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Anniversary interrupted

I woke up to the sound of my five-year-old vomiting and shot out of bed. “Noooo,” I groaned, filled with sudden dread. Not just because I hate vomit. Not just because my son’s suffering fills me with helpless pity. More than either of those, I felt forebodings of disappointment. This was the morning my husband…

Tired

I wait. Wait for the surprise to come, to sink in somehow before I realize that surprise isn’t suppose to sink in, it’s supposed to shock…immediately.  That’s when I accept that it’s not coming, and I feel that callous void with a deep sadness as I scroll through the hashtags and the notes of prayer.…

There’s no one here but me

It’s sunny but cold enough to see our breath. I stand behind my two children as we wait for the school bus, and I watch them puff steam from their mouths into the bright air, their towheads thrown back and their lips like funnels. Their backpacks are identical except for the colors. They chose them…

Surprise ending

When my boy was born, I could not nurse him. No matter how much Mother’s Milk tea I drank or lactation consultants I visited, I was bone dry. The fancy pump? It could not extract what my body refused to produce. I felt on par with Lady Macbeth’s maternal capabilities every time I went to…

A cap full of coals

I had an unhealthy friendship in junior high, a girl called Kate. I think I was fascinated by her ability to wield popularity as power over peers. Like the kid with the fancy fruit roll up who can take the fruit cup kid out with a glance. Kate’s voice commanded dominance as she led her…

Glider parenting

Since becoming a parent, I find myself constantly holding in half of a breath. Sometimes it’s out of frustration, and sometimes it’s from the perception of imminent danger, like when my children are running full tilt down the concrete sidewalk full of uneven cracks just tall enough to trip up exuberant little feet. Even at…

Breath

In tiny waves of light the morning came. I stood above my son, watching him sleep. Outside the ash fell and the birds were quiet, but, inside, the house was full of his breath. I wonder if this is how all mothers will feel on the day the world ends. The wildfires are still burning…

Play

Hands poised, I felt brave and silly. How could I have not played before? All those moments I’d spent walking by, watching my kids and husband, I had not even once considered that I needed to play, too. She stands proud in my living room, daily offering her love to me, and I hadn’t realized…

All the time in the world

There are two clocks on the wall of the dimly lit hospice room. Neither of them shows the correct time. There are two beds, but only one is occupied. My grandpa looks old but also child-like, lying there with oxygen cannula in his nose and a blanket tucked under his chin. His wife feeds him…

Forgive and forget…and dance

Todd was abusive. Kate was a gossip. Laurel was downright needy. Life was tough in the fifth grade. My mother hated the slang that came from having fifth grade friends. Let one juicy almost swear tingle on the tip of your tongue too long and she’ll sense it. “We don’t say shucks or darn or…

A common, sacred thread

Her Batman-caped preschooler smiled at my Spiderman pajama-clad daughter as my cart squeaked and wobbled across the hard floor. Nothing bonds kids like superheroes.  His what-I-assumed-to-be grandmother and I briefly made eye contact in the cereal aisle and then traded the requisite half-smiles as we sped past each other once we felt the imminent tantrums…

Homesick

There is a field behind our new house, with an invisible stream buried under all that tall grass. I know–from a map–that this little swath of hidden blue becomes the Lacamas River, just east of where I can see. In the morning, I watch the cows, gathered in circles, gossiping in voices that sound like…