Marrakech: and a tale of not being ready

I’m not ready.  No, I’m not ready for him to be so big. 
I’m not sure that I know how to do this. 

I’m not ready for his back talk. 
Or the way he says, Whatever, sometimes when I’m scolding him. 
I’m not ready for his jokes about smoking or his sleeping until noon.
For all those things I’ve seen – until now - only in movies.  

I’m not ready for his voice, so deep now. 
And I’m not ready for his young man's laugh. 
Or for his new walk, a kind of saunter with hands stuffed in his pockets. 

And I’m certainly not ready for the way he feels when I hold him in my arms. 
Like he fills up all the space.  Like he could run me over.
 And I couldn’t catch him, or save him, if I had to


But mostly, I’m not ready, not yet, to let him go.  

I can’t do this.  I'm not sure, I can do this. 
I don’t know how.   

(Please.  Please let him still see me– for just a while longer -- when I look in his eyes.)


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Marrakesh: and a tale of (inadequate?) parenting

My best friend's children are supremely talented violin players.  

They dutifully practice for hours and hours each and every day.  Schedules are organized around violin lessons and violin camp.  At national violin competitions, they routinely place first or second.  

Their violins -- purchased on trips to London -- are worth tens of thousands of dollars, more than their parents' cars.  


These are not one note children.  They do well at school.  They ride horses. They have time to play, to draw, to watch TV.  They are polite, funny and curious.  They are enthusiastic huggers.

I am not jealous of my best friend and her two children.  In fact I love them with a love so fierce and a pride so vast that it's nearly unreasonable.  But I do wonder about myself, about my own parenting. I wonder, well, if it's been adequate.

Malcolm Gladwell, author of the Outliers, says that it's not so much the gift that counts, but the persistence.  That children must be given opportunities to find areas that they like and encouraged to really excel in them.  That 10,000 hours of practice is the key to success.  10,000 hours, supported and orchestrated most often by, well, parents.

I can't help but wonder if I've measured up as a parent.  Perhaps I've been too caught up in other things -- too captive to my work and too captive to my interests.  Perhaps I've been too selfish.  

Maybe he could have been a champion tennis player

Maybe she could have written her first novel.

Maybe they could have spoken 3 languages fluently.  


                    maybe if it hadn't been for me.

Marrakesh: and a tale of mothers and sewing

It was so long ago but how could I ever forget?  The burlwood of the sewing machine gleamed, like a treasured possession.   And there she was -- perched on the edge of a chair, her slender back as straight as a ballerina's. The pins in her mouth, the fabric in her hands, the spool standing at the ready.  

And then her foot pumped the pedal and the machine whirred, alive.  

No patterns were too complicated.  The tucks, the pleats, the ruching.  She did her own variations, riffing a slimmer sleeve, inventing a longer cuff, creating a placket where none had been before.  

Into the night, deep into the night.  I could hear the whirring -- a lullaby-- from my room.

My dresses were the prettiest.  I wore one - a delicate French lace - to my senior dance.   I wore another --a fine Belgian linen -- to my graduation.  I was never embarrassed.  Ever.  

Where ever did you get that dress? they asked.

My mother made it, I replied.