Tuck Duck Goose

at Franklin Park


little brothers

I'm not sure I could have, in my wildest imaginings, dreamed up the journey to here.
I mean, really.  Has there ever been anything more off the mark than the promise of my plans?


the science guy

Tuck woke up this morning and as he rubbed sleep from his eyes, the first thing he said was Mom, what's an ion?

Even his dreams are made of atoms.
He spends lots of time looking through books of experiments, and borrows more about molecules from the library.  He asks regularly to make potions, and if we aren't able to supervise right at that moment, he makes lists instead, things he'd like to mix together - 409, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, sugar, vaseline and vinegar...

Several days ago Hank and I came downstairs to a predawn kitchen and found Andy and Tuck working on an electromagnet.
Tolliver sat on a stool nearby eating cereal, and explained: They used batteries and a wire and it magneted things. Paper clips but not pennies.
The boys recently watched videos about the explosive risks of sodium mixing with water.  Tucker's plan is to find a pilot who will fly him over a lake and let him drop the chemical into water from far away.

He sciences the heck out of stuff.  And I wonder what it all means.
I know what it does not mean: it probably does not mean that he will grow up and run a meth lab, or that he will grow up and go to M.I.T.
It might mean that I better be ready to talk electrons over scrambled eggs tomorrow morning...


far from our finest hour

Hank spent a fair amount of time this evening screaming.

Tolliver was upstairs packing to run away, while Tuck sat at the corner desk, writing us a note in Morse code.

Tols came down a few times to grab things: one drum stick, a plastic dinosaur skeleton, a small throw pillow from the couch.  And to show us things, like the two dollar bill and the "credit card" he could use at the place he planned to go, where there would be "no grown ups."

By the time we got around to using Tucker's dot and dash chart to decipher his message, it was near bedtime.  The note read “I hate parents.”
By this time Hank was calm, and I could hear what Tuck did not say as clearly as the words he chose.

Tollie decided to keep his lock box turned suitcase next to his bed, decided he could wait till tomorrow to leave.
The boys went to bed with books and sweet dreams oil, with back rubs and extra hugs.

I want our house to be a place where the truth always feels safe to tell.  Often, telling things makes them feel lighter and less terrible.
Often, the vulnerability of being known is rewarded with the relief of being loved just the same.


Totally / To"tollie"

May I always be able to call to mind the years I've spent stepping over miniature monster truck arenas.

Also, I want to close my eyes years from now and see his name, the way he splits it into two parts, because he runs out of room on the first line.

I don't ever want to forget finding die cast airplanes in the drawer where the toothpaste is supposed to go.

I hope to always be able to conjure him -- arms crossed, chin toward chest, eyes screwed into slits -- in what must be the universal preschool yoga pose for Mom, you’re crazy.

I want to remember the way, at four, he seems to possess the persistence of, say, a used car salesman.

The way he sometimes resides in that place between irony and sincerity, how that's really just part of his charm.

The way he's fitted with a radar as keen as a rabbiting spaniel, knows just as soon as I've closed the bathroom door or dialed the phone or cut open a bag of chocolate chips, knows just when I need a hug or a "fancy bowl of soup."


family resemblance

From the top:  Celia, Tucker, Tollie, Hank



For awhile, Tuck was keeping track of how many smiles he got from Hank.
He proudly counted thirteen in one day.

It was different with Tollie.
He did it once, and that first happy face from Hank seems to be, so far, all it took to seal a memory and earn a reputation.


one month

His delivery was a dream, his tiny, freshly minted soul slipping into this world after most small humans had been put to bed.

I know a new baby is never not a miracle,
I know the way fate can feel as fragile as memory.

It felt a lot like a celebration that night -- a grand, illicit party thrown by the galaxy in the small, sterile room.
I don't want to forget the way space filled with joy, the way his body arrived, precious and replete with promise.

He's been with us for one month now.
For the past four weeks we've been rearranging life around a tiny glimpse of something we know we’ll never get to see again, something we know we’ll always remember.



May their spirits and their secrets always be safe with one another.


Our Best

People keep asking: What are you going to do with three boys?
I haven't been sure how to respond, until recently, when I offhandedly said: Our best.