Friday, April 26, 2013

it's funny...

It's funny (I was saying to Evan this morning) how I can have such a wonderful time with my mother, and then be ready for her to leave, and then afterwards feel this mom-shaped hole that aches for her presence. Do people ever stop feeling this way?

Saturday, April 20, 2013

mer-woman shawl

Knit from pure silk lace in a gorgeously rich teal, with turquoise beads in the border section. Now available here.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

another april eighteenth, almost

Tomorrow marks twenty years since my father's death.

My mother is visiting this week for the first time since 2010 and we have been planning a mini celebration, if you will, for his death-day. (We are never morbid, we McNeils! We just happen to sometimes feel like we have to make light about death.)

Later this afternoon Mom is meeting our Bill for coffee, and tomorrow our Jill is going to come up for dinner. It will be a simple meal filled with some of his favorite things: garlic & tomato pasta, a green salad, a bottle of good red wine, an apple pie. Perhaps Evan will bake a crusty loaf of rosemary foccacia with which to sop up the garlic & tomato sauce. Perhaps I will once again buy a pint of malted milk ball ice cream, or maybe just a bag of Whoppers.

Evan and Mom and I were sitting around the table the other night planning out this April 18th dinner and Mom suddenly paused and said, "Is this silly?"

It is silly. But it is also nice.

Sometimes, when I am supposedly meditating, I am composing letters to my father instead: Dear Dad. It has been almost twenty years, and I am no longer the sixteen-year-old girl you once knew. This no longer makes me cry, at least not often, and I am grateful for this dinner tomorrow, for these people that I love so very much and these foods that still taste so very good. Thank you. I love you. Your Emma.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

allergies / colds

It turns out I have allergies.

I've always thought of myself as a decidedly un-allergy-prone individual, so either they are a newly acquired frustration (entirely possible) or I've had them for years but also for the majority of those years spent so much time with nasty colds or fighting off nasty colds that somehow these pesky allergies got lost in all those weeks and months of walking around in a cold-induced daze.

This winter I didn't catch a single cold! Amazing! But here I am sneezing and itching and feeling generally miserable anyway (and being damned stubborn about taking any allergy medication), and nary a cold in sight.

I'm not entirely sure which is worse.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

easter is hard, except when it's not (love letter to M & C)

Easter fell early this year, safely out of the bounds of April (that strange amalgamation month of beauty and warmth and loss). I woke up early Sunday morning feeling hopeful, lingering sleepily in bed after days of seeping, creeping light.

Easter has not been easy for me, though if I look back far enough I can almost feel how much I loved it once. But ever since April of 1993, that last lighthearted holiday our little nuclear family spent together a week before my father's death, it's been a mixed bag of chocolate and rage.

Last year was going to be different, as Evan and I waited for news of my nephew's birth and as Mom and I shared gleeful conversations about an Easter baby: a joyous April, even, to replace or to soften our still-sometimes sad springs. But then Easter morning Nathan called and in stricken words told us that all was not well with his newborn son, and I got so caught up in anxiety and fear that I couldn't quite seem to stop crying -- not sobs, not drama, but constant slow tears -- for much of the rest of that day.

Later that afternoon our friends Matt and Courtney came for Easter dinner.  We went for a walk up to Fort Tryon park, through the gardens and up to the overlook from which you can see all of upper Manhattan and on into the Bronx. We stood there for awhile, and it was windy and clear and bright, and bless them, they talked enough for all of us until I was able to find my words again.

We went home and drank their strange and delicious drinks and ate Evan's strange and delicious Mexican Easter feast (tuna empanadas and shrimp cakes in broth and other delicacies I can no longer quite remember). April wore on and we flew to Portland to meet the wee babe, and spring wore on and I fell a little bit in love with this nephew of mine, and the year wore on and here we are at another spring, another Easter, a first year almost complete, and he is so very adorable and wonderful and strong.

This past Sunday morning found me and Evan in a tangle of emotion, circling each other in a swirling dance of frustration and sadness and love. Matt and Courtney once again got thrown into the middle of this semi-toxic milieu, and once again brought such warmth and affection with them that Easter, in the end, became beautiful.

I feel like it happens less and less the older I get: meeting new people who become so quietly integral. It hadn't occurred to me until going to bed that night that this couple -- this gorgeous, quirky, brilliant couple --  have been in our lives long enough now for us to have created traditions with them.

The days since then have been good to me, and I am hopeful that the rest of this April, of this spring, will be good to me, too.