Morning, Clothes

I read an article, awhile ago now, that touched on the power of positive clothes.  The essay quoted Australian fashion designer Peter Morrisey's father, who used to say to him, "It's time to get up and get dressed to go dreaming."
There are mornings when Tuck chooses to stay in his jammies through breakfast, and sometimes even through lunch.  And there are other days when, as soon as his feet hit the floor, he's ready to pick out morning clothes, as he calls them.  Most days, whether he begins the dressing process at 7am or at noon, he wears at least three outfits.  Yet most days, if you dropped by unannounced, you'd likely find him in nothing but his andies.  Well, his undies and few accessories -- he often borrows a necklace or grabs his sunglasses or chooses a hat.
He tried to button his own shirt.

While I tend to think more about the day's forecast and reach for whatever's fresh from the dryer, Tuck's outfit selection strategy results in some pretty fantastic ensembles.
I hope all the dreams he's dressing for become realities.


I could gobble him up.

Dear Tolliver,

It was about this time, exactly a year ago, that you were born, and meeting you felt kind of like meeting the rest of my life.  A little on the cold side of perfect, the day was crisp as a new dollar bill, spotless and full of possibility.  Just like you. 

When you arrived I was humbled, and equally awed, to be holding a healthy bundle of baby.  I positioned the sweet, swaddled shape of you in the crook of my elbow.  I marveled at your bigness and your smallness, at your perfection and your potential.  I felt a certain muddled wondrousness.  I still do. 
Now you’re like a tiny despot, using dynamite to declare your desires.  When I pry something, say an electronic device or a choking hazard, from your insistent fist, your will flares up like a fever.  And I have to be honest, I love that you're passionate, but I'm not always thrilled to see strong feelings flicker across your features.  You travel at roughly the speed of light, only faster, and you play until exhaustion overpowers your urge to protest bedtime.  Once you're asleep, I find myself missing the drool on your chin and your smooth pink cheeks, your swayed back and round belly, the way your eyes shut in a smile.

With your arrival, Tollie, the miracle of life re-illuminated my universe.  Thanks for bringing sunshine and fireworks to all my days, bright boy.



His birth brought us fresh awareness of the fragility of life, reminded us of the one breath difference between here and not.  Not that we needed any reminders.  It’s been a hard year.  Even the hardest parts of it, though, were still so much easier than they might have been without him here.


12 and OH

And (almost) one!
There's been a lot of celebrating in central Ohio this weekend, but the best part, for us, has been celebrating Tolliver's first birthday. The most recent Buckeye victory was just a bonus.




Through Thick

On Sunday, hard wooden pews and sunlight filtered through stained glass, half closed eyes on dark floors and hands folded in laps.  On Monday, spent flowers plucked from frost bitten plants and trash picked up from the side of the road, heads warm under hand knit hats and borrowed books from the lowest shelves.  On any given day, God, Mother Nature, church, religion, it’s all around.

Over the weekend a young lady named Hannah died.  She was the youngest of three siblings, all of whom had Batten disease.  I don't know the family, and I won't say I can't imagine their grief.  I can imagine, I just don't want to.  I do hope her parents are able to feel peace, to find places where comfort folds itself around them like wings and small voices pipe encouragement within.

When Celia died, we did not choose a spot for her body to rest.  Cemeteries seem to exist to comfort the living, to consecrate places dedicated not so much to the mourned but to the act of mourning itself.  For us, a grave sounds like a place of death, a place we would not be inclined to visit.  We are more interested in places, besides our own hearts, where Celia lives. 
BSPC memorial garden.  A thin place.  Insta image via rht3627

She doesn’t fill our living space or make daily demands, but she’s still here, very present.  We've discovered spots where the distance between heaven and earth collapses and becomes thin, times when the divine comes closer and the transcendent can almost be caught.  Cathedrals and cemeteries, yes, but libraries and airports and gardens and kitchens, too.  She's all around.

Tuck keeps selecting the same thick, fleece footed jammies, jungle green with a monkey print.  They end up unzipped and inside out and crumpled at the foot of the bed by morning.  He doesn't choose them because they're soft or because they're warm, but because they were Celia's.  Perhaps they feel thin, or a bit like angel wings.



Tollie grew a little more hair today while he was napping.  He had a bath after lunch, snuggled up with his crib blanket and sang himself to sleep.  And when he awoke, along with renewed energy appeared tiny tufts of hair that hadn't been there hours earlier. 


Our future's in good hands.

We have to find, sometimes to fight, our way forward, but doesn't everybody?  And anyway, it's made easier when we watch him. 
When I do, I feel the air tingle with the future, the way it does at a wedding or on the maternity ward.



“The crickets felt it was their duty to warn everybody that summertime cannot last forever. Even on the most beautiful days in the whole year – the days when summer is changing into fall – the crickets spread the rumor of sadness and change.” Charlotte’s Web
After gorging on summer for so many months, Ohio has changed colors - from yellow and green and blue to orange and brown and gray.  And I'm not able to manage the same enthusiasm for this fall-to-winter season.
I find myself looking at the autumn of discarded toys on the floor, and wishing we could go to the playground or the pool.  I find myself looking back at sunny days, the ones just a month or two ago when Tucker's skin glowed honey-dipped and Tolliver napped under cream puff clouds.  And looking back at the ones way before that, when their sister's future seemed to spread wide and far.
The days are colder, more hours are dark.  And it's hard to see the way forward in the dark.  My body holds feelings freighted with memories, and my brain objects to the idea of holidays without her.  Just like the toy cars on our hardwood though, I imagine I must pull back a few emotional inches before I can propel forward again.



Ma Ma Ma

A sound I didn’t remember I’d forgotten until I heard it again.
And it sounds like it's all mine.


Variations on a Theme

Tuck likes to jump on the bed and bounce off the walls.  And run.  Every iteration of every game involves running.

As soon as Andy walks in from work, Tucker asks him to play the shark game. And then the bat eye (bad guy?) game.   And tag.  And the sharkball game and the alligator game.  All of the games have rules – stopping and starting places, certain courses to follow, specific props.  And all of the games boil down to this: let’s run in circles and you try to catch me.

The thing about parenting a three year old is that they require a high level of energy.  And steadfast patience.  Fortunately his father has both.
And fortunately Tucker has, for the first time, showed interest in coloring.  Which hasn't, yet, involved running.


Day after day

I try to be sensitive to the fact that he is sensitive to everything.
I can’t take away his sorrow, but I can sit with him and face it and feel it by his side.
He does the same for me.  When my own voice sounds like a frayed string, his sentences rise at the end, like helium balloons.  Whether he's sad, or I'm sad, or we're both feeling particularly fragile, he has a way of rendering life luminous, day after day.


Tollie says hi.

Well, he doesn't actually say hi, but he does say bye bye and Dada and all done.
And we've already established that he waves really cute.
Which is a good thing, especially on days when it feels like time moves at warp speed while he's napping, then drags its heels till bedtime rolls around.



Our planet is full, too full, of obvious and widespread suffering.   There are a thousand worries in the world, and certainly some in every home.  And yet so many people shared ours today.  So many people showed up rich with the very thing we need most, the hope that someday there will be a cure.
Part of the family gathered for what should probably become a traditional pre-walk carb-loading meal on Saturday night.
People came from across Ohio and West Virginia, from New York and North Carolina, Illinois and Florida.  And folks sent love and prayers and generous donations from all over the country.
Girl Scout troop 2196 from Canal Winchester
Kate's colleagues from OSU's Medical Intensive Care Unit, who continue to plan every detail of the event, are incredibly talented and amazingly generous. 
Tucker and some of his friends waved to Celia while others were walking (photo by mkw)

We haven't received notification of the final total raised, and we doubt we've gathered photographs from every source.  We do know that there are still shirts for sale, and donations (specific to this fundraiser) will continue to be collected through mid-week (but are always welcomed by BDSRA!).
Someday there will be a cure. 



I didn't intend to post this evening, but decided to record this story.  I'm afraid it may sound trite in the retelling, but Andy and I both smiled through tears as his idea unfolded.

Tuck was playing with Andy's wedding band while they read bedtime books.  I passed by his room on my way to put Tollie in his crib, and paused at the door to say goodnight.
Mama, can I see your ring too?  I want to wear a ring.  I want my own special one.
We explained that people exchange rings with wedding vows, and that someday maybe he would fall in love and get married.
I will wait for Heaven to bring Celia and Colby home and then I will do that.  And she can wear a ring too.
Maybe we can go to the store tomorrow and get some rings.