I knelt on the sidewalk this morning and hugged Hank tight, long enough for my heart to feel the courage coursing through his. I looked into his mud puddle eyes and tried hard to close the circuit, kissed the palm of his hand and promised a chocolate chip cookie at pick up. I love you, I whispered, gently tying the sentence to his ear, double checking the knot. I watched him walk away from the corner with the rest of the small group, clutching the sawtooth acorn cap reminiscent of his own wild hair.

His default answer is Yes, his default attitude Let's go, he gets that from his dad. 
But there's something about the sudden idea of school for thirteen years combined with the dread of more rhyming words today. 

He loves everything about kindergarten - his teacher most of all, but also his classmates and the cafeteria, art projects and music and stem stations and quiet time, but the brief phonemic work of rhyming seems to send him into fits of existential arithmetic. The teacher has called me and the principal has distracted him, he's been allowed to read poems to the class or read books to himself instead. He'll get through this, likely just a blip on the radar, but Oh! his aches will always be mine.


long live boyhood

Summer drifts toward the promise of fall, each sunset a minute or two sooner than the last. 
The boys play hard till dusk and then act like it's a horrible punishment, having to come inside. They basically spend the day doing things that make me want to close my eyes and cross my fingers.
Limping around in theatrical opposition to bedtime, the long edge of a city park the boundary of their kingdom, I am enchanted with and beleaguered by it all.
I try to soak it up the way a camel stores water, the cherry orb sinking through gauzy curtains of light, the protest of tired, dirty boys.


narrating the details

Constant art projects. Paint and glue and scrap paper cuttings on the floor forever.
Dad, vermillion's one of the third set of colors, right? 
Maybe? You mean tertiary?
Yes. And magenta too. Isn't how you make magenta with red and purple?

Me, mostly to myself: How did I forget that? 
Maybe you're just forgetable, Mom.

Building with wooden blocks:
When I grow up I'm gonna be a construction worker, and this is the good news: Everybody can go to Hawaii because I'm gonna build a bridge all the way there.

About Bath and Body Works, at the sample hand soap station: I could live my whole life in this store.

Apropos of nothing:
To us: You guys are so parent-noid. 
To his brothers: Would you rather live without your penis or your teeth?

On numbers:
You need like 101% coffee in your cup, but the 1% would overflow.
How many days do you think it would take an inchworm to get from the edge of the patio to the fence?
Also, over the long weekend:
I woke up at 8:21. Tomorrow I'm going to try to sleep 39 more minutes till 9 o'clock.

Sounds like thirty nine minutes of quiet.


on metamorphosis and metaphors

The boys were recently given a chrysalis to observe, with a fascinating golden thread and a post-it-note hatch date of 9/4. Early Saturday morning, right on time, the monarch emerged. The boys identified her as female, noticing thick veins and no back dots. She practiced opening and closing her wings and made more of a racket in the plastic container than any of us considered a butterfly could ever make. The next day the boys took her to neighbor Deb's cutting garden. Her release was fast, gone in a blink. One beautiful word, next.


smash through


photos, lately

I feel like a mediocre wedding photographer or war journalist or both.

It used to be that blog posts were my parachute, words helped me ease into mothering a child I'd learned I would outlive. Now they're more like an anchor, a resting spot for family memories, but the water is mostly calm and the days seem to drift by. I want to continue to document things here, I just don't feel the same pull to write regularly. Sometimes I need an early bedtime, or an episode of Ted Lasso.

I hope some of these photos will have staying power to stand alone as stories.


wide, wide open

Dear boys,

This week you went back to school buildings. It is difficult to feel suddenly removed from your days. I remember when I held you so close I could count your eyelashes.

I know you need action over stagnation, camaraderie over isolation. I believe in all the benefits of being in class. I wish the world could see your faces, that masks were not necessary this fall. Still, I can hear you each humming a song called potential.

Alongside conjugating Spanish verbs and solving for X, may you continue to stand up for yourself, for the people you love, for the perfect strangers. You already know that the nicest thing you can do for someone is include them. Your kindness will spread like good contagion.

I trust you to invest in your work, and hope you'll focus on what's left to learn (there's always something) rather than proving what you already know. Please remember that you're always right for trying. And please know that I am fairly unconcerned about your grades, far more interested in mundane stories and incredible experiences, simple ideas and wild feelings. Please tell me all of it. Or tell the cats.

I hope you'll be patient with people, especially yourself, and you'll be perseverant when things feel hard. I love the way each of you live comfortably with words like I was wrong, the way you're willing to revisit assumptions, receptive to the whole wide world. 

You are all three clever and brave. May your choices come mainly from a strong sense of who you are, and who you want to be. May your throughlines be curiosity and love.

It is my immense privilege to watch each of you through all the ways you change. 
Someday you might live in Africa! Will you curate arrowhead collections or work as a prairie dog veterinarian? You could be a ballerina on Mars! 
I can’t wait to buy a ticket for all of it.

I could not be more proud of you. 
My arms are always wide, wide open.