summer comes

summer comes

summer is coming. peaches and apricots in the house! warmer weather to come. sun!

have a wonderful long weekend. on a much-needed mission for some offline, outdoors, sky, bird, trees, dirt, husband, and sweet boy loving.

grade 1

story #3 in my “23 stories for a fried chicken sandwich” project.

when we are driving and i am listening, really listening, to him tell me about his day from the back seat, i can imagine him standing there in his classroom, his eyes moving in their sockets, tongue against new, much bigger teeth, his cowlick softly springing to, skinny arms, the frayed edges of his pants. i can feel the weight of his tennis shoes against the blue not-so-much carpet and smell glue, the vinyl plastic-covered desktops, the insides of lunch boxes, and the rain drying on the puffy, warm jackets.

when i am really listening, i remember how it feels, how some days are scary, the way teachers are our first loves, and that boys like to brag about things that never really happened, which makes you want to lie too. because lying is easier than having to believe all those fantastic things aren’t really happening to us all. i know how excited he can be, can get, when he realizes someone’s about to, might just, listen to the words he wants to speak, might notice him, might give him a gold star nod, but he’s also not willing to break the rules, to talk out of turn in order to put it out there. the risk is simply too great.

as he tells me stories from his day, i can feel the limitations and the possibilities. the heavy sighing over the projects that call for the steady pulsing of the tiny scissors, matched up precisely to a faded black dotted line. i can see the simple list of numbers that can go on changing forever with plusses or minuses, in the same way innumerable poems can be subtracted from a bunch stories you put altogether. i know the lost chances because you played by the rules. i know the salty choke of tears when you try something new and it fails. i can still feel the numbing way we rest our chins against the palms of our hands and watch the ever-slow tick-tick-tick while everything that’s supposed to happen in its own goddamn sweet time lines up. i wish i could keep him home the day that the morning recess changes the way he sees everything.

i don’t listen this intently every day on our drive home in the car. some days his chatter just lifts up and over me like the light raindrops that get caught in the windshield wipers. it’s simply necessary and keeps the road ahead clear. because i can’t go back. there’s no real going back, no matter how much my mind gives it a try. no matter how much i can’t resist the pull. there is only forward, the same direction he is headed, as he tells me about everything he is learning at school and he shows me what he’s going to make of it.

risky business

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risky business

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i’ve so been enjoying my boys lately. watching them grow and change and, in many ways, stay exactly the same as they’ve always been. clyde turned seven last week, which is unbelievable and completely joyous at the same time. leo can be moody (can’t we all?), but some days, this just makes me smile — because he is so much who he is.

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a boy’s life

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leo is going through bit of an “emotional pistol” period. not listening. running away. waking up mad. going to bed mad. hitting, kicking, biting, spitting. basically stomping around a good deal of the time mad at all of us and at the world.

oh, leo.

i need someone to remind me that this is just a stage and not who he will be and what he (and we) will face forever. cause that’s what it feels like. i mean, i know some of it is innate personality stuff; however, i hope it won’t be like this always. i just want him to be happy. for more than five minutes.

it’s the almost-three thing, where they’re trying to make their claim on their own life. they hate being told what to do. they want to make their own plans. and sadly, it seems, we don’t have a lot of extra time to let him make his own plans. his own life.

almost-three sucks. for him and us. i’ve got to find space for him to make some life of his own.

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close your eyes

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close your eyes

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“he’s always closing his eyes. like it hurts to look at things.” — angela chase about jordan catalano, my so-called life

i’ve been rewatching my so-called life on hulu. as usual with my favorite series, i can’t stop. and god, it’s good. and why do i still think claire danes’ hair is perfect. why hasn’t that changed?

what’s also strange is that i now relate to the angela’s mother as much as angela, if not more. i watched this show in my 20s. i was nobody’s mother back then. it’s strange to think about it now. i can’t even remember. not really.

i don’t really think about my 20s much lately. having kids sort of forces you to look at your own childhood a lot more. and now, i’m growing more and more obsessed with thinking about teenhood. preparation, i suppose. and, of course, i continue to think about the present or the recent past-present: the motherhood years.

what i find when i watch angela’s mother is that she is stuck — between wanting to be in control and set all the right boundaries and wanting to be an open-minded, helpful mom. but the two things get in the way of each other. she’s simultaneously overly rigid and dying to let everything go. but she’s always ready for the next axe to fall. and as a result, she sort of has an uncomfortable stick up her arse. i feel like that too. all of that. especially the stick. ouch.

i can’t seem to find the balance of being open to the goings-on of daily life and simultaneously open to letting it all flow on its own terms. and kids, well, every day they happen. just the way they are. and (as angela chase reminds me) what they are feeling and seeing and believing is just as critical as what i feel and see and believe. i know this. so why do i feel myself constantly forcing the steering, veering off my own road onto theirs, forgetting about my own road. and then the over-braking and the gunning it back up to speed and back again. back on the right path. for a moment at least. most days, it is not a smooth drive.

i fantasize about being the kind of mom who sits (perhaps in a rocker with knitting needles and a VERY long scarf???!) and wisely doles out the kind of advice you want to live by. the kind of stories that open eyes and bend minds and set children free in their own right.

but then life happens, and i swerve all around in it.

have you ever noticed in that video game pole position (stay with me here) that if you barely move the steering wheel and just let all the cars and catastrophes and turns and roadblocks and oil slicks and collisions and lovely green scenery pass you by. if you just focus on the mountains in the distance and hold her steady that you get a lot farther. but for some reason, that game makes me wanna react and steer wildly and crash and burn.

i’ve always wondered if it would serve me better to just close my eyes and cruise the whole damn way to the finish line.

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growth

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i can feel the changes coming. not the seasons. i know there’s lots more hot to come.

but it’s the boys. they are growing and changing so fast. seems faster than ever. i see a little more of who they’re becoming. it is exhilarating. the days of merely propping them up or bouncing them, feeding them, and keeping them dry are over, and a new kind of work begins.

it’s the guiding. the being present. the modeling. the sitting still. the letting be. all those hard things. can i do this right? and well?

…when it feels i am still learning, growing, and changing at light speed myself?

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