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.
“Mama?” my seven-year-old, Li’l D, spoke.
“My friend [M] said that the difference between my hair and [my little brother, Littler J’s] is that his is way bigger because it hasn’t been cut for a while.”
“That’s one difference,” I said. “Another is that his hair is fine, while your hair is …” I searched for the right word, understanding many words that seem neutral in the dictionary are charged in living color.
“Your hair is thick,” I concluded.
“Which is better?” Li’l D asked plaintively.
“Oh, sweetie,” I said, ruffling his thicker curls. “Neither is better. When I was little, my only friend who wasn’t my sibling–Topaz–had curly hair. I was so jealous of her curly hair. Then again, she wished she had my straight hair.”
Li’l D looked at his brother’s hair and half-smiled. “Oh.”
I don’t know if he believes me now. I don’t know if he’ll believe me later. I only know that (1) pre-pregnancy me of eight years ago wouldn’t have understood “dog whistles,” or the ways politicians invoke race without ever explicitly mentioning it, and (2) I believe it through-and-through. His curls are lovely. His brother’s curls are lovely.
One brother’s curls are fine. Another brother’s curls are coarse.
Both brothers are beautiful; either’s hair, only a fraction of that.
Saturday, 11:45 a.m.
As we inched toward Hollywood in traffic, I asked my husband, “Do you have a snack in your car? I need to eat something.” He knows my blood sugar’s been giving me grief recently.
“Don’t you have that apple?” he asked.
“You’re right!” I smiled as I reached into my purse for that green apple.
Saturday, 11:00 a.m.
My husband and I were on our way to our first date in months. We’d almost made it out the door when our seven-year-old, Li’l D, asked me, “Aren’t you going to take the apple with you?” He’d set a green apple in front of me a few minutes earlier.
“I don’t need an apple, sweetie,” I said. “But thank you!”
He looked so crestfallen, I put the apple in my purse. For show.
Saturday, 7 p.m.
My littlest one, Littler J, babbled with overtired zeal as we loaded him into our car. Li’l D was quieter in his sleepiness as he climbed into his car seat.
“Hey. You know what?” I told him. “I ended up needing that apple!”
“Told you!” he cheered. To himself, he murmured, “I helped.” His chest puffed out for a moment, leading my heart to swell in return.
“You sure did,” I said, smiling. “You sure did.”
My little boys love racing each other down a ramp near our house. Yesterday, much to my two-year-old’s chagrin, my seven-year-old, Li’l D, only wanted to run down twice.
“Could you please run down one more time with him?” I asked D. D, seizing the opportunity, said he’d run down it one more time … if I said I was obnoxious.
I weighed his proposal for a moment before mumbling, “I’m obnoxious.”
“What? I couldn’t hear you,” he teased.
“I’m obnoxious!” I said, much louder.
He grinned before racing down the ramp with Littler J.
“Again?!” D asked.
“I’m obnoxious,” I replied.
Both my boys laughed as they raced down the ramp one more time, and I? I laughed, too.
have so much energy,”
a mom told my husband
as she watched him and me
play with our boys
at the playground
a few weeks ago.
we have fun,”
I was saddened
by the exchange,
but not sure why.
I kept stepping.
“It really looks
like you’re having fun
with your kids!” a cashier
told me and my husband
a few days later.
(“It just comes naturally
to my husband,” I should’ve said,
“My mom really
had fun with me
and my siblings,”
I said, smiling.
I was saddened
by the exchange,
but not sure why.
I kept stepping.
my husband that
is just the sweetest.
“He said, ‘You can tell which
kids are so, so very loved,’
my husband relayed. Read more…
One of my sons is sick today. Because I am lucky, his grandma is watching him while his dad and I work.
The other son’s school didn’t open on time. Someone on the staff either missed an alarm or had an accident, and so my little one and I stood outside the school for 45 minutes before it opened. Because I am lucky, my manager laughed when I explained I’d be late. “What, you don’t want to leave him to fend for himself in the parking lot!?” he replied.
My son shrieked with glee when he saw his teacher, which made me smile.
Every day, I am able to either be with my sons or leave them with people who care. Because I have been unlucky, I am grateful to be so lucky today.