The Airspeed Velocity of an Unladen Swallow

In three days, I’ll see my mom for the first time since I was 28 – one decade ago. Here, in chronological order, are the things that have happened in my life since I last saw my mom:

  • I started therapy, where I have gone once every two weeks almost nonstop since.
  • I graduated Magna Cum Laude from college with a bachelors in English and a minor in Professional Writing.
  • I left my marriage.
  • I learned how to parent high needs twins without a partner and no money much of the time.
  • I let go of my daughter, who went to make her way in the world many years sooner than I wished, but who was willing to kill herself to make sure it happened on her schedule, not mine.
  • I moved from a shitty job where I was barely making a livable wage, to a better job where I made a fair wage and performed engaging work with smart, interesting scientists, to an even better job where I make a high enough wage that I can go on occasional road trips and buy my children bicycles when they outgrow their old ones (even if that involves financing it and paying the cost off over a six month, interest-free period.)
  • I began to qualify for credit –both literal and metaphorical.
  • I moved from my four-bedroom, 2300 square feet, three-story family home with a garden I’d carefully cultivated over seven years, to a horrible two bedroom duplex with one room that wasn’t usable, a corner store where prostitutes congregated, a nearby bus stop that was known as the most dangerous bus stop in town, and a walk to the local park that was littered with hypodermic needles, to an even better apartment in a magnificent part of town where I shared a wall with a neighbor whose sound system sounded like he was landing jet airplanes in his living room, to, finally, a whole, full, real house just a few blocks from my sons’ middle school. I’ll have been here a year in August.
  • I became a grandma three times over.
  • I learned how to date and, eventually, how to be kind to myself.
  • I learned how to write and met some of my most beloved and lifelong friends through the corresponding channels.
  • I sold an essay to This American Life.
  • I had a tumor and part of my lung removed.
  • Coming soon, I will have an essay published in an anthology alongside a handful of humblingly brilliant women writers.
  • I became a crow-footed, gray haired, tattooed woman indelicately traipsing toward middle age with a hula hoop and an old pair of jeans and a dearth of shits to give.
  • I developed a long-delayed anger toward my mother that I’m finally talking about in therapy.

So, you know – just everything that makes me the most recent iteration of who I am.

Here, in chronological order, are the things that have happened in my mom’s life since I got married and she tore me out of my wedding dress while drunk in 2001: Continue reading “The Airspeed Velocity of an Unladen Swallow”


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