no pressure

It might be that I've listened to the Encanto song Surface Pressure approximately seven thousand times, (it's either playing on the speaker or playing in my head, thanks to Hank.)
Or it may be that Tucker came home talking about the marshmallow his science teacher drew his face on before she slipped inside a vacuum jar, the way it puffed up and then deflated once pressure was reintroduced.
It could be my own list, the things I feel like I should get done before I sit down to read a chapter or have a second cup of warm coffee, like my value lies in productivity over peace.
Who am I if I can't carry it all?

Anyway, I've been thinking about laboring under expectations (I mean, when I'm not thinking about the people of Ukraine, sweet mercy) and wondering how I might alleviate some of that for my boys. Instead of asking about homework or test scores, I've been trying to ask who they helped at school, or who helped them, about where they saw kindness or service, about what made them feel happy. 
I somehow ended up in a circle of moms who take time to text when their kids mention one of mine having done something friendly - maybe not remarkable but noteworthy nonetheless. And there is really nothing better than hearing your child has been nice. 

None of us can carry a drove of donkeys on our shoulders. And no matter the reverberating message, we shouldn't need to distinguish ourselves as the best across all activities. The boys know they don't have to be valedictorian or run the federal reserve, don't have to be first chair or top chef or student of the month. They just get to be
I do hope they'll offer others some small reprieve when they see an opportunity, and that the song in their ears will remind them to look for joy and relaxation.



comic books and empty boxes
Poppy's house and the fabric store and food pantry delivery routes
raptor exhibits and cross stitching and Lafayette costumes
flooded parks and allll the Encanto lyrics


what's written in the rocks

Just because they wake up in the morning doesn't mean the boys stop dreaming.


doing it

Wearing ice skates at least eight sizes too big, Hank slid around the frozen lake a few weeks ago exclaiming, "I'm doing it!" 
He said it over and over again, announcing his perceived success on repeat. As he let go of stabilizing hands, as he lifted one foot to glide, as he lay on the ground in a heap of winter gear, "I'M DOING IT!"

This is what actually happened, but it's also a metaphor for my own winter survival skills. 

The snow is melting now, which means mounting slush pits and mounting melancholy.
Last week I ordered everything for taco soup except the ground meat, so that meal stalled. I stood at the stove anyway, tossing in things I did have on hand, hoping it'd taste alright and thinking "I'm doing it!"
I've been working on recording kindergarten lessons for an online program, trying to navigate a new platform and refresh any phonics knowledge I may have once had. I've also been helping the fourth grade rehearse Hamilton songs, as part of their American Revolution unit. Plus coordinating social calendars - invitations to birthday parties and CBJ games, jazz club and chess club and ski club and youth group and park play dates. I spiked Hank's bangs for spirit day this morning and remembered when the word aerosol referred exclusively to hair spray. I am trying desperately to put guardrails on a flexible, fully vaccinated schedule, to determine what is socially responsible and epidemiologically safe and emotionally necessary, and also to make dinner.

Most days seem to require more stores of patience, good cheer and coping skills than I have access to. 
Mid forties, mid winter and I've yet to find my footing. 
But I'm doing it, I think, borrowing those three words and holding them close.


I'm lichen it. And him.

The 4th grade teachers challenged students to be resourceful by decorating valentine boxes with things they could find at home. Tolliver collected materials from the woods, fought a bit with the glue gun in the frigid air, and ended up with a fairly creative repository for cards.


in the swirl of it all