Thursday, August 28, 2008

For Quinn

Angels sing and dance amongst us as children sit at a counter and ask for a soda, as a woman riding on a bus and does not get out of her seat, as a father wakes up from his mid afternoon nap to have dinner and go to his second job. Angel's trumpets blare as tens of thousands of marchers quiet for a moment to listen to a man with a dream. Angels hover humming over a jail cell that holds the man who will leave the jail a leader and will take his people in one direction before he travels to mecca and changes course which will cause eventually his assassin to load his gun and take aim, while his own children watch. Angels hum, whirl, twirl, dance. Sing lullabies and laments year in and year out as babies are born, grow up, grow old and die. Tonight Amerca's native son walks out on blue and even the angels skirts still as they turn to watch and listen to a dream unfurled.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Where are you in this picture?

Photo from Rita Willaert's Flickr site.

I study these photos each day to try to understand what our child will have lost. I look and I look and I look and still, what will I be able to tell this little boy or girl who comes to us? You come from beauty. You come from love. You come from a neighborhood. You come from a home. Your parents, your grandparents, your aunts and uncles and neighbors, they all loved you. They all miss you. They all remember you. I look at this picture and I see neighbors I might know with their children standing as we do in line at the co op or coffee house. I see the children laughing and goofing around, happy and looking up at the adults to see who is watching them. I almost always find myself. Here in this photo I am wearing a black scarf on my head that has a white diamond pattern. I have my hand on my son's shoulder and he is leaning in to me and looking up and smiling and if you look you can just barely see that I am smiling too down at him in happiness and wonder. And there I might be if fate had not put me here. I might be standing in line in Ethiopia. I wish everyone well in this photo. They are so beautiful. I am in awe.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Book Report - The Hairstons

Beautifully written by a white outsider with no connection to the family, Henry Wiencek writes with a respect and a certain sense of wonder about the senior members of the Hairston clan, both black and white.
The Hairstons won the National Book Critics Circle Award for good reason. While taking us through the long and painful history of our country he manages to show us the humanity of the individuals involved. He opens the book with the handshake of two of the senior Hairstons clan, one the descendant of slaves who worked the plantation and the other the descendant of the slave holders. The handshake is friendly, the men seem to like and admire each other. And the author wonders if it's geniune. How could it be? But if it is a true handshake of friendship after years, lifetimes of unimaginable suffereing, then how is it possible? What came to pass? It took Henry Wiencek 7 years of research and interviews with hundreds of family members to answer the question. We have only to pick up the book.
Highly recommended!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Summer 08 - revised

This is my second post about our summer vacation in the midwest. The first was a long rant and on rereading it I decided it was not what I wanted to remember about our vacation. So I've replaced it with an image that I do want to remember about summer vacation - Q catching his first 'big' fish!

And therein lies the reason I love being a mom. The first post was basically a list of very adult type of complaints; airline delays, family squabbles, exhaustion, packing, etc. But when I look at our vacation through Q's eyes I remember fishing on the boat peers, cousins happy to see us, grandparents, swimming in the lake watching the tour boats come into port, a big hill of sand and a game of king of the hill, flying through the biggest clouds, music, wonderful junk food, sunny cabins, long walks along the shore with the wildflowers in bloom, yoyo's, marshmellows toasted over the firepit, ice cream stands on a road in the middle of a corn field, laughter, swinging in a hammock hugging my five year old while looking up through the tall, tall oak trees, visits with old friends and more, much more.

So thanks, Q, for your eyes and your sharing and your laugh. I remember now how much I love summer vacation.

Monday, August 18, 2008

What will you remember?

Lady Freedom Among Us by Rita Dove (
...don't think you can ever forget her
don't even try
she's not going to budge
no choice but to grant her space
crown her with sky
for she is one of the many
and she is each of us"

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Summer. This was last year when he wanted to have his head shaved. This year there's more hair and now that he's 5 1/2 a lot more attitude which is terrific as I love both his hair and his growing in-your-face attitude. We've been blessed with one of those children who own at a young age an inate and truly superior sense of humor. It makes flight delays and sunburns and bad food all good. Really. I wish every harried traveler could have a companion like him. Strapped into his seat for a an hour and a half and then being returned to our original airport because of mechanical difficulties (we were happy to go back - there were LOUD banging sounds going on the entire time) what did he do but make up funny songs. Songs about planes and being late (which we were, for the flight that would eventually return) and mechanical difficulties and airplane engines that double as espresso makers, lots and lots of songs. And jokes. At times we both laughed so hard we had tears in our eyes. Sitting in the front row of a small plane he every once in a while knocked on the wall in front of us. Just knocked while he sang and talked. Every maybe 5 or 10 minutes, a knock. After awhile I said to him, "You realize that is not the pilots cabin don't you?" His eyes got huge and twinkly. He had of course thought that was the wall separating the pilots from us. "I thought it was the pilots room!" "No," I said "you've been trying to annoy the coffee maker for the last half hour." He laughed so hard I thought the stewardess was going to get out the oxygen for him and so of course I laughed too.

I do not understand the craze for bringing dvd players on trips like this. Maybe it's because I'm a working mom but I don't think so. Really, what is better than traveling? Than leaving home and getting to fly above the earth to actually and truly fly through the clouds? I know what is better. What is better is to have the oppurtunity to fly through the clouds with a 5 year old and see the wonder in his eyes and in no small way feel it again myself.

At the end of the plane ride he said to me "Ya know Mom in your every day life you can be very serious. I sometimes forget how really funny you are."

What could be better?