Thursday, September 18, 2014

Because I look good in them


First thing in the morning finds me outside with the dogs, eyes skyward seeking the moon. I love the chill in the air, the waking bird calls, and the subdued palette of the backyard.

That said, I am totally looking forward to a month or so down the line when it's Nubby Sweater Season.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Good morning, sunshine!


One last purple blossom came out to greet me on this, day three of my new job. (Or possibly she's just looking for a bee.)


*In my mind, flowers are shes. Trees are hes. Unless they're flowering trees; then they're shes. Cacti, however, are always hes.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Potato, Potato


We were in the backyard when something fluttered by.

"A butterfly!" I happily crowed.

"A moth," my husband corrected.

"Equally beautiful," I noted as it landed on my knee.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Contentment, 4:19 pm

I love this Friday feeling, the endless possibility of the coming weekend vying with a sleepy laziness. I could do anything! Or nothing.


A whole weekend lays ahead of me, and I have no idea what I'll decide.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Monday, September 08, 2014

Love inheritance


From his father, he gets his gender, his blood type, the color and shape of his eyes, his long arms, and his introverted nature.

From his grandmother he has his smile, his sense of humor and his nose.

From his grandfather: his love of history and fairness.

But the seasonal sprinkling of tiny freckles across his nose comes straight with love from me.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Ramped up

When the oldest was very small, he carried cars of the Matchbox sort around and entertained himself by putting them on any available slanting surface and letting go. Eventually my husband and I also got into the habit of scanning spaces for good ramps so we could point them out to him and watch his sweet face light up.

Hey, Wake Forest Baptist: excellent ramp.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

How It Will Feel

When you are in the fourth grade, you will visit the Book Fair at the small private school you attend. Your mother will be a teacher at the same school, and someone -- another staff member, a volunteer, you do not know -- will report to her your purchase of a book titled How It Feels When a Parent Dies, though you will not find out she was told for many years.

The book will have a maroon cover, and you will read it cover to cover immediately. You will stare at the black and white photographs of children who have lost a parent to disease or accident or murder or suicide, and you will think: This one is older than me but has no father. Or: This one is younger than me and has lost her mother. The concept of losing a parent is an abstract nightmare to you.

When you are in your early twenties and visiting your mother's house one evening, she will share the story of how she was told you bought this book at the Book Fair and could not fathom why. Because she is your brilliant mother, the story will be screamingly funny in the telling. She will laughingly say she wondered if you wished her dead, and you will laughingly admit you have no idea why you bought the book. She will say that the school, from which she is now retired, ordered certain non-fiction books with certain students in mind, and you will ask whom the book was intended for, who had a parent who was dying. She will say she does not remember. She also does not remember who thought she needed to know you bought the book, only that it hurt her feelings when she was told. She will reassure you that you do not need to apologize, she is over it, and by the way it is still in your room upstairs she thinks. You will not check.

A few years later you will meet the man you are going to marry, and one night your mother and you will regale him with the story of the book. Your mother has now moved to a smaller house way out in the country and has no idea where the book went but knows it is no longer in her possession. She will laughingly ask if you maybe took it, if maybe now that she is in the end stages of planning your wedding, you do wish her dead. You will reassure her you still do not.

Four and a half years later your mother will be declared terminal.

A scant three months later you will hold her cooling hand and you will feel a pain in your chest that makes you double over and scream. There are no words, only sounds.

You will feel zombie numb for a few days. Then you will throw yourself into making arrangements, which you will plan with as much painstaking love and attention as your mother planned your wedding.

Your mother is being cremated, and you will drive alone to pick up her ashes on your fifth wedding anniversary. Your husband will say he is coming with you, and you will say no, please stay home with the children, I will feel better if you do.

You will feel incredibly guilty about the children, because at the end there you frankly did not think about them, all you could think about was how much like a child you still felt yourself, a child who still needed her mother. Now you will grasp your own children to you, and you will thank God that you have them, these lifelines.

You will feel orphaned.

On the day of your mother's funeral an icy rain will fall. During the service you will clutch your older brother's hand, and he will clutch yours, and neither of you will let go. You will keep looking at your maternal aunt, thinking she looks so much like your mother before she got sick. You will feel like all the arrangements you have made are happening at a great distance. You will only catch tiny shards of conversation at the reception. One of these will be: You don't have to like it, but you have to get through it. You will wonder who the person is and what he or she has to get through. You will wonder if it is you. You will think: I cannot.

The days will go by and you will count them. You will think to yourself: A week ago at this time, I still had a mother. When a few weeks go by you will switch to calendar counting: A year ago on this date, she was alive, and we were planning a trip to the beach.

Several times over the next few months you will burst into sudden tears. Sometimes you will know what precipitated them, but most of the time you will not. You will know you cannot wash dishes after dinner anymore, though, because that was the time of day you called your mother. Your husband will take over the dishes.

You will write many thank you cards, but you will leave many more unwritten. Do not fret about them, for everyone has suffered a loss and so nobody will judge.

Here are the days that will be especially hard: your birthday, her birthday, Mother's Day, Christmas, the day of her death, and any day you see a mother and her adult daughter shopping at TJ Maxx together.

(Speaking of mother-adult daughter duos, you will be tempted to horn in on their conversations. Try to resist. Also you should ignore the instinct to lecture the daughter if she's being short with her mother or doesn't seem to realize how blessed she is to have her mother with her. Maybe it's an off day. Maybe they're planning a wedding.)

Some years these days will be more difficult than in other years, and there is no way to know which. With time you will notice that only one or two remain painful, that the others have faded like bruises.

One day a friend will call you and through tears tell you her mother has been declared terminal, and you will realize you have turned a corner, that you can speak about losing your mother without crying. You will watch your friend's children while she visits her mother in hospice. You will offer to wash her dishes.

You will get through it.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Roundabout


This morning when I pulled in from dropping various children at various schools, I found this spider hard at work on a large, exquisitely orderly web. I watched him for some time and even filmed him making a complete round, which I posted on Google+.

Tonight, attending an informational meeting about Circles Winston-Salem, I was reminded of this wee, industrious fellow and how effective a well made circle can be.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Treasure Hunting


George found the beachcombing exceptionally good on his first youth group Beach Retreat, especially just at sunrise.

We had such a wonderful weekend. I am beyond exhausted, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Rapture


The oldest kept inadvertently closing his eyes while eating his panini at Lowes Foods today. I reached toward the other half to sneak a bite, but he must have heard the paper rustle or something, because his eyes snapped open. I quickly pretended to be busily staring at the napkin dispenser, and after a few seconds he returned to his eyes closed slow chew.

I tell you what -- I'm just going to assume the Italian combo panini is tasty.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Besotted

Children's Room, Central Library

I was searching fruitlessly for something else entirely, but now I want to bring every person I love here, sit them down on the wee chairs, and read the above shown book aloud to them, regardless of age.

My favorite page:


I disagree, however. I am always in the mood for Indian food. (Also Mexican.)