I do

From behind me in the car, his voice as soft as an old housedress, Tuck asked whether I remembered how I used to hold Celia in my lap when I rode in that seat.  I do, I said.  Of course I do.  In the next breath he pointed at a dirty comforter discarded on the side of the freeway and said, “I bet someone had a picnic there.  But it must have been family with a baby who couldn’t walk yet so they didn’t worry about all the cars.”  I marvel at his mental gymnastics.  I am glad he has her memories.
At the farmer’s market I turned around too late, found Tolliver mistaking fresh fruit for “fro and catch” balls.  Someone else saw him too, and said, “You sure have your hands full!”  And she was right, I do. Thank God, I do.  But sometimes my arms still feel empty.
Our home pulses with the sound of the sons who live here, and whispers of the daughter who doesn’t. If I’m not listening to imaginary rocket reverb then my inner voice is wondering who she might have been had her other genetic material gotten a chance to manifest.
Last night Andy and I were reminiscing, reminding one another of what she was like in the middle of the night.  We took turns camping out in the basement when she wasn't sleeping, enduring countless episodes of Max & Ruby.  He recalled propping her on the couch with pillows, her face content as she sucked her paci and tilted her head toward cartoons.  I said to him, We knew her well enough to know we never really knew her well at all.
It’s hard to remember someone you never really got to know.  But I do remember, I do.

On Thursday, September 5th at Fado Easton, we'll both be behind the bar helping the Pleasure Guild raise funds for NCH Hospice (and trying not to spill too many drinks!).  Whether you like a little alcohol after a long day or you'd just enjoy the opportunity to laugh at us, please come if you are able!


Fair Play


after the beep

There was one day last week when the horn in the Jeep honked for forty five minutes.  The boys were in the back seat, Tuck, at one point, close to tears, and Tollie just thrilled to practice his own horn noises.   We got off the interstate and drove through downtown, startling what felt like half the city.  The maintenance man at the library eventually helped me disconnect the fuse, but the sound and the stress gave me a headache that lasted through the next day.
Andy had been in Iowa, and when he got home, he asked the boys how the week had gone.  They didn't mention going to work with me or tell about the time they spent with grandparents or even describe the day we went to the fair, but Tolliver told a really long story that went something like "Jeep.  Beeeep.  Mama.  Keys.  Beep beep beep.  Mama.  Car.  Uh oh.  Beep beep."


Books Brothers


the awesomest

After a big, busy day, Tuck was deliriously tired.  I pulled the covers to his waist and scratched his back.  I told him he's my favorite four year old.  He said things like Mom, I love you the most, you're awesome, you're the best, and I answered in kind, saying I love you more than the most and you're better than the best.  And then he said I love you the awesomest.
And I said that right back to him, because I do.  I love him the awesomest.  I always will.


as they grow, so do we

They're in our bedroom, studying stools lined up in some sort of obstacle course.  First walk up these two steps, then cross over to this one, then jump down.  Be careful though.  You did it!  Good job!

They're at the kitchen counter, warm pita in hand, both skeptical about the baba ganoush.  Sometimes it's hard to try something new, but you might like it Tols.  Just do a small dip.  How about you go first.  Do you like it?

Tuck has been such a big brother to Tollie lately, thoughtful and tender and proud.

They're out back, side by side in the hammock, and he's pointing to the sky.  See that cloud?  That one that looks like an alligator?  See it?

They're turning over rocks together, unearthing small shells.  These are snails.  They have slime.  It's like snot.  Here, hold this one.  Be gentle though.  Her name is Shelly.

They're both partially submerged in the old cattle trough, escaping hot air in cold water.  Let's blow bubbles, buddy.  Watch me.  Your turn!

They're playing ball, he's holding the bat while his brother is running away with the ball.  It's okay Tols, it's my turn to bat and then you can go.  But you have to throw me the ball first so I can have a turn.  Tollie!  Come back.


Sun-Kissed Days & Star-Studded Nights

A sampling from the weekend, a Picnic with the Pops concert in the park and the Jazz and Rib Festival downtown, so much time outside that we seem to have absorbed a bunch of summer right through our skin.  
Generously speaking, it's been just on the warm side of perfect in central Ohio, but it had been so rainy before that.  Outside, we find lots of ways to discharge accumulated energy and plenty of ways to cool off.  We've still got weeks to run after, calendar squares to cross off, no time for misery under the mercury. 


on doing too much and not doing enough

I asked the boys what they wanted to eat and then filled a bowl with yogurt and berries for myself.  Quick to abandon cereal and milk, their open mouths surrounded me like little birds.  What kind of mother doesn't share her breakfast?  I nodded at their noses and held out the spoon.

They wrestled like furry puppies on the rug and drove miniature cars over piano keys all morning.  They emptied the toy cabinet and the game drawer, knocked into piles of folded laundry, dumped baskets of books, and it felt to me like time spilled across the floor too, rivulets pointing toward all the things that needed to be cleaned up and wrung out and redone.  What kind of mother resents all the effort?  I let them swim for several hours this afternoon, watched for their heads above water and faced mine toward the sun.

All four of us leaned back in the largest bed this evening, boys in pajamas with books in hand.  Tollie chose Brown Bear and Bus Stops, Tuck picked Little Blue Truck and Curious George.  We took turns reading before I closed the last book and called bedtime.  "Book, book" Tollie protested, with tears.  "What kind of parent says no to more books?" I wondered aloud.  "The kind who just read four," declared Andy.  My eyes connected with his and I knew he was right.


Side by Side

While I planned for the family to enjoy a picnic at the park, the boys ate mostly on the go, far more interested in the dead fish than the live music.
While I wasted time worrying they'd fall in, they were busy making dirty water dreams come true.  
While I worked on rearranging some worn out feelings, their wide eyes and wet fingers, their side by side, matching hearts, left me feeling lifted.  


Home Again, Home Again

Andy was gone for eight days.  Tollie learned at least three new words, avocado and kangaroo and STOP, and slept overnight in his own bed only once.  Tucker tackled dozens of construction projects, taking apart an old boombox and putting together a pretty fancy tool belt.  In addition to at least ninety-nine worm digging expeditions and in between conducting living room symphonies, we made several trips to the pool and visited the zoo, rode laps around the block and looked at lots of library books on the front porch.  I'm certain I gave more than a million baths.
There are legions of people who parent singly, mothers who aren't strangers to doing breakfast through bedtime alone, and we didn't encounter any challenges a bit of chocolate couldn't fix.  But we're all three very glad to have him home.