– Benji Schneider, Lord Huron, “Auld Lang Syne”
There’s a Fleet Foxes song that starts, “Now that I’m older, than my mother and father when they had their daughter, what does that say about me?” It catches me off guard every time it shuffles up on my iPod. I’m a year older than my mother was when I was born. My parents married after college. They saved for a brick house where they planted a pear tree and a vegetable garden. There’s a photo of us, taken shortly after Mom’s twenty-sixth birthday: Mom, Dad, and me sitting in a pile of leaves. I’m propped between them with a white lace bonnet tied beneath my chin. We look like a postcard family: haloed by late autumn sun and framed by leaves. Within months of that photograph, I learned to loosen my bonnet. I’d fling it from my head, shouting “No bonnet” with a gummy smile. I wiggled away from the postcard image. But my parents remain tied together. Mom and Dad still rake leaves in the early fall, wearing faded sweatshirts and soft jeans. By their mid-twenties my parents saw the shape their life would take.