Saplings

They grow, they emerge.

Gifts blossom like seeds into flowers,

and sometimes they burst out like an explosion.

Fears creep up like vines and work into their walls because

they are still porous, still hardening into what they will become.

And in a pack of four,

one shades the other and one leaves water for the bigger one,

like a forest where the trees all look out for each other.

And I can tend and rake and pour and prune,

but the weather comes from God above and I am rooted into one spot too,

and those saplings move away with the current of the earth as it shifts.

I see one stronger,

there’s a weaker one there, one bends harder in the wind and one is solid as an oak.

To think I never would have known the smell of the leaves or colors of these mixed trees

Had they not been born or grafted here.

They are glory

to my eyes.

And I like for

people to see them.

 

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His Birthday and Her

When my daughters had their birthdays just four short days apart last May, I remembered like I do once a year every year, vividly, the day they were born.

I remember the feelings, the pain, the dark room, my husband’s presence, the mystery, the profound knowledge that very soon our lives would never be the same. I remember the blood, the dizzy, the terrifying pain, and a warm little person on my bare chest. I remember the exhaustion, selfishness that was being shredded from my skin as if my skin itself was being torn off, that moment the labor pains began in a process that might not end until that sticky selfishness is all gone or until I die, and I suspect the latter will come first.

I remember the sunshine, our family, our slightly larger family, the spring irises and peonies in bloom, old house smells and the new cribs bought with love by my in-laws. Waiting for sunrise, rocking to the warmth of a life in my arms, packing lunch for a weary husband before the sun showed itself, pulling covers over my head with her cry and crying just as hard as she was because all that pushing and carrying and stripping off of self is hard on a body.

Two birthdays out of the year I remember all of that and I smile. My girls are tall, beautiful, happy, smart, and they both want to take communion at church now because they believe that Jesus is real and that His shed blood gives them new life.

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And then there’s that day in November. I remember that birth just as well as the other two, but differently. I don’t think of blood or pain, no dizzy, no black vortex of labor and babies coming out with joy and the hardest physical work of my life. I just remember the black smartphone, ringing early and me waking to my husband’s voice. Walking into the bathroom from our bed and not able to even see the light because I knew that we had been given a son.

Given.

I remember waiting, half hope, half terror, and waiting and waiting and waiting some more. Waiting as my husband talked on the phone to the person unexpectedly brokering this gift, waiting on the longest mile car-ride in the world, waiting in the elevator, waiting behind the nurses station. I twisted back and forth in my spinning chair and tried to hold on to at least one of the million thoughts swirling around in my head like glitter in a water globe. My husband sat still with his jaw set but his eyes just barely shined with hope.

And I will never, ever forget walking into a barely-lit hospital room to meet her. I sat by her bed, close to her face, with my back turned to the door. She was beautiful like all women are after they’ve given birth. She was a fellow mother, and she wanted to do right by her son. There was a look of certainty, pure beauty, and pain on her face all at the same time.

And so she signed some papers, and I spent the next day with our new baby boy. We named him Jonathan after the courageous, God-loving man in the Bible, and Haven, after his daddy and his daddy’s daddy and his daddy’s daddy’s daddy’s uncle.

Three years later, I think of her every so often, but especially on the day she gave birth to my son. I pray that one day we can meet, just one more time, so I can thank her and tell her how much we love her.

She gave my family the greatest gift one human can give to another- the gift of a life. And every birthday of his I get to remember, and the thought of him, and of her, makes me bow my head a little, and smile.

Three Degrees This Morning

She wanted to make breakfast this morning and asked if she could mix up some orange juice, she saw the concentrate in the freezer.

I said to myself heck no-

but I said yes.

DSC_0075-3The table was a mess of stuff in boxes and jars.

The orange juice was fantastic.

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And so was the day.

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When You’re Clear On the Other Side of the Country For A Week

I walk into that airport with space and free hands,

and I need something to fill them both with because they don’t know how to be empty.

Or maybe it’s me that feels empty.

~

Except for a thought, something that splashes up hard against my chest when I will a smile

as I wave goodbye to my girlie, clear on the other side of the country from home.

~

So I write it on paper because writing is a photograph of sorts to me,

like when the light shines perfectly on something everyday and turns it into gold

and so I press the shutter so I can remember before it goes.

~

This is my photograph from curb of the airport,

from the decision to move these feet to the ticket counter,

and through security and into a coffee line and over to a chair facing airplanes:

 

That I wouldn’t trade one day with you,

Not for all the peace and quiet in the world.

Because you braid color into my one-strand little world.

And I love the shade of you.

Dr. Squeaky, The Exclusive Interview

Dr. Squeaky was on the scene of a scary outbreak over the weekend. We followed him to the makeshift hospital where he kindly let us photograph a day in the life of one extraordinary physician.

Dr. Squeaky with Spring the Bear

He’s a regular hero in these parts, seeing all patients regardless of species, sickness, or ability to pay.

An assistant to the doctor

“My team is the real secret behind everything I do.”, he admits.

His six year old nurse makes up the daily census.

Patients wait for a chance with the physician

Her five year old counterpart is responsible to assign name tags and directly assist Dr. Squeaky with diagnosing.

With a patient population this diverse and so acutely ill, Dr. Squeaky says there isn’t much they haven’t seen.

But Dr. Squeaky and his team work tirelessly. They won’t stop until every patient is seen and treated.

Dr. Squeaky is modest about his success.

“I just do what my helpers tell me to”, he jokes.

But the pile of grateful animals tells the real story.

And that’s just another day in the life of one extraordinary physician.

A Winter Spring Break

My kindergartener has spring break in February. It makes no sense to me.

It makes even less sense to my kindergartener. She was especially disappointed when she realized that her big sister, the playmate of her soul, does not have spring break until… spring.

Last night I told Doc that I foresaw a long week ahead for my girlie and myself. This morning she proved me right.

7am, Monday morning:

  “Mama, can I stay in bed today? I don’t want to get out of bed if Sissy isn’t going to be home.”

7:15am, Monday morning:

“I’m bored”

Me: “Your sister’s not even gone yet.”

Oh, yeah.”

8:05am, Monday morning:

When is my birthday again?”

8:25am, Monday morning:

Is it Friday yet?”

And that’s how the day has gone, all day long…

They are so going to the same school next year.