He really is.

Tucker asked me to print a blank map of continents so he could label it yesterday.  He explained that he'd seen something about Africa on a Wild Kratts episode and he wanted to learn more.
And then he brought me a poster he'd created that divided circles and squares into semi-circles and triangles to show halves and quarters and eighths.  He said he learned that from a computer game at school.
At almost six I feel him diverge from me more and more, rely on me less and less.  His life is supported by a larger cast of characters, teachers and classmates, cousins and friends.  And television programs and computer games, I guess.  
Anyway, he steps away from me and into his future and it all just seems so sophisticated.

He has earned money from the tooth fairy, had photo day at school, he mails letters to loved ones and puts clean dishes in cupboards unprompted.
Everything he does comes with an added level of exceptionalness, because he did it first, because none of our kids have ever done it before.  Because she didn't get to do any of it, maybe.
But mostly because he really is rather exceptional.


for each other

If I have learned anything by being the everyday mother of two boys, other than a wealth of toilet humor, it’s that brothers have a built in fan club in one another.
These two are just genuinely for each other.


some of the best

Trying to snatch some of the best moments and stuff them into the camera.


perpetual winter

I may have said I'm cold about eight thousand times already this winter.  I mean, we live in Ohio, and during the months that end in -er and -ary, it tends to be cold here.

There are things I like about winter, the way the whole world seems quieter when it snows, for example.  The boys and I enjoy examining icicles that hang from rooflines and watching the wind rearranges snow drifts.  And seriously, they are practically irresistible in toboggan caps.

It's just that lately it seems like millions and millions of  tiny, soft flakes have been falling ever so gently to the ground and CRUSHING all of my hopes for spring.
In the evening, Andy sits with an ice pack between his shoulders because being cold burns calories.  He reminds me of that almost every time I say I'm cold, which makes me feel like another bowl of ice cream might almost be justifiable.

We've all been on spring's case about showing up already.  And I'm afraid that soon enough raindrops will fall (and fall and fall) on places snowflakes have once been.  I may be even less of a fan of that "season," the way the ground becomes goulash, the thick, thawing mess.

There's this thing Tollie says when we step inside the back door, about how lucky we are to have a warm house to live in.  And I know he's right, we are ever so lucky to have a house full of candles and dirt and music.  I know, also, that mine is a very transitory distress, the kind born when my every wish for a life filled with convenience is not granted, the kind banished when my attention is distracted.  For that, there are daffodils on the way.  And until then, there is always more ice cream.


hashtag elbow patches



Sometimes I put stuff here and think I may be the only one who cares.
I feel like I’m making notes in a baby album, squeezing text into small spaces next to photographs.
Indulge me.
Years from now I want to recall the way, when we asked him something -- like what he wanted for lunch or which toy was his favorite -- he'd put his hand on his chin and say
Hmmm, lemme think about that.


I can't do this, but I'm doing it anyway

Tucker had a break from school on Monday in observance of Presidents Day.
It became clear to me that the kindergartners discussed the significance of the holiday as Tuck rattled off facts that, had they ever been in my brain, no longer camped there.  He was recounting information about each of the presidents on Mount Rushmore, and I mentioned that Abe Lincoln is credited with one of my favorite quotes: Whatever you are, be a good one.
He cocked his head and said with quick confidence, "Or, if you're bad, you can keep trying."

Falling short is part of life, the possibility of failure is part of what makes things matter even more.
Tuck's five, and he's already got that figured out.

He woke up sick this morning, and I wavered about how sick.  Suck it up sick or legit sick?  I kept him home.  I know what really sick is, but I don't have a lot of experience with plain sick.  And I have a little anxiety about making the wrong decision.
I’m not good at this, I thought.  And then I remembered that sentence is a damaging lie to staple to myself.  My mom used to say that adding the word yet could make it better.  I'm not good at this yet.
I wonder if I will ever feel entirely competent.  I'm not sure parenting will ever get easier.  It might get better, but only because I might get better at it.  Maybe.  There’s still an awful lot of wtfamidoing.

Most days my brain moves at the speed of dial-up internet, only slower.  Wipe the counter, wipe the bum, unload the dishwasher, load the car.  There is art in what I’m doing, I know, raising kids and navigating faith and fueling romance and succeeding sometimes and failing a lot and trying to write some of it down.  I do have certain things figured out, like I know to be a little less concerned with the meals I feed my kids than with the truths I’m feeding them.
Tuck's got a good handle on the gospel of never give up, and when my tentacles are unable to take care of all the boys' needs, I know I can always keep trying.