If I had written this morning, I would’ve told you about trying to write between morning tantrums, and then again amidst yogurt and blueberries and lots of chatter, while we watched the caterpillars in the container on the dining table, caterpillars the toddler found roaming the fennel fronds out in the garden. The garden now overgrown, jungle-like, tomato plants leaning on each other like drunk friends at the end of a long night. I would’ve forgotten to tell you that her dad took her outside to the garden, that in fact he was the one who spotted the caterpillars, who thought to get the little carrier from the garage and collect the fat critters carefully, fronds and all, a tiny, temporary habitat for her amusement and inspection. If we were a still life painting, we’d be called “Mother and Child Breakfast with Caterpillars.” You see, the father is not at the table. He’s already gone off to work, even on a holiday. Every day this man works. And yet, in the early morning hour before he goes, he finds a moment to walk to the garden with the bumbling, mercurial toddler, to spy a small creature, to gentle it into a container, to ask his daughter, what colors do you see? I don’t write enough about this man. All he does. All he is. Truest heart.
(Post 230 of 365)
Hot, sticky August. A family reunion on my mom’s side, up north on a lake lined with pines, rocky outcroppings with rope swings. My mother’s people are genuine and kind. It’s all easy conversation and laughter.
Today everyone was in the water, splashing, playing games, paddle boarding, jumping off the dock. I swam with my little fish, and then swam way out by myself, and then again with my cousin Grace. Later we went out on the boat. Early evening sun beating low and strong. Music playing. Wind whipping our hair. My beautiful sisters sitting across from me. Pure happiness. We jumped off the boat into the deep water. I was in heaven.
And now I’m dead tired in that wonderful waterlogged way. My favorite day of summer so far.
(Post 207 of 365)
In the garden. Late afternoon sun. Shoveling, raking, leveling dirt until my hands blistered. While my stepdad staked the fence. He pointed to the poison ivy I can never seem to identify. He persisted with staking despite all the rock ledge, found the soft earth. And we laughed about a politician, you know the one. He wrapped the wire fence, joining it to each stake, but I never once looked up from shoveling to see how he’d done it. The sun sank into shade. And my mom put on her garden gloves and plotted out the plants and I dug with my daughter’s yellow plastic shovel because I couldn’t find the spade, which isn’t a spade but a trowel. And the spade made me think of A Tree for Peter. Then the trowel was found. And my mom and I planted tomatoes and eggplant and peppers and herbs, and my stepdad quietly persisted with the fence. Until he was finished and sat on a rock to rest. And I didn’t think to get him water. We were digging and patting down dirt. My mom in her straw hat, kneeling at the garden bed, separating the basil, saying, remember we come from pioneers, we have pioneer blood. I had underestimated all the work, but they knew exactly what they were getting into, happily, without complaint. I tromped around in my bare feet, hauling dirt and water, holding the afternoon like a smooth stone, the kind you pocket and find a special place for so you can come back to it again and again, turn it over, catch each fleck in the light.
(Post 149 of 365)
I got taken out by a migraine today, so my valentine swooped in with his Best Dad Ever cape and saved the day. While I drifted in and out of sleep, I could hear them downstairs chatting and laughing, building a giant Lego playground, eating lunch together. Sweet, sweet sounds. I am so grateful for my beautiful family.