Big, Black Frames

Today, he got glasses. (My son, Asher, that is.) And his five-year-old face swooned with pride, not about the glasses themselves necessarily but about the case with its accompanying cleaning spray and silky smooth cloth. Upon seeing said spray, the boy asks, “Can I use this in the tub, Mom?” (Ah, no.)

Once in the parking lot, that surprising joy turned to a quivering bottom lip, followed by little droplets that fell onto his brand new lenses. Taking off the big, black frames that had stayed on his tiny face for only ten steps past the store, I wanted to cry too. Quickly scanning the surroundings, I spotted hope in the distance, a crowded Chipotle during lunchtime rush hour. (Phew. A burrito can temporarily solve most of the world’s problems at five or forty-two.) For thirty luxurious minutes, we indulged happily, as the glasses lay quietly on the table. After all, “We don’t want to get the glasses dirty, right Mom?” (Yeah, right kid. You bet.)

I never thought my boy would need glasses – at five – but I can’t change that even despite how many more tears arrived at naptime. “It’s not fair. I don’t want glasses,” he sobbed, holding onto Cragger, the stuffed crocodile. “I know,” I said.

And as I sang him a lullaby or two, stroking a soft smudge of ashen blonde hair, he drifted off to sleep. I held and held and held onto his little hand, watching his eyes flutter and did not get up to leave until after a smile had broken across his dreaming face.

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It took me a long while to consider the title for this blog. I wanted something that defined me both as a person and a writer. A name that would also perhaps speak to a particular audience. Why “The Astronaut Wife?” Since my early days of blogging, I have leaned toward more of a confessional style of writing, to some degree. I write as much truth as I can muster at each phase of life. In addition, I also come from a conservative Southern family, and I have grown very far from those roots. You could say I have rocketed to the moon in terms of my upbringing. I have rocketed away from debilitating family dynamics, from worldviews that held me beneath a rock. In my thirties, and now my early to mid-forties, I have learned to live more comfortably with both sides of the moon and write just as much about the raw, dark places as the light ones. Don’t quote me on that, though. It’s quite likely I will lean more heavily toward one or the other depending on which way the wind is blowing. Then, we get to the wife part, and quite frankly, this is where the feminist in me bucked and brayed. Identifying myself as “wife” has felt simply stymieing, particularly since becoming a mother six and a half years ago. But if the truth is going to be told, being a wife to my particular husband has altered my entire shape and has given voice to much of the inner deep. So in fact, becoming a wife was the singular most life-changing moment for me in my journey to the moon and back. Fellow travelers, you can feel safe and comfortable here. What matters more than what you might “get” about me is what you might take for yourself.

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