Monday, July 26, 2010


Last night I dreamed of my father's house. I roamed the halls, looking at everything. Seeing the overflowing ashtrays, the coating of dust. The cheap wood paneling bumped under my fingertips. The room he should be using, the big room, sat still and silent, the bed made. The room he had chosen to use, the small one, sat still as well, but with a stained mattress covered with a tattered blanket.

His chair sat alone in the dining room, the pillow he rested on crooked. A blanket lay on the floor.

It smelled of cigarettes, dust, dishes.

I wandered back and forth, waiting for him to come home. Convinced he would be around a corner or standing in the kitchen. I looked in the fridge, and rotten food spilled out. I looked out the window into the roadway, watched the gravel and dust lift in the wind.

I waited.

He never came.

I felt helpless, forlorn, sad, and bitter.

I have this dream often. The landscape rarely changes. Sometimes I can find him, but he acts as if I am not there. I cry, I yell. Nothing. He doesn't see me.

I was going through cards the other day, and I came across one that he sent when Lily was born. Sweetness echoed through every word. It was written in steady hand, one not shaking from drinking.

Just 3 1/2 years ago.

And now he sits in the hospital. He went in April. He was self starving, stopped taking all of his medication, and had open sores with maggots in them on his legs. He was drinking and fell. He was on his floor for 2 days.

This is my father's life. I cannot wrap my mind around it.

And now he is going to be sent to a nursing home, to live out his life there. He will not be going home again. It is the best thing for him, but it makes things very real for me.

He will not go home again.

I think of him when he wasn't drinking. When he was so strong and good. I loved him so very much. I still do, the same way. I love him, but I see him for who he is, and it breaks my heart. He is a broken man, and always had been.

There are no more chances to make this right. His mind is not what it used to be. Resolving this rift between us will not happen now. I can either move past it or not. I am stuck here, in the in-between.

I love him, and I wish things could be different for him. I am not sad for myself, or for what's missing from me, I am sad for him. I am sad for what he is missing and what he is choosing to miss. He has always held me at arm's length. I don't know why, but now I know it won't ever change.

I am sure I will still dream of his house, of his things. In my dream, I will run my fingers over his glasses, his mail. I will straighten his shoes and close the washer.

I will look for him without finding him.

As always.

Friday, July 23, 2010

One last summer

The days are hot. Everything is wilting in the heat. Bumblebees buzz lazily in our yard. The flowers lean over with thirst. The world outside of our house shimmers.

And inside our house, it is us. We spend each day singing, dancing, coloring, watching sesame street and baking cookies. We are insulated from the world here, in our little bubble of family.

And I know that it is the last summer we will be like this. The last summer we won't be rushing, busy and busier each day. With classes and soccer and school, dinners and playdates and pool time. When the sun rises and sets without me noticing. When the warm days are gone in a blink.

It is the last summer Lily will be entirely mine. The last summer we will spend without anyone else's influence. Ours, these last few days. Days of heat and naps curled like kittens. Days of giggles and baths and snacks and endless chatter. Singing Bob Marley and James Taylor, dancing to Lady Gaga and Beyonce.

I've had my sweet girl to myself for 3 summers now. We have played, planted flowers and tomatoes and herbs. We have run in the sprinkler and baked cupcakes. We've painted and eaten popsicles in the sun. We've learned about each other, and our days follow a rhythym like a heartbeat.

But she is 3. And next summer she will be 4- that magical age where friends and school become so important. She will want to go to a friends house and play, instead of stay home with me. She will hop out of the car at school and not look back. She will whisper and giggle with friends. She will be in a circle, with me on the outside. For three years I have been the I will be watching her create her own.

So this one last summer is what I am asking for. For her to spend these last heavy, heated days being my girl. When she will ask for me to rock her, read her a book, bake cookies. When we will go to the pool, the park, and the museum. We will explore together, dig in the dirt, play games and laugh. One last summer to enjoy her before there is no baby left in my baby.

Already she is so much older. She is taller, her legs brown, her toes pointed like a ballerina. She is opinionated and funny. She is sassy and silly. She grows each day, her braids getting longer, her face thinner. She has lost the babyface she always had, and now when I look at her I can see the beautiful young lady she will be.

But not yet. Because for this one last summer, she is mine. And I will soak up every warm, lazy, and beautiful moment.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Dear God

Dear God,

Thank you for reminding me, in the smallest of ways, just how big you are. How great your love is, and how much I am loved.

Today, I felt your presence as I sat to eat a beautiful meal a friend had prepared for me. I thought of you as I tasted a tomato, ripe and beautiful from the sun. A tomato my friend shared with me. Simple but sweet.

I felt you today as I made an effort to be appreciative of my husband. To see everything he does for me. He is a gift I can never thank you enough for.

I thank you for friends that get my sense of humor. (South Dakota- woot woot!)

I thank you for my heart, that keeps opening further and further, and trusting more and more.

I thank you for a best friend that will vacation in my city so she can see me.

And I thank you most of all, for my sweet babies. For the smell of shampoo and baby powder. For sweet little souls. For love and smiles.

I thank you also, for the deep sadness that creeps up. For thoughts of Joshua. For loss. For anything that glorifies you, Lord. I thank you for it all.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

6 months

Dear Sam,

Six months ago, I was sitting in a hospital room alone, watching bad tv and thinking of you. I laid my hand over your sweet spot and patted you. Your heartrate would go exceedingly high, then down to normal. Over and over. It was as if you knew something big was happening.

And the next day, it did happen. YOU happened. After a traumatic birth, you arrived, face full of bruises. You didn't cry. People rushed in and out. Their faces took the blankness of professionalism, instead of easygoing joy.

I was scared to death. I watched as they finally got you to cry, and as the nurse gave you your first feeding- glucose and formula. I was in pain and, frankly, angry that nothing had gone as I wanted it to. I collapsed into dreamless sleep.

But the next morning I went to you. I sat in the rocker in the nursery and put you to my breast. You latched on fiercely, and laid your hand over my heart. I gasped so deeply with the love I felt for you I was sure they could hear it for miles. I looked up, expecting the world to have stopped to notice my joy. Nobody paid me an attention in the nursery- they have seen it all, I'm sure. But sweet angel, I was rocked to the core with love for you. It was as if angels, rainbows, and butterflies all occupied the same space around us. It was magical.

And as much as I loved you then, I love you more now. One look at you and I am lost. Your smile is heaven. The scent of your neck, sweeter than perfume. Your disposition is so bubbly and happy. You are a true loudmouth- yelling ALL THE TIME. But it's a happy "Looka meeeee" kinda yell.

If you were dessert, you would be cheesecake. You are edible, squishy, and sweet from head to toe. You continue to grow in ways your father and I can only laugh at. Everyday we pick you up from the crib and your pajamas are suddenly too small. You kick and flail your arms as if you could fly. You inch and roll all over the house. You have two words- "Hi" and "Mama". You adore your sister and she makes you giggle until you lose your breath.

You are sunny. You are bright. You steal my breath a thousand times a day. I watch you sleep, and I want to never stop. You give me such joy, such such joy. I am in constant wonder and awe that God has graced me with you- my beautiful boy.

I wish many things for you, Samuel, but mostly I hope you hold onto your joy. I hope you keep happiness always. I hope your sunny face never loses it's light. I hope you always smile with joy when I peek over your crib rail every morning. I hope you keep growing and growing, even if I do worry about how I will ever feed you when you are a teenager. And I hope, beyond all things, that your family is always a refuge for you. That peace is yours in these walls. That you love us as deeply as we love you.

I could go on and on, my son, but the truth is that words can never adequately describe how I feel for you. You are simply my boy. My sweetest of sweets. I love you, adore you, and am blessed by you.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Dear Lily,

For three years you have been by my side. My shadow, my life, my love. You have been my everything. You have given me so much more than I have ever given to you.

But yesterday it occured to me that soon I will have to let you out into the world. The world that may not look upon your face and love every single thing about you. A world that may not appreciate your joyful heart, yourchattery lips, your sweetest of souls.

A world that will see you simply as another person. A student. A face in the crowd. A child to care for, and not out of love...but obligation.

I don't want to give you up yet, my sweet love. But it is drawing near. Separation is good and healthy.

My head knows this. But my heart says otherwise.

Someday I won't be there when you fall. I won't see somebody fling their cruel words on you. I won't be able to scoop you up and soothe the hurt.

You will be on your own.

So when that day comes, my sweet love, know this: I will always be here when you get home. The door will always open, and your mama will always be there. I will let you fall apart. I will let you tell me all of your troubles. I will listen and love you and appreciate you...even when others do not.

I cannot prevent the hurt from coming. It happens to us all, my love. Hurt feelings, cruelty, sadness. I wish I could keep you here forever, in this little bubble of love that is our home.

But even as the world contains hurt, it also contains joy. You will have friends and laugh and find wonder out there. You will learn and grow and gain confidence. You will find others who look at your beautiful face and see you for who you are, and love you for who you are.

But always remember, I have carried you. I have held you. I have loved you and known you. I will be the strongest force of love this earth will hold for you, my precious precious daughter. Only heaven can contain a love stronger than this.

So when you need to be seen, to be loved, and to be treasured, come to me. When the world is cruel and you don't understand it, come to me. When you need a hand to hold in silence, a strong presence at your back, arms to wrap you up, and words to bring you back to joy, come to me.

I may have to send you out into the world, but I will also shelter you from it.


I will, for you

I have never allowed my heart
to bend to the will of my spirit
to hurt until the hurt
turns to joy

I will
for you

I have never given myself
entirely to another soul
loved without thought
given until I break

I will
for you

I have never
gazed for hours at beauty
counted toes lined up like ears of corn
dimples on cheeks and hands
and wept over a smile

I will
for you

I have never opened my own chest
allowed myself to earn heartbreak
carved love from my soul
created fire from ashes

I will
for you

And in the end
it is you who will look into my eyes
and reflect my love back to me
I have never waited for this moment
never stuck around long enough to reach it

I will
for you