Thursday, August 28, 2008


first bathing suit

fishing at the bay

Sunday, August 24, 2008


I remember when my friend Diane got married, she told me she wanted to remember "to turn." She was talking about how we so frequently turn away from the one we love: turn our back, turn our eyes, turn our attention from, turn away figuratively. What she hoped to remember was to negate that impulse and turn toward, especially when she most wanted to turn from. So at their wedding they sang the old Shaker hymn Simple Gifts:

to turn, turn, will be our delight

'til turning, turning, we'll come round right.

I have thought about this notion many times over the years and, in light of my stubborn streak, have been challenged to turn toward Ben, to walk back into the room, reach out and touch him mid-fight etc. It's a helpful idea, really.

Now that I am the parent of a 2 1/2 year old, I am thinking about turning again. What really shouldn't be that surprising but of course is, is that during Silas's tantrums, freak outs, peeing-in-pants indecisiveness, utter irrationality, my kneeling down and turning toward him is what reels him in and calms him down.

What makes this fact so hard, is that the moments he needs me to turn toward him are the moments I most want to stomp on him and burst into threats (my least effective to date being when he defiantly kicked the back of the seat in the car AGAIN, and being infuriated and beside myself I yelled "S T OP KICKING THE SEAT or I will have to BLAST YOUR FACE OFF WITH WIND!" at which moment I rolled down all the windows in the car. I mean the thing that come out in moments of desperation... )

This morning was spattered with breakdowns, the final one culminating in Silas's refusing Ben, screaming only for Mommy, being too worked up to make it to the bathroom, then finally locking himself in there sobbing with wet pants. It was one of the moments swallowed my natural impatience and turned. I looked him full in the face and remembered he is a tiny person who has only been on the planet for 2 years; he doesn't know how to calm himself down. He doesn't know a lot of things. And he is counting on Ben and me -- to come to him, to help him, to turn to him. And so in that tiny moment of grace, I held out my hands. And he immediately leaned in.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


I remember in high school I loved swapping scar stories with people -- learning the stories embedded in their flesh and telling mine: this is from when I flew over a jump sledding and landed on glass in the snow, from when I climbed on the hood of my buddy's car and he accelerated and my chin hit the windshield, from when they operated on my knee, from when I used a disposable razor as an early shaver before going to the beach and sliced myself, from when I fell off a sea wall and was gashed by barnacles, from when my brother swung a golf club and hit me in the lip, from when I had the chickenpox, from when my brother chopped my head with a plastic axe, from when I burned my hand in campfire ash etc.

Scars are bits of our stories.
Wrinkles are too:
These lines are from all the times I've laughed in my life, from all the times I've been outside and squinted, from moments of frowning as I've thought things over, wondered, hurt.

We do a lot in our culture to cover our scars and wrinkles. We rub on vitamin E and all sorts of serums. We cake on makeup. We inject collagen and botox. We reconstruct parts of our bodies -- our faces, our breasts, our stomachs.

Sometimes reconstruction is in response to real loss -- losing a breast from cancer for example. And sometimes it is in response to disappointment -- in how we've looked all our lives or how we've changed over the years. It seems always to be in response to our values of what shoudl be and our perceived sense of wholeness. Our reconstruction mirrors our values.

The other day I tried to imagine what it would look like if there were no reconstruction of any sort. We would know women (or more women) with one breast or no breasts. We would look at people's faces and have a sure sense of how full their living has been. We would allow bodies to soften or widen as hormone levels change. We would wear our stories a lot more. Our ages. Our close calls. Less would be hidden.