A nudge

sconesAndLuThere are many brands of maternal guilt that can swamp us. The version I’m currently swimming through involves failing to notice, despite three days worth of complaints about “itchy” hands, that my son was having a life-threatening allergic reaction to an antibiotic. I did notice, eventually – right around the moment he woke up covered in head-to-toe, blistering welts, his eyes swollen to bloodshot slits. Continue reading

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This one

citrusToday was my co-op day for Jacob’s class. I was working outside, at the round brown table under the big juniper tree, helping the kids make flowers out of enormous coffee filters and green pipe cleaners. They painted them with liquid water colors – vibrant springtime greens and pinks and oranges, yellows and purples, bright turquoise. Jacob and a handful of other kids concentrated on their blooms as his teacher and I watched. “I love the colors,” I said.

“I picked them for spring,” she said.  Continue reading

Digging in

LuBarbI spent an hour today sitting on the couch, looking out the big windows into the yard. I was holding a slumped, sleeping boy; Alice Munro’s words (What there is time for is looking out the window … ) and the weight of his fever-warm head kept me from propping him against the pillows and Getting Something Done. Instead through that golden wedge of afternoon, I gazed at our fading open-house landscaping and imagined the very chicken corral that of late I am set on building.  It will have Continue reading

A wish and a prayer

curried cabbage soup

It turns out that the trip south took a toll: Kyle and my dad are on antibiotics for pneumonia, my stepmom has bronchitis, Jacob has a spider bite puffing up his left eye, and after a night spent holding Lucas upright while he coughed and gasped, we found out this morning that he too has bronchitis, plus a double ear infection. It all started with an innocent-seeming post-trip cold. It all went downhill from there. And as I watch my people getting sicker, and sadder, and cough-ier, I’m availing myself of every wellness-aid I can come up with.  Continue reading

Time enough

kaleDown in Los Angeles, we took walks to visit the community garden that Dan and Kate and the girls belong to. The newly planted carrot seeds in their bed needed watering, and anyway the kids were eager to explore this secret place, tucked above the city like some magical farmer-fairy kingdom. They tripped and climbed over each other, along terraced pathways that meandered around garden beds, past the rich blackness of the compost pile, under giant avocado trees. Bees buzzed amidst blooming lavender and rosemary, and orange-and-black wings danced through the air. As each butterfly dipped and swooped and bobbed past them, Sonia and Alma – and soon Jacob and Lucas, too – would cry out, “Monarch!”

Fresh air, sunshine, avocados straight from the tree! What more could our darlings need? Ah … extravagant dust baths and the chance to nearly impale each other with muddy trowels and antique weed-hooking thingies. Apparently.

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Inspiration

yellowTwo weeks ago, our dear friend Jane took Jacob behind the scenes at the Space Sciences Lab at Berkeley. Though I eventually dissuaded Jacob from wearing his astronaut suit (it was raining, the suit is white …) he insisted on his NASA cap. He followed Jane through the long hallways, some moments strutting like a little space rooster and others hiding under his cap’s giant brim. Scientists and astronomers and engineers and grad students all shook his hand and welcomed him with smiles just as serious as his; perhaps it was the cap, but it felt like they recognized one of their own. Continue reading