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First trip to the UK

Sheep in a very green field in Yorkshire with a hedge in the foreground

We finally took B to the UK for the first time after two forcibly cancelled visits. Just got back on Wednesday night quite late. We had plans pretty much every day we were there, which was pretty nuts, but we got to catch up with so many people.

There were a lot of firsts: B’s first birthday, B’s first steps, B’s first time meeting his cousins and so much other family, B’s first time on the moor, B’s first time in a carrier backpack, our first night away from B (a fancy dinner + hotel in the dales, we’ve never done something like that before), our second night away from B (we got to have a party! with lots of friends!), B’s first cake (and second and third… there was a lot of cake). B’s first time in over 90-degree weather. Would have expected that to be in Brooklyn, not the north of England…

And of course, B’s first transatlantic flights. All things considered, he did really, really well. He doesn’t like three-hour customs lines, but frankly, who does.

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One person’s abortion story

So the SCOTUS struck down Roe v. Wade recently. Abortion rights are now up to the states. This is inhumane, in my opinion.

I have a lot more to say on it but lack both the time and the clarity of mind to articulate the injustice. In lieu of that, I wanted to record this post on LinkedIn, shared with me by Sam. I don’t love LinkedIn generally, but I think it is a hell of a brave place to share an abortion story.

Unfortunately, after an agonizing wait, both my blood tests and CVS (large needle to sample the placenta for abnormalities) confirmed a devastating chromosomal issue. If you have a strong constitution, feel free to look up Trisomy13 on Wikipedia. Median survival after birth is 12.5 days, and the prognosis is pretty awful beyond that. Neither my OB nor genetic counselor had ever had a patient continue with such a pregnancy, so I scheduled my termination.

There’s an important call out here. My life was NOT in danger. I simply cannot fathom being forced to have continued with this pregnancy, knowing all along that I would have to give birth to a child that would die. I would never judge someone else who chose that path, but the mental toll on me and my family – and the thought of suffering for the baby – it didn’t even register as a choice for me.

This is one person’s abortion story.

According to the report “Seeing the Unseen: The case for action in the neglected crisis of unintended pregnancy” by the United Nations Population Fund published this year, it is likely that nearly half of of all pregnancies worldwide are unintended.

Her story is one among billions.


Related point: There is nothing in the Constitution preventing discrimination on the basis of one’s sex. The Equal Rights Amendment would fix this. It has already been ratified by 38 states and passed by both the House and the Senate. One of the only things holding it back is a minor clause in the introduction that it should have been passed within seven years. In my opinion, and in many others’, major legislation like this should take a long time. Seven years is a ridiculous limitation.

If you live in the US, write to your senators now and urge them to dissolve the time limit for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. The House already did it in March of last year.

You can learn more about the Equal Rights Amendment on eracoalition.org.

Visit senate.gov to easily find your senators’ contact information.

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First trip to Michigan

A large, iridescent bubble with a faint reflection of a house floating in front of a leafy green tree

We took B to the cottage for the first time. The weather was a bit grey and cool, but it turns out we were lucky. A huge storm ripped through right after we left which took down a tree and made it impossible to reach, also knocked out the power for two days. Followed by temps in the 90s, and B hates heat like that. So it worked out!

Lots of sitting on Great-Grandpa’s bench swing, massive bubbles, sunsets, good food, playing with balls bigger than he is. And we got two afternoons at the beach on the lake. Turns out he absolutely loves cold water. He would crawl up to it, be shocked by a small wave, and then hastily crawl away laughing his head off. And repeat, for 30 minutes. The only things that would distract him was trying to eat pebbles, and shoveling sand into his mouth.

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One way to fall asleep

Lying in bed for ages thinking “why can’t I get to sleep”, then I finally realize every muscle in my body, every fiber of my being is tense.

How does it surprise me every time? A mindful body scan usually does the trick.

***

When I was a kid, probably around 5, I distinctly remember this moment where I was lying in my twin bed staring at the doorway and suddenly thinking, “How do you fall asleep? … I don’t know how to fall asleep!”

I realized that I had never actually experienced the moment of falling asleep (of course not, I was half-asleep at that point) and started overthinking it. It became this process I didn’t understand, and then I was just lying there wide-eyed not understanding and confused about what to do next.

I’m not sure if it was that night or a few nights later, but I eventually asked my mom how to fall asleep. She looked at me and said, “… Um, just close your eyes?” I did, and to me the next day, it seemed like I had fallen asleep instantly. It felt like a revelation, that there was such a simple answer.

I sometimes notice nowadays, that moment between wakefulness and sleep.

Every once in a while I notice my thoughts getting weirder and more abstract and suddenly think, this is it. It’s quite an incredible state, nothing like it. I guess it’s lucid dreaming, but it’s so short… I try to stay in that state but it’s almost impossible, thinking about it wakes me up and leaning in to it makes me fall asleep.

Sometimes I get in to the same state upon waking, but unfortunately that’s usually because I’m coming out of a nightmare.

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First snow

Black and white illustration of people dancing

Last Friday, it snowed properly for the first time. At least the first time this year, the first time since we moved to Brooklyn, and the first time ever for B. He’s still too little to make much of it, but it was fun taking him in to Prospect Park to stomp around a little, and to see the sledding and cross country skiers.

By the next day, the snow piled up on our neighbor’s wooden arbor had melted in to these swirling shapes, it looked like people dancing.

The snow’s gone for the most part, now it’s just frozen mud and slush puddles.

The holidays were more lonely than we had planned, but we got to have Christmas dinner with a new neighbor/friend. That was unexpected, and special, especially considering the circumstances.

B’s still out of daycare because of Omicron. It’s wonderful to spend all this time with him, but in terms of the personal and work plans I had for 2022, it’s pretty stressful.

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More plans cancelled

We were supposed to go to the UK for Christmas so that B could meet his Nana and Grandad, his Great-grandma, his auntie and uncle and cousins. So that he could meet Billy and Rae, and our friends. So that we could go for walks on the moor and sit by the fire and visit the Stanza Stones and cook with family.

We’ve had to cancel it, with the new variant.

When will this end? I’m so tired.

At least B has no idea what’s going on.

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Parental half-life

If you’re lucky to have them around for long enough, you will eventually reach an age where you have existed for more than half of your parents’ lives. You suddenly go from being around for less of their experiences to being around for most of their experiences.

There’s something significant in that, but I’m not quite sure what… Ask me next summer.