Oak limbs and blue sky reflected in my spoon. Thousands of spring peepers were chorusing down by the bog lake. It was summer in spring; I could have kissed the mosquitoes that were biting my ankles. Next to me on a plate was a cinnamon bun, and I was alone and on a personal retreat. Just me and a warm meal outside.
I hiked down the hill to say goodnight to the peepers, watching the sandhill crane unfold its wings in an aggressive gesture (more…)
He came home from work with a blue paper plate of chocolate chip cookies. The kids greeted Daddy with a hug and their eyes got big as they took in the dessert. We would save it in the cupboard until suppertime.
I returned to washing dishes and the kids returned to playing legos in their room. My belly kept bumping against the edge of the sink, thirty-nine and a half weeks pregnant as I was. Rinsing the dishes, my mind hearkened to the blue plate in the cabinet (more…)
Bright red whirling around my kitchen. She’s playing the air guitar. Her mouth is twisted to one side in her best imitation of a rock star.
Her daddy and I are smiling. She’s trying so hard, gaining energy as she notices us looking at her. He winks at me, “She must be needing some attention.” (more…)
It’s the end of a long day and I’m 36 weeks pregnant. The thought of cool sheets on my round belly sounds sublime.
But one last thing: flick the light on in the hallway, tiptoe over to bunk beds.
Heave myself gently over the side rail that keeps my two-year-old from rolling onto the floor. He is a little jelly bean in the center of a vast bed, (more…)
It started at the end of April, making papier mâché volcanoes and an erupting birthday mountain for my Sweetpea. Then I volunteered to do a presentation on freezer cooking at church. Following that my parents-in-law came to stay for a week and I organized a scavenger hunt for a group of girlfriends. Oh, and did I mention that I got pregnant? (more…)
This is the second post in a series about choosing to live the moments we are given wholeheartedly, remembering that life is short.
It sounded like a helicopter landing on our van. Robert bumped off to the side of the road to change our very flat tire.
Since we had two families coming over for lunch after church, I set to thumbing a ride from a friend. My daughter squeezed into a car with the St.-Hilaires, then my son and I into another, and we left Daddy by the side of the road.
Twenty minutes later, he arrived home in a BMW. (more…)
This is the first post in a series about choosing to live the moments we are given wholeheartedly, remembering our days are short.
“What’s your favorite subject in school these days?” he asks. I’m wearing pink glasses and have a fresh perm; it must be 1989.
“I love art class, but in Social Studies we’re…” my voice fades away as I notice his gaze scanning the room.
“Hey, nice tie, Pete!” he yells across the room to my father, who’s wearing a holly bow-tie with berries that light up.
I look over at the tie, back toward my uncle, then drop my head a bit as (more…)
It’s 3:45am. We roll out of bed, slip on jeans. Contacts are gritty on tired eyes. Xavi sleeps with little knees tucked up under his chest, a roly-poly. I rustle his soft mop, whisper that it’s time to go, lift him into my arms and feel the fleecy warmth of sleeping babe.
Sweetpea hears us. “It’s today, Mommy!” she starts laughing excitedly. “I’m sooooo happy, Mommy!”
We’re driving down dark streets, onto empty highway, making fast time on clear roads. The kids are smiling in the back, Xavi exclaiming over spotlight moon, Sweetpea yelling about stars, the two of us grinning in the front seat, their joy like molecules, seeping into our noses and caressing our cheeks.
The lady behind the counter has lockjaw. (more…)
This week it’s Psalm 65 that I can’t shake: Happy are those I choose and bring near to live in my courts. They shall be satisfied with the goodness of my house, my holy temple.
I picture myself hauling sleeping bag and kids down the road to camp out at church and see them begging me to sleep in the baptistery. Don’t think that’s quite what the Psalmist had in mind, but the words keep bumping against me, boat rocking next to dock.
I’m reading Jen Hatmaker’s book, “7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess”, and she experiments for seven months with different areas of her life—eating only 7 food items one month, wearing only 7 articles of clothing the next, giving away 7 possessions a day. Sacrifice and fasting are not the first books I pull off the spiritual shelf, but since Hatmaker is a hilarious 36-year-old mom from Texas, I figure she’s probably not somebody naturally on the Franciscan path either. Maybe we have something in common.
Her words startle me: (more…)
It’s November. My whole family is sitting around the table for some hasty sandwiches, and an alarm sounds: beep-beep-beep-beep. Pause. Beep-beep-beep-beep.
The hubby investigates. “Carbon monoxide!” he calls out, anxious. “I think I’m feeling wobbly.” The kids are not pleased with the high-pitched sound (the beep, not my hubby’s voice).
“Let me go check it out,” I say, marching into my daughter’s room where the little machine is screeching. I press the button and hold to reset, then turn off the furnace and begin opening windows. All seems well for about two minutes, until the beeps resume.
“I’m coming,” says the fire chief when I call.
As we are sitting around the table popping chunks of frozen mango into our mouths, Xavi suddenly begins to struggle. He is 21-months-old, so the gag reflex is still in full swing. But he truly can’t breathe this time.
“Choking!” I sputter, “Xavi is choking!” (more…)