Friday, December 28, 2012

Crossing Over: The Zip Up

Do you remember the moment you realized you were a serious adult? The moment you awakened to the fact that you had left the carefree, halcyon days of childhood behind to accept your place among the grown-ups, the moms, the makers of pancakes?

Thanks to my camera's automatic timer, I have photographic evidence of myself crossing the threshold.


You see that, Internet? See me, there, in the front, in a fuzzy new white robe? My grandparents gave us each a robe on Christmas Eve, and we liked them (robes and G-parents) enough to snap a pic or two. Look, another one:


Little did I know that as I set the camera's timer, ran back toward the group, and slid into my place at the front, I was recording forever the moment I became a legitimate, capital-M Mommy.

Ask me to tell you about any morning at my house as a child, and it includes my mom uttering the phrase, "hold on, I have to put on my robe," followed by the sound of a zipper. One of those skinny, monochromatic, high-pitched zippers that rest just below the thickness of the fabric. Ziiiiiiiiiiip. Then she'd oblige us with whatever we were asking her to do, like, feed us cereal or make french toast. My most vivid morning memory is of Mom curling her hair, the newspaper spread across the bathroom counter so she could read it. Mom, soft and comforting in a burgundy robe, though I know there have been many different color iterations of the zip-up over the course of my 33 years. One factor, always the same: the zipper. I don't ever remember her wearing any other type. It is, to me, what moms wear in the morning. The uniform.

I have robes. I have been a wearer of robes. I think I got my first one in high school, probably for Christmas when somebody got tired of me complaining about being cold from October to May. But they were always the other kind--the belted variety that wrap around (but honestly, don't stay around). The robe I've been using for the past 12 or 13 years is a cast-off that E's sister April was going to sell at a garage sale when she was in college, and I nabbed it from the pile. That's the purple belted robe I walked the halls of Kaiser hospital in as I waited for the pitocin to induce my labor with Miss Roo. It's the robe I pulled around myself when I'd get up in the night to rock my babies, the robe that I slid open to nurse them. It's the same robe I wear now as I stumble out to the kitchen to pour cereal for my kids and try not to flash anyone. It's long and it washes well. For a long time that's been enough.

But this new zip-up specimen has ushered in a different era of official mommyhood, and I've taken to my new vestment like a teenage girl to an Abercrombie hoodie. I put that robe on Christmas Eve, and I'm pretty sure I could live in it for the rest of my life.


Seriously. The zipper. God bless it. It keeps shit locked up from my knees to my chin. No chance of a wardrobe malfunction when the UPS man shows up early one morning or the family stops by, unannounced, on a Saturday before noon. Just zip. that. up. I love my new robe, or as I like to call it, the blanket I wear around myself in all rooms of the house.

On the list of things that have made me feel like a real mom (giving birth to two children, being able to break down a whole raw chicken, dealing with someone else's bodily fluids, packing for a camping trip), the robe thing snuck on me. But I feel its power now. Boy, do I feel it.


For my birthday, someone please get me a muumuu.


  1. Your humor is helping me deal with my insomnia, though I'm sure my LOLs are waking my husband. I so wished that UCR's MFA would have been a better fit for me---just so I could have gotten to know you. Nevertheless, I want you to know that your kind response (a year ago?) to my email helped me to take the leap of faith. This June I'll be going to my second res.
    Your blog is still one of my favorite reads, especially those on MFA life. Now excuse me while I Internet surf for a robe with a zipper and muumuu.

    1. Ha! Thanks! So nice to hear from you. Are you in a different MFA? Thank you for the kind words.