Recently an editor at AARP magazine contacted me to see if we would be willing to be part of a photo shoot about the “Modern American Family”. After several emails back and forth, and lots of clarifying questions we agreed. The huge bonus here was the travel allowance to get four out of five of Shrek’s available children in town for the shoot. They came from as far as San Francisco, and as near as up the street for hair, make up, and click, click, snap, snap for a good part of last Sunday.
But why us? Well apparently we evened out an upcoming story for the boomers on family today-both regionally and in terms of the composition of our blended family in the making. Here’s a few stanzas from a poem I wrote to honor the occasion that might further answer the question:
Remember we want to capture
the nine of you at ease
so the rest of the world
sees the “modern family”
wait, wait that’s it-
Adoption, blended family
transracial, known donor insemination,
divorce, first marriage at 46, second
marriage at 61, run of the mill,
kind of thing
Everyone look this way
On 3, 2, 1:
See-family is click click
with eating an ice cream cone
as long as it complements the color of your shirt.
The experience was a complete hoot really. (Leading up to it there was definitely some free floating anxiety about just how one is supposed to present as a modern family in the making…) But once we were all here there was some very sweet family bonding around the edges of it all. The photographers Gregg, and Tom, and Caitlin the glamorous make up artist or “groomer” were part of the blend by the time the shoot was complete. Five thousand tons of delicious food were delivered for our lunch and in six weeks or so the issue will appear.
I was also interviewed over the phone for the story, and am super hopeful that a link to Mama C and the Boys might be included in the copy. Since the magazine boasts the largest readership in the world, it might mean a little boost in readership? For our “trouble” we will also receive a few prints from the day to mark this surprising and magical moment in time beautifully.
just refuses to let more
in. Flash floods must rage.
Flash floods swallow whole
the bridge. Saturated earth’s
These are the latest two poems in my water series. Two haikus wrestling with the same moment, but each one capturing something different. I worked on these over the weekend while visiting my brother. The boys were so struck by the fury, suddenness, and relentlessness of the flooding. Sammy was really amused by it. He loves things which are doing something they are not supposed to…
This morning I woke at five, hugged on Shrek, packed the car, and brought the boys to visit their uncle several hours south for the weekend. Since our arrival I have napped, edited several poems, and “published” my fourth water poem entitled; “Lifeguards”. The boys have been inside once to pee. Their morning started like this:
I must say the recent article in the Atlantic exploring children and “dangerous” play certainly came to mind as I heard myself saying; “please remember we don’t run with the machete.” But, if anyone is equipped and competent at guiding these boys in satisfying and stimulating uproarious play–it’s Uncle.
They have not stopped laughing, yelling, racing, tossing, whittling, tossing, wheel barrowing, or screeching for three hours. They have bumps, scratches, pine needles, and sap stains all over them. They are in total bliss.
Marcel, shirtless, and cell drenched with the smell of smoke just came in to hug in me and tell me they are having an “epic adventure in boys will be….” He ran back outside before finishing the sentence.
When I was little, in my teens and through most of my early twenties, I heard from all over that my “sensitivity” was not often a desirable trait. I was “too” sensitive. I was “very” emotional. I was not the person you wanted at your side at a loud party. I preferred one on one conversations to large groups. I needed to spend a lot of time talking about the situation when a tragedy struck. I was too intense, and too serious. There was no hanging loose over here.
Now, I have that son. Only I see what he has going on as an asset, and not a curse. This may have something to do with all the parenting articles I’ve read online, or the surveys I’ve secretly taken on Buzzfeed. Bottom line: being hyper aware of the world around you is not something that I want my kid to ever feel lousy about. Unless of course my ego is involved?
A few weeks back I wrote about how Marcel overcame his fear of crowds, or perhaps even, if I were pushed, his perfection streak to get back on the court and have at it, during a basketball game. I boasted that I knew I needed to step back and watch, not adding any layers of mama drama to the mix, and send his brother in to silently support him by sitting next to him on the bench, when he looked like he might dissolve in tears. Read more…