Friday, October 14, 2011


I could drown in the stream of papers flowing into this house from elementary school.  Yesterday a teal sheet arrived announcing an art contest -- literary, visual, dramatic art addressing the prompt "Diversity means..." So this morning, Silas and I sat down and talked about what diversity means -- it's the opposite of same, diverse fruits and vegetables at the farmers' market, diverse people at the park, how if a group of people all looked exactly the same and said the exact same thing etc.  Then he left to draw.   At one point I heard him say, I'm coloring my ninja.  Ninja?!  What exactly is happening in your picture?  This was it:  someone tall, someone low, a ninja, a bee keeper with bees on him, a (very small) robber, a baby, and multiple X's that show that other people are NOT those things.  Diversity.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

one way to look at it

I have a sinus infection and have felt sapped of energy for nearly a week. As I was gearing up for this trip, I was talking to my friend Keri about its many moving parts -- packing, flying two legs with the kids, arriving at midnight, having a day in DC, renting a car, driving five hours solo to Pittsburgh, going to rehearsal and rehearsal dinner with the kids, staying in a hotel, wedding the next morning etc.  The five hour drive sounded like the worst -- kids who now ask "when are we going to be there?" and "how much longer" with the insistence of sitcom kids, my feeling crappy and sick, mad impatience -- a nightmare.  Keri was right there with me, nodding, until I said I wanted to make it an adventure instead of a hellish drive, and she sprang to life:  Oh yeah, you could stop for smoothies and chew lots of gum, watch movies and suck cough drops the whole time!
She was half kidding about the cough drops, but yes, I think we'll do that.

Since my mom's become a therapist, she often follows up bemoaning complaints with the phrase, "that's one way to look at it."  Conversations like this:

me: this is going to be the worst trip EVER.  I don't want to have to DRIVE all the way to Pittsburgh after flying across the country and staying up ALL night with Eden's coughing -- this is the worst!!
my mom: that's one way to look at it.

You can see how it could seem a bit annoying, but the fact of the matter (which is why it is so annoying) is that the statement's right.  So every time I've started to dread the drive (tomorrow morning), I think of Keri and chewing gum.

Monday, October 03, 2011


On Saturday morning I woke up in a funk.  Or I should say Friday night I went to bed in a funk and several times I woke up during the night wondering if the weight had lifted.  It hadn't.  So early Saturday morning, I peeled myself out of bed, tied on my sneakers and walked.  The sky was overcast and the light still dim.  It was early.  

Slowly, the sun burned through in one blazing patch of clouds and the sunrise began.  I kept walking.  I didn't notice the colors or even the way the light caught on the clouds; I felt small and shadowy and not quite sure if I was fit to interact at all with people around me, especially Silas, Eden or Ben; I hadn't been the day before.  What finally caught my attention were the rays that reached out from the sun and stretched all the way above me.  Every time I looked up, they were still there, perfectly defined.  I kept trying mentally to work myself into the day, but the enormity of this sunrise was distracting -- the rays!  

After an hour of this sky, of the rays perfectly visible, I told Silas, who had joined me, that this sky was relentless, looked at it again and realized the word was unrelenting -- determination behind it, a refusal to stop giving in the face of my mucky regrets, a beauty that refused to stop pouring over us.  And I knew I was loved, despite any despite I could think of. 

(and we had a great day.  I was loved).  

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Adventures of Sally

We used to meet Bella every day on our walks to school when we played "stranger."  But then one day, Eden became Sally and she's been Sally ever since.

Sally is not just a name but a character that Eden refuses to break;  she's Sally, and she's 6.  Eden is her little sister and Silas is her "5 year old big brother," and apparently we are all staying at her house.  There is a cat, "kitty bell," and dog "ruf ruf" that is yellow and white striped.  I haven't met either.  And -- most delightfully for me -- Sally knows how to buckle her seat belt herself.  Miracle. 

This week, Sally met Tinkerbell, Silvermist, and Dawn (all fairies) at Disneyland, and when each one bent down with her beautiful disney-fied face to meet Eden and ask what her name was, I watched Eden look shyly into their eyes and say, "Sally."

On Friday she asked me to write a note to her teachers, which she dictated:
Dear Miss Niki and Miss Tiffany,
Now that my name is Sally and Eden's at the donut shop, why doesn't my mom come back?  You can call me Sally but my real name IS Sally, ok?  
love, Sally
So that really cleared things up and was returned with a message from the teacher saying that for safety reasons they are not allowed to call a child a different name at school.  Sally was less than thrilled.

All weekend Sally has stayed with us, and in the mountains with several family friends she had them all calling her Sally by the end of the trip.  And last night (the four of us shared a room) I heard her say in her sleep, in a crystal clear voice: "I am big Sally!"

Yesterday in town, Eden told the old guy Richard who owns the moccasin store that her name is Sally, which made me kind of feel like I was a liar when he looked up at me beaming and said, "I love the name Sally!"

No matter how many times I call her Eden in a day, each time she patiently says, "I'm Sally, you bebember?" 

Sally she is.