Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Happy Birthday, Oliver

These ten days between Eleanor's birthday and Oliver's are always the craziest: turning grades in, saying good-bye to students, graduation, cleaning out the office, oh and there's a wedding anniversary in there somewhere.  This summer, we're flying solo without the help of childcare (mostly splitting days, but there'll be a sitter when Mac is in India), and the long stretches at home remind me of that waiting time before Oliver was born.  There had been a miscarriage the year before, a sad summer, but this was a truly happy one: Mac had just gotten the job at DePauw, everything was lush, and we lived in this ranch house that was cool and orderly.  And then he was there: tiny, blond, wide-eyed. He hardly cried when he was born, just looked and looked all around him as we passed him back and forth, rolled up in his tiny seraphim swaddling.  I felt as though I knew Oliver immediately. He is glad and open and eternally optimistic. His buoyancy is fettered but undeterred by structure and I've come to count on his joy.  We brought him home, he slept, we marveled.  He paved the way for his sisters, duping us into thinking it was all really easy.  And even now, being with Oliver is a sense of home, a very sure comfort: of origins of a mother self, of first summers of play, of new knowledges. He reads, and imagines, and talks, and daydreams and daydreams and daydreams, and considers, and loves a good ethical dilemma.  When he talks to a friend, he is completely theirs, ready with that smile and that eagerness.  He still rushes to me when I pick him up from school, and I am so glad.  I love you, my bear.


  1. Thanks! We have a big medieval party lined up this week-end. I'm finding your posts about work really helpful - this is my first day in the office, and it's only 4 hours: I still need to find my footing. My rich reward today will be to read your essay on race and try to answer as an art historian (whatever that may mean!).

  2. Happy Birthday to Oliver and Eleanor! No fireworks at the Guenthenoc this year, sadly, but I'm sure you all have fond memories of last year's celebrations. Somehow reading your blog makes me feel connected to Brittany again in a very indirect way. We've now been home longer than we were gone, and it's almost a year since you left. Did it really happen?!