Thursday, June 30, 2011

The First

The room is papered in an aged must that is at once magical and restricting, peppering coughs through subdued laughter behind cracking spines, breathing fiction into heavy library air, dust motes fairy-dancing in sunlight rays from finger smeared panes.  I am hidden in the back stacks, all four feet and eleven years of me, seeking out The Hobbit for the third time, caught in afternoon shadows, unsuspecting innocence and 1990 florescent slouch socks.

"Psst!" She is peeking through the History stack, conspiracy sparking in chocolate eyes.

"What?" Tolkien pressed to my chest.

She sneaks around the end of the stack and pulls me into the far corner, cups her hands around my ear.

The red-head wants to be my boyfriend.

Panic boils.  The safety net of my obscurity is torn.  In the blink of an eye my invisibility cloak has fallen to the ground in an unceremonious puddle of nerves.  I am speechless.  And terrified.  And I want to run and hide beneath the pad dispenser in the girls bathroom and secure myself in the comfort of the proverbial cloak that has always held me so close.

way back then...
"Well?" Her whisper is shrill.

"What should I say?" Because I have no idea what one does in this situation.

"Say yes!"  As if it requires no thought.


And she's gone.  And I hear the wave of whispered gossip as she delivers my word.

I drag back to my seat, clutching my book like a life preserver, feeling sickness coil within me when all eyes fall upon me.  My gaze dashes.  Catches his.  He looks away quickly.  Sideways smile.  Ears blushing red.  A high-five shared with the boy on his left.

I vow never to hold his hand.

I want only to count his freckles.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Rite of Passage in a Construction Paper Hat

It may only be a junior kindergarten graduation, but seeing him in that blue paper hat made my heart swell!

He spent most of the time pretending that he didn't care but the crooked little smile that crept onto his face whenever I stuck my tongue out at him argued to the contrary.

Star student?  Maybe not.  But he's flippin' cute!

Even Noa got in on the festivities...

Monday, June 27, 2011

There's A Writer In There Somewhere

Because school's end is so near, the kids are bringing home their things.  A little every day.  Zander's journal proved to be some interesting reading and, with his permission, I will share a couple of gems.  Verbatim.

Friday, October 15, 2010
1. I'm bored.
2. Hahahaha!
3. Haha Stink Bombs!
4. Please speak out!
5. I hate homework!
6. ow, ow, ow!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011
On Christmas day our family opened our new presents.  I opened a pair of pants and thought, "What and why did you get me pants?!"  But what do you know...a video game was in with it!

Thursday, March 24, 2011
Well, first of all, don't do your homework after a shower in a towel...but you can ask your mom if you can go over to your smartest friends house.  If she says "yes" bounce on over there on your pogo stick and copy it!

Oh, to be a fly on the wall of his brain!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bad Boy Makes Good

He's all kinds of adorable with his too-big jeans ("But dey don't fit Zander anymowre and I wanna wear dem!!!!!") and Lego-Man-Helmet hair cut perfected by yours truly.  I am hidden in the back of the school gym as they explain integrity...
integrity |inˈtegritē|nounthe quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moraluprightness he is known to be a man of integrity.the state of being whole and undivided upholding territorial integrity and national sovereignty.
Right.  Because a four-year-old understands all that...

But when his name is called to receive what has been deemed The Big Daddy of character awards, he pops up from the front row and does his little dyslexic Liam-skip over to the teacher and he doesn't give a hoot about integrity - he just cares that they gave him a paper with his name on it and people clapped like he was a rock star!

He may be a swirling blond dervish of near-devil energy and attitude but he's mine and I'm overflowing with pride.

Monday, June 20, 2011

New Ambitions


His voice is heavy with sleep, peeling through layers of almost-midnight from the back seat of the car.

"You know dat music guy with da ear plugs?"

"You mean the headphones?"


"What about him?"

"Is dat his weal dob?"

"Yes, people pay him to do that."


"Yes, really."


"Yes, Liam."

"When I det big ten I be a DJ too?"

"Sure you can!"

"Otay.  Dood!"

And he falls asleep, leaning over into his brother, dreaming of his moment beneath a blue spot light while techno rhythm spills from beneath crowd-pleasing fingers.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Things He Says...

"Yes, Liam?"
"If Dustin Beaver's name is Dustin Beaver den why isn't he a beaver?"

"Yes, Liam?"
"I tan't find da big spoon anywhere..."
"You mean the Big Dipper?"
"Oh, wight."

"Yes, Liam?"
"Why is dare only one Michael Dackson?"
"Should there be more than one?"
"Yeah, 'cause den dare'd still be one who wasn't dead..."

"Yes, Liam?"
"I wote a new song today."
"Really?  Can I hear it?"
(singing) "I pooped my pants and I wiked it..."

Thursday, June 16, 2011


My sister is the Avon Lady.

I think this is hilarious.  Not because she's not good at it - it's because I've never once seen her wear lipstick (or little white gloves for that matter) and an Avon Lady must wear lipstick -  blood red, sexy, Gwen Stefani, lipstick.  But she doesn't.  And she's Avon-ing it anyway.  And apparently it's working out...

So I guess I'm wrong.

And now I'm kind of addicted to the whole thing.  The catalogues.  The "Deal of the Day."  The fact that Reese Witherspoon is their new spokeswoman (which gives it an entirely different credibility because she is my secret best friend).

I just ordered the glimmer-stick eyeliner in black-ice.  Yeah, I'm hooked.

But not for lipstick.  Not since I tried to wear the halloween red on my lips in eighth grade and my mom called me a hooker...not when my die-hard tenth grade crush said he would only date me if I wore it...not even on my wedding day.

Of course, I'm not about to judge you if you wear it.  Even Reese Witherspoon wears it now and then.  Just buy it from my sister...adopt her as your own person Avon Lady just so you can proudly say to people, "Hey, I have an Avon Lady!"...further her success by Liking her facebook page...or following her blog.

Yeah, shameless advertising but it's okay - she doesn't even know about it...

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Angel on my Shoulder

Her ghost is the angel on my shoulder, a sweet shadow that slips around my consciousness and begs me to forever hold her memory against the beating of my heart.  She hangs, suspended there on the edge of my peripheral, and I remember her in uncharted moments of weary almost-sleep or unguarded contemplations on the moon.  "I would be seven now..." her whisper carries along the yellow-dash highway as we weave home through midnight darkness and I try to catch her and hold her like I never could but she is always and forever beyond my finger tips - a breath away.

I can feel her - this angel of mine - in rhythms of wind or in patterns of clouds, her breath on my cheek as she showers me in oceans of forgiveness and I wish for nothing but a chance to smell her hair - to catch it's gold in my fingers - to weave it with my love.

I am left with nothing but my fervent faith in a heaven.

She knows how I tried to hold her.  How, when the moment came, I curled myself around her, swaddled her in prayers and tears, tightened against the pain that captured what makes me a woman - and still she was stolen from me, exiled from this safety meant to be her home, there beneath the heart that had for her all the love in the world.

I search for her in sudden moments of panic, leaving the store and I can't find the fourth, head counts in the park...One...Two...Three...Have you seen my daughter?  There will always be a hole where she would stand.  Every pair of shoes the little one wears should first have saved her feet from rocks and thistles.  Hand-me-downs should be stained because she spilled her ice cream there.

And she comes upon me in warm breezes and washes blame from me in wind-whispers and though I miss her with the power of a freight train I am eternally thankful for this vision of her in perfect love suspension, knowing nothing but a smile so saturated in sweetness and grace.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Catching Sweetness

He used to be a tumbling pile of sweetness, catching me in hugs and giggles.  Verbal verbatim in precocious curiosity.  Clinging to me in the kitchen.  Holding my hand as we skipped home from the library - a side-stepping dance of don't step on the cracks.  Falling asleep curled against my chest as I brushed sweet dreams through his hair.

He used to be an undulating ray of delight, learning his letters in rainbow colours of chalk on the driveway.  Cupping my face with chubby fingers and calling me 'Pretty Mommy'.  Curling onto my lap with old photo albums.

He used to be three years old.

Used to be.

He is no longer.

Torn jeans.  Patched and repatched and torn and repatched.  Video games.  Television.  Mumbled responses.  (In what alien universe does 'Uhhuuh' mean I don't know?)  I am no longer the gentle womb that birthed him into this world.  I have become the dark blockage to his freedom..."But everybody has facebook!"  The damming of his independence..."But everybody's allowed to go to the store!"  The choke-hold on his liberty..."But that's not FAIR!"

Nothing ever is.

And he's quite content to fix those gorgeous big eyes on a screen and speak nothing beyond an occational 'Uhhuuh.'

What if I had caught that six-years-ago sweetness?  Sealed it in a mason jar?  Brought it out and dumped it all over his insolence, drowning him in his three-year-old self?  What if...?


He stumbles through the back door, racking in sobs, tears tracing through spring dust on his already sunburned face - new freckles peeking from among sorrow trails - shaking breathes and devastating disappointment crumpling him against me, face wetting my neck (how did he ever get so tall?), arms clinging like I might be the only thing to save him from this sadness...

His friend.  His very best friend in the whole world had a fight with another boy at the gazebo where they play - swore a sailor string of curses so offensive that I could be the only saviour.

And so he clings, questioning the character of his best friend, affirming his belief in my own...and I finally see it - the result of that mason jar dump - the SWEETNESS - heart broken by breaking words.

And I let him cry and I let him calm and I let myself revel in this moment of his need, in this new wash of what he once was - what he still is somewhere beneath Pokemon obsession and surly attitude - and I am reminded that despite mumbles and new preoccupations I will always and forever be his first love and he will always and forever be that bundle of beauty with dimpled fingers and gentle spirit who used to nestle in my arms and whisper against my ear, "I you much, Mommy."

Friday, June 3, 2011

Oils in the Kitchen

I'd forgotten how good it was.  The smell of turpentine.  That silky feeling of oil on my fingers from tubes that have long sat dormant by the easel.  The mess.  The crack of bristles and rough sound of canvas.  The pull of brush in paint.

When I put that smock over my head and tied that little bow behind my waist and laid out my canvas and readied my brushes I felt something akin to what an ex-smoker must feel when offered that lit cigarette after so many years.  I wanted it.  I wanted the mess of it and the smell of it.  I wanted the sense of creator because no matter what came out of the end of my brush it would be mine, a piece of myself stroked upon white.  My heart on my sleeve.

Art.  Inspired by another artist who captures with a lens.  Made into my own.  And I am deeply satisfied and stained, with green beneath my fingernails and joy in my heart.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

God Is A Pirate

"Is God real?" 

All three kids are piled into the back seat of the Passat.  This is where conversation can happen. Away from television and video games and toys.

Liam is facing Zander, turned sideways in his booster.  "Yeah, he's real," says Zander in a what-an-annoying-question-I-can't-believe-you-don't-know-that kind of way.

"Den why can't I see him?" Liam asks defiantly.

Zander sighs.  "Because he's in heaven."

"But where is even heaven?"

"In the sky."

"Oh yeah?" Liam is not convinced.  "Why doesn't he fall out den?"

"I don't know, Liam, leave me alone!"

"Mommy?"  Liam is facing forward now, catching my eye in the rearview.  "How does God even see evwything?"

"I don't really know, Liam, he just can."

"Hmmmmm....I bet he has a crwazy big tewescope dat he watches us with."

"You think so?"

"Uh huh."

"Yeah!" squeals Noa.  "A tewescope!  Wike dis!"  She's curled her fingers into circles around her eyes.  "Wike a piewit!"

"Dat's wight, Noa,"says Liam.  "Just wike a pirate!"