The lost July


I’ve not been well since July 2. I don’t know what specifically is ailing me but it’s a little like the mystery bug that got me in 2009 that no one ever could diagnose. (Sans hives. So far.) I’m on a second round of antibiotics and I’m still prone to coughing fits. And headaches. It took Holden down too, and his teacher and some classmates. Whatever it is is no joke and has been hanging around for a long time. I heard that we had unseasonably lovely weather, though, while I was quarantined. Neat.

I nearly missed the crape myrtles at their prettiest. Nearly.

You only get the one

You know that thing where people write their past selves a letter? Sometimes I think about doing that, and it would be sassy and start off with something like “You think things are going to get less complicated, girly? Well, think again!” Except it would have to end there because Present Me has no real wisdom to impart to Past Me, except maybe try to be nicer, because apparently I am an asshole.

This blog itself, the whole T&G machine, is sort of a reverse of that idea. Letters from Past Me to Present Me or Future Descendants. Cautionary tales and moments of great hubris caught in pixels and immortalized for my child to one day peruse, mortified. Or maybe, worse yet, he will just find it all boring. I can’t even imagine what life’s electronic cookie crumbs will be like by the time he is old enough to dig up dirt on his ol’ Ma. It’s possible that his entire conscience will be so awash in extraneous data that clicking through my midtwenties confessionals will just constitute one more obligatory TL;DR. Or maybe by then it will be old hat for children to have to pick through their parents’ digital detritus to get to the good stuff. Just something you do. I can’t even fathom.

But, Past Me and Future Me — if I can have your attention for just a second. Let’s just do this real quick. Remember this moment. For no other reason than because of its ordinariness and extraordinariness, spooning here together like sleepy, fat cats. This moment when you are sitting on the couch in your little green nightgown that is ill fitting and should not be worn outside (but has frequently been today because you lack shame). You are in need of a shower and you’ve just spent the last three days convalescing thanks to some mystery bug that took you down fast — sore throat, sneezing, aches, fatigue, coughing, and — the kicker — a very low brain tide. You’ve just now begun to feel like yourself again, which is to say you are all over the place in thought and action. You just hand-washed three shirts and cleaned the filthy HVAC intake vent by hand, and you’re breathing gingerly and sipping warm coffee while the young boy naps upstairs and the older boy naps in the bedroom and you entertain this urge to write something down. It’s warm outside and earlier when you went out to hang up those hand-washed shirts, the concrete burned the bottoms of your feet but you liked it, a little bit. Over the past two days, you have just received news of several babies of people close to you being born and several whose impending arrivals were announced, and your heart swells with pride and happiness and then churns with some form of diluted envy (because the thought of a little newborn head in your hands twists up your insides with longing, because you are your ovaries, you monkey). You don’t know if you will ever have another child. You don’t even know how to begin thinking about it, really. Money is tight and all you want to is take your own baby, who is so bright and so happy, to see the ocean. But this isn’t the year. You are not sure if there will ever be a year because you cannot seem to dig out. You are worried. You coast along on a transcontinental railroad of worry and it’s making you grey. Or maybe your DNA is doing that. Or maybe it’s just your age because you’re no spring chicken right now. This is thirty-two. Thirty-two is the age your mother was when you were seven. When you look at pictures of your mother when you were seven, you are jealous. That lady was a fox! You are getting off track. The point is, this moment is ordinary in every way. And in every way it’s not.

Because it is your life, and you only get the one.

A stroll through City Cemetery


I didn’t plan to end up in a cemetery yesterday, but I did. I had the day off work and after an indulgent morning spent lounging in bed, watching TV, I got the itch to go somewhere and take photos. And, after driving around for a little while, City Cemetery is where I ended up.

The City Cemetery is Nashville’s oldest continuously operated public cemetery. So much history and so many prominent Nashvillians rest there. I hadn’t planned to go there yesterday so I hadn’t done any research beforehand, or else I would have known that the back lots that I thought were empty and awaiting burials are actually unmarked graves, including one of famous slave “Doctor Jack” Macon.

It was just me and 23,000 others in the cemetery yesterday. Quiet, hot. Watching the birds and waiting on the breeze.

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(Sundial inscription says, “Still on it creeps, each little moment at another’s heels”)


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See the full set of photos here.

30 months: All the small things


It’s kind of amazing how each weekend brings little doses of new words, phrases, behaviors. I get to see Holden for about an hour each morning during the week and that’s it. I drop him off at school and I go to work and I’m at work until after he goes to bed. It makes weekends more precious (and weekends spent working more dreadful) but it also makes his little changes seem much bigger to me when I get to witness them in action.

Today I noticed a new behavior: Putting his finger to his mouth and shushing. Ha! They must do that at school. We have never done that at home and he hasn’t watched anything like that he could mimic.

Other newish things, now that we are at 30 months (!!!):

• He is so tall and lean for his age that he’s still wearing some 18-24 month pants. They fit at the waist but they are basically capris on him. He looks so silly and adorable. And often has plumber’s crack because the rise is meant for shorter babies.

• He wears boxer briefs and looks so unbelievably cute running around in them.

• He says the alphabet (gets a little hung up at the beginning — “A B A B E F G…” — but always crescendoes into a really excited Z.

• He is recognizing letters. He has beautiful animal flashcards Tabitha gave us way back when but I don’t bust those out too often because I want to preserve them. So Ray made him some flashcards on sticky notes, and he picks them up randomly and says what they are. Except today he insisted that U was an A, and would not take my protests seriously.

• He loves to sing “Twinkle Twinkle” and gets so beside himself when he sees moons and stars. In the morning I will often hear him wake up and start singing “Twinkle Twinkle” or the alphabet song first thing. It’s cripplingly sweet, wafting across the monitor.

• He is so into sticks. Big sticks, little sticks, little pine needles he calls sticks. He finds one and wants to take it with him everywhere. We have had some epic meltdowns over having to leave a stick outside when we come in.

• We’re all done with the highchair and he’s eating all his meals at his little table and chair Grammy got him for his birthday. They do this at school so all it took was a little peer pressure to get the idea. He still likes to get up and run around and smear peanut butter on things when given the chance, but I totally get that.

• He has his basic colors down (yellow, green, orange, blue, red) and we’re trying to teach him weird colors like “grey.” He seems skeptical.

• I used to play “Airplane” with him — lying on my back and lifting him up flat on my shins — and I always thought he thought it was stupid or boring because it never got much of a reaction out of him. Lately he’s been crawling up on me and begging: “Airplane! Airplane!” He likes the part where I sort of let him fall but I catch him.

• This week is the first week we didn’t have weepy dropoffs at preschool. In fact, there were a couple of days when he walked into the classroom and went straight for the toys without clinging to me at all. When he noticed me waving and blowing kisses goodbye, though, he got a little panicked look in his eye. But I didn’t hear any crying on the way out. And his teacher told Ray upon pickup each day that he hadn’t cried at all. That’s so massive to me. Such a relief.

• He gets daily reports from school that tell how he ate, how the potty situation went, how he acted, and such. He always comes home with a note saying he was chatty and cheerful. That makes me so happy.

I overlooked the obvious Liz Lemonification of a recent life event

In recounting this weird thing to Nick the other day, he reminded me that it sounds an awful lot like the episode of 30 Rock where Liz reluctantly goes to her class reunion and “learns that she was not the quiet, lonely nerd she thought, but the angry bully everyone hated.”

So. There’s that.

‘What is what I need’

I forgot I had this song on my iPod and then I remembered it and now I can’t stop playing it.

If you and I ever find ourselves on a couples quiz show together, and the question is “What is Lindsey’s favorite Nirvana song?”, you are going to to have to flip a coin and guess either this or “Lounge Act.” Depending on my mood and the placement of the moon in the sky and the strength of the wind that day.

Preschool, week two

More weepy dropoffs. He wailed and shook his head and reached out for me and called for me. Every time, it feels like pieces of my heart are being scooped out with a melon baller.

BUT! Today I got to do a pickup. My first ever. I walked into the room and all the children were playing quietly, independently. Holden was on the floor, playing with blocks or something in a container. “Hi everyone!” I said, to get his attention since his back was turned to me. He looked up and said, “MAMA!” and then pointed to me and repeated, looking around at all his classmates, making sure they all know that I was his mama. He ran over to me and I scooped him up. He grabbed my face and nuzzled me tight, and kept saying, “That’s mama! That’s my mommy!” My melon ball-pockmarked heart could have exploded.

I had to work a half day to get that thirty seconds but it was so worth it.