I used to think my mother made up for the volatility of my upbringing by letting me stay up late at night to watch Dragnet.
We sat on the couch in our underwear, legs crossed indian-style, watching Joe Friday save the world one dirty crook at a time. She used a serrated grapefruit spoon to scoop wedges for me out of big fruits. Your bite, my bite, your bite, my bite. When we finished one, she squeezed the rind until I got the last sweet juices, my head tipped back to receive nectar from a goddess whose pedestal I’ve built out of memories. We giggled softly so as not to wake my sleeping sisters. She was my greatest friend in those moments.
Three years later she was gone. And I grew up anyway, forgetting the vast majority of lovely bits blown around by the drama and chaos. That’s the tricky part of growing up that way. There’s not a great way to blot it out without losing the good parts. Now in my thirties, I cling dearly to Joe Friday.
I became a mother, and perhaps because I recall so little of my own mother I am desperate to catalog memories for my children to look back on. This year, our life has become so full, and the time passes, unapologetic. Charlie is now a year old, and I owe her a birthday letter. My first creative commitment to her is delinquent, having fallen victim to my job, and the move, and the estrus of swine. At least weekly, I wonder if my more frequently scattered thoughts are a result of a full life, or a warning to write it all down before I lose the ability.
Tonight I sat on the couch with Patton. After work, in the dark, watching Blue Bloods. As his sister slept soundly next to a father who loves them, we sat in our underwear and watched good guys save the world. We took turns drinking milk out of the same cup, and shared chocolate and marshmallows. Your bite, my bite, your bite, my bite.