playing ball

It was really fun to watch Tolliver play baseball this season. He practiced hard and tried new positions, cheered for his teammates and for friends on opposing teams, listened well and learned a lot from his coaches.

photos by Corissa Gracan


summertime, and the living is

more complicated than the song (and these images) might lead one to believe...


the greatest love

The boys know you as an optimist, an innovator and a culinary wizard. 
Thanks for helping them hone skills and for sparking hobbies, for holding their hands and having their backs.

The boys know you as an askable parent.
Thanks for making time to chat with Tuck in the evening when what you're most tempted to do is pour bourbon on ice.

You are naturally nurturing, and not afraid to let emotions show.
Thanks for teaching Tolliver that it's possible to chisel joy out of what seems like rough-edged circumstances. And that it's also okay to feel frustrated.

You make your availability known to your sons, to play Candy Land or read a chapter or shoot baskets.
Thanks, especially, for doing crafts with Hank. He knows when you say I'm all yours you mean it (and he doesn't know you'd rather stab your eyes out than cut and glue paper).

Thanks for showing up and for stepping back, for making it clear that being part of a family is an ongoing masterclass, forever.

You are a pretty precise guy - believing in manuals and recipes and textbooks and correct sizes.
Thanks for tolerating the wonky looseness of my estimating or close enoughs, for acknowledging that failure is actually sometimes an option.

Loved by you may be the luckiest feeling the four of us ever know.


inch by inch

Sometimes I think of the boys like seed packets 
but maybe with the labels rubbed off?
Our job to feed and water, to send them out for sufficient sun
to try hard to get the conditions right
to cross fingers and whisper prayers
and then to wait.

If vernal pools and sailing camp and swim team count as water
and strawberry shortcake counts as dinner
this garden of delight may do alright.

Science suggests talking kindly to plants helps them thrive.
May my words go through his AirPods or his ball helmet or his mop of hair
directly into his brain
and bounce around, like a pollinating bee.

Thank goodness I do not tend alone;
I do it with their father and our extended family, with their teachers and coaches and this community
nourishment as a group project.

I try not to waste any nurturing on a grudge list or regrets, on any of the weeds in my own head.
I try to remember that I'm not aiming to work any wonders, the boys already ARE wonders.

It's not really clear to me yet who they are becoming
but I like watching them grow
reaching toward dimensions of possibility I may not have even imagined.
I know transformation doesn't come in gigantic, earth-shaking waves
but in small, almost imperceptible shifts
in the slow unfurling.

And I know the sun will come up in the exact right place again tomorrow.


some summer, so far

June arrives freighted with possibility. 
Summer’s first act, the whole season ahead looming in the imagination: berries and barbecues and baseball, smore's and summer camps, some time out of town if we’re lucky.
The boys have access to green space and are only a short bike ride away from the pool or the library. They have rediscovered toys and tools, folding paper and reconfiguring LEGOS and leaving a trail in their wake. Turns out root beer floats and lake air are this week's drugs of choice. 
We have all been reminded of the mammoth power of modest joys. 
With May went any semblance of routine. Like, the wheels fell off and the dryer setting is on permanent hot mess. The promise of June is, I guess, one of escape: from winter, from the school year, from everyday life into a more magical and sun-dappled time.