So when I was still working at the law firm in London, and after my first maternity leave, I had this officemate Mike. I have mentioned him before. I miss Mike. I could always count on him to recommend poets I would never read, to know more about American politics than me, and to sporadically and perhaps accidentally offer me sage life advice.
One day I asked him pleadingly to tell me whether kids were as much fun and lovable as they got older (at the time his were 12 and 8, or something like that). He not only told me Yes, but he described on many days, in detail, the exchanges he had with his kids, the things they did together, the ways they enlightened him and astounded him and brought him unparalleled joy (and heartache. like kids of every age do).
I will forever and a day keep Mike’s words close to my heart. Especially when yet another morose piece on Oh-My-God-Your-Gorgeous-and-Sweet-and-Chubby-Baby-slash-Toddler-slash-Preschooler-will-Grow-Up-and-You-will-be-a-Shell-of-a-Human-Because-You-Will-Miss-Him-Her-Them-So-Much shows up on my Facebook Newsfeed.
I’ve said it before, and because I have a blog and have the privilege of having long conversations with myself, I’ll say it again: it’s pretty negative and depressing and irresponsible and well, sort of pathetic, to publicly put that juju in the air. In to the mommy discourse ether. I am waiting for the day when someone writes a beautiful piece on the joys of having older children and grown children and it goes viral. Something – holy shit – HOPEFUL. Until that day, I guess we should all just kill ourselves because our kids are going to grow up.
Speaking of death, and I have been doing a lot of it here for the minute (sorry about that), it was just Remembrance Day in the UK and elsewhere. “([A]lso known as Poppy Day or Armistice Day, [it] is a memorial day observed in Commonwealth countries since the end of World war I to remember the members of their armed forces who have died in the line of duty.” (Thanks, Wikipedia. I promise to donate soon.)
Being this is my fifth Remembrance Day living here, I sort of went about the motions of buying my poppy and wearing it, like pretty much everyone else. And then on Sunday I was aware of all the beautiful memorials and services and events around town. And as it coincides with Veterans Day in the US, I saw a few status updates from friends on the military heroes in their own lives.
But it was an email from my dad that reminded me the UK has a more public display of remembrance than the US currently does.
Hi All: I always wax nostalgic when I see our Brit cousins wearing their red poppies on what we call Veterans Day, which had its origins on Armistice Day when WWI ended on the 11th hour of the eleventh day of the 11th month. When I was a kid in the 1950s and 1960s it was common for everyone to wear a red poppy on this day (and/or Memorial Day) but for some reason this tradition has died out in the U.S.When I was in Britain three years ago this weekend, and found myself in the midst of a sea of red poppy-wearing Brits, I happily bought one and wore it on the streets of London, like nearly everyone else there (check the photos of Parliament these past few days) and felt more complete as a human and in tune with the America of my youth.
I am sure there are complicated reasons for the difference in the two nations having to do with population demographics, country history and the fact that the US also has a Memorial Day. But nonetheless it would be nice to replicate the spirit of the ubiquitous poppy. My dad has decided to try. So look out for poppies near you next November!
And speaking of the color red (don’t you love my segues?), Faye sent this to me and it’s awesome: http://lookatmyfuckingredtrousers.blogspot.co.uk/ I almost took a picture of a guy in the park Sunday but got shy. I have been needing to get Bryan a pair.