Preserving Fall Leaves




This weekend was so beautiful and uplifting. Andrew was out of town Friday and most of Saturday running a marathon in Indianapolis with one of his brothers (their second in less than a year!), the boys had their open houses at school on Friday night, and we found ourselves surrounded by neighborhood friends on Saturday morning. As we waited to hear from Andrew, we milled around the back yard and eventually went for a walk around the block to collect leaves. The colors of fall are in full swing, so we decided to take advantage. And as soon as we finished this activity, Andrew’s message popped up on my phone: he had qualified for the Boston Marathon! We were so proud and happy we started cheering right then and there in the kitchen! Way to go, Andrew! Continue reading “Preserving Fall Leaves”

Our Bodies


Sally Mann: Self Portrait with Husband Larry

On Halloween Day, I stood at the kitchen counter prepping for a healthy dinner (an attempt to offset the outrageous amount of candy my children would surely be consuming later that night) when something stopped me in my tracks. I was listening to an NPR interview with hospice chaplain Kerry Egan, who was discussing life, death, and the strength of the human soul. Life and death and the strength of the human soul is on my mind every year around this time as the anniversary of my father’s death runs like an undercurrent, like background music to my autumn.

But what stopped me was less about death, and more about life. About how we take for granted our beautiful, functioning, healthy bodies, and what someone who is dying can teach us about loving those bodies. From the transcripts:

EGAN: The woman who really shocked me the most was young. She was in her 40s. I’m in my 40s, you know? She was my age. And she was dying. And she had two young children and a husband. And we were in this – she was in the hospital. Some hospice patients if you can’t control their symptoms are actually seen in an inpatient unit, so sometimes when people talk about like a hospice house that’s an inpatient unit. And sometimes those inpatient units are freestanding, and sometimes they’re in a hospital. And this woman – her pain was so bad that that couldn’t be controlled at home which that’s saying a lot. And that’s the kind of pain she – this woman was in. And so she’s in the hospital, and the room was dark. The room was dark because she couldn’t even stand light.

And she said, you know, more than anything else what I’m going to miss – it’s not my children and it’s not my husband. It’s my own body. She was like I – I remember she was holding up her hands and this like very gray light coming through the screen on the window. And she was holding up her hands looking at her hands, and she said I have to leave it no matter what. No matter what I have to leave this body. Like I can rage against it. I can be angry. I can bargain with God. I can do everything I can, and there’s no getting around it. I have to leave my body and this – and remember she’s in enormous pain right? She’s in like bone cancer pain. I mean, she’s in pain.

And she takes her hands, and she just starts like rubbing her arms, you know. And she’s like rubbing her chest, and she rubs her face. And she says and I love this body, this body that, you know, went swimming and had sex and made my babies. She was like my body made other human beings. She’s like and I have to leave it. And she said I’m just going to miss my body so much. And I never even appreciated it. I never appreciated it until now when I’m in like an excruciating pain and can’t even stand the light. And I have to give it up. And, you know, as a young woman myself that kind of changed everything. That changed everything for me.

Let us mothers in particular let go of the harsh perceptions we have about our bodies, our scrutinizing eye for imperfection, for the disdain of flabby bellies and fat ankles. Those bellies carried life. Those ankles carry us all day where we want to go, without complaint, just doing what they do. These bodies, may we cherish the time we have within them.

Scenes from Montessori


It goes without saying that the Montessori method has become a huge part of our lives over the past two years. After moving all three boys into the same program, we have experienced nothing but joy watching them learn and develop in ways that are respectful and thoughtful to their developmental stages, ways that are respectful to them as human beings with free will and an innate desire to learn and conquer new skills. I can’t say enough about this model of education. Continue reading “Scenes from Montessori”