2 hours later than scheduled due to the heavy snow in Minneapolis, our nerves shot from the constant whimpering of a teething baby on an airplane. After about a mile long jaunt through the airport I was greeted by my great aunt who held my shoulders and told me that I "did turn out to be quite pretty actually." My great grandmother stared at me in disbelief, marveling at how much my appearance had changed since our last rendezvous. She turned to me, completely unconcerned with the hasty photo shoot, and asked to hold Tallulah.

Grandpa made a game of guessing which one of us was which and consistently referred to Tallulah as a boy. He made several jokes about chasing women while Grandma rolled her eyes. I was comforted to see how little they had changed since I saw them last. The oldest people occupying their assisted living center, they weren't doing half bad. Though their recurring miscommunications due to their resistance to hearing aids supplied us with many laughs, other than Grandma's use of a walker and Grandpa's missing teeth, they are as healthy and sharp as ever. Grandma was even sharp enough to drop several not so subtle hints that she wished I was with Keikai.

After eating breakfast at Waffle House on Sunday morning, we returned to the nursing home to see their apartment. The bright and humid space was filled with pictures of the Cassone family, many taken years ago. As Uncle Philip carefully photographed each one and explained who was in them, Grandma stood by oscillating her attention between the baby and the pictures of times past and I could see salty water glossing over her big blue eyes. No one wanted to say what we were all thinking as we exchanged our parting words; that this was probably the last time we would see each other. Grandma's hug was surprisingly strong and tight and renewed my faith in another meeting.

Our time together was brief, but it was worth every minute. To see Tallulah sitting happily in her great great grandmother's lap was wonderful beyond words. Though I resisted the trip at first, seeing it as an inconvenience, it was truly a great reminder of what I believe to be the purpose of life; spending what little time we have here with the people we love. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

First Meeting

I ordered tea that I didn't taste until after he left and stood near the doorway of Starbucks, across the street from the apartment where we shared our first kiss, waiting for him to arrive. I felt a familiar sensation similar to waiting in the wings of theater for a queue to enter the stage, but with more uncertainty and less enthusiasm. I saw him approach, his thin body walking briskly across the street toward me, I looked down. The mere shell of the man who waved to me from the back of a van 7 months ago, his face looked gaunt, tired, but most of all sad. 

He held out his hands to hold the daughter he was meeting for the first time and she, the baby who is still only when in a deep slumber, embraced him pressing her cheek to his and held herself without movement for many minutes. When she pulled away, it was only to examine the face that belonged to the voice she had heard so many times through the walls of my uterus. She placed her chubby hands on each side of his concave face and smiled sweetly as her papa welled up with tears. 

An attempt to make small talk fell flat quickly. There is too much between us to utilize normal pleasantries. His large yellow eyes were pleading with me to offer some inkling of a continued relationship as we exchanged useless bits of information. After about thirty minutes, he left abruptly, giving the sense that the situation had made him more than a little uncomfortable. He kissed his baby girl somberly and requested my right hand, which I supplied to have him press it to his cheek, his large brown hand covering my small pale one. He kissed my palm like he had on our first date and after many a fight throughout our 2 years together, then he got up and left the coffee shop. I didn't watch him walk away. 

The first thing I felt was relief swiftly followed by the crashing of the anticipation of the moments that had just passed, the feelings that were hovering above me like a mobile rain cloud, and I started to cry. So few words had been exchanged but so much said. He gave me a small silver stone with the word hope inscribed on it, though I felt maybe I should have given it to him. His frail figure and haggard face looked like life had worn on them since we parted making me think he needed hope more than I did. 

With tears welling in my eyes I looked around at the other patrons of the coffee shop working on their laptops or sharing pleasant conversation and realized that they were completely oblivious to what they had just witnessed. I picked a busy place, hoping for the best, prepared for the worst, but knowing I couldn't possibly anticipate what would take place. The quiet exchange and heartbreakingly darling silence between Tallulah and Keikai had no effect on the people around us which was oddly comforting in my shaken state of mind. It made me realize that the world is full of mothers and fathers and daughters with complicated circumstances, that I wasn't the only one. Though participating in a long-distance pseudo friendship with the father of my child who only just met his baby after she lived 5 months with out him seems like a less than desirable situation, not everything we experience in our lifetime has to be simple to be great, and we are seldom alone.