not much is settled

The screen door is open, because fall in Ohio is perfect, and the wind blows off the counter all the scraps of paper with notes about what needs to be done. Life is a house of cards here, at its foundation the sort of calendar that stares back at me with bloodshot eyes. I used to think Andy was selective about coffee but he is temporarily working three jobs and I think he might drink caffeinated gasoline. I wake up feeling like my stomach has arrived at a carnival and is poised at the top of a plunge ride. In short, lots of things are simmering and not much is settled. 

Still we are leaning into every little delight:

Tucker thanks us a thousand times or two for proofreading his social commentary essay, stays after school to work in the Robotics room, admires the beautiful quilt that RoRo has lovingly made for him. There are suddenly hours he's still out and about after I'd like to be in bed. He is busy with marching band and football Friday nights, and I marvel at the way his here and now intersects with our there and then. 

Tolliver's days are full from dawn to dusk with baseball and music lessons and birthday parties with way more sugar than the lord may have intended. No longer his apple slicer, I've become an occasional confidant, daily doses of wobbly middle school uncertainty. It feels like, for both of us, his ratio and proportion review takes three million years and maybe forever to complete and I know it will all be over tomorrow and he'll be gone for good. I have a nose-stinging, lump in my throat sensation just thinking about it.

The back door requests for candy to fill homemade piƱatas turn to Sharpie permission so surgical gloves can become finger puppets. It is literally one craft after another for Hank, nonstop. I watch his posse mix milk and marshmallows to create invisibility potions and all the girls I ever was flash past, a whole childhood held up to the light like paper dolls. I for sure want to file these memories of him in a shoebox in my brain.

When I stop to catch my breath I sense so many sacred geometries, time folding back on itself, lives touching in straight stitches and generations connected by some cosmic chord. For all the cracks in my calendar, for all the saxophone squawks and the uncapped glue sticks, for all the to-dos that are lost in the breeze, it is abundantly clear there are an equal number of lines spiraling out to the most important things.


on loving these boys

I love the boys as hard as a I can and I paint my nails while one of them yammers on about early pueblo life. I look them in the eye when they complain about the new "no hat" rule and I print the lyrics they're trying to learn so they can audition for the recess version of Mary Poppins.
I love them as hard as I can and I try to let go of most of my own ideas about what they should be studying or how they should be spending their time - skipping batting practice or playing frisbee instead of studying for geometry or eating frosting from the can rather than the chicken pesto I prepared. I sit on the porch next to them with my own book, because the teacher's text said they haven't finished the assigned reading. I help them draft letters to advocate for themselves and for others and we wonder about the giant cosmic question mark astronomers noticed recently and I think this may be more important than being on the right page by the right date. I wash the uniforms and go to the games and sit on the bleachers and I know I don't need to win the lottery, they are the lottery. 

baseball images by Jeff Shirazi


early september

It's easy to judge a long weekend as exceptional based on the amount of time spent with family and friends and fish!


seizing the end of summer

Andy's at the back door, this year's second ripe peach in hand, his smile full of pride. Hank is behind him, a fistful of flowers neighbor Deb has taught him precisely where to cut to encourage new blooms.

Another week is sliding toward the weekend, the clock is ticking so loud in my ear. Another halftime show, another baseball game, another book for little brother on the sideline. 

We've been at the pool after school most days, trying to absorb enough sun to carry us through past Christmas. This evening Hank hosted a water ballon fight with the neighbors while Tucker helped husk corn to grill. After ribs and watermelon and dishes washed at the outside sink the boys ran to the grocery for vanilla ice cream to to go with the singular fruit. I emptied lunch boxes and arranged zinnias in a mason jar and monitored Tolliver's modeling glue situation at the counter nearby.

Last weekend, in addition to marching band and batting practice, Tucker was on a bike ride with friends and Tolliver was in the alley shooting hoops while Hank, after making pistachio cookies, watched a baking show on television. Most the time I don't even know where all of the boys are at once, and then suddenly there are six kids in the back yard and thirty five empty water cups on the patio table. I can't keep accurate records of all the lemonade stands and salsa parties, the hikes and the concerts and the good deeds and the garage piano, which deserves an entire essay of its own.

I think, though, these are actually the good old days.