The boys survived their first day of school.
To pass the time, aside from shooting nerf darts and reading books with Hank, I cleaned out the refrigerator and freezer, taking stock of what we need to use up and making notes about what we ought replenish. I live in a house full of boys who demand more food even as their mouths bulge with the most recent bite.

And then after school - to celebrate a good beginning - our family went out for dinner, something we don't do very often. But first, we helped at the local fresh produce pantry. The big boys bagged crisp green pears from an enormous cardboard box, while Hank hung over the side of the crate grabbing whatever he could reach, taking bites of fruit and tossing them aside like some kind of entitled raccoon.

Occasionally leaving a bag only half-filled, the boys became distracted by an empty potato sack, by the children at the playground next door, by an insect. But they made pleasant conversation with shoppers, and some important neural pathways might have been reinforced. The boys are wired to want to help. They understand that it is hard to concentrate when you're hungry - at school, at work, even when you're helping at the produce pantry.
The next day, the boys went back for day two and I found myself vacuming baseboards and dusting pictures, still killing time while Hank napped and the house was quiet. I wiped the glass in an aqua carved frame, admiring the photo of Celia by the back door. The print is black and white, but I remember the dress she had on, a yellow calico print. Her head is tilted sideways, as it often was.
I thought about what she might've been like as a sixth grader. The dust always comes back, but my daughter won't. So much unspent love gathered up in the corners of my eyes, a lump in my throat, that hollow part of my chest. Grief may be love with no place to go, but I'm working on giving it to her brothers, and showing them ways to give theirs to the world.

1 comment:

  1. School and volunteerism...

    a perfect "pear".


    P.S. Keep a eye on Hank...I think he steals food! Check his pockets.
    Poppy is concerned.