The Uterus Must Go

I’ve always had this fantasy that one day I would find a baby. I’d be driving down the road, or walking on the street, and a bundle would catch my eye—nobody else would notice it but me. Maybe there is a small toe sticking out, or an arm, and I know immediately that it’s a…

The Thing About Love

My mom is standing by the kitchen sink, squeezing pimples on a chicken. This is the 1990s in Hungary, when chicken still come with remnants of what makes them poultry: feathers, dry skin around the heel, nails that once scratched dirt on a farm. Behind her on the kitchen table are carrots and parsley and…

Motherhood and Waiting: anticipatory preparation

I wake like this every morning: the first sounds I hear are my seven-year-old’s footsteps in the hallway as he makes his way to our room. He jumps on me, sharp elbows in my ribs, head butting against my chest, my chin, my nose. Then he settles and we breathe quietly under the covers together,…

Smoking

We are walking to the metro when the three boys stop us. I say “boys,” but really, they are young men, in their early twenties. They are looking for an Italian place in the neighborhood that does takeout. They speak English with an accent—Dutch, maybe German?—and we point them in the right direction. As my…

This is your crappy childhood

This is how I imagined my son’s childhood when he was just a twinkle in my eye: we live in a big house with a huge yard, maybe a pool. There’s family around us, lots of family. He has two younger siblings. He rides his bike with the neighborhood kids and likes school well enough….

Writing with Sam

It was a throwaway assignment. The teacher even told the kids that they didn’t have to complete it over winter break if they didn’t feel like it. And so that left me to decide whether I thought it was worth the hassle, the haggle, the headache of getting my kindergartener to sit down and write…

A Year of Revisiting Old Loves

It is so easy to get into a rut. The toenail clipping, burping, morning-breath kind of rut of busy days and exhausted evenings. The no-sex rut, the no-talking rut, the not-holding-hands rut follow quickly behind. It doesn’t take long to get there—not as long as you’d like to think. I am sort of baffled by…

Now That I’m a Mother, I Want Things

I never really wanted anything in life. Not really, not passionately. Maybe I wanted a new Barbie doll when I was a child, or wanted to stay up later to watch TV, or wanted to skip school, or stay out longer with my boyfriend. I “wanted” to be a stewardess and an Egyptologist, but only…

This Body

By Zsofi McMullin The first time the trainer tells me to put my hands on my side and feel my abdominal muscles work, I can’t help but laugh. The only thing I feel are rolls of fat and loose skin. This is not really a surprise—I haven’t exercised in a good decade or more and…

Feeding Frenzy

The day after Sam and I return home, I have an overwhelming urge to cook. Drew suggests that we just throw some hot dogs on the grill and call it dinner, but the idea—usually welcome on hot summer days—sounds appalling. No, I want real food. Real, homemade, not-from-a-box, not processed, not cooked by someone else…

I Am Not Ready for Kindergarten

I want to begin by telling you that Sam started out in a cup. He was in an orange medical container with a white lid, the kind they use to collect urine samples—and apparently semen as well. I carried him from our home to my doctor’s office, about 15 minutes down the road, between my…