small mysteries

The boys are growing, like those little capsules for sale at the gift shop, tiny shrink-wrapped curiosities dropped in water to reveal what they were always destined to be. The boys, though, are becoming not a stegosaurus or a sea turtle, but instead dependable and talented and kind and daring.

So a decade is just one tenth of a century clarifies Hank, taking my hand to gain my attention. 
Walking home from school he is either only stepping on shadows or avoiding all the cracks. And talking.

If Tolliver is not playing outside or playing the piano he is aiming nerf weapons at tiny tin pots from the play kitchen, at Lego mini figures, at the birds on our drapes. 
Sometimes the boys' behavior feels so idiosyncratic, but also completely universal - 
the bedtime dehydration, the sock adjustment situations
the crust cut, the skin peeled
the favorite clean shirt and the winter coat disdain
Maybe not every parent can actually relate, but humans are mysterious.

Their slow expansion, the way the boys seem to be growing into themselves, is my favorite show.


love, on a platter

My family asks a lot from me. I've trained the boys to do that and it's a dynamic I enjoy. I still ask my own mom for things - Turn these old curtains into a duvet cover? Bake something for the cake walk? Pick up the shoes I had shipped to the store?

Tucker had to complete a project for school, modifying a recipe to add nutritional value. He knew we sometimes mashed avocado into banana bread, used honey instead of sugar and applesauce rather than oil, but he asked for my help. We looked up the benefits of cinnamon and compared the ingredients of prepackaged muffins and practiced folding over the edges of open bags to keep things like dark chocolate chips relatively fresh. He made typically brilliant conversation and a really impressive slideshow and delicious muffins, and I enjoyed time in the kitchen with him.


everything can be a prayer

I don't know anything about how to live right now, without sunshine or a pandemic (plus with unconscionable inequality and war). With baseball practice and a choir concert coinciding so with dinner at either 4:30p or at basically bedtime.
For a minute it felt like spring and everyone's four month bad mood evaporated instantly under the bright sky. A late school start and water color paints, neighborhood chickens and card games and ice cream treats all added to it. 
So the prayers are short: How? and Wow! Help and Thanks. Plus, please more sun.




soggy feels like an understatement

 I see the pictures and remember there've been times recently when it has not been raining.


to keep going

On Saturday I woke up with another walk inside me and left the house before sipping coffee. I took off in the direction of Cambridge on purpose, toward the cathedral of Bradford pears.

When I got home Tuck didn't even look up from the crossword puzzle, cozy in the mauve arm chair, to ask: Would "sacred text" be gospel?

Yesterday the boys taught me the word graupel, using it based purely on the sound the hominy snow made hitting the windows.

We tried a new recipe for dinner, chicken parm meatballs, a combination of things everyone can agree on, mostly because melted cheese

At one point Hank sat by the back door, clicking an old cattle counter. He called out numbers like two twenty seven and, later, eight hundred exactly. I feel eager to keep going, he said, Do you?

We attended Tuck's jazz concert at the Lincoln Theater and realized he's the youngest student in the youth program. I admired the swing rhythms and the improvisation, the more adventurous melodies.
And I admired him. That kind of spontaneity runs right up against my impulse to know exactly what's next, to try to control it.

I went to church alone this morning. Mostly because I was intrigued by the invitation to look at LGBTQ+ inclusion, but also because I don’t want church to feel like a winter coat I’m trying to put on the boys, like C’mon, you’re gonna need this.

It sounds like they huddled around Andy in the kitchen instead, learning the secrets of all day chili.
They smell the cinnamon and feel the music and admire the trees. The boys know as well as I do there are maps and magic answers all around us, every day.


all three

I admire the boys
dipping in and out of things, puttering
the way they can each just be a person all the time
instead of squeezing it in between meal prep and mopping 

the way they act as little investigators of the ordinary
interrogating the mundane 
Do people ever find cats from lost pet signs? 
Why does the rock tumbler sound so soothing?
How big were prehistoric sloths, actually?
I grasp at a fraction of a fraction of that
a more flexible sense of what's interesting, what's valuable
and wonder if they will ever grow accustomed to such things
until it all becomes a blurry part of the day's backdrop
and the questions dry up

cardboard hangs over tree branches, waiting for potential birds to peck
iodine and vegetable experiments line the counter near the coffee pot
and I stand at the sink, admiring their uncertainties
the risks taken over risks avoided
the way they feed their brains novel patterns
and fill their hands with curious work
how they always, always find their way back to a book, home base