Category Archives: home

Kathy, Im lost. I said, though I knew you were sleeping.  I’m empty and aching, and I don’t know why.

Sometimes this Simon and Garfunkel line goes through my mind, over and over again.  It moves me, these few simple, raw words.  Last night, they were swimming through my mind as the boys and I were getting ready for bed.  I kissed my babes all goodnight, after wiggling Harry’s tooth a dozen times. He was sure it was ready to come out, I was sure it was not.  I kissed them all, said prayers.  Then I came downstairs and listened to Simon and Garfunkel in the quiet, semi dark.  Chris was out of town, and it was just me.  The song, “America” turns my heart inside out.  I don’t know why…  It stirs the marrow of my bones.  Makes my heart ache and bleed out of me.

Kathy, Im lost. I said, though I knew you were sleeping.  I’m empty and aching, and I don’t know why. 

 I never really thought about it much before, but it may be that I really relate the duality of the lyrics.  Here he is, going along, enjoying his life.  Loving his adventure.  But, also.  When it’s quiet, and it’s safe, and no one can really hear…  He can admit the other truth.  The simultaneous truth.

Kathy, Im lost. I said, though I knew you were sleeping.  I’m empty and aching, and I don’t know why.

Harry came down the stairs, grinning.  Blood on his fingers.  Proudly holding his square white tooth in his hand.  I looked at his sweet face and tears spilled out of my eyes.  He’s so beautiful, so unbearably beautiful.  Funny, and silly, and irresistible.  Now his smile will never be the same.  With that front baby tooth gone, his impish smile will begin the inevitable change.  His adult teeth will come in, his face will mature, and he will grow up.  It makes me ache, and laugh, and weep all at once.  “It’s okay, Mom.”  He wrapped his arms around me and hugged me tight.  “I know.  You don’t want me to grow up.  You love me so much, and want me to stay little.”  Yes.   You’re right.   I want you to stay little.  But I love watching you grow.  I love hearing you read.  Seeing you play and be silly.  Watching your love for math and drawing blossom.  I’m so full of love for you, I can’t hold it all in.  I burst into tears when you pull out a tooth, I love you so.  But also…  Sometimes…

I’m empty and aching, and I don’t know why. 

SaveSave

SaveSave

“So, what did you tell your teacher about your homework?” You, beaming. “Don’t worry, Mom. I told her you spilled your wine all over it, so it wasn’t my fault!” Me, eyes closed.
Dear. Lord.
All the curse words. All of them. At the same time. In all the languages. Right now.

Because you love them perfectly.

Because someday, they will know it.

Because today is good, and pure, and lovely.

Because today, you are together.

SaveSave

I come from a matriarchal family.  We are strong women.  Fierce women.  Often, we are  loud women.    We are benevolent rulers of our familial kingdom.  Tight hugs.  Loud laughs.  The men of my family are typically quiet (with the exception of my Uncle Burl, who loves to tell a good story, long, loud, and full of dramatic pauses and grand gestures).  But mostly introverted.  Soft spoken.  Perhaps one begats the other?  Maybe the men, outnumbered, learned long ago that they would have to fight too hard to be heard, so they save their breath?  Perhaps.  This image of my Uncle Vaun was taken just weeks before he began chemotherapy over the summer and lost all of his hair.  I haven’t seen him in some months, so he continues to look just like this in my mind.  With his poet’s heart and soft, gentle voice.  Once, after a loud and boisterous gathering with my extended family in western Colorado, Chris said to me, “Wow.  Everyone really loves your Uncle Vaun, don’t they?”  I thought about it for a second.  “Yeah, I guess they do.”  I had never really thought about it before.  Never really considered the dynamics of my sprawling family in regards to my quiet uncle.  But he was right.  There is a fierce and tender devotion to Vaun which is universally held.  A family hero worship of sorts.  He has never been the jolly, playful uncle who gave piggy back rides and pulled nickels from behind ears, nothing like that.  He is a veteran.  Quiet.  An artist whose work is strange and a little scary… bright technicolor squarish forms with three eyes. Six armed angular men in front of geometric shapes and vast outer space.  He is a musician.  Playing the vibraphone in his garage.  Tall and lean.  Bent over the bars with two mallets in each hand.  Transported into another world when he plays.  Coaxing unearthly sounds we have never heard before from the long, metal keys.  When I was a little girl, I spent a great deal of time at his house with my cousins.  He and my aunt got me to and from symphony rehearsals when my mother worked.  Picked me up from school when my cousin and I would miss the bus.  I logged in many hours sitting in the back cargo hold of their light blue bronco, playing games with my cousins.  Looking for Volkswagen bugs, slugging each other on the arm and keeping meticulous track of who had seen and claimed the most.  They would go out to eat once a year.  It was a special occasion.  Every year they would go out to breakfast on New Years Day, and every year, I was invited to join them.  Upon my high school graduation, then my college graduation, then landing a job teaching music and art, then the birth of my children…  each milestone event in my life, he would always make a special effort to tell me he was proud of me.  Sincerely and succinctly, in his soft and gentle voice.    “I’m proud of you, Sweetheart.”  Nothing florid and lavish, nothing over the top.  Simple.  Quiet.  Real.  After a few years of raising a child with autism, an out of the blue short phone call.  “You’re doing such a great job.  I’m proud of you, Sweetheart.”  That’s all.  Five minutes at the most.  There was no need for more.  He has never been a man of many words, but the words he uses are the right ones.  He never has trouble telling you that you are important.  That you are loved.  This photo is precious to me.  It tells so much about him.  He has no shields, he does not pretend.  He is unguarded, unsheltered.  He does not hide.  This is the way he loves us all, too.  Without reservations.  Simply.  Quietly.  Chris was right.  We do love him.  We are fierce, and we are tender, and we love him down in the hollows of our bones.  If you called any one of my far flung cousins on the phone today and asked them how they felt about their Uncle Vaun, they would weep.  We’re weepers, my tribe of loud laughing women.  And we love him.  Sweet God in heaven.  We love him.

SaveSave

“If you eat your whole dinner, I’ll give you twenty dollars.” Daddy thought this was a perfectly safe thing to say to you.  You never eat your dinner, and never ever your whole dinner, and never, ever, ever your whole dinner in a restaurant.  But you did.  Last night, you did.  When Daddy handed you a $20 bill across the table, you reached your little arm over the empty chips and salsa bowls to grab it. “Can I get a My Little Pony now?” you asked, with excitement in your voice and hope in your eyes.  Four months ago you wanted one in Target.  You must have really wanted it badly, because you still remembered.  So of course, the next day after school… I drove you to Target and let you pick out your cuddly My Little Pony.  I don’t know if I’ve ever seen you so excited and happy.  When Lucas told you he liked your pony, you hugged him and told him you would never be mean to him again.  After we got home, this was the only time Songbird Serenade left your arms. (Yes.  That’s your pony’s name.  No.  I did not make that up.) When you put her down on the floor so you could take pictures of her.  You’re very proud of your pony.  And I’m very proud to be your mommy.