Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Story of an Afternoon

Alamae James found a bright pink bike basket, left of our lawn for the duration of an afternoon while its owner traversed the neighborhood by foot. 

The basket went with her up the back porch stairs. Through the house. Down the front porch stairs. 

Sometimes she stopped. Examined the plastic coated metal frame. Got her meaty fingers stuck underneath the handle and begged for my assistance. 

Mostly though, she didn't want my help. Mostly, she fought for her independence.

She spoke to me in long tangles of sounds bearing little resemblance to words. And sometimes she spoke to the basket. Then she would revert to silence, circling the house on our uneven yard, maintaining her precarious balance will she navigated the dips and branches. 

For thirty minutes I followed her and the basket. I watched her movements. Heard her sounds. Fell more in love with my sweetest pea. 

And then, without warning. She let go.  Left the object of her attention and set off in a new direction. 

You are your mother's child, Alamae James. You are made of me.

Monday, March 28, 2016

This Weekend We // Easter

I'm not particularly good at holidays. Pumpkin carving, gingerbread houses, egg dying: they are done inconsistently at best. More often taken on by my mom and aunt than myself. About the only thing I can manage for holidays is the grocery shopping and cooking that comes with making a big meal for a big family. 

The way Easter is celebrated can make me a little sad too. It is a holy holiday made silly with bunnies bearing eggs. I see that decked out baskets loaded with toys and trinkets and gobs of candy, and I am forced to fight my judgmental tendencies. This is what the resurrection of Jesus has become? 

I wish that Springtime could get her own celebration. I wish that the fun that comes with Easter could be transferred, maybe to the Equinox? May Day? Because I do like all the packaging that comes with Easter, but in my perfect world, it wouldn't get mixed in with religion.

Our holiday celebrations involved both worlds. The egg hunts and church services, and those family dinners that are so much apart of who I am. There was also some hula hopping and lots of baby holding. Attempts at family portraits that involved rumbled clothing and curious expressions. Back porch rough housing. Daffodil blooms. Grassy rests. Wind-up chicks. 

New beginnings. Rebirth. The resurrection. This time of year holds something even more beautiful than magic. It is filled to the brim with life. And that is powerful. 

Friday, March 25, 2016


 A few weeks ago the temperature hit seventy, and all I could think about was the promise of Spring Break. I impulsively texted my friend Kristyln and suggested we take our kids somewhere for a night or two.  I knew we wouldn't be swimming, but I wanted blue skies and sunshine.

I ended up booking us two rooms at the Rodeway Inn in Chincoteague, a dingy beach-town motel Tom and I took the kids to  three years ago when Arlo was only a few weeks old.  Upon hearing that the rooms were only sixty bucks a night, she rightfully asked if we were going to get bedbugs.

We spent three days assembling peanut butter and jelly sandwiches out of the backs of our mini-vans. Three days searching for wild life and finding it in the form of shiny backed turtles sunning themselves at the water's edge, snowy egrets, great blue herons, mallards, and the famous wild ponies. We sought out playgrounds. Found a neglected charcoal grill to cook sausages and asparagus on. Climbed trees. Threw stones and pine cones. Took our pictures in front of murals.

After very reasonably passing up other trinkets at other stores while searching for dinos, Arlo eventually melted down when we did, in fact, find dinosaurs for sale. However, he wanted to buy them all, and I would only allow him three.

The rest of his meltdowns were of the quieter, more typical variety. He laid down on plenty of trails. Playgrounds.  Sidewalks. Meanwhile, his younger sister proved to be the ideal travel companion, never fussing or crying. Eager to see new things. To feel sand and sun, dirt and bark. While she still reserved most of her smiles for a yet to be determined date, she did warm up to being held by Kristlyn and Cassady. A development my left arm very much appreciated. 

We treated ourselves to homemade ice cream at the Village Creamery each night. Fell asleep in rooms made filthy by children and the shells of hardboiled eggs and pant cuffs releasing a day's worth of sand and soil. 

While I wouldn't have complained if the temperatures had climbed, and I certainly would have enjoyed the wind to have calmed down, I did get the blue skies and sunshine I wanted most of all. But next time I make my way to that bit of earth, I'm going at the height of summer, when all the shops and restaurants are opened, and when those crashing waves will provide my favorite playground of all. 

Three cheers for friends who say yes, and will pack their kids up and go with you to sleepy beach towns. Three cheers for kids who find their own amusements, rarely complaining, allowing us to make these trips on shoestring budgets.