dust in the air

I descend the stairs into another new day and find the boys at the counter, a cereal bowl assembly line. I pour myself a cup of coffee, the spine of the morning, and babysit the toast because what else is there to do? I mean, besides trying to keep up with all the housework and helping the boys with science experiments slash hoping they don't blow up the back fence. Plus feeding them all day long.

While I bounce between binge-watching the what-ifs in my own head and doom scrolling headlines for each new terror, the boys vacillate between intense wrestling and civic urgency and screen time trance and timber forts. We talk about discrimination and atmospheric instability and covid and all the other horrible things - like dust in the air, invisible even if you're choking on them. And I know these ideas roll around in their brains because occasionally questions emerge, particularly when we're doing something else, like cloud-gazing or creeking.
How much danger is there? 
Does everyone have white skin underneath? 
Why doesn't everyone wear a mask? 
What can we do to make black people feel safe? 
But their minds always come back to what's present and graspable, like what I have fixed them for lunch and Do we have anything for dessert? 

All the hiking and cooking, all the deep conversations and frivolous activity, and still plenty of time to try to figure out how my self-worth interacts with doing nothing.
I sink into the lawn chair with a sprinkler view and reach for the next best thought, remember that happiness is homemade. I need a “one day at a time” perspective not because things change very quickly but because sometimes they don't seem to change at all.



Perhaps hope is contagious?
Just when you think you've lost it, someone or something passes it back to you.


every word, individually wrapped

Mom, if you need to listen to the rain, I can actually hear what it's saying.

A stick fell from the tree above the patio: Did somebody try and bombard that on me?

The universe is the biggest thing in the whole world. Except for love.

Another morning conversation about our lack of agenda: Wait, I know how the day can look!

But what is happening to all the unhugged hugs right now?


shoring up summer

 at Buckeye Lake



It's an oddly daunting challenge, to stay mostly put for such a length of time.
I fear the boys will lose that glimmer in their eyes, the one that shows up when they encounter something new. But they surprise me, remind me how good they are at seeing little things with big eyes, how it is possible to enjoy familiar environments with fresh interest, how much we can learn about things like science and justice from home.


where my children live

While I am grateful for a house (and a yard) full of people I love, it's weird that I don't have any photos of the boys in front of the fridge, where it feels like they pretty much live.


there is no right way to be a boy

Hank tires of fishing and asks me to lay down with him to look up at the clouds. I try to ignore all the goose poop, try only to listen to his language of affirmation and amazement. Through his eyes, everything is fablious, fresh biscuits and bubbles, delivery trucks and rhyming words. He is president of the coalition of positivity, pointing at the faint outline of the moon during the day, at rain dripping from trees, at the flowers on my pants. I am delighted by these things too, sometimes I just forget to be.
Tucker is basically a sensitivity vending machine. He clears his plate after a lunch of reheated leftovers and pauses to say thanks: I know I don't tell you often enough but you're a really good mom. I believe him, but usually his love is delivered less through dialogue and more via some combination of eyes and arms and a lenient spirit. While Tuck is really good at acute compassion, we are learning too about chronic empathy, about the way long term caring can make disasters less damaging. I admire his instinct to step away from judgment, to rush toward peace.
Tolliver seems to have discovered the pleasure of reading enhanced by the part after reading, the social part, the part where we talk about what we learned and what we liked and didn't like and why.
Did you know that in some countries children creep into their parents' bedroom on Mother's Day morning to tie her feet with ribbons so that she can’t get up out of bed? Then her kids hold her hostage until she caves in and agrees to give them  treats and presents!
Also, the part after reading when we want to learn more, like rocketry Homer Hickman style.
Tols is going places, sometimes following instructions, but also looking up at the sky and following goosebumps too.