Wednesday, May 19, 2010

what stays

"...we don’t lose things, really, just like we don’t lose our childhoods. The children that we were stay inside of us, and so do the places that we’ve been."
~Journey Mama~

I read this the other day and felt an ache of knowing. Things do stay inside us, our childhood, the places we've been... and the people we've loved. My grief has taught me that. Sometimes when I see immense suffering I think my grief should feel small. But there is no sense in comparing. Loss is loss and it does not feel small when it grips your heart. Yesterday would have been my dad's birthday. He is always there but on certain dates I feel his absence more and I want to remember to give thanks for his life even though he's gone home. In my house there are many things made by my father. He was a painter and a craftsman. He made carousel horses and a lion for my sister. I used to marvel at how he could sculpt wood into something so perfect and graceful looking. When he died he had several works in progress in his workshop. So I have a half carved horse head in my house. It is a melancholy reminder in some ways of what was unfinished. What things will I leave unfinished? What things are important in my days? I ran my fingers through the rough grooves that were beginning to take form. I thought of the his careful hands slowly chipping away with his old worn tools, the hours, and the artistry. Just like people we love stay with us, so does the missing.
The other Sunday I sat on my front porch in a thunder storm. I watched as my brother carefully showed Juden how to whittle. I watched the blade shave away wood till the shape of a fish emerged. I cupped the wood chips in my hands and the smell and the sound of the rain made me feel like I was little watching my dad teach my brothers to carve. It made me thankful.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010



If ever there were a spring day so perfect,
so uplifted by a warm intermittent breeze
that it made you want to throw
open all the windows in the house
and unlatch the door to the canary's cage,
indeed, rip the little door from its jamb,
a day when the cool brick paths
and the garden bursting with peonies
seemed so etched in sunlight
that you felt like taking
a hammer to the glass paperweight
on the living room end table,
releasing the inhabitants
from their snow-covered cottage
so they could walk out,
holding hands and squinting
into this larger dome of blue and white,
well, today is just that kind of day.

~Billy Collins~

We've had a string of these kind of spring days where it's hard to take in everything that's blooming. The other night my little brother came by after work with bundles of the loveliest peonies for me and my girls. That is just the sort of little brother he is.

Ella wanted to put hers right by the Klimt canvas. When Josh gave me the picture a few years ago Ella immediately said it was she and I which made me love it all the more. And in the listening corner for this perfect May day this and this.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

to our moms

reposted from May 08

Our mothers... what a thing to celebrate. They were there when we took our first breath, our first day of school, our first heart-break, they were biting their lips when we first started driving, they feel our disappointments with us and our smile makes their heart sing. They are those women who, for many of us are pillars of strength and the ones we have to thank for some the good we see in ourselves. Today I also send prayers up for all those women who have lost their moms or had miscarriages or who desperately want to be a mother. I say this remembering my first mothers day after losing our first child. Peace be with you on days like today.

I thought I'd share some photos, the first of which is by Elliot Erwitt who is one of my favorite photographers. I love how it captures the indescribable bond of a mother and baby. The second is by Leon Levinstein and the third by Wayne Miller.

But these are the moms that mean the most to me. The first raised the man I love and blows any negative mother-in-law stereo type out of the water. She exudes nurturing and from the first time I met her she took me under her wings like she has so many over the years.

Lastly, is my very own beautiful mother who has given more than I could express. Since I have become a mom I realize more fully just how amazing she is.

Saturday, May 01, 2010


Okay, before I get my mom all excited let me just say that I am not pregnant. She is just as excited about grand-baby number 13 and 14 coming this summer, as she was about the first. It has been a while since I was in this state. So no plans for another bun in the oven for us at the moment. Naya seemed to think it was about time though. What little girl hasn't stuffed her teddy bear or blanket up her shirt, enamored with the whole thought of a babe in the belly? I know I did once upon a time. I can think of about ten friends and two sisters-in-law that are pregnant right now. I am literally surrounded by signs of new life swelling and growing all around me. What a miracle and blessing our children are, whether they're the first or the tenth. I am waiting excitedly for the call from my life-long friend from back home in New Jersey who will meet her sixth baby at any moment. I still remember watching the birth of her first and I so wish I could hop a plane to be there with her. My friend shared this song that is so fitting for all you lovely mothers to be. You can listen to it here. I must get some pictures of the lovely mama's to be soon. Until then, here's a few more of Naya's baby bump.