4094358833_a912071b0cBlog, God

What Is Your House Made Of?

Yesterday the sky hung low and dark and brooding, clouds so menacing my daughter gave them names. Just as the storm was breaking I pulled up to the house.  Cars littered the little street and thunder rolled in waves across the ridge line. We made a run for it, my girl and I, through the yard, past the hand written sign that read ESTATE SALE TODAY. Inside it smelled of ointment and old carpet and years of living. It was packed full of evidence of life. I’d gone looking for things to fill a house that is not yet our home.  I browsed a table of costume jewelry, mismatched platters with corners chipped. There were silver teapots and iron trivets and little forks whose usefulness had long expired. …

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Almost a Poem, Blog

Ragtag Soldiers

They wear pajamas for clothes when the summer grows thick. They march, ragtag soldiers, in the shape of a heart in the yard. I watch from the window, sipping coffee and dreaming words.

Sometimes we don’t leave the house for days, except for the patch of grass out back and the porch swing, fans whirring violently overhead.

Sometimes we eat spoons of peanut butter and fist fulls of cereal for lunch, or I crack open an egg if I can be bothered.

Sometimes my hair is tied up in Olive Oyl knots and I wander barefoot down the road.

The line between insane and summer with kids is thin, friends, and I tiptoe quiet on both sides.

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Blog, Moments

Mama and Ma’am

The college kid at the top of the water slide called me Ma’am. Your turn M’aam. My three year old stood behind me in line, doe-eyed and dripping wet. She nudged me on with a phrase that contained the same letters, just rearranged: Your turn Mama! And this is what I’ve become: Mama and Ma’am. I’m the mother in a swim skirt who goes down the slide so she can catch her kids when they’re deposited at the bottom. I’m the baby-holder. The doctor’s wife. The bargain hunter, the drier of tears. I’m the kisser of boo boos, the enforcer of time outs. The shussher in church. The wearer of wrinkle cream. This morning I caught a glimpse of myself in the hallway mirror, …

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Blog, Moments

Good Noise

I’m hiding from pajama-clad children for a moment, searching for a little quiet in a day that by its end will have my head pounding loud.

There will be the noise of barking at the kennel when I say goodbye to my dogs. There will be the sound I make when I swallow hard from the guilt of leaving them there for a week.

There will be the the noises of the children in the backseat on our drive. The interstate noise I memorized as a child stretched out, seatbeltless, in the way back of the station wagon driving through Kentucky.

There’ll be the hum of talk radio, cries for crackers and more juice.

If there must be noise, why can’t it all sound like this?

Happy Friday. Happy weekend. See you soon.

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3733049190_fedb16c2d3_bBlog, Parenting

The Gift of Time

They were straight from a box but that didn’t matter to the three year old girl with the wooden spoon. We made muffins this morning, and she said they were Blueberry Blue. Ever since she discovered the Easy Bake Treats iPhone app my daughter has fancied herself a baker. Sometimes in the afternoons we climb aboard my king-size bed with the laptop and phone, and she bakes and decorates digital treats till she falls asleep. It’s likely not what Dr. Spock would recommend but it works for us. I need the quiet, and she needs the rest. Before the sun rose this morning she appeared at my bedside, bare feet and bed-headed, holding a Betty Crocker box. She’d braved the unlit kitchen alone and pushed a chair to the pantry shelves. …

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peace-be-stillBlog, Check yourself, God

Peace. Be Still.

We rushed out of the house that morning, once again late for church. No homemade breakfast filled the stomachs of my family; it was handfuls of cereal and past-ripe bananas in the car on the way. The children fought and I hissed back, cat-like, wild eyed. The coffee in my travel mug sloshed beyond its plastic banks and onto my lap like coal slurry. I cursed. My husband couldn’t find his belt so he went without, and a cockeyed bow perched atop my daughter’s head. Still, this was an improvement from the two weeks in a row that we hadn’t even made it this far. We parked the car and filed out, hands reaching low for the little ones. …

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showimageBlog, Check yourself, Main, Moments, Parenting

Love and Dirt and Armpit Farts

It’s Sunday morning and we are making paper airplanes at the breakfast table. The scraps are everywhere, evidence of imbalances, attempts at evening the folds. As a child I never learned to make paper airplanes. I add them to the long, long list of Things I’ve Learned since having boys: How to catch a backyard frog. How to teach proper toilet-bowl aim with a floating Fruit Loop. The perfect spot for launching homemade boats in Fourpole Creek. The difference between a Bakugan and a Pokemon. That, as it turns out,  burping the alphabet actually is quite funny. That sometimes we don’t get what we wish for but we get what we need. Image Credit: Shakopeemn.gov I never saw myself as the mother of boys. …

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siblings-dayCheck yourself, Main, Parenting, Pregnancy

These Three

I was an only child for the first six years of my life. My parents had struggled with infertility for nine years by the time I joined them, and I think everyone assumed that our family was complete at three. Even after my brother was adopted and subsequently another brother was born, I continued to feel like an only child in a way. My brothers were so close in age- only 18 months apart- and they were, well, boys. I was knee-deep into elementary school by the time they could walk and talk and throw Matchbox cars at the windows of my dollhouse. I regret that I’ve never been very sisterly. I’ve been motherly and daughterly and friendly and counselorly but the sister role has not been my strength. …

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2081974868_dc6e492a8a_zBlog, Moments, Parenting

Into the Gray

I placed my son, screaming with colic, into his crib and walked away. I let the screen door slam behind me and found a spot on the front porch steps. If it’d been five years earlier I would’ve slipped a Marlboro Light from a paper pack and watched the smoke swirl in front of my face, white tendrils coiling, hypnotizing me. I’d given up that habit, traded it in for a runner’s high and bad tv. Inside my baby was red-faced and howling. At 2 months old I hadn’t seen his smile, hadn’t heard his laugh, didn’t know this child. He screamed. He nursed. He drew his muscles tight like a prize fighter preparing to strike. Outside there was street noise. …

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chicken-noodle-soupBlog, Moments, Parenting

Chicken Noodle Soup for This Mama’s Soul

It’s not the most glamorous meal, but it’ll do for a rainy Friday afternoon at home. He finds me the can opener, the boy with the chipped front tooth, and I circle the blade around that familiar can. I always add a little less water than the directions tell me to because it’s better and I’m not one to ever follow a recipe. Soon enough it’s done and the soup is ladled into plastic bowls: heavy on the noodles for the little two and heavy on the chicken for the oldest. Why is it that each time I make them soup I forget this simple truth: that more of it ends up on the table and spilled down their shirts than it does in their bellies? …

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