almost one

There’s no denying that an almost one year old is a chaotic element for a household.
Unless we are constantly trailing him, we never know where Hank is or how he might be attempting to injure himself or what he'll ruin next. He requires constant vigilance, and if we could find a robot to follow him around and alert us to his stunts plus undo his every destructive action, that would be fantastic. However, despite the requisite supervision, we are absolutely obsessed with his presence in our lives.


peace be with you

We went to the early service this morning.  The boys buttoned dress shirts and boarded the family van, eyes shiny and trusting. As we drove, Tolliver asked, not at all opposed to the notion but sincerely curious: Why do we go to church, Mom?  I bounced the question back at him.
I think we go to feel peaceful, he said.

When we arrived the dining hall was humming, everyone hair-netted and plastic gloved. The room was full of people whose ages span decades, all packing meals - pouring grains, bagging cheese, filling boxes. The boys became part of an assembly line - dropping bags, spilling rice, smiling.
The workspace was crowded, there was loud background music and a gong that signaled progress points. It was not exactly peaceful. Nor was it anywhere near a traditional church service, instead way more verb than noun.
But it sure did feel like church.


language beyond words

Hank only has a few words so far. But he can express so much with a smile, a giggle, a skeptical look. He entertains the whole family with a sigh at just the right moment. He conveys urgency through cries and he lets us know when he needs to snuggle by guiding our hands to his armpits to be picked up. I try not to tease out intentional words from the constant babble, but even though he does not use sentences yet, I often feel like I hear them. I think this is true for his older brothers, too. After school, the boys will check in with Hank. Today Tolliver asked, "Did you have a good day?" Hank just smiled, barely breaking the seal around his thumb and raising one eyebrow just a bit. "I know," Tollie said, "I missed you, too."



So many decisions. So many ways we can mess up. Or be awesome, or wish for a do-over, or step back and smile.  Life is so good and so hard all at once. I appreciate, for the most part, every single day, but sometimes I want to do it with a margarita in each hand.
Over the past several years my range of feelings seems to have busted open, the spectrum from happy to sad and from confident to concerned is not just as far as I can stretch my arms, it’s suddenly up the block and over to the next neighborhood.
I understand the benefits of emodiversity, and am grateful for the capacity to feel broad and deep and abundant. I am constantly trying to remind myself to watch my feelings as they pass through rather than chasing them away with ice cream or mindless scrolling or exercise or margaritas in both hands.
I think the best thing to do is to commit to what feels possible, and to persist. But I'm just not sure.
I'm not even sure when I figured out that adulthood is not synonymous with certitude.  Perhaps being comfortable being uncomfortable is the most effective way to be a human.


one book

Sometimes we're both just one book away from a better mood.


fit in

I continue to get the distinct impression that he is not going to fit in any boxes.
In fact, that box the universe provides little boys at birth?
I have a feeling he's building a rocket ship with his.


Love doesn't stink.

I don't know, I kind of think love smells like little boys and bourbon after they're in bed, like artichoke dip and laughs with my sister and chocolate covered strawberries before dinner, like loyalty and like the lavender lotion we used to lather on Celia every night.  


Walk and Awe

I cannot force myself to do it every time, but today I chose his experience over my convenience.
Everything moved so much slower.

Sometimes he makes me slow down and sometimes he makes me speed up and most of the time he makes me smile about things that may have otherwise become stale.


11 month review

At eleven months, Hank loves to climb and to un-garden all the house plants, to eat fish and cheese and fruit, to flip light switches and take baths. He is a confident walker, a voracious book eater and a strong-willed tiny despot. He is constantly insisting that music be playing and has the best little one-armed dance move.
He is pretty much the most lovable little baby in the whole world.
I'd give him two thumbs up and all the stars in the sky.


the juggle, the struggle, the joy

The boys are all asleep, the process of shutting it DOWN concluded.

Sometimes, after the bedtime routine, after just one more book/sip of water/back scratch, we get the chance to sit down.
The boys continue to make things. Mostly very loud music, and also very big messes.
There is evidence of this ringing in my ears and settling around my ankles.

I keep making things, too. Mostly mistakes. And then I compound my errors, the coils of the day tightening, constricting my organs, and I find myself sneaking chocolate coins from the Tooth Fairy’s stash, eating peanut butter straight from the jar.

But sitting down at the end of it, deep breath, it's easy to survey our good fortune.

Parenting is hard.  How lucky we are to experience all of it though, the juggle, the struggle, the joy.


in the making

It turns out that while we've been making Valentines and making eye contact with our kids and making a living and making grocery lists, there've been some troubling things happening in the world.  Instead of making much time for social media, instead of letting the political landscape make us crazy, we're doing our best to make time for the people we love.  We've been making senators listen and making small donations, but mostly we've been making beds and making blueprints and making snacks and making out and making faces at the baby.



Tolliver tried flippers in the pool for the first time last weekend.  He kicked around for just a few minutes before popping up, goggled face and huge grin, demanding the universal young swimmer's Look at me! and then declaring: I'm gettin' the hang of it!

Tucker's piano teacher has been assigning challenge pieces - the most recent with a new time signature - that stretch Tuck way beyond the "this comes easy" zone.  He plays for a few minutes here and a few minutes there, whenever the mood strikes, repeating the same hard phrases, making lots of mistakes. But he handles each error with an enviable measure of grace.

And baby Hank walks all over the place these days, navigating our space with intuition and intrigue, gauging whether he can make it on two feet from one spot to another.  He stumbles often and stands again, each day traveling farther and falling less.

I can't help but feel proud of each boys' pluck and perseverance.
And I wonder, does complete disinterest in perfection make it easier to be a beginner?