Posts Tagged ‘Family’

days with…

In In Other Words, On My Mind on November 30, 2010 at 10:02 pm

Recently, a friend sent me a link to the amazing Days With My Father, a blog-cum-book documenting photojournalist Phillip Toledano’s time spent with his father in the last three years of life. It is at once sad, funny, poignant, and visually stunning.

Toledano’s father treasured the visits with his son and daughter-in-law, just as my dad relished the time he spent with all the friends and family members who visited him in his last days. It was such a pure enjoyment, like he knew that nothing else really mattered.

Toledano writes of his deceased mother consistently pointing out his faults, and how he now realizes  she was mostly right. It’s funny how infuriated we can all get with loved ones, how they can tell us all these things we don’t want to hear about ourselves. And sometimes they just plain make us crazy.

My friend was concerned that the site might upset me. I cried, of course, because that’s what I do. But I was glad he sent it. It was a timely message for me, so close to the holiday season and the accompanying mega-size doses of family time. Reading through the site reminded me that I need to treasure the time I have with loved ones, focus less on what might bother me about them, and more on who they really are and how much they mean to me.


a walk with my Dax

In Family, On My Mind on November 15, 2010 at 1:11 pm

I walked in the woods the other day with my boy. I’d planned to go alone, but he invited himself along. He showed me the spot where he and my girl were scared by a snake. He scraped lichens off a fallen tree trunk with the sole of his shoe. He pulled me through briars and moved branches aside for me. He climbed up a hill of leaves dumped there by the neighbors, then rolled back down. We left the woods and walked to the beach. It was low tide and we walked through the marsh grasses where the crabs live, he told me. On the way home I saw a dead snake on the road, all black and white stripes. “That’s like the one that scared us,” he said. “But that one’s smaller.” The sun was setting and its rays were dim and thin, and the lively wind made orange and yellow leaves fall around us like fat colorful snow. I was happy that I didn’t take that walk by myself. My boy helped me see so much more than I would have alone.

goofy dance

In Family, friends, On My Mind on September 15, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Lately I’ve had this feeling. It’s a good kind of feeling to be sure. I suppose it’s coming because I’m getting more rest now than I have for the better part of a year, or because I’m feeling more like an interesting person and less like a food source, or because I feel my post-partum bod getting stronger, or because cooler weather means I get to hang out on my fabulous deck, or because there are so many awesome people in my life I want to spend time with that I’m having trouble fitting them all on my calendar, or because it was a rough summer and I’m ready to plan some fun.

This feeling that I get when Madeleine lunges after a soccer ball protecting her team’s goal, or when Dax sits with a paper and pen intent on writing letters correctly, or when Richard gets a picture hung on the wall without me asking him to get it done, or when Jean-Paul shoots me a slobbery grin, or when I think about making gumbo soon — it’s like I need to do a happy dance.

I really do feel like dancing sometimes. Just because it feels good. Just because I’m happy.

I haven’t actually started dancing when this feeling comes on, but next time I think I will. I know, I’m goofy. But if you’re one of those awesome people I’m getting onto the calendar, you know I’m a goof. And I think you love me anyway. Or maybe you love me because I’m a goof.

So if you see me dancing around like the goof that I am, you’ll know why. And maybe you’ll even join me.

To Jean-Paul

In Uncategorized on August 18, 2010 at 7:52 am

The edge of my shirt is damp

From your mouth, so perfect,

So relaxed in the crook of my neck.

You, falling, literally,

Into sleep,

Into me,

As if you never left.

As if you were still inside me,

Below my heart instead of above it just now.

My own exhaustion falls away

For this tiny



Where I am all you need.

big girl

In Family, On My Mind, Uncategorized on August 17, 2010 at 4:35 pm

I felt like a big girl today, went to the local lumber yard all by myself to get wood for a garden frame. Pulled up in my mom-mobile next to the big trucks of general contractors and handymen. Told the guy at the desk I didn’t know what I was doing but I knew what I wanted. He was nice and took care of me in a jiffy, loaded my 2x8s and sent me on my way.

The last time I was in a lumber yard since I was about seven, tagging along with my dad on one of his many woodworking projects. The visual memory is hazy, but I remember the scent of sawdust, so fresh and sharp I could taste it.

I want to finish building the frame by myself too, though it’s the kind of thing I’d usually ask Richard to do for me. But it’s the kind of thing I’m perfectly capable of doing myself, and it’s a project that I’m much more interested in than he is anyway.

Nothing stands between me and that finished frame but a saw and a drill. I can handle power tools. I’m a big girl now.


In Family, On My Mind, Uncategorized on August 13, 2010 at 10:20 pm

Some big news arrived in the mailbox. My little Daxie will start kindergarten soon, and a letter arrived telling us his teacher’s name. We’ll be meeting Mrs. Davis soon for a conference. What should I tell her about my middle child? I’ve tried to pay closer attention to my middle child lately. He’s been dealt quite a hand lately, what with becoming the middle child and all. How can I sum up in a few minutes’ discussion everything this woman should know about my sweet boy?

Dax is a force of nature, afraid of nothing, save spiders and zombies. He’s a snuggly bug, but less so since his baby brother was born. He’s been known to suck his thumb, pick his nose, and hold onto a swing chain all with one pudgy hand. He has lots of girl friends whom he adores. He’s happy to chase behind them in the woods or have a tea party, and lately he’s begged me everyday to play tennis or baseball with him. He would eat grilled cheese sandwiches and nothing else if I let him. He’ll never tell me he’s excited about starting school, but he dons his backpack any time we go anwhere near the place and asks when he can go in and meet his teacher. He’ll be 4 still, when school starts, for just a few days. And I’m worried that he’ll have a hard time, have trouble sitting still, have trouble learning, or liking school. Before I had him I was petrified of having a boy. I didn’t have a brother, and boys just — confuse me. I had no idea how much I could love and connect with a son.

He was just born, my little Daxie-roo. And off he’s going to school.

Last Visit to the Farm

In Uncategorized on August 21, 2008 at 5:00 pm

Tuesday was not the best farm day for us. I hadn’t talked to Sara before leaving, so I assumed I’d just be picking up the boxes and letting the kids hang out for a few minutes. When I got there I found out Sara had left with ALL the deliveries, and she wanted me to hang out while her boys and my kids played. This was not such a bad idea, but it kept me at the farm about an hour later than I’d planned. It was hot, the kids were hungry, and I had not dressed them or myself appropriately for an excursion on the banks of the Rhode River. Both of my kids cut their feet, and as a group the kids were just not getting along well. When Sara wasn’t back when she said she would be, I called her and told her I needed to leave, thereby foisting her kids onto an employee there.

Next week school starts, and with the extra work I’ve got over the next month or so, I really couldn’t work in farm trips. I’m bummed that our summer on the farm ended on a negative note. I wanted the kids to have these glowing Rockwell-esque memories of their time there. But if their memories include lessons based on fighting with friends and how to work through that and how to pick and choose your friends based on how they treat you, then maybe that’s even more valuable than pastoral landscapes and catching tadpoles.

Down on the farm

In Family, Food, In Other Words, Writing on May 20, 2008 at 9:47 pm

About three years ago, I wrote an article for the food section of the Annapolis Capital on Ivy Brand Farm. The farm is owned by Sara Colhoun who is one of those really cool people in the world who get good things done.

We subscribed to the Ivy Brand CSA (community supported agriculture program) for a while but dropped out over the winter. On Sunday, we went to the farm on a field trip arranged by our church. We talked about the benefits of sustainable, organic, local agriculture then weeded onions in one bed and planted onions in another (pics on flickr). It was a lovely pastoral setting on the South River — one I really wanted my kids to see more of.

Sara and I got talking and I agreed to go to the farm on Tuesdays to “work” a bit while my kids ran around and then I’d deliver a load of produce boxes to a drop in my neighborhood. In exchange, I’ll get some produce to bring home. So today the kids and I went after (yet another) morning of rain. Madeleine and Dax looked for tadpoles in puddles and climbed onto haybales. I weeded tomato beds for two hours then we drove back home muddy and satisfied.

So if you ever wonder where your money’s going when you buy organic produce, think about me bent over and kneeling in the mud digging clover and nettles and potato beetles out of your heirloom tomatoes.