The New Wave

by Sarah Kovatch

A back-to-school memory. Fall 2014: First day of preschool for Anna. She is three and barely toilet-trained—fingers crossed on that as we snap a photo in front of her classroom before venturing in. She’s wearing a giant purple L.L. Bean backpack and she looks like a baby still, cheeks for days. At three-and a-half, Anna authoritatively pronounces her “Ls” like “Ys” as in “Yeggings” and “Yook!” and our family favorite, “Yove.” Her fine brown curls are pinned back with pink plastic bunny barrettes. We have dozens of those pastel barrettes—I can’t walk ten steps in the house without picking one up from the stairs, the rug, the play table…it is the breadcrumb trail of innocence itself. Years later they’ll turn up every now and then in a suitcase pocket or beneath a couch cushion, like a message from the past.

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So Done

By Sarah Kovatch

I’m at an evening gathering on a friend’s pretty patio and I’m holding someone’s new baby over my shoulder. We mothers chat in a circle around a butcher block piled with cheese and meat while our kids run barefoot in the yard. A string of white lights makes our faces glow. At eight and six, my children are the “old ones” here. Even though it’s been a while, the way my body responds to an infant is as natural as blinking.

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Little Sister

By Sarah Kovatch

On the last day of kindergarten, Anna brings home 2 paper bags brimming with her completed work.

“Look at all my work!” she cries, at the school gate. But we are rushing off to Angus’s allergy shots. “Later, Banana,” I say, using her family nickname. “This weekend.”

The weekend arrives and we are on our way out the door to a birthday party. Purse in hand, I stand above Anna, “Get your shoes on.”

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Drive-by Meditation

by Sarah Kovatch

One Friday last month, I drove home tense and annoyed from spending a day in limbo at our Honda dealership. I pulled into the garage with our minivan problem still unsolved and knew I only had an hour before picking up Angus and Anna from school, and I stamped the day UNPRODUCTIVE.

Sometimes I panic on Friday afternoons right before pickup.

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