Thursday, June 12, 2014

Summer Lovin'

I'm writing a book, so I should really be rationing my words. So I'll just use these three: summer ice cream.



(PS. This kid is SIX)







 

 





















Saturday, May 24, 2014

Saturday Morning Update

It's a mellow and damp morning, the perfect kind of Saturday to wrap inside the best blanket in the house and relax. And while you're doing that you can think about this tiny excerpt from my book. It's a good morning for thinking.



Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Life, Death, Babies, and Praying

Since my grandma passed away our house has been saturated with questions about life, dying, heaven, God, praying.

Where is heaven
Why can't we go there
How can people in heaven see us
Why does God know my name

and then we get the aching questions...

what if people aren't old when they die
how old will I be when you are old
are you going to get really, really old, mommy?

Tom's grandma passed away just a few weeks before mine, so the boys have been processing this idea of death pretty fervently, pretty constantly. I want to answer their questions, I want so badly for them to feel ok asking questions, but oh my, am I tired of talking about dying. Absolutely tired of it.

So I've been diverting. Instead of talking about dying let's talk about praying. Teebs is particularly fascinated by this. How can we talk to people we can't see? How can God hear us? How...how...how...why....

Last night he came to me out of the blue asking what we could pray for. I was doing the dishes and desperate to finish collecting and cleaning the mess all around me, but I stopped to look at him. "I always pray for one thing, baby," I tell him. "good little boys!"

But you could pray for other things too! He says. "Like trees! Or lots of cake! Or 100 pretty flowers on your birthday! I'm going to pray for 100 pretty flowers on your birthday!"

Oooh, be still my heart. Be still. But then he really nails it.

"Mommy you could pray for another baby!"

"Ooooh honey!" I say (as quickly as I can), "I don't think mommy wants to pray for that!"

No skipped beats here because he instantly insisted "You get what you get and you don't throw a fit!!!"

Touche, my child, touche. He also added at the end, "and it's twins!" but we are ignoring that part. Sigh. I guess he does listen to the lessons I try to teach him. But just for the record, we are not praying for another baby.

However, this gorgeous family I photographed on Bub's field trip last week, can keep praying for as many new babies as they want. Because, adorable.





Sunday, May 4, 2014

Scooter Turns One

Oh my. It's been a while.

On April, 12, our little Scooter turned one.




The past year as a mother of three has truly been a blur. When I think about each day individually, it's been the most challenging and exhausting year of my life. But when I think about it as a whole, it's been breathtaking.

The boys have learned to love each other in a way I never dreamed of.

Of course, that's when they're not bickering.

It's the tiny moments, in dark bedrooms where brother whispers fill the air, or a hand tug that says "come play with me." It's the way Bub and Teebs dote on Scooter like he can really do no wrong. It's the whole of the past year as a mother of three, all of the zillions of microscopic moments with these boys mashed into one big, happy memory.




There was so much wonder when I was pregnant with Scooter, about who he would be and how he would love. But I don't think we ever imagined him as happy as he is. Scooter loves life in a way that inspires all of us. He loves happiness in a way that makes me forget about all of the sleepless nights, short tempers, temper tantrums, and struggles of that past year. The struggles happened, and they matter because they help me grow, but when I really think about the past year the smiles on the boys' faces are so much bolder than the exhaustion of raising three kids.

The past year has been breathtaking.




Scooter's birthday party was simple and perfect, full of all of the family that loves him. But there was one person missing, my grandma. A few days after his birthday, my grandma passed away. She died with my mom holding her, and me holding my mom, and all three of us digging deep into that strength that women brew inside of them. We love her, and miss her, and I took a short hiatus from writing to let all of that settle.


But here I am, ready for year number two of these three rowdy, loveable boys. I can only imagine where it will take us.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Pink in the Sky

This piece can be found on Huffington Post today. 

Also, a big welcome to all the friends who made their way here from the New York Times, the emails full of kind words I've received from all of you have been incredibly humbling to say the least. I have a very full and happy heart, thank you!

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"Did the pink in the sky happen yet, mommy?" Did it happen yet, he asks it like the washing of color over the vastness of air was holding out for him. The pink just brimming over the top crust of morning grey sky, holding, holding, holding back, and waiting for him before erupting. Is Ronnie here yet, the sky asks, I've waited as long as I can.

He is talking about the sunrise and he is 5. My oldest of three boys. I have to tell him, "Yes, dear," as I look out of the large picture window in the back of our house, "the sun already came up today." He shrugs it off and becomes lost in the couch cushion and a computer game.

I move a little more slowly after that, because sometimes the way my children see the world numbs the crispy corners of my anxious adult life. I have never asked anyone if the pink in the sky has happened yet, and now I wonder why.

The morning is a cold one. Single-digit cold. I have to drag all three boys to school to drop Ronnie off at kindergarten and all of our exposed skin begs us not to. Ronnie won't let me drop him off in the carpool lane, the minivan mayhem I call it in my head; he wants me to walk him to the front door. At school I pile the little guys into the double stroller and forge ahead, pushing it like a semi. My nostrils sting and threaten to freeze shut. Ronnie gallops along beside me, trying to keep up, while his coat flaps angrily behind him. Tomorrow I will remember to zip him up, I chastise myself. I get him all the way to the corner of his monstrous school and the vicious cold and cries from the younger boys become too much.

"It's cold, buddy," I say, "just give me a hug and I'll watch you walk to the door." His face folds into a crinkled map of despair; his eyes look moist, but I'm not sure if it's from the cold. "Just go, I'll watch you," and I wrap him in a warm hug, tousle his hair and give him an absentminded push forward. Just go.

He takes a few strides, but I can see the uncertainty in his gait. He struggles back to me, his eyes now pink and filled to the rim with tears. Brimming over. He's holding, holding, holding back. He squeezes me hard as I give him one last confident heave forward and he tries it again. A mom in a minivan rolls down her window next to me and shouts over two yappy puppies in the passenger seat, "He came back to you for a hug -- that is so sweet!" I shout back to her with my hand clutching my heart and explain how I just want to be able to drop him off in the mornings and how cold I am... but I start to babble.

He's wilting into the sidewalk by now, kids whizzing past him because the bell has already rung. So we cut a path through the icy wind together, little brother wails and all, all the way to the front door of the school. I can feel a furrowedness in my forehead as I wipe away his lukewarm tears with the underside of my thumbs and I ache for his aching. "I packed you a great lunch today," I hug him hard, "have an awesome day!" He trots into school and I retreat with the stroller, the wind at our back now.
I think that all of motherhood is like that. A delicate dance in bitterness, the wind at your back, the wind at your front, knowing when to push. It's catching all of the brimming when it's teeming over. It's wiping lukewarm tears. Sometimes shivering. It's cutting a path together, a furrowed forehead, and "Just go, I'll watch you." A lot of the time it's hugging hard and trying again tomorrow.
And sometimes motherhood is just babbling with your hand clutching your heart.

A delicate, delicate dance.

That evening with Ronnie back at home, lost again in that same couch cushion with that same computer game, I gasp a little and get his attention. "Look, baby, there's that pink in the sky." The pink in the sky is happening, but this time through the front windows. It's sinking. The sun is holding, holding, holding until the time is just the right one and then bleeding through a small fissure of something plain and boring, filling it with goodness. It's brimming up with this brilliance, and, just as that plain boring fissure of horizon is about to gobble up the last of our day, the sun flares freely with its sunset. The pinks and mellow oranges, the hues of our entire day wrapped up, erupting everywhere.

The pink in the sky is happening.

Ronnie "oohs" a little, his baby brother reaches up and grabs his toes and they both giggle. I go back to making supper.

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We'll dance again tomorrow. Sometimes with the pink in the sky at our fronts, sometimes with it at our backs. And the same goes for the wind. It's a delicate, delicate dance, this mothering. A delicate dance.
 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Plum Thickets

I've been fascinated by the bushes in our backyard recently. I feel an undeniably strong fervor for nature when there is a pane of glass separating us. From the dining room I pan the yard and and get lost in the fluttering life rustling our bushes.


Tom calls the bushes "plum thickets," and while I'm sure that must be a real term, it rolls of the tongue the same way as "good ol' boy" or "jeet yet?" and since I'm really just a city girl loving nature through the window I don't feel authentic saying plum thickets. 

Our bushes in the backyard are bustling with wildlife, sometimes I can coax them up onto the deck with stray seeds, but like me, they enjoy keeping their distance.


It's a slow transition to spring. Little steps forward with lots of steps back. But the birds seem comfortable roosting in the backyard, and that gives us hope. The boys keep asking me when summer is coming. Sometimes I answer "a few weeks.." or "a month or so.." instead of repeating "I don't know" to yet another question. But what I really should tell them is to slow down, one thing at a time, boys. Spring needs some savoring first.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Spring!

Spring is arriving. Ignore the fact that the western portion of our state got dumped with 7 inches of snow today, here it is 50 degrees, and 50 degrees screams spring is arriving.


We've had a few days mixed into the last few weeks when the sun is blazing a beautiful 70 degrees down on us, and I tell ya, there's nothing like throwing open the windows and breathing in that warmth, right into your lungs, right into your soul.

The first day that it happens always feels like a miracle. Like the skies part and the magic of spring pours out and we scream "spring is here!"

Then as more days are sunny, longer, and warmer we calm ourselves a little. "Spring is here!" becomes a sigh of relief "spring is here." Soon it becomes our normal, all around us, oh---spring is here.


Along those same lines, Scooter has started walking. Those first lumbering steps didn't come as a surprise, he's been aching to race after his brothers since the moment he first breathed air. Still that leap in my heart when he rises for the first time, a little top heavy and unsteady, and lumbers across the living room floor like a tipsy miniature Bigfoot...there's nothing like it.


The first time he did it we squealed "SCOOTER IS WALKING!" It was no more than a few days and he was toddling around, 4 and 5 steps at a time, with his own agenda, his own free will, and we sighed in delight, "Scooter...he's walking." Now it's nothing to turn around in the kitchen and see him strolling behind me with whatever contraband he's stolen from the cupboards clenched in his grimy fists. Still with the lurching of a tilt-a-whirl but a balance he has almost mastered. Just like that, it's become our normal, Scooter is walking.

With spring and walking, growing boys we are emerging from the frigidness of winter with hopefully as much curiosity as Teebs in this photo:


 But just in case we jinx it, we're still whispering a little...(shhh, spring is here...)