November 26, 2012

Leo had been crying for thirty-five minutes from his pack n play. And not just those tiresome whiny sounds, where more drool leaves the mouth than tears leave the eyes. These were the shrieking, new upper teeth cries, the kind of noise that can be downright debilitating, sending your heart into your throat and your hands into your ears.

I was folding laundry to distract myself. Stella was quietly building a fort. It was 8:30am yesterday morning and we were hunkering down for the long haul.

It wasn’t until he finally fell asleep that I looked over at Stella to initiate some sort of 'we made it' hug. She seemed particularly downcast, more troubled than I’ve seen her in the past. Her head hung low, her eyes staring downwards at her hands as she shuffled her fingers over a small piece of broken balloon, the kind of listless fidgeting you do when you’re down.

It’s hard listening to Leo cry for that long, isn’t babe.

It’s not about that Dad. She says it so matter of factly, so confidently, as if she's three going on fifteen.

It’s about her, she said, pointing to the picture of Margot on our mantle.

I wish I had a sister.

It was the first time I remember her being sad about Margot for her sake. Her despondence wasn’t for our sake and it wasn’t an excuse for having a rough day. I could see the internalization happening in her eyes, the strange feeling of loss, of what could have been.

I pulled her close and we started crying together.

I love you sweetie.

I love you too Daddy, she whispered back.

Will you help me remember Margot? I asked.


Will you help me remember Margot? She asked.


November 24, 2012

I'm not exactly sure what to write about the tattoo's we've gotten since Margot was here.

The simple answer, I suppose, is that we got tattoo's after she died because, well, there didn't seem like much else to do. We were home again, in fragmented pieces, crawling through a quiet house, facing a vacant crib and trying our damnedest to keep our heads above water. Out of the emptiness, there arose this inexplicable need to do something, anything to pass the time. In one way, getting inked was no different than all of the road trips and restaurant hopping we did in those early months. It was another reason to get out of bed.

The deeper meaning, of course, was that we wanted to etch Margot's existence onto ourselves in the most permanent way possible. We went with a simple design, two circles for each of our children at the time, something profound for us but vague enough for the rest of the world. Stella and Margot, sisters, equally important, equally present in our beings.

After Leo was born, I added a third circle. Kari went with something more complex...

November 6, 2012

We recently trekked to Indianapolis, the city my youngest sister and parents reside in, to see if a move there would be something to consider more seriously.

A new adventure has been tugging at us ever since Leo was born and we have been tossing around ideas over late night drinks ever since. There was the six month camper van trip through Canada, from West to East, which we shelved rather quickly on account of the newborn which would have accompanied us. There was the temporary move overseas, probably to somewhere like Central America, where we could live on next to nothing, volunteer somewhere and give the kids a taste of another culture. There was Portland, which is always just sitting there being perfect little Portland, the utopia for free spirited, liberal, composting hippies who don't mind the rain. Not to mention some of our closest friends just inhabited the place.

Never would I have guessed we would be traveling to Downtown Indianapolis in the cold of November to scope the place out.
After a week of exploring the city, eating at places like Yats, drinking in bars like Chatterbox, and long walks through Fountain Square, one of Downtown's most promising neighborhoods, we were ready to take the cold dark plunge to the middle of America.
In the end, the difficult decision to leave our home and closest friends was made more bearable by the wonderful reality of being within walking distance of family. And we've always wanted to learn how to fix up houses, which every home in Downtown Indy seems to be in need of, sans the ones that are already boarded up. And of course, the possibility of our mortgage payment being in the same ballpark as Stella's preschool bill in Los Angeles is always a nice bonus. 

We arrived back in LA on Sunday morning, just a few hours before electronically signing an agreement to buy the house above, a beauty of a place built in 1870, with high ceilings and big windows and ornate trim work that made my woodworking heart swell. It is also a glorified 2200 square foot dump, in need of just about everything you can imagine fixing on an old house, which will hopefully suit us just fine.

As long as the underwriter decides we are still loan approved, and the appraiser thinks the house is worth more than the loan we are asking for, and the second inspection doesn't reveal something catastrophic that the first inspection missed, this place will be waiting for us come Christmas.:)