I Am Not Ready for Kindergarten

kg

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 boobs. I chose a black, low-cut, cleavage-enhancing number for the occasion so that I could nestle the cup securely in the warm, moist space. At my doctor’s office, the sperm was mixed and warmed and fed proteins or whatever it is that semen likes to eat. And then I got into the stirrups, my doctor took out a glorified turkey baster, and now here we are: Sam is going to kindergarten.

When Sam was born, there was something otherworldly about him. He reminded me of a baby Yoda or some wise elf who lives in the forest under a giant mushroom. He had knowing eyes and a strange calm about him—well, calm for a baby. To be honest, it sort of creeped me out in the beginning, like he was constantly watching me and judging me. As my dad examined him for the first time, he said that before I know it, I would be buying a school bag for him. I really thought that I would never survive that long, that surely in the few days following his birth I would be dead from sleep deprivation and worry.

The backpack arrived in the mail a few days ago—orange camouflage, with a matching lunch box. And I am still here.

Read my essay on The Mid

Keepers of History

castlewall

 

“All of this history,” my five-year-old sighs, “I am just not sure I believe it.” We are standing on the walls of a medieval Hungarian castle on a rainy, gray day. The town has grown around the castle over the centuries and it looks very different from what I assume my son is expecting: dead Ottoman warriors on open fields, burned down walls, and scattered weapons and flags, all leftovers from the unexpected victory of a small Hungarian army against a vast Turkish force in 1552.

We climb steep stairs (new concrete) to the top of the tower (ancient rock), and follow our tour guide’s finger as he points to enemy cannon positions on the ground. We stand at the foot of the captain’s tomb (copy of the original) and wander past the sarcophagus holding the bones of those who perished during the battle (assumed real).

Sam is fascinated by history and I feed him small bits and pieces from books and movies as well as my own recollections. The years are all muddled in his mind—“a long time ago,” he says as he plays out battle scenes with his toy soldiers, “in the 1980s.” He imagines battles that never happened, between Indians and Hungarians, between American Civil War soldiers and his favorite Turkish warriors.

Read the full essay on Cargo Literary