home for the holidays


a gift

There was one warm weekend in early December, and we scrambled to procure a small tree the cousins could decorate outside together. It wasn't Christmas, but it was a gift.


Have a Christmas

Tucker baked cookies with peers via zoom tonight. There were awards for superlatives, and he won "tallest" cookie for his three-tiered Christmas tree design.

Meanwhile, grasping a compass and gaping at the sky, Hank explained the great planetary convergence with his own conjunction: BUT, the planets are not actually touching. Because 2020.

Later, reading together chapter twenty seven of The War that Saved My Life, Tolliver suggested there've been worse holiday seasons. He offered trench warfare as a solid example, describing sights and sounds and smells he imagined in a cold, muddy morass.

Still, it feels hard to supply the right adjective this year. 


other vibes too

The rainbow lights were not my choice, but my pleasure. We have new, multi-colored bulbs inside and out, because saying yes to small, joyful, affordable things feels almost necessary this year.

Until the older boys turn the conversation toward carbon footprints, and then I feel guilt because we've eaten meat and run the furnace and purchased plastic rainbow lights.

When someone asks how I'm doing, I don't know what to say. We are covid-good.
It's almost Christmas, we can almost get a vaccine. It's almost 2021, there's almost a new head of nation.
There is hope.

Tucker asks me to proofread his narrative before submission, my job to find mistakes, his job (right now, academically speaking) perhaps to risk making them.
Show me the part that feels hard, I try to remember to say to the boys when they seem frustrated.
All of it, I understand.

For months there's been this inner war of allowing myself to feel sad versus telling myself to be grateful. 
I know I'm not alone in my loneliness, in the way I'm doing my best to get through the falling apart. I text with friends and cousins and my sister, and I take some comfort in knowing that we're all losing our minds together. Solidarity matters.

We tell the boys again and again that they can be anybody, can do anything. Hang rainbow lights, wear skirts, fly to the moon, be a youtube star. Show up, buy solar panels, abandon a bad book.
We tell the boys, also, the most important thing an individual can do right now may be to act a little less individually. 


like a plankton net

I go through life like a plankton net, trying to trap each funny remark. There are so many silly faces and scraps of paper, and I cannot record every single configuration of words, every microscopic algae sway. 
Sometimes I manage to write one down before it slips through.

Does mac n cheese imply the existence of PC and cheese?

When you're young you have really big ears so you can hear more things than when you're old.

Have you ever felt so sad or frustrated you wanted to take a vow of silence? Sign language might be a good thing to learn.

This (plain, greek yogurt) tastes almost as good as rainbows!

You know the piano things that have legs and feet? On the papers? *music notes

How old do you have to be to be a ring burier?

Those fries just made it to my stomach hall of fame.

Why doesn't everyone believe in loving everyone?


never missing

We drove to Gallipolis yesterday, for a very small graveside service to celebrate the life of Jim Betz. Andy grew up with his grandpa next door, and maintains that he learned from Jim how to hunt, how to cook, and how to fix shit. Our boys have happy memories, too - catching catfish, tailgating, hearing stories about the war. Jim took great interest in their growing up, never failing to ask about things like piano lessons. He was almost never not singing. And his spirit will be missed, but never missing.


and then gone

Central Ohio finally saw snow - just a dusting, like confectioner’s sugar on a cake, precipitation through a sieve. I had almost forgotten the way white flakes make the sun hit every little thing with shocking perfection, here and then gone.