Tag Archives: Jacob

Jacob is just trying to enjoy the rain.

16 Jun
Jacob in the rain. Photo by famous Mamarazzi photographer Alexandra Hanson-Harding

Jacob in the rain. Photo by famous Mamarazzi photographer Alexandra Hanson-Harding

I get home from the little round of errands–the drugstore, the craft store (my friend Shelley and I are going to have a kick butt adventure tonight people: we are going to learn to Cro-SHAY. Oh yeah. We are craft mad women who are going to take over the world one crochet stitch at a time

) to buy a size H HOOK and this and that, and what do I see in the back 40? Why it is the shirtless Jacob, standing nonchalantly in the pouring rain.

“Oh! Oh!” I say, in the manner I have been saying such things ever since he’s been doing one kind of odd or naughty thing since forever (and since he is very gifted in quirkiness, this is quite often), “Let me get the camera!”

“MOMMMMM,” he says sternly. “Can’t a guy enjoy the rain without putting up with the MAMMARAZZI?”

The only answer was “Click.”

Writing Prompt: And what would you photographtoday?

Three Different Years, Same Date: Entries From My 135 Journals

16 Mar
Mrs. 135 Journals with her demon spawn Jacob circa 2011. Photo by demon spawn's paternal unit, Mr. Hanson-Harding.

Mrs. 135 Journals with her demon spawn and cabbage skeptic Jacob circa 2011. Photo by demon spawn’s paternal unit, Mr. Hanson-Harding.

One of the benefits of keeping a journal since forever is seeing how life changes and how it stays the same. Here are entries from three different March 16ths, chosen completely at random. One thing that has remained the same—boys, both brothers and sons (and friends and boyfriends and husbands, or, shall we just say, husband!)—have been a constant source of amusement in my life. And I’m glad it doesn’t smell like a dead mouse under my bed anymore!

Sunday, March 16, 1975 I don’t get along with anyone except the parents and Craig and the Dog. Which is a majority, but just barely. I do get along with the other three sometimes. But not often.

Guess what? I get to BABYSIT. I have to cook: Ugh. Robbie shrieked to Mom and Dad, “Don’t go. DOOOOOOOOOONNN’T GO!” But they went.

March 16 1994, Wednesday

Now I’m on my way back home after visiting the baby in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Dr. Mark Ehrlich the plastic surgeon. I got a shot of cortisone in the scar I got under my nose from falling on that ice patch. It really hurt.

“That looks as if it hurt more than I thought it would,” Dr. Erlich said sympathetically. I like him. After I saw Jakie and went to the doctor, I went shopping. I actually did a lot of walking today, too. I walked from Port Authority up to the hospital (59th and 9th) to the doctor’s office 61st and fifth, then wandered up to 68th and back to Port Authority. It still smells like a dead mouse under my bed.

March 16, 2011 The other day Jake said, Why do I have to study? Why can’t I just do the studying montage?”

Also, last night he said, disgustedly, “What is it with you two and cabbage? It’s the food of PEASANTS”

He was shocked for a moment to learn that once upon a time, so was lobster, but then he said, “Well, that makes sense. It’s just a CRUSTACEAN.”

Writing Prompt: Can you remember what you were doing and whom you were with on any past March 16?

Jacob: The first 21 years

15 Feb Is Jacob a small man in a normal chair or a normal man on a gimondo chair??
Is Jacob a small man in a normal chair or a normal man on a gimondo chair??

Is Jacob a small man in a normal chair or a normal man on a gimondo chair??

There is way too much to say about the wild humor, imagination, and whimsy of my son, Jacob. And about how he spent the first five years of his life scaring me because he was born 11 weeks early. it took me a long time to believe that he would ever be safe. There was even a time when I didn’t believe–when I begged the heavens for–the chance for him to live to be two. He was so sick and weak I couldn’t even bring myself to hope for more than that he would wear size two clothes. I would look into his fierce little eyes and whisper, “I’ll never be happy without you.” To his great credit, his fierce will to survive pulled him through each crisis. And every year, he would wear bigger clothes. I would rejoice at the jackets flung on the couch, the sneakers I would trip over. Even more, I rejoiced in the Jacobness of Jacob. From this tiny creature unspooled a compassionate, sensitive, wildly creative, very quirky human being. With each year, he has found ways to challenge me, to make me laugh, to think, and to feel a powerful surge of gratitude. He is 21 now. A man. It’s fun to be with the adult Jacob. And it’s a miracle. More than ever, I can’t imagine how I’d ever be happy again without him. I suppose I’d have to. I’d owe it to the other people who love me. But I’m glad that I didn’t have to miss a day of the growing and changing of my beautiful young man. So glad that my real life had the magic unfurling of Jacob’s rich, complex and delicious personality to love–and that the reality so far exceeded the best vision of his future I could imagine for him in those dark days of his babyhood. Happy birthday, Jacob my love.  May you have many, many more.

Writing Prompt: Who makes you happy?

He’s Leaving

29 Mar






Winslow Homer, Startled, Philadelphia Art, Public Domain via Wikimedia


What does it mean to lose time? If you write a blogpost and it wasn’t quite done, but you closed your computer and it disappeared, do you lose time? Did you just go backwards? Or is the writing still there, an idea that you worked out in your brain? Maybe that time isn’t wasted, but the time regretting it, looking fruitlessly for writing that no longer exists, is. I should have written it by hand. I should have saved it. It’s got to be somewhere. I’m stupid. My therapist says, “Should is SHIT,” and slams the table with her pad. And then she laughs. She’s right. I couldn’t bear to write for a day because of my lost work. Was that good? I don’t know. Lately I’ve been feeling as if I’m in a whirlwind.


My son number 2 is going away, for six months. He’s leaving tomorrow, for six months. I wish I could think of the words to say that will keep him safe. He’s going to lead a rugged life—workng on a ship in Maine. He’ll be sandpapering, refinishing the boat, getting it ready for passengers, then sailing on it as a cook/deckhand. For now, he will be staying in an unheated boat while there is snow in the ground. Oh child, will you be all right? Strangely, I think he’s going to be better off in that rough life of fixing up a boat, freezing, smellng the fresh ocean air, than he is in the comfortable room he’s inhabited, at times ungratefully, for the last year. He hated the color of his room, a bright orange. We told him if he wanted to, he could paint it some other color. But he was too lazy. He didn’t have the heart for it. He was bitter that his brother got the smaller room. And that, of course, made my other son NEVER want to trade places.


So yesterday I bought him a Bear Grillz knife, a belt, boots, thick socks, a green bandanna. Will they keep him safe? Will he make friends? Will he take joy in the daily tasks and in the sight of the ever-changing ocean, the spruce covered islands, in the learning of how to tie a knot, the beauty of a flapping sail?

He’s going tomorrow and I feel heaviness pulling me down into the mattress as I write. I don’t have my old blogpost and I don’t have the heart to work any more on this one. He doesn’t belong in his ugly orange room anymore. In fact, I’m taking it over. I’m going to make it my office. Maybe I’ll paint it new colors. Life is changing. This boy, he drove me crazy sometimes. I worried about him. But he’s doing something brave and tough and his back is straight and tall. He’s calling me by my first name this week. “Alexandra, the hats are over here.” I want to tell him to take care of that cut on his finger. To wear that hat in the cold. And gloves, does he have gloves? I stuff it back down and make a joke. Maybe he didn’t like being in the orange room after high school. But maybe he needed that time. It wasn’t lost. Only regretting it would be. He certainly pulled himself together. And maybe I should have done something different to help him. I’ll never know. I just know that whatever I did, I did while loving him. Besides, “shoulds are SHIT.”

And off he goes, far from the shore where I stand.


Writing Prompt: How did you feel when someone you love left?

Talking Schnauzers and Other Matters: A Conversation with Jacob

7 Mar


Jacob, blowing some much needed bubbles in NYC


Child Number 2 is going to be heading off for a big adventure in three weeks, after he graduates from cooking school. In fact, today he has to take a big test where he cuts potatoes into various sizes of cubes (a fine brunoise?) and juliennes so he’s in a state of terror. This morning he woke me up at something like minus zero o’clock to beg a ride from me for school because he missed his class. I loathed him so much at that hour that he was actually forced to make tea and dip into his deep well of charm and entertain me, as I slowly woke up while hurtling along the Jersey Turnpike at 70 mph. But as I came to consciousness, I realized how differently I talk to each of my sons. When Jacob was two or less, my bff Julie said, “He’s a baby absurdist!!” and she nailed it. So, here’s today’s conversation.

“MOM. Would you rather have somebody who was always a man or someone who stayed a baby forever?”

“A man, of course. Men are interesting. But can I ADOPT? I don’t want to give birth to someone larger than I am.”

“It would be magic. And he would already be wearing clothes”

“A fetching bathing suit is enough. We can go to Kohls. I have a coupon.”

“Are you sure?” he asked. “Babies are cute and they have those little fingers.”

“No, grown-ups are cuter,” I say. “Besides, diapers.”

“He’ll change his own diapers.”

“That seems a little wasteful, but okay.”

“Actually,” he says. “What I really want is a talking animal.”

“Bad news, honey. There WERE talking dogs. They had really big eyes, too. But they pooped on the rug too much. So they all killed.”

“All dogs do that!” he said.

“And they were all Schnauzers, too. Talking Schnauzers. To tell you the truth, I was the one who killed them all.”

“Oh man, Mom! And Schnauzers are the cutest.”

“Uncle Neil’s Schnauzer’s slippers were the cutest, weren’t they?” We take a minute to sigh at the cuteness of Uncle Neil in his slippers.

“But Mom. Why did you really kill all the talking Schnauzers.”

“Because my grandchildren are not going to be talking Schnauzers. I want REAL grandchildren. That’s why I had you. So you can fork over some REAL grandchildren.”
“Actually,” he said, “I think I want a cow. Just a little one. Or a pig.”

Man, I’m going to miss that kid.


Writing Prompt: capture a conversation—yours or someone else’s.



September Statistics, Part 1

2 Oct

Statistic for September, 2012, part 1

–average steps walked per day: 8236

–pairs of shoes bought in size triple E: 1

–Number of workdays husband has said, upon arrival home, “I’m gettin’ out of this monkey suit.”: all

–days garden and its inferiority to last year’s garden was discussed at length: 30

— breakfasts with Julie at ChitChat diner: 1

–score on Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease from Better Medicine on internet: 44 percent. (Nota Bene: is this possible sign of Cretuzfeldt-Jakob disease?)

–Podcasts on Concordat of Worms listened to: 1

–Amount understood: 12 percent (I believe Europe and popes were mentioned?)

–times cat gave me pathetic looks to go outside:115

–Times I let him: 50

–Times I am supposed to let him go outside: 0

–acupuncture needles stuck in body: approximately 100

–shots of artificial synovial fluid in arthritic knee: 3 per knee

–book read for book group: Wild, by Cheryl Strayed

–number of children sent off to college: 2

–disease I do not have: multiple sclerosis

–times we’ve seen Jacob since then: 3 (bonus: last time with purple hair).

–What has happened to hometown in Jacob’s eyes now that he is at college: shrunk.

–What Santa is not bringing Jacob: tattoo.

–Toastmasters Tall Tale contests won: 2

–Person whose lovely presence will be missed: Marge Springer.

Prompt: And how was YOUR September?