the whiplash of it all

Just four days into spring break at home and we've done it all. Except swim in the ocean, I guess.
A traipse in the woods and a stroll through the museum, a fresh stack of library books and another pile of laundry. New mudroom cabinetry to organize, and the reminder that change can arrive by rearranging things, and also sometimes by rearranging thoughts.

The boys have been bored enough to help make smoothies, make pancakes, make every single floor puzzle we own, plus arrange shelves. Help from small hands sure takes a moment, but it can make one too.

We've watched Disney's Turning Red and admired the forsythia, gone for haircuts and scrolled the Anthropologie sale, raved about five star public school teachers and recent report cards and perfectly ripe avocados sliced on soup. There seems, always, to be more in the way of abundance when we're on the path of paying attention. Despite meds to reduce fevers and more news of protracted terrorism, there are local cocktail menus to browse and good candles to light, plus permission not to make sense of it all.


to serious pursuits

and also to every small pause


7 o'clock jazz band

At the beginning of the new year, Tucker joined an exploratory jazz club for grades seven to twelve. They meet twice a week at 7am, and gave their first concert last week with local guest artists in residence. It was treat to listen to all the intrepid, early morning risers - especially Tuck on the keys!

*note the gymnasium and common spaces being used while the auditorium and band rooms are currently under construction


halfway to April

There are balloons roaming the house, a tiny Georgie Pig figurine tied to one string, lending himself to lessons on high pressure systems, floating up and down and up again while March lends itself to looking for crocuses and reading poetry and hanging fresh drapes.

Birthdays are a lot like all the other days; we begin again, we do our best, we marvel at the sky and we maybe pine for that new spring blouse and also for more time on earth. We miss what we don't have and wonder about fifteen. Just like all the other days.

I listened to a podcast last week and learned a new word, lacuna. A missing part of text, an extended silence in a piece of music, a lexical gap in language, a small space. There's an uneasy sense when something feels like it's missing, but spring is on the way and the boys are usually smiling and and and.


the art of growing older

Birthday celebrations stretched over at least a week here.

Neighbors brought helium balloons and monkey bread, kindergarten friends took a field trip to Lion Cub for cookies after school, grandparents kidnapped Tucker to visit the nursery for terrarium plants, and again for an orchestra concert. There were at least three dinners with extended family and some favorite takeout meals, cousins explored Legoland, Tucker tried his first Starbucks cakepops, and there were several opportunities to extinguish candles and make wishes.



Dear Hank,
Six years old and you bask in the presence of friends like they're literal sunshine.
You listen as if you're holding up a giant stethoscope to the world
and you know pink is for kids who like pink, but orange is your current favorite.
You basically say what you think, human truth serum in a fifty pound package.
You have a way of making one word (Hellloooo) sound like a little song
and your whole body sighs open with a hug.

You are reading novels now, with long chapters and words you sometimes need to look up, eyes sharp as a dragon's claw. You often speak as though you've been given one minute on a topic, whether it be ketchup or winter hats or dividing syllables. You are always the one who decides if there will be a conversation at all, relishing the power you must feel when you state an opinion and are not in the mood to be swayed. Like I meant what I said and I will not be taking follow up questions on this subject, thank you very much.

Six years ago my internal compass swung toward you and stuck. Back then you had balloon animal arms, your plumpness segmented at wrists and elbows and inbetween. As a toddler your feet slapped the hardwood floor like a duck; now you mince up and down the trails and through the halls with grace. You've grown so tall and lean, but there's still a very kissable triangular indentation on the side of your pinkie toe.

You are such a sparkly, spirited human, Hank, like glitter runs through your veins.
The bright side is definitely on your side. And so am I, forever!




Dear Tucker,
I'm not sure when I'll stop feeling compelled to write you a birthday letter, but this is not the year I want to quit. From the moment you were born you've been teaching me about myself. 

You have a smile that goes on and on, and a knack for capturing a person's attention, for sweeping listeners straight into your words. You have the kind of heart that sticks to things and you always, always thank the people you love. Your laughter is like a transistor, amplifying joy and sometimes your eyes ask questions I don't have the answers for. You still offer hugs before you go to bed, one straight arm around my back, more tender for the slight teenage awkwardness. I can almost see the courage coursing through you, walking into the dance or into the audition, away from the cool kids making questionable choices, toward every bright future.

The book I really need now is What to Expect Thirteen Years After you were Expecting. Thirteeeen your little brother said, stretching the second half, as if it implied all manner of maturity when in fact it may be the very opposite. I know I can't do the work for you, but I hope we're creating the right conditions for you to thrive. We are trying to help you make sense of unbelievably fast brain development, to manage big emotions and a body working overtime to change. It’s messy, but it’s pretty damn heroic, all the growing you're doing. 

Turns out another year is not necessarily an existential upgrade, you still get to wake up every morning and decide who you want to be. Your dad and I are most proud of all the things no one seems to be collecting data on, not whether you already earned the high school Spanish credit or whether you'll be allowed early admission to the jazz ensemble, but the way you ask how you can help, the way you invite others to join, the way you make little cousins feel big and special. Emily Post says manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others and if you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use. Thanks for putting a napkin on your lap too though.

We did not make it to campus for the annual birthday photo, just snapped a picture on your way out the door, and for some reason that feels more appropriate, because it tells the story of right now - you, on the go. I used to buckle you into a rear-facing carseat and give your gnocchi cheeks one million kisses; now I watch the road unfurl before you. I cannot wait to see where you go, to watch you be who you already are.
I am so happy I get to be your mom, on special days and always.

Love you forever, no matter what.


way better than scrolling

I looked out the back door at one point this afternoon and noticed Tuck with his head bent, buried in his elbow at the edge of the table. All I could really see was a nest of wild hair above and a furry cat beneath, presumably absorbing some measure of preteen angst.

I am quick to admit that living in this ever-lingering pandemic has me looking for easy dopamine hits and dissociative tricks, and I am not above sneaking outside to fill my arms with cats I wasn't sure we needed.