more May, from Instagram

1. catching fish with poppy
2. another jumper nap
3. old picture of cel from tuck's teacher
4. "push me faster"
5. mama's boy
6. hiking with daddy
7. dinner date
8. sampling the strawberries
9. loving aunt kate
10. worn out
11. rock climbing
12. fountains and flowers
13. picnic menu: toes
14. well visit: healthy
15. neighborhood "big truck" tour
16. rest period at the pool
 17. attempt number I lost count
18. motorcycle garage building with JD (via mh)
19. yard work
20. he shoots


the weekend

I could have unwound the weekend like a roll of wrapping paper.  Not in an effort to cover the practical, plain white socks parts, nor to conceal any shocking extravagance.  Just because so many moments felt like gifts.   There were bright colors and happy surprises, simple indulgences and leisure enough to fill a big bag.  There were impromptu cookouts, an afternoon at the pool, a favorite-store shopping trip, parades and a magic show, sprinklers and a spontaneous picnic. 



As he rounds second, heading toward his first birthday, I think to myself  
My goodness, where does the time go? 
One theory is: straight to his thighs. 
At six months old, Tolliver is a fun fellow to be around.  Through some combination of rolling and pulling, he moves, slowly, across the house.  He bangs his head on the wood floor, face plants into his own spit up, flashes a happy grin.  His bottom teeth poked through just this morning.  He sits to play, or to pick strawberries or to watch his brother.  Andy swears that he gives purposeful kisses, and Tuck is convinced that he says fank you.  Tollie would be content to spend all day in the jumper or in the bath tub.  He's not sleeping through the night yet, but is settling into more predictable nap times.  His eyes are dark, but are still rimmed in deep blue, his hair, more coarse, still leaning toward red.  He is particularly interested in his toes and I am particularly interested in his dimpled knuckles.  And his dimpled elbows, his dimpled knees, his dimpled chin. 


On Parades

We're not sure how to reconcile the parade day message If you run out into the street, strangers will throw candy to you with what we’ve been trying to teach Tucker for two years...



The time has long since vanished when a family’s very survival depended on hunting and gathering or planting and reaping.  A warm breeze, the rich scent of perfectly ripe fruit, birdsong, blue sky and good company are all pleasant reminders that our lives are still inextricably linked to the land.
 It ought to go without saying that I'd pick these two over and over again.


the end of PDO

We left him there in September, his cheeks wet and our prayers whispered.
 Last fall.

I picked him up this morning, after the last session of Parent's Day Out.  I found him - shoes on the wrong feet, sand stuck to sweaty cheeks, bright paint splashed on his shirt - wearing a smile that stretched from the mountains to the sea. 
This spring.

So much can change in one year.  So much.  Especially this year, especially for him.

Last fall he had an impressive vocabulary, but now?  Now he talks all.day.long.  He makes keen observations, but he mostly asks questions.
Our washing machine was on one wall and now it's very tall in a different place.  Can I push the button on it?  Let's count the buttons.  That is Celia's big bed, but I don't know where is her little bed.  Oh yes, that bed will make the other little girl feel better, what is the other little girl's name?  What letter starts with octopus?  R-o-c-k-t, that spells rocket.  I can spell dragon, too.  Dragon starts like Daddy.  Where is Daddy?  Let's go to his work.  Why not?  Did you see that big green bug?  Are my berries ready yet?  How long is a few weeks?  Whose birthday is next month?  How old will she be?  How old is Tollie?  Zero, how many is zero?  How many lightning bugs are in the sky?

I don’t know.  I find myself saying that a lot lately. I love that he asks, and I don’t mind admitting. Through repeating, though, I’ve found that it’s not simply appropriate in practical terms, but as a bigger, existential truth. I don’t know.

But about school this year?  Maybe I should have known he'd be just fine.



Money may not buy happiness, but it does buy ice cream and donuts. 
And that's almost the same thing.


This Little Piggy


as if the whole world's been waiting for him

Most places we go, especially places with other children - like playgrounds or the church nursery, the zoo or fast food eateries - Tuck enthusiastically announces his own arrival.

"Hey guys, I'm here.  It's me, Tucker.  Here I am!"
His eagerness to make friends is so obvious it could be an identifying feature - shaggy blond hair, dirty fingernails, affable demeanor.
He runs full speed ahead toward perfect strangers, eyes wide with extraordinary warmth, smiling more from habit than from any particular expectation, voice confident and clear.  I'm here.

And I can think of a few of us who will always be glad when he shows up.


The first

Polka-dot ribbons resurface, having been buried in the bathroom drawer for a fantasized future of tying up pigtails.  We’re still finding medication notes taped to the inside of cabinet doors and sorting borrowed clothing that had been shared with smaller friends.  Her brother eats the rice cereal that was stocked in the pantry for the sister he'll never know.  Although it's the first Mother's Day without her, traces of her life, and the life we’d dreamed for her, remain.  
Last night Andy recalled the way her hair rolled into ringlets and fell around her face, the way, when she rested in his lap, the tight waves on the top of her head felt against his cheek.  Her curls, mimicking the double helix of the DNA that betrayed her, took no notice of her diagnosis, knew nothing of what the rest of her body dealt.  I admitted that I miss winding those curls around my finger too.  I miss looking at her face and trying to grab her eyes with mine, recognizing myself in their reflection.  Thinking about her, the air smelled sweet, as though reminiscing secreted physical properties into the dark evening around us.  We sat beside each other there, while memories of her rolled down our cheeks.
Parenthood, we've learned, comes with a tremendous responsibility to suffer the threat of things we neither understand nor can do a thing about.
So we do what we can do.  We give the boys kisses when words fail.  We plant our lips on their cheeks, heavy with all the messages we cannot verbalize.  We press our mouths to their foreheads, firm with our will for the best.  We give them all the kisses we can no longer give her. 
We have our share of blessings, without even counting past the first.


Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'

All over the house.


Grand Child

While Andy was out of town enjoying baseball with his buddies, Tucker spent time with grandparents.  With RoRo and Grandpa Rod he waded in creeks and picnicked at the park and charmed RoRo's longtime friend Joce.  Then he spent a couple days at Grandma Jan and Grandpa Tim's, climbing trees and searching for treasure with cousin Zessa.  And we just returned from Poppy John's house, where he caught fish and threw rocks and played ball with the new puppy.
I know there are well-loved grandchildren across the globe, but I feel like he's one of the luckiest little boys on the planet.
I think he might feel that way, too.


Achingly Grateful

For the days, and for the boys.