Unlike a lot of my classmates, I don’t practice law anymore. I stay at home with my kids. On a good day, I’m happy about my decisions. I wouldn’t trade Johnny’s smiles and Rebecca’s first word and Angela and Lucy’s make-believe games for the billable-hour grind most lawyers endure. On a bad day, I feel like a drudge, an overeducated servant girl.
By Anne Albright, Oct. 7, 1999 Read full article
Angela threw up every three hours for the next two days. She couldn’t keep down water, Gatorade, 7-Up, or ice chips. Lucy woke up Friday morning and threw up all over her bed. Midday, Johnny came down with a case of roaring diarrhea. Friday afternoon, I started to feel achy and queasy. 1 wanted to put my head down and go to sleep. But I kept having to whisk Angela to the bathroom.
By Anne Albright, Oct. 28, 1999 Read full article
We stopped at Oscar’s in Mission Valley to pick up lunch, then headed west toward the beach. When I was a kid, almost every Thanksgiving, we drove to my grandparents’ house in Pacific Beach. I remember the excitement as we neared the house on Crown Point, the great arc and half-arc of the old two-lane bridges that carried Ingraham Street over Mission Bay.
By Anne Albright, Nov. 24, 1999 Read full article
Lucy gazed out the window and sang songs. As we wound through La Costa Meadows and down the hill to Encinitas, Lucy segued from a folk song about Paul Bunyan to “Oklahoma” to “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” from The Lion King. Because Lucy doesn’t understand all of the words, she sometimes mangles lyrics.
By Anne Albright, Dec. 9, 1999 Read full article
When my weight approached 200 pounds and I could barely squeeze my enormous belly behind the wheel of our minivan, I told myself, “Remember this. Remember how uncomfortable you are. Remember how your feet are swollen and your hemorrhoids itch and burn. When this child gets to the toddler stage and you start getting the baby urge, remember the heartburn."
By Anne Albright, Dec. 16, 1999 Read full article
At 9:00, the parking lot at the local Toys R Us was three-quarters full. Inside the store, bewildered dads and moms with sleepy toddlers squirming in their carts wandered down the crowded aisles. The shelves looked as though gorillas had run through the store waving their long arms and randomly tossing toys here and there. I wheeled my cart to the doll aisle.
By Anne Albright, Jan. 6, 2000 Read full article
Jack sheltered Johnny in the great curve of his arm while I walked downstairs to get Johnny some medicine. I returned with a plastic medicine spoon filled with children’s Motrin. In the dim glow of a low-burning halogen lamp, Johnny’s cheeks flushed red and his eyes gazed out glassy from beneath heavy lids. “Hey, little man,” Jack coaxed Johnny.
By Anne Albright, Jan. 13, 2000 Read full article
At 1:45 my mom called again. “He’ll be home in a few minutes," she said. Bob didn’t meet my eye when he walked in the door a little after 2:00. His clothes were rumpled and he looked like he’d been asleep. “How much do I owe you?” he grumbled. “Fifty-five dollars,” I answered. “Fifty-five dollars?” “I told you the rate doubles after midnight.”
By Anne Albright, Jan. 20, 2000 Read full article
“I’m really sorry to wake you at two in the morning. I’ve got to take Jack to the emergency room. Could you or Betsy come over and sleep on our couch in case the kids wake up?” Jack pulled on some jeans and sat hunched over on the side of the bed. I eased his socks and shoes onto his feet and clumsily tied the thick laces. Jack stumbled downstairs.
By Anne Albright, Feb. 17, 2000 Read full article
I watched my four small children. I saw them for a moment as teenagers sharing a joke around the table. I saw Rebecca trying to tell everybody what to do, Angela following along, Lucy stealing the show. “They’re going to grow up,” I thought. “I won’t always be changing diapers and cutting food into little pieces and dressing toddlers and helping people tie shoes."
By Anne Albright, Mar. 23, 2000 Read full article
During his late 20s and early 30s, Jack surfed pretty much whenever he wanted. He called in late for work, took long lunches, and left work early if the waves were big. Jack still talks wistfully about the year he lived on Nautilus Street in La Jolla. At night if he left his bedroom window open, Jack could hear the surf building a block away at Windansea.
By Anne Albright, June 22, 2000 Read full article
I ran the shower until the water turned hot then stepped under the steamy spray. I watched rivulets run down the great curve of my belly and disappear over the edge. Above the shower’s hiss, I heard Johnny wail. The doorknob jiggled for about 30 seconds, then the door flew open. Through the shower door’s opaque glass, I could see Johnny’s small outline.
By Anne Albright, July 13, 2000 Read full article
I looked at my reflection in the driver’s side window. My hair, which I’m in the process of growing out from short layers to long and straight, hung in my eyes. Purplish rings formed twin moats between my eyes and my cheeks. An elongated orange blob on my left shoulder marked where Ben had spit up strained sweet potatoes earlier in the day.
By Anne Albright, Mar. 22, 2001 Read full article
At midnight, I sat on a stool between the couch and the coffee table sorting the whites: five different sizes of kids’ socks. Jack’s socks, my socks, everybody’s underwear, T-shirts, the white uniform shirts Rebecca and Angela wear to school.
By Anne Albright, May 24, 2001 Read full article
I have probably owned a hundred bras. In high school, I stuck with the plain white variety. In college and after, I ventured out into lace and colors. I even tried a few merry widows and corsets when my husband Jack and I were first married. Sexy lingerie soon gave way to maternity bras and nursing garments — massive constructions of Spandex and elastic to rein in my overfull breasts.
By Anne Albright, July 12, 2001 Read full article
Jack took Rebecca and Angela to ride the least-scary rides in the kiddie zone. We ate a disgusting lunch — giant corn dogs and Australian batter-fried potatoes swimming in ranch dressing — and drank sodas as big as pony kegs. After a few more rides, we bought cotton candy and ice cream and a balloon for each of the girls. We stayed for five hours and spent nearly $200.
By Anne Albright July 19, 2001 Read Full article
“Then we went on vacation, and that kept everyone occupied for two weeks. Since we’ve gotten home, I’ve had a hard time. The kids all feel let down because vacation’s over. They spend the day bickering and torturing each other. I’m running out of ways to get them out of the house. You can only go to the pool so many times.”
By Anne Albright, Sept. 13, 2001 Read full article
When I was in junior high, we lived at Tamarack Lodge in Mammoth Lakes. My parents managed Tamarack and a couple of other mountain lodges that sat high in Mammoth's Upper Lakes Basin. We lived an almost Tom Sawyer existence — no television, no radio. My mom worked the front desk. My dad kept everything in the rustic, 50-year-old lodge running.
By Anne Albright, Nov. 15, 2001 Read full article
I thought I should be happy. After all, I had the privilege of staying home with my children. My children were healthy and bright and developing normally. Instead, I found myself slipping into a black hole. At the end of every day, I looked back and saw a string of failures. The unsuccessful painting project. The dinner no one liked.
By Anne Albright, Mar, 28, 2002 Read full article
At the restaurant, Ben got worse. We had made reservations for 11:45. When we arrived with five hungry children, the hostess told us our table wouldn’t be ready for another half-hour. The four older kids played outside. Ben stood by the restaurant’s door and tried to get back inside. When I tried to hold him, he screamed.
By Anne Albright, May 23, 2002 Read full article
“We’ll drive up Sunday,” I told them. “Monday, Aunt Anita is having a picnic for us at a really pretty park. We’ll see some of the people I went to high school with. Tuesday, we’re going out to dinner with Aunt Anita and Uncle Jason and Aunt Joan. Thursday, Uncle Jason and Aunt Joan are going to take you guys fishing, then we’ll have a barbecue at their house.”
By Anne Albright, Aug. 8, 2002 Read full article
During the following weeks, Rebecca played the Nickel Creek CD until I almost couldn’t stand it anymore. While her four younger siblings ran around the house or played makebelieve games, Rebecca sat in the soft, round Papasan chair in our living room, read the lyrics, and softly sang along.We watched Nickel Creek videos on Country Music Television.
By Anne Albright, Oct. 3, 2002 Read full article
“He can prescribe antidepressants. I waited way too long to get them, but they’ve really helped. You won’t feel better right away. They won’t make all your problems go away. But they’ll keep you from slipping into the black hole. You’ll have enough perspective to see when you’re overreacting or being unrealistic.”
By Anne Albright, Oct. 17, 2002 Read full article
After another hour and a half driving through Julian and Cuyamaca and Descanso, we dropped down into Pine Valley on Old Highway 8. The valley opened up on our left. An uneven line of cottonwoods, their leaves gone golden in the late November chill, marked the creek that runs through the meadow. “You can almost see my old house.”
By Anne Albright Dec. 12, 2002 Read full article
We started going to church only on Sundays and holy days of obligation. When Benjamin followed Johnny two and a half years ago, making it to church even on Sunday sometimes presented a challenge. We always went to Mass. We just went in shifts sometimes. Or Jack and I took turns walking Benjamin around outside.
By Anne Albright, Mar. 13, 2003 Read full article
Rebecca returned the clothes every time she finished wearing them. Or I put the clothes back into my closet or dresser when I did the laundry. Rebecca borrowed more clothes. One Saturday morning, she sat down at the breakfast table wearing my favorite pair of navy shorts. “Hey,” I said, “who said you could wear those?”
By Anne Albright, Apr. 3, 2003 Read full article
I peed on the absorbent end and replaced the cap. After I’d washed my hands, I stood and watched a faint pink line appear in the positive window. I looked up and smiled at myself in the mirror. I looked at the gray in my hair and the lines around my eyes. I thought of the baby growing inside me. Tears spilled onto my still-smiling cheeks.
By Anne Albright, May 8, 2003 Read full article
The rest of the evening passed slowly. I had a long sonogram to see if anything remained of the baby. It didn’t. Jack sat beside me while I lay on the gurney and doctors and nurses came by. My bleeding wouldn’t stop. Jack and I talked and cried. He held my hand during a few painful procedures. He told the nurses when I threatened to pass out again.
By Anne Albright, June 19, 2003 Read full article
I worried about the fires. I prayed for all our friends who live in Valley Center. By the time we got home around 10:30, the Valley Center fire had grown to 2000 acres. The Ramona fire had burned nearly to Scripps Ranch. “Jack,” I called from the family room into the garage, where Jack was unbuckling Ben from his seat belt. “The Ramona fire is moving into Poway.”
By Anne Albright, Nov. 6, 2003 Read full article
Brian let me drive him to the airport so he could fly to Berkeley to spend the weekend with Olivia. He left the RX7 with me so I could pick him up on Sunday night. I remember driving alone in Brian’s car down toward La Jolla Shores late on a winter afternoon. The eucalyptus trees looked black against an orange sky. I blasted “Missing You” by John Waite on the stereo and breathed deep Brian’s smell.
By Anne Albright, Dec. 11, 2003 Read full article
Jack’s flu hung on a long time. He tried going back to work Tuesday but ended up back in bed on Wednesday. Tuesday night, Johnny threw up all over Jack’s and my bed. He threw up and ran a fever for the next two days. Thursday, I got a call from school. “Lucy just threw up in class.”
By Anne Albright, Dec. 18, 2003 Read full article
I was about 12 the last time I went to Knott’s Berry Farm. I turned 42 in March. “It was only 30 YEARS AGO,” I told the kids. It was my turn to sound incredulous. “Thirty years?” Rebecca asked. “I didn’t know Knott’s Berry Farm was that old.” “Yep,” I cackled like an old woman. “It was a wagon stop along a dirt road."
By Anne Albright, Apr. 22, 2004 Read full article
Last Sunday, Jack let me sleep in. As much as anyone can sleep in at my house. The rest of the family awoke around 7:00 and tromped downstairs. I lay under the covers and listened to the general commotion. Just as I had drifted back to sleep, Johnny opened the bedroom door and crept across the carpet. He lifted the covers and snuggled in next to me. “Are you awake, Mom?”
By Anne Albright, May 20, 2004 Read full article
“That’s not your job. Your job is to go off and have fun and pursue your hobbies and take pictures and play in a band. My job is to stay at home and feed the kids junk food and let them watch too much TV and play on the computer too much so you can be mad at me for that.” I dissolved into sobs.
By Anne Albright, June 3, 2004 Read full article
While they worked on the car, we walked across Encinitas Blvd. to Jack in the Box. We sat in two adjacent booths. Rebecca read a book. Angela and Lucy played footsie under the table and tried to crack each other up. Johnny and Ben removed the toys from their Kid Meals — Lex Luthor, Superman’s mortal enemy — and staged mock battles.
By Anne Albright, July 29, 2004 Read full article