Sunday, July 24, 2011

Inhale their belonging

i sniff deeply behind his tiny ears and i inhale the scent of eight weeks:
johnson and johnson and milk that has dribbled and hair matted from deep baby sleep

my older boys smell of earth and sweat and summer-scraped knees
or, fresh from bath, like lavender whispers.

and his smell is my deep secret--my heaven on earth, for his is marked by
laundry detergent, deodorant, and the breath of kisses

i breathe these men in deeply, inhale their belonging

i hope i smell more than just unshowered and like last night's dinner;
i want tiny ones to sense in me a love that gazes long and prays hard
and i want my beloved to know my scent on the wind, home(where the heart is).

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

When you say nothing at all

toes push, heels rock, we're swinging
and my legs are metronome to the
heartbeat of a quiet afternoon.
neither of us are talking,
just sitting:

push, rock

the clanking of chain against chain
and screw inside of wood
protesting against our weight,
and we're simply sitting
amid the bird-song and each other:

push, rock

and i think, "we're here on a swing
and there is space between us
and he's just two
and i wonder if he knows
how much i love him?"
so i reach over,
caress his fat-creased thighs
and i whisper,
i love you:

push, rock

we're just sitting
and neither of us is talking
and there's space between us
and still looking forward
he reaches over the space and touches my hand:

push, rock

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

How brothers love

when we were in the new to each other stage, we talked of siblings (So we talked about moms and dads /About family pasts /Just getting to know where we came from~lyrics from Blue October's 18th Floor Balcony) and compared our threes: me, one of a set of triplet girls, he, the oldest of three sons. his world was foreign to me, brothers who tussled and punched out their love and how he took care of them just because they were his brothers. how he cares for them still, though values diverged long ago, beckoning 'tough love.'

and now we have four... all those "god bless her souls" in the produce aisle, the "4? oh my words" in the drive-through, and even his own opinion that he'd have been one revered roman senator back then.

when we had shea and our whole hearts swelled even as our world turned over, we couldn't see past our love for him, couldn't have known how that love swells with each growing belly. when connor came, it was "how will shea react?" when avery arrived, how would three interact?

with love, that's how.

shea's almost five and he loves his brothers big. he corrects, he bosses, and he's even been known to hit. but, oh, he tender-kisses owen, invites avery to play, and teaches connor how to do things. and connor loves in his own physical way--the smothering hugs and the hard intensity to be involved. and avery loves uninhibited by anything because he's had two to teach him what that is.

i walk by their room at night, see two boys tucked in to each other like dreams.

i am alone nursing owen on couch (my kingdom), and i hear giggles and tickles.

owen cries out, and three heads rush to shush, offer (not always) helpful advice (he's hungry, mama. he wants up, mama).

it's alchemy, this world of my sons. it's the turning of snakes and snails and puppy dog tails into the men who will always be there for one another.

(see? they can even share sometimes!)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Where i'm from

I am from sprinklers and Flinstone vitamins and made believe stories, the things that grow a young girl up.

I am from the long yellow house with a wood and small pond

(I dipped my toes in once, rafting,

but never again because the fish liked to nibble)

I am from the garden’s canned tomatoes and peas shucked finger-purple.

I am from the mimosa in her fancy feathers

and the crepe myrtle with her july-bright pinks and purples,

these summer ladies amused at our paper-fan attempts to cool ourselves.

I am from “doodle sauce” and crooked smiles, from rosie and cleo and grandfathers I hardly remember.

I am from the crawfords and russells and I know my father’s name

but not his branch of history.

I am from bunkbeds and sleepovers and stage whispers through walls,

from plump, messy women who hold grudges and love too hard.

I am from mind your manners and don’t count your chickens before they hatch, from the Ten Commandments and faith rugged as old crosses

and red letter editions in a pew held down by sister mary, and I wonder

if she was afraid to witness about jesus like I was?

I am from the South, from biscuits and grits

and fried chicken and greens, though not like how

my mama cooked them for the first time at age 32

and added a whole cup of sugar because when she called his momma for the recipe, she wasn’t too specific.

I am from history in typeface, newspapers

yellowing and fragile on the shelf in her closet,

world events and family obituaries too rich to throw out,

stored along with photo albums of her first marriage and us as babies.

I am from books and history and photos that never tell the full story.


i saw this at suzannah's (and hers is SO beautiful!) and decided to try my own.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


the sound of glass shattering has my boys' feet scrambling even as the tears and sorrys drip fast. this is because i'm afraid of the broken things. fragility has long been associated with value, and i've known breaking:
a pottery jar i saved money to buy. the emu egg she gave me. that sweet picture of him when we met.
these have all met a shattered fate, and i cried at each shard thrown away, rebelled against the permanence of broken.
those little eyes knew my displeasure, and i wonder if their hearts didn't break, too, just a bit. should they be careful in the house, our home filled with plenty of fragile things? my worldly self says, "of course!" but i wonder what He would think of that, He who is yet an untamed Lion, and this not the season for lying with lambs.
i've learned that His word says he does not willingly afflict his children and that his compassion is renewed every morning. i think this is precisely because he knows how hard the refining is; He who was broken and rejected breaks us so that He may spill forth.
oh, we are fragile and precious both, for are we not earthen vessels filled with treasure?

my sister is in a time of breaking, and i've prayed hard for her this week. some of what is at stake affects me, too, and i am a little afraid it's my "turn" to face this kind of refining. i know His hand is on both of us. i also know that unlike me with my little trinkets, when i break, he does not get angry and lash... he restores and heals the broken-hearted.

a perfect place to meet imperfect people all somewhere on the journey in being broken--linking with emily and others