To my left, as I look out the window, I am greeted with the branches of the cherry tree in the garden next door. In the background are the taller buildings of North of Market and Pacific Heights, and above it all is the blue sky, streaked with thin haze, small fog clouds bumbling by underneath. The leaves on the cherry tree are curling, as it begins to pull it’s energy inward, preparing for deep fall, and then winter. It goes by seemingly so quickly, that moment from the first blossoms in spring and the way my heart leaps joyfully to greet them. I miss them while they are asleep, the trees. At the same time that I feel the melancholy of telling them goodnight, there is also a thank you… for the cheerfulness given in summer. And then a farewell, sleep well, see you in a few months. The assuredness of that last bit is not for granted either, as I know that much could happen between now and then, even if it’s just that I move away…at any rate, there is no guarantee of any moment, of any event. Only the remembrance of days, a peacefulness of having payed attention, a small amount of regret for the moments I did not and then back to now. Now. Now. Now.

Fern turned one year on Saturday. The preparatory days, as well as the day of, and after, were filled with angst. I cleaned house in all my spare time, enjoyed the company of my mom, and stayed up to all hours driving myself crazy with unneccessary creative sturm und drang making Fern an heirloom birthday banner. We celebrated her day at Dolores Park, surrounded by all our dearest friends and special visits from my family, including my two cousins and their kids. I was still strung out on stress and the day passed by in a blur, and at the end I had no idea if anyone had a good time or not, or even where I was during it all. But as the subsequent days have passed, the sediment of the experience has settled and I realize that it was an amazingly wonderful day. What has been missing for me has been the personal time to deepen into myself and re-member, acknowledging through ritual, just what took place one year ago, with the next step of integrating the first year motherhood. Like the angst I went through in making Fern’s banner, I have this fear that because I didn’t somehow mark my journey, step by step, beginning on the evening of my labor, that The Moment Has Passed. And yet, like my gift to Fern, it will all turn out perfectly, despite my micromanaging expectations. I hope to take this week to sort through my process, and also to reflect in a letter to my daughter the crux of this moment in time.

Tomorrow marks the end of summer and the first day of autumn. I will stand in balance with you as night and day meet and shake hands, and then take your hand as we head down the steps to Persephone’s slumber. Let’s go.

Here are some visions from the past week.

I used all scrap fabric from over the years to make the banner panels. I went with what I considered to be a "farmhouse-quilty-vintage" theme. I spent a good amount of time arranging and re-arranging and making different ones, afraid I had a mismatched mess. The lesson here was that there was no way to tell if it would all "go" until the trim was added.
Leo was of no help what-so-ever and refused to give his opinion.
Ai yi yiiiiii. There are many tutorials "out there" on how to do a banner, but since our internet was down, I had to reinvent the wheel. I actually think the way I did it worked well. Would anyone be interested in a tutorial? I will write one up, if so.
She loved it. We took it to the park, and then hung it up again at home. We sang the bday song three days in a row. We're all about birthWEEKS in this family. (P.S. the banner has an interchangeable panel for a new number every year. I hope to use it until she hates it in highschool and then to use it some more).
Cupcakes are just the right dose of first time sugar in my opinion. The idea was to frost the tops like the sunflowers in our garden that Fern loves so much. However, we ran out of time. So we brought the frosting to the party and forgot to bring knives. Instead, we used tortilla chips, fingers and plastic baggies to spread the sugar love. The cupcakes ended up looking like they had been decorated by lobotomized monkeys. But delicious! (basic chocolate cupcake recipe from "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World")
"Ummm...s'cuse me. Um, are dose for me?"
Grandma and Fern on the morning of the big day. Daddy brought balloons home as a surprise...they were a very big hit. And they continue to be, even though they now reside on the floor and are doing that sad/creepy wrinkle-at-the-touch thing that balloons do.

I’ll let that be all for now, and save pictures of the party (and hopefully of cake-in-the-face) for later. Some of the best pictures were taken by my aunt and cousin, so I have to wait for those (cough*Kristen*cough).

Happy Autumn!


4 thoughts on “Turning

  1. Happy belated birthday Fern! So, it looks like summer has decided to stick around for a while. Where the heck was it when we needed it?

    1. thanks walter! and I KNOW…this was the worst summer we’ve had since i’ve lived here. the weird drizzle we had last week had me concerned that our fall warmth was MIA too, but today is nice and the weekend is supposed to be hot. *fingers crossed*

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