At 20, I bought a new wallet.

I did some other things, too – finished freshman year as a dance major, married a loving husband (a decade too young), adopted a cat named Bundle Schmuk Suckface – but bought that wallet.

I was a young 20. A wallet still felt like a prop for playing grown up – all those credit card slots filled with pretend samples, the absorbing secret folds and plastic windows. I’d purchased a comprehensive organizer for a life that didn’t need much organizing. I left the fake credit cards in place, added a real bank card and some real money.

Exploring the wallet, I discovered in one of the clear plastic photo slots a sample pic of a wealthy, child-free couple – grinning, priggish, possibly by the water somewhere, to gauge it by the light. This fake I removed, but there was a photo I wanted in that slot. A photo I didn’t have. So I bought a magazine and cut out of it an image of what appeared to me the most perfect infant boy. Shortly after this tiny place-holder had taken up his tenancy, I bit into the right fortune cookie and placed its message beside him in the slot: You shall gain your wish.

After a year of wishing and a busy June weekend at a lakeside conference and cottage centre, my dream came true. I was expecting what I knew in my bones would be a son. His father and I nicknamed him “Bobo,” as rather a fun year of Lamaze classes and city bus trips to the best burrito bars got underway. We had Loggins and Messina on the 1980s version of auto-repeat: “People smile and tell me I’m the lucky one/think I’m gonna have a son… and he will be like she and me/as free as a dove/conceived in love…” I kept dancing until a small near-hernia at eight months precluded it, and then we waited. Our son was born on his estimated due date after a brief but painful labour: I screamed, my husband fainted, but Shannon was perfect. Perfect.

New photos – real ones – started to fill that old wallet, but I never removed the little guy who had kept me afloat while I waited. Now, uncountable wallets on, I still keep the magazine photo and fortune cookie message just as they were, in their little slot by the billfold; beside them is our dining room card for the weekend that rendered this child’s lovely image obsolete in the presence of the real son he could never be.

Yet, he is something to me. He is the waking dream that comes true, the remembered quiet moment alone when hope is consciously welcomed, but still too fragile to be shared. He is everything wonderful about the man our son has become and all that is wholly mine about that man – my hope for him.


So, first, the dream… and then the boy himself, with a mix of keepsake pics and new photography:

1983 06 23 Place Holder Babay at Geneva Park Weekend FINAL 9858

My old wallet with the little magazine dream and the dining room card.

(Photo: Gossamer Universe 2017).


1984 04 15ish 21 years w Shannon and Schmuk CAMOFLAUGE FILTER

Reality: Me, Shannon, and Schmuk sleeping in the master bedroom. (GU: 1984).


1984 11 15 Shannon Happy at Home

The Real Boy! (GU c1985).


2016 01 02 The Loadout 7576 outdoor sharp

More recently… Photo: Gossamer Universe 2017.


1984 12 24 Shannon at Home at Christmas Sharp

Sitting in our own House at Pooh Corner (Loggins and Messina). (GU: c 1985)


2016 07 29

In the park last summer. Photo: Gossamer Universe 2016.


1985 03 15 ish Shannon Exploring (2)

Always exploring. (GU: c1986)


2016 11 02 Shannon and Bentley 5983

With his kitten. Photo: Gossamer Universe: 2016.


All new photos taken with a Nikon D810. Gossamer Universe: All rights reserved. 🙂


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