Many years ago, I bought a box of antique fans at an estate sale. My mom gave me the dime being asked for them.
Before I found the box of fans, I’d complained about being dragged along to sales with my mom. After I found the fans, I felt decidedly more pro-sale.
My older son, Li’l D, discovered the fans a couple of years ago. At least once a month, he’s asked to look at the fans. I even gave him one of his own, and promised him the fans if he still wants them when he’s much, much older.
My husband, Anthony, has witnessed these exchanges. He’s seen the little cardboard box that’s housed the fans for decades and, it seems, decided a better home was deserved. He made that home himself.
For years, I felt my mom when I took out the old box and thought of the gifted dime that bought its contents. Then I felt my mom and my oldest son while sifting. Now, another layer of connection has been added. Anthony is part of the experience of these fans, too.
Someday, Li’l D will pull a small green box off a shelf. When he does, he’ll remember a little of my mom, and a lot of me. And he’ll think of his daddy, too, and how Daddy once sat down to make a fan box in Mommy’s favorite color.
Out behind their grandmas’ house, my two little boys rocked back and forth on a two-person swing. I smiled as I walked nearer; they’re really growing into friends.
“Don’t take a picture!” commanded my seven-year-old, Li’l D.
“I wasn’t going to,” I said. “I’m trying to take more pictures with my heart these days.”
“That’s good,” Li’l D replied. “Sometimes kids just want their privacy.”
“I hear you,” I said. I do. From now on, I’ll only post about Li’l D with his permission, save perhaps in rare cases where his part in a vignette is peripheral.
Minutes later, I climbed into my car for a rare date with my husband. As I did, my mind was on those two boys swinging in the backyard.
Little by little, they’re getting bigger. Sometimes it aches to see how quickly they’re growing. Times like yesterday, though, my heart simply swells that I get to see them grow into their vocabularies, opinions, and friendship … no pictures required.
I could write a beautiful, poignant 1,000-word version of this post that’d keep me from my kids for a couple hours. Alternatively, I could write a more succinct, less illuminating version that takes me only ten minutes. I’m opting for the latter.
My sister Rache and I are very similar in some ways. She’s an ASNAC nerd who took me to the Jorvik Viking Center on my one trip to England, so we definitely diverge in some ways, but … in many ones where it counts, we’re clearly cut from the same cloth. Read more…
For 90 minutes each weekend, I leave my phone at home and join my family for our weekly grocery shopping. It’s my very favorite time of the week.
For 90 minutes weekly, I notice the temperature, the direction of the breeze, the looks of joy and frustration on the faces of those who pass by. I see nuances of the world around me and its peoples, not some pale, paltry electronic version of these.
Last weekend, my two little boys sat and shared what they call shaved ice. My husband and I waited for my family’s favorite farmers market vendor to return with our order.
“Excuse me,” an older woman standing nearby said. “I see you every week. Your boys? They’re so sweet! Every week, they make me smile.”
I touched my heart as I said, “Thank you.”
“I thought you should know,” she said, smiling as she turned and disappeared into the crowd.
Once or twice, I’ve seen people frown at my boys and their antics. The frowners are irritated that they must have their quiet, solemn post-joy lives temporarily shattered by the unpredictability of youthful lives still (and hopefully always) fully lived.
Far, far more often, by a factor of at least ten times, I’ve seen people smile, giggle, and even laugh outright. The week my seven-year-old repeatedly called my almost three-year-old “Mr. Scrotum” definitely helped with that!
(“No, no! If you feel you must call him that, save it for home!” I chided. “But better still, just don’t do it at all.”)
I know some people see grocery shopping as a chore. For me, it’s a joyful yet calming reminder I’m not apart from the physical world I live in, but very much a part of it.
I’ve smiled many times this last week, but nowhere else as wide as I did when I was told my children consistently make one woman smile. ‘Cause, see, we’re connected, and that doesn’t change just because we fail to see it.
(My husband chuckled about our typing our separate narratives on other sides of our rental home: “That’s how I met you! The other side of the clickety-clack.”)
Please see other #WeeklySmile posts here
I laughed and wept, both alternately and simultaneously, as I read Angie Thomas’s
For a couple years now, I’ve witnessed as names become hashtags. I’ve seen people killed twice over:
when breath was stolen
from their bodies;
when their lives were stolen,
too, swept away by words like
“no angel” or “drug dealer” or “thug,”
as if an entire life
is worth no more
than its worst
I’ve understood how a person, once painted an “offender,” is seldom understood as worth one more thought. I’ve struggled to explain how
each life taken
is a loss insufferable,
a. loss. of. a. whole. life.
(that could have been anything)
When I read the fictional-but-not-really-fictional, staggering, powerful The Hate U Give, my whole body sighed. I saw that this is how people understand the life behind the death; the years of needless hate behind a moment’s sanctioned bullets.
While this exact Khalil never lived in this flesh-and-blood world, he lived in a heart that bled onto pages. Those pages are now being read by thousands upon thousands of people. And this Khalil, though he lives in heart and page, represents many who lived
Once upon a time, each of these people lived and laughed and cried and yearned. Their ability to do these things ever again was stolen from them, but you and I? By remembering them, we can change the world.
By remembering them, we can
Many thanks to Alison Doherty for the recommendation