spooky season

Hank had help making his "Jasmine" costume dreams come true, inspired by the (quietly inclusive and all around lovely) Tea Dragon book series, and Tolliver dressed up as a leprechaun. 

The boys carved jack-o-lanterns and baked cookies and built seasonal Lego sets, enjoyed parties and parades and consumed so many treats!


under a bleak light

As a mother my mind feels trained to read the world for a narrative plot, to look for the foreshadowing, to wonder how it all ends. 

Mom, what does patriotic mean? Hank asked months ago, when the grass was vibrant and the sun was scorching and the parade passed by.
The word has, under a bleak light, lost most of its inclusive, egalitarian connotation.

The nation, actually the planet at large, feels like an enormous theater of devastation. 
At home the boys have an infinite number of lives to try on and discard, a costume bin full of both freedom and security.
If I don't wake up and reach for a brave face, I wonder, which face should I wear?
The suffering is all around me but it is not my own. I do not want to be consumed by it, but I cannot ignore it. The most important thing may be to notice?

Waiting for the bus, Hank admired one of Grandview's loveliest oaks. While the near entirety of the tree is bright red, around the streetlight remains a small gallery of green. Maybe the lamp is convincing those leaves it's still summertime.

I watch the lady at the grocery examine avocados, notice the neighbor girl tuck her hair behind her ear, feel the sidewalk chalk residue on my own fingers. The world is a castle built of people, I think.
And I see other people's other shoes dropping. 
The part of me that is paranoid, the part of me that is wise, knows that nobody is fine until everybody is fine.

Hank shared a project in Adobe he's been working on at school. One slide said "World's best..." and then showed an image of the cat. The template had said "World's best mom!" he explained, but I deleted that.

I've had plenty of practice trying to figure out a life that will forever not make full sense.
There are so many good ways to counter the uncertainty.
Keep the conversation on repeat. Listen to the narrators on the stage and in the corner, the ones at the edges and the fringes and the outskirts of town. Tell the story over and over again.

There are people who live down the street from us, neighbors who see the same trees, who want to ban abortion or deport the aliens. There are humans who live an ocean away, enduring literal horrors at this very hour.

I listen to Hank and feel my eyes get hot. I try not to sound too gushy, too awestruck with each phenomenal idea. Perhaps the first rule is to remain curious?
We are all better when we know more.

You know what I want to dream about tonight? he said in the shower. A world where everything you think or write is literal. So, like, you could write H2O on paper and it would turn into water. Or you could say cake and you'd just have some, like magic. Oh, here's a good one: you know that constellation of the guy with an arrow? Orion? He'd be like an actual guy in the sky shooting arrows! That'd be so funny to look up and see. But they'd be peaceful arrows. Like they could say PEACE and he'd shoot them to spread it, literally.


We're not trading bracelets or buying tickets

but the boys are in their cereal box is empty again era
Aquariums and terrariums and moss and piano music era
Plastic toy soldiers and rectangular electronic devices era
Stinky socks in the mudroom sink (please tell me this era ends?)
Tuck is in his marching band era
Hank is in his rollerblade era
and Tolliver is still in his peanut butter era
We are forever in our overdue library books era
Flowers on the counter, children who-knows-where
graphic novels and gaga ball on the trampoline era
We are in our poke bowl, arugula with everything, hot tea with honey era
overwhelm and anguish and indescribable delight era
Finally in our sneaking out without hiring a babysitter era
I am in my motherhood is a job and a joy era
my I love that for you era
still solidly in my fall asleep on the couch era
cloth napkins and scented candles and hot coffee and cat on a lap 
In my I've been waiting for all of this and didn't even know it era


special teams

Over the years I have come to recognize, without even looking, exactly what a buckeye sounds like as it tumbles from the washing machine, hitting the hardwood while clothes are being transferred to the dryer.
Here's to another fall of pregame traditions and cheesepuff consumption, full pockets and completed passes.