Here’s what I missed. I missed our wedding anniversary—an anniversary with a 5, no less. There was a time when an anniversary ending in 5 or 0 would have brought forth long, loopy, overwritten declarations of love from me. This would have been a good year for them, too. When a man essentially forfeits all summer pleasures to pack and haul a zillion boxes so that his wife can go to law school on the other side of the country, he should be celebrated, noisily and sloppily. I hope I wasn’t writing a paper that night.
I missed the presidential election. Considering how much handwringing I did over the last one, you’d think I would have taken a moment to give thanks for the difference four years makes. (I believe I’ve made my leanings fairly obvious over the years, but in case any questions lingered: My guy won.) The day after the election, of my professors was elated and vaguely tearful, not just because my guy was her guy, too, but also because young adults were such a key part of this election, and she loved, loved that young adults were finally taken seriously, because when she was a young adult, and first becoming politically engaged, young people were not taken seriously. Rather, she said, young adults were largely dismissed, seen as troublesome naifs with no idea of how the world really works, told to stop being so noisy and destructive and to let the real adults make the decisions for them. How I wish I’d written it down while it was fresh. I also wish I’d acknowledged the painful result of the election, the sad and shameful passage of Proposition 8 in California, and the spectacle of millions of dollars of out-of-state money being spent to deprive Californians of true marriage equality.
I missed law school, every last blessed bit of it: How the lion’s share of my classmates were born the year I graduated from high school, but they never once made me feel like a dopey, stupid-question-asking, middle-aged killjoy. How it didn’t take me long to realize that Everything I Know is Wrong. How I had to learn—fast—how to present an argument and then immediately argue the counterpoint. How I was not looking forward to studying Torts, dismissing the whole body of law as nothing but slip-and-fall cases, and how my mind was changed by my Torts professor, a quick-witted, scarily brilliant, warm and humane woman, who taught me about tort law as one of the earliest vehicles for civil rights. How hard I worked, struggling to make sense of it all. How my grades ranged from the excellent to the shocking, and how I couldn’t reconcile how hard I’d worked for that shocking grade, in a class I’d found interesting, for a professor I liked a lot and longed to impress. How I was sure that something was wrong with me. How I was right, but not in a way I’d ever suspected. How I became a Constitution geek, and a Supreme Court geek. How I embarrassed myself in public by yelling at a tv on which Jeff Sessions was explaining why reading a Supreme Court nominee’s published legal opinions was not an effective way to determine what sort of Justice that nominee would be, but parsing her speeches was. How thrilling, exhilarating, frustrating, depressing, and funny this whole process is. How I have no idea what I’m going to do at the end of it.
I missed my five-year blogging anniversary. It was on December 1, 2003 that I started writing on the silly yellow page, with absolutely no idea of what I was doing. All I knew at that moment was that after three years of training and researching and business-plan-writing and working my heart out, I would not be opening my bakery. If you had told me that five years from that moment I’d be studying for final exams at a law school 3,100 miles away, I’d have asked you where you got the stuff, and if I could have some, please. The only thing I knew with any certainty was that I did not want PTMYB to be an exercise in solipsism, filled with nothing but meticulous descriptions of the inside of my own head. It embarrasses, writing that now. I cast my eyes over what I’ve written thus far, and all I can see is I, I, I, me, I, my, I, I, myself, I, I, freakin’ I. It would be funny, if only it weren’t.
Dear friends, I fell far and fell fast. First I stopped writing letters, then I stopped making phone calls, then I stopped answering my phone. I spent hours reading, and then promptly forgetting everything I read, only to half-remember it later. From time to time I would bake, a loaf of sandwich bread here, a batch of cookies there, feeling panicky because I should have been studying, dammit. When friends asked me what I was baking, or when I would start blogging again, I would assure them, through clenched teeth, that it wouldn’t be long now. During the break between fall and spring classes, the rainy season rolled in, cold and dark. I started wearing sloppy oversized sweaters, knitting for hours at a time because even as I longed to write, I just couldn’t write. Over time, I stopped writing, baking, knitting, photographing, thinking. I found myself vowing to punch in the nose the next person who asked me when I planned to start again.
Fortunately, instead of alienating friends and loved ones by punching them in the nose, I went to a neuropsychologist, a nice man who ran me through four hours of tests. When he told me I had moderate anxiety and depressive disorders, I was not surprised, but when he told me that I had ADHD, you could have knocked me over with a feather. It’s too early to say that I started the right combination of medication and therapy and lived happily ever after, but I do seem to be getting more done in a day. I have no idea when, or if, I’ll get my writing muscle back—I still can’t read my old posts without feeling more than a little pain about what I used to be able to do, and how I can’t seem to do it anymore—but if/until I do, there are a few small things I can do, and do well, and I can capture them while they’re fresh.
Here’s what I didn’t miss. We put in a garden this year, a garden of our very own after 14 years of watching other people plant their gardens. I’m definitely on a learning curve—three weeks ago I nearly lost all of our tomato plants to rust mites, but our tomatoes are tough little buggers, and healthy new stems, blossoms and fruit are emerging from what we thought were dying plants. By September, we should be elbow-deep in fruit, and next year, the garden will be even better.
I didn’t miss sour cherry season. We buy our produce at the Mountain View farmer’s market on Sunday mornings. It is a grand and glorious market, but I’ve not yet found pie cherries there. I thought I was restricted to stone-fruit pies—not that there’s anything wrong with that—and that homemade cherry pie was something I’d left behind in New York. Silly me. “We have sour cherries!,” trumpeted the banner at this wonderful place. I snapped up three quarts of these:
and turned them into this:
And I absolutely, positively, could not miss this:
This would be my brand-new nephew Cameron, who arrived on Bastille Day. I have yet to meet him—his mom snapped this picture and sent it to me—but it’s fair to say that I’m smitten. Come Christmas, just try to keep me away.