June 2020

Oh, D and C. So much is going on around you.

Thoughts like whiplash, yes and no and oh my and not again and yes and Jesus be near. Black lives matter. In defense of Black life, because life is precious and life is joy. Listen, read, fill in the narrative gaps, repent, rejoice, live the Gospel, sing the Gospel, and remember that in the United States of America, we are each Israel and Egypt and Babylon and Rome and Massadah and Herod and the-Holy-Family-on-the-run and bewildered disciples and pushy crowds and Pharisees and Pontius Pilate and centurions and bystanders at the cross and the apostles hiding upstairs.

I keep putting police reform in the context of church reform. How numbers and reports and research and experiences all point to obviously necessary systemic reform. Policing must change to truly be of service. Of course it must! How many priests and pastors have been abusive but hidden away and protected, and how many others have been good stewards but publicly vilified because they participate in a broken system that has gone far astray from its mission of service.

(We can talk about the history of the police institution after I learn more about it. It’s muddy, from what I understand.)

Really though, if we don’t fix the system as it is now, we aren’t protecting our neighbors whose safekeeping is our responsibility. We’re aren’t being good stewards this way. Because we’re made for each other – that is the greatest commandment – we’re supposed to do life together, in community. One body.

We must create equity and justice for every member of our community – our neighbors, friends and strangers – extending to each one the mercy, and grace which we also hope for ourselves. We must be wary of those who want us to forget or deny that we are all Imago Dei – for they are not friends of liberty.

These United States of America (where we live) are governed ONLY by the consent of their people. I do not consent to abuses of power by our police and our federal executive branch (they are OUR creations, after all). I do not consent to governance by anyone who believes that property is more important than people and that people are props. These dehumanizing attitudes threaten our community and our liberty.

https://youtu.be/hN1ui3LyFgc

If we are are to be divided (Matthew 10:34), let it be for the sake of speaking Truth, bringing Truth into our actions, making Truth our guidepost. The Truth that we are responsible for one another, for stewarding each person safely through this life, for making space for folks as they truly are and listening when they too speak the Truth. (This is the social contract where everybody is free and safe and does no harm.) And may we know that Truth is revealed only in part to each of us and, without listening to stories that aren’t ours, we can’t approach the whole Truth.

Let us serve each other – for we are made to grow in community, to do life together – and let us do it justly. If one is left behind, we will search and retrieve them, then rejoin the other ninety-nine. For each is as valuable as the other without exception. Full stop.

I love you, children. Daddy and I pledge to model service and offer you opportunities to serve, too.

Love, Mom

June 2020

Things you want to be when grow up

D, this morning you came into the master bathroom and told Daddy that you’ll grow up and become a very special dog trainer who can train dogs to go pee and poop in the potty. “Wow, that’ll be tricky,” said Daddy. You replied, “Yeah, but I can do it.” All this leading to a conversation about training bunny rabbits to use the potty and wondering if they would go pee on top of the car.

Recently, you’ve also expressed ideas like garbage truck driver, rocket operator, and one more that I’m blanking on at this moment.

Things you want to be when grow up

Make all things 🆕.

D, you and I are magnificent. And we are trouble. We love so hard and hurt so much. Our words are powerful, healing, and dangerous. I feel it – I know you do. Our touch is the same. Every night I wish I’d done something – at least one thing – differently for you. This is a hard time and we can do hard things. You are strong and sensitive and sweet. I love painting with you. You are a great artist.

C, I’m so sorry we made you worry. You asked if we were OK when I brought D back to bed. Yes, baby, we are OK. We are changing and tired and we are OK. I hope tonight your little nose doesn’t get so stuffy. I hope your dreams are of Moana-Maui-Megablox boats. I promise to pick you up quicker tomorrow. I have the time. You are so keen to play dough, your hands so ready to explore. And you are a deft little hugger and kisser.

Tomorrow we stay home and heal. I’ve been removing things from the calendar bit by bit because we need time together. We belong together and we are strongest together when changes come.

Babies, we moved here because Daddy’s work gave us a good opportunity. We didn’t move because we were tired of our Old Home. We moved because we knew we could make a New Home, albeit differently. No, we don’t have a pool in our backyard anymore. No, there are no mature trees in our neighborhood. No, the fish didn’t make it and Lola isn’t coming back. Yes, we found some nice people who live right around the corner. Yes, we will get another dog and more fish. And dig another garden. And find a preschool. And D, you liked playing with the neighbor kids at the playground. You even sort of liked the new childcare at the Pilates studio; C did not, not so far, not one bit. But C, how you love our stairs and playroom!

And we’re not done looking for a gym. We have time.

The pressure to have all this straightened out. I feel a million “should” shames. From somewhere inside me, my past, my pride, wherever. And grief – I feel the loss of our Old Home’s magic. It’s where you two were born and I began learning to mother you. What needs to happen next is centering and healing and building and strengthening. I am tricked into believing that I left behind my well functioning family – only tricked. In fact, you are right here with me. I am not adjusting easily. You have done better than I.

I asked our date to the park today if she ever thought maybe there was a particular age at which she thought she couldn’t handle her kids (asking for a friend). She had some very kind and true things to say about patience and taking away burdens.

Mercy, dear Universe.

C&D, I beg your pardon for when my words cut and my arms didn’t open quickly.

My little stars,

Together Mommy.

Make all things 🆕.

Dudes.

D, every day this week we’ve watched rocket videos. You are super into the SpaceX YouTube channel, especially the “just dreaming” ones, the models of future space travel.

C, you are still a super napper. Thank you. I’ve been resting, too. You can climb the ladder on the playhouse in the backyard and put yourself backwards down the slide. Your words are coming – you have always been good at watching or listening and copying.

Dudes.

Snot.

Everywhere. Pants, sleeves, shirt, shoes. Socks, towels, pillows, blankets.

C, you are happier walking. You talk and talk. You finally learned “Mama” and I’m no longer “Daddy.” You are happiest climbing or “up Mama.” The stepstool, the couch, the table on which the aquarium rests, the toilet. You laugh and make jokes and have the funniest high-pitched cackle when you’re wound up. You help a lot in your sweet toddling way. You pass Christmas cookies and water bottles to your big brother. You’d pass him those toys, too, if he’d kist wait another moment. You love giving Lola Dog and Cally Cat treats and kibble. You point at the canister and say “Tee! Dee!” You don’t really like getting in your car seat or anything else with a seatbelt, which sometimes makes getting Dougie to school on time a challenge. But you’re down to check out new places. You recently started protesting shirts going over your head, but you are interested in learning to operate socks and shoes. You like the slide and swings are kinda meh, so different from D. You ask for waffles, bananas, and snacks by name. Fox is by your side at every nap and bedtime; its name is “Wah.” Drinks are “doo” and belly button is “deedee.” Daddy had to let go of “bunky;” that was D’s word. You are obsessed with – and so good at – giving us kisses. Mmmmmmm-ah!

D, you are blossoming again. You are precocious and sometimes super snuggly. It is such a joy to watch you grow after an adventure. You napped in Michigan when your body needed it and you were an awesome travel buddy. Wish we had figured out sooner that there was an enormous touchscreen game right next to us at IAH, duh! You still have your jokes, my love. You make them up all the time – and songs, too. Your imagination is wild and fast and your feet can barely keep up with the stories you tell when you play. You are getting better at sharing and your brand new sticker chart will show it soon. You are also getting better at arguing and I bought the relaxing essential oil blend to prove it. You are teaching me not to take it personally. To look for the message behind the words. You take forever to get your shoes. You pedal your bike all by youraelf. You do your best to take care of your little brother, even when your attention isn’t welcome. You are so good with babies, like O and O. Do you miss Will? I know you love school and your tracher and you even like most of your classmates.

You both have these ridiculous colds that won’t stop. Neither of you wants to blow or wipe your nose even though I have gotten so good at helping gently. Both of you remain in good spirits…mostly. Both of you sleep through the night…occasionally. Both of you climb all over me all day, from the couch to the floor to the kitchen to D’s bed while we read bedtime stories. I am covered in kisses and bumps and hugs and tugs. So much closeness. So much smashing.

More cookie decorating tomorrow. And I hope the rain stops. Playing in the wet was fun today but the novelty may wear off. And Lola Dog wants a real walk.

Love you always, everywhere, no matter what.

Snot.

Harvey, from cat 4 to cat 1 moving away.

What a wild ride.

First the waiting. And then long, loud night. The children slept, were unimpressed by it all. The adults were wary but managed to close our eyes, too.

Husband is getting ready to walk the neighborhood, help pin up the neighbor’s fence. I am preparing breakfast for the children. There is a water boil advisory, of course, but we are well stocked with water and the office will supply us with more.

We are safe right now. We see limbs down and fences that need mending and neighbors moving about already. We have support. We can support the people around us. We are fortunate.

Harvey, from cat 4 to cat 1 moving away.

Nighttime in Texas

We are back from Oregon where we buried my Grandma Honey. We saw more family than we ever see at a time and Mommy ate more than her share of ice cream. When in Oregon.

Today we went to our friend’s third birthday party where we pigged out on sweets and overwhelmed you boys with people and toys. We brought him presents that he already has, but I don’t think he’ll mind. We played in a plastic swimming pool and with squirt guns and water balloons, enjoyed a bounce house (not you yet, C) and cracked a piñata (you were so gentle with it, D).

C, you cried and cried after you had to put your toy away for bath. Baby, batteries can’t go in the tub. You felt better after mommy hugs and clean pajamas. You listened to a story cover to cover (unusual for you – it was Mommy Hugs by Karen Katz) and then played peek with the second book. We turned out the lights and you nursed to sleep in my arms. 

D, you told me over and over that you love me. In the morning, afternoon, evening, underneath the moon. On cars, buses, planes, and boats. Even when we fight. You have been doing this lately, starting while we were in Oregon. Your eyes are closed and you are only half awake, but you say things like, “You’re a good lady, Mommy” and “You’re a nice girl, but you can be bad if you want to be bad.” In Oregon, you told me I’m a big rig, you’re a big rig, and C’s a big and that you really missed the really big big rig (Daddy). The third night escapes me now, but it included your chicken coop/coupe joke.

C, you are going to walk all day soon. You are brave. You can go hang out with all sorts of people for awhile…until you spot me again and then it’s Mommy time and I am so proud to scoop you up, you adventurous brute! Your heart is sweet and you lay down or cuddle up for snuggles even though you’ve just awoken from your nap. Your touches are softer and your smiles are bigger and your pats are so comforting. You are such a light.

D, you are such a good helper. You feed your little brother and keep him safe, read to U and mostly show her patience when she whacks. You let baby J wrestle you, make baby D smile by smiling and talking at him, and tried to stir up JR. You are kind to Piper and Susie and your animals at home. You like doing chores and forget about the sticker chart, even when you earn a chore sticker. You are such a good helper.

Boys, I am so thankful we are our family. I love you.

Nighttime in Texas