Sunday, May 10, 2015


Jack's Mother's Day card included a poem thanking me for the things I do: make dinner, drive him around, play basketball with him. These little glimpses into how my kids see me are at times comical and at times humbling. I had no idea he appreciated my basketball playing so much.

I'm thirty eight years old and I've now lived half my life without my mom. My memories grow fuzzier with every year that passes and all of the new memories I'm storing. I remember that she wore a blue bathrobe that always had kleenex in the pockets. She used hand lotion religiously. She and I decided that sandwiches always taste better if someone else makes them, so we always made them for each other. When I was in high school she would come home on her lunch breaks during the summer and we would watch Days of Our Lives and eat cottage cheese. She had beautiful feet.

My brother and I were theatrically afraid of bees. When they got trapped in our house, she would assume an alter ego (De-Bee!) and wield two flyswatters to valiantly slay the offending insects.

She never played basketball with me. I am also fairly certain that she and her friends did not waste their time questioning their ability to mother us. I'm pretty sure that they just woke up in their Pinterest-free worlds and got the hell to work doing whatever felt right. I imagine that defining yourself as a mother back then was a lot simpler than it is today. But I'll never get to hear her thoughts on this.

I have friends who free-range, I have friends who helicopter. I have friends who push and friends who nudge gently. I drive my kids around from activity to activity a lot more than I'd like to. I wish my kids would eat more vegetables. I compare myself to strangers on the internet and catch myself feeling superior or inadequate. I wonder what my kids will remember about me.

 I wear a purple bathrobe with kleenex in the pockets. It's a good thing too, because my eyes well up when my kids present me with my Mother's Day cards. Some of it is simply sappy sentimentality (I get this from my mom), but with each Mother's Day comes a familiar empty pang that gets swallowed into the happy tears.

Today we went hiking.

Yes, earbuds. Earbuds!

And then, of course, I played basketball with Jack.

Monday, May 4, 2015

A Day

"I'm taking tomorrow off," I announce to my sixth-graders.

"What are they making you do this time?" they wonder, accustomed to my many professional development endeavors and my subsequent episodes of "Guys, let's try something new that I learned about in a teacher training!"

"It's personal day. I'm taking the day off just for me," I explain, expecting them to wonder what in the world could possibly be more exciting than spending the day talking about the Aztecs or examples of foreshadowing in our current novel.

Instead they surprise me. "Good for you," they say. "You deserve it."

And so I sleep in (relatively speaking), and surprise the kids with waffles for breakfast. (From a box. They still count. Waffles are waffles.) The sun shines and Clementine and I go for a run. We cut through the park because I see clouds in the distance and Clementine has brought her doll who apparently wants to go down the slide. An older man is walking a yellow lab off leash. The dog is as thrilled by us as we are by him and jumps up on passers by with Bad Dog Marley enthusiasm. The man apologizes, but we smile because we are just happy to be off leash, too.

Clementine's doll belonged to my grandma. She used her for making American Girl type clothing and she's one of the many items I inherited when she died. At first I put her up on Clementine's shelf, but then I decided that dolls were meant to be played with and loved. So the doll is with us at the park and she's missing some pretty important parts of her American Girl wardrobe, but no one seems to mind and so we go down the slide.

I pick up trash from teenagers and I wonder who picked up the trash I left behind in the park when I was a teenager.

Photography is mostly unrelated.

Brent and I are so used to the divide and conquer routine that we almost miss the opportunity to pick Sawyer up from school together. We go out for crepes and coffee. We pick up a few beers for later. Sawyer is holding on to some birthday money and so he buys himself a new water bottle and then spends the rest of the day hydrating. Clementine has $5 and buys a tube of chapstick. She reapplies this approximately 200 times in the next few hours.

When Jack gets home we play basketball. Clementine pedals around the block. The boys jump on the trampoline and I laugh so hard at Brent's antics that I get a side ache. I wonder how he bounces with such elasticity and I feel envy. I sneak in a quick yoga session.

Sawyer has his first soccer game and he scores the first goal. Dark clouds roll in and threaten us, but no rain falls.

We get pizza for dinner and watch Back to the Future III.

I write this post and then it takes three weeks to publish it. I don't know if I'm too busy living to write about living or ir maybe I've run out of things to say. All I know is that I did deserve that day off three weeks ago and I'm glad I took it.

Beautiful things are happening around me every day. Maybe tomorrow I will pick up the camera again.