smash through


photos, lately

I feel like a mediocre wedding photographer or war journalist or both.

It used to be that blog posts were my parachute, words helped me ease into mothering a child I'd learned I would outlive. Now they're more like an anchor, a resting spot for family memories, but the water is mostly calm and the days seem to drift by. I want to continue to document things here, I just don't feel the same pull to write regularly. Sometimes I need an early bedtime, or an episode of Ted Lasso.

I hope some of these photos will have staying power to stand alone as stories.


wide, wide open

Dear boys,

This week you went back to school buildings. It is difficult to feel suddenly removed from your days. I remember when I held you so close I could count your eyelashes.

I know you need action over stagnation, camaraderie over isolation. I believe in all the benefits of being in class. I wish the world could see your faces, that masks were not necessary this fall. Still, I can hear you each humming a song called potential.

Alongside conjugating Spanish verbs and solving for X, may you continue to stand up for yourself, for the people you love, for the perfect strangers. You already know that the nicest thing you can do for someone is include them. Your kindness will spread like good contagion.

I trust you to invest in your work, and hope you'll focus on what's left to learn (there's always something) rather than proving what you already know. Please remember that you're always right for trying. And please know that I am fairly unconcerned about your grades, far more interested in mundane stories and incredible experiences, simple ideas and wild feelings. Please tell me all of it. Or tell the cats.

I hope you'll be patient with people, especially yourself, and you'll be perseverant when things feel hard. I love the way each of you live comfortably with words like I was wrong, the way you're willing to revisit assumptions, receptive to the whole wide world. 

You are all three clever and brave. May your choices come mainly from a strong sense of who you are, and who you want to be. May your throughlines be curiosity and love.

It is my immense privilege to watch each of you through all the ways you change. 
Someday you might live in Africa! Will you curate arrowhead collections or work as a prairie dog veterinarian? You could be a ballerina on Mars! 
I can’t wait to buy a ticket for all of it.

I could not be more proud of you. 
My arms are always wide, wide open.



human becomings

All they've needed this summer is sunscreen, a pair of shoes and an imagination. 
And really the shoes have been optional.

For months and months the boys have wielded sticks and constructed ramps, building bonds with neighbors and with dirt, barefoot and mostly carefree.
They have been allowed a kind of free-range period that helped me notice who they actually are.

I find myself bewildered by the idea of sending them back to school now, by so much reason to despair coupled with so much reason to hope.

The past few days we've baked and painted nails, played board games and watched Vivo, visited the pool and the cartoon library. I have lain awake at night, trying to think of everything that might ease their way, wishing that would be enough.


ready, set, grow

Hank jumped off the diving board today, emerging from the water with a smile that nearly wrapped around his head. 
He also added "jump rope" to the Amazon list, and "Klondikes" to the grocery list. Last week was a requested index of rainbow fruit.
He helped make salsa earlier this week, measuring fractions of cups of oil and vinegar. 
He's also been reading a book about the human body to the cats. 
He is thrilled about the iPad he was issued at his recent kindergarten orientation, and cannot wait to begin school next week. He asked how many kids would be in his class, subtracted himself and said, "So I get to make nineteen new friends?!" 


reel remote learning

 If things like building a snapping turtle trap count.


for looking back

We recently made a quick trip to Washington DC. We were looking for a drivable destination, and the city currently has a lower covid transmission rate than Columbus, plus a mask mandate. The boys walked nearly ten miles each day and yet we headed home without seeing every single thing we hoped, but also having stumbled into a few things we hadn't planned. The weather was perfect, and we were able to eat every meal outside. The boys' unanimous favorite was The Well-Dressed Burrito - nondescript and accessed via an alley, an accidental find, it bested We the Pizza, Shake Shack and even our traditional vacation Trader Joe's picnic. 

While they agreed on best food, Tucker, Tolliver and Hank each liked different parts of sight-seeing and museums, from the gems to the war monuments to the secret hidden doors. We visited the National Cathedral and Beauvior playground, but they'll likely remember the rat we saw there, and the Darth Vader gargoyle we could not find. We spent time at the National Air & Space Museum and the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden, the National Museum of American History and the US Botanic Garden. We found Rock Creek one morning before touring the O Mansion, and enjoyed the Spy Museum followed by the Washington Monument and several memorials along the Mall at dusk. We finished the trip with a few hours at the National Museum of Natural History. 

Part of the thrill of a new place may be feeling unbound to the rhythms of home. 
Much of the thrill of a new place may come from projecting myself into the future when I will not be there and instead will be looking back.