What To Read In August

What to read in August

This month the girls and I bring you, “If you liked this book, then you might like this one.” I had Hadley and Harper pull a book from their shelves, tell me a little something about the main character, then asked them to find another book with a similar character in it.

District 2-20140729-01111Hadley says she just loves that cat that comes over to play on that rainy day when Sally and her brother’s mom is out for the day.  She thinks he’s mischievous and fun – the best combination for a friend, according to Hadley (watch out, world).

District 2-20140729-01112Hadley thinks that if you like The Cat in the Hat, you’ll probably like Katy Duck Dance Star and really any of the Amelia Bedelia books. Katy, as you might be able to tell from the cover, has a certain idea of what one wears to ballet class and that raises some (funny) problems.  And Amelia?  Well, she means well, but she interprets directions so that there are messes of Cat in the Hat proportions (though she does have some incredible baking skills).  So, if you like The Cat in the Hat, you might like to meet Katy Duck and Amelia Bedelia.

District 2-20140729-01113Once August hits, Harper begins to talk about birthdays. Because, you know, hers is right around the corner. So we read A Birthday for Frances quite a bit towards the end of summer. Harper likes this story because Frances does a really hard thing and doesn’t keep the present she bought for her sister for herself (well, almost anyway).

District 2-20140729-01114Harper thinks that if you like A Birthday for Frances, you might like Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes, and Fancy Nancy and the Posh Puppy. Both Pete the Cat and Fancy Nancy have their plans changed in their stories. Pete keeps messing up his white shoes, and Fancy Nancy learns that having a pappilion puppy isn’t going to be as fantastic as she thought it’d be.  But just like Frances, Pete and Nancy keep putting one foot in front of the other and they show readers that life the way it is going, is pretty special. No matter what you step in, or what kind of dog you have, or how many gum balls you bought for your sister’s birthday and accidentally ate.

District 2-20140817-01146I chose the delightful story Hound Dog True by Linda Urban.  It’s about a young girl named Mattie Breen who loves to write and lost a pajama button she named “Moe,” and who makes friends with a gal named Quincy. Every girl who loves to write but who is timid and who’s been through the pain of mean girls in school should have a friend like Quincy. I had about three Quincy’s in my life and I don’t think I could write if it weren’t for them.

District 2-20140817-01147

If you’ve read Hound Dog True (or even if you haven’t), I recommend Sahara Special by Esme Raji Codell.  Do you see that cover? That’s Chicago. And that little girl? She’s Sahara and she writes stories that she hides in the library. This book is one of my favorite books of all time. Sahara has a teacher who tells her class that she doesn’t fail students. “You fail yourselves,” she tells them. I hope that I am as half as good a teacher as Miss Pointy. And the mother in this story is real, you guys. She is a hard-working, passionate woman who doesn’t know so much how to help Sahara but she adores her. The last scene with these two have me sobbing every single time.

One day, Hadley will read this book and I think she’ll keep reading it for Darrell, a guy a little like the Cat in the Hat (only way better).  But I hope the story of the mother-daughter story will seep its way into her heart.

And one day Harper will read Hound Dog True and when she gets to the part about Moe the lost pajama button, she will be breathe a sigh of relief to know that she has found a good friend in Mattie Breen, whose imagination and subtle bravery are just as enormous as Harper’s.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Guest Writer at Coffee and Crumbs

400882_4098634978638_435481582_n

There’s a new website in the world and today I am the featured storyteller.  Stop by and say hi?  It’s called Coffee and Crumbs. How could I not submit to a place with a name like that?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Around Here – Santa Fe edition

Santa Fe-20140801-01125

IMG-20140802-01135

IMG-20140801-01128

IMG-20140804-01137Santa Fe-20140801-01127

Santa Fe-20140801-01132

Santa Fe-20140801-01134Santa Fe-20140801-01129

Callie reading

SPU 2014 grads

A few pictures from last week in Santa Fe.  I got to see a lot of mountains. My friends showed me to the St. Francis Hotel where the most delicious margarita rimmed with smoked hickory salt was waiting for me (Sherri – smoked hickory salt. Smoked. Hickory. Salt!). I found a store called Poem, and how can you not go into a store with that name? There was a chocolate shop with the most interesting trinkets in it, including tiny Michael Jacksons hanging from shelves.

Oh, and I got to read a story of mine.  And graduate.  I can now say I have an MFA in Creative Writing.  My goodness, that’s a nice dream come true.  Very nice, indeed.

Posted in Uncategorized | 17 Comments

All The Pretty Highlights

Today is the day the wheels go up for Santa Fe and I head to my last residency, where I will graduate. So a post reflecting on my time as a Seattle Pacific University grad student would be timely. But over the weekend, I had a hair disaster of epic proportions so I’m going to tell you about that instead.

I wanted to color and highlight my hair so I bought a box with a  model on it that seemed to resemble my hair and skin coloring. I wasn’t exactly sure but don’t worry, I’m a savvy consumer. While Hadley and Harper played tag up and down the aisle at Ulta, I asked a lady who was sharing the aisle with me (and dodging my kids) if she thought this box was the right box to get. She said it was. She might’ve worked there, but I’m not sure.

I brought it home, took out all the contents, read the directions, and texted Jesse: Can you color and highlight my hair tonight? I don’t understand the directions and also it says that if I do it wrong something could explode. His reply: Sure. We need to take more risks in our life.

So we’re in the bathroom after the kids go to sleep, he’s cut a hole in a garbage bag and slipped it over my head so the dye doesn’t get on my t-shirt and skin, and I begin to tell him about David Sedaris.

He’s rinsing my hair after the first part, the all over color, has been completed when I bring Sedaris up. “Did I ever tell you about that essay where David Sedaris writes about a boil on his butt and his husband Hugh decides to take care of it?”

“No,” he says, “stop laughing. I don’t want to miss any color.”

“Well, the essay is totally disgusting and funny but it’s haunting, too. No topic is off limits for Sedaris, you know? But he doesn’t exploit. I mean, he doesn’t write a story just to write it. He’s examining stuff, you know?”

“Close your eyes,” Jesse says and sweeps his hand across my forehead and past my temples.

“I think he and EB White are my favorite essayists,” I tell him. “Anyway, Sedaris says this funny thing about how if he has a health problem, he just let’s it simmer until he’s paralyzed with fear, whereas Hugh complains about every pain immediately. Sedaris says Hugh’ll get a splinter and say he understands how Jesus must’ve felt. HAHAHAHAHAHA!” I can barely sit still I’m laughing so hard. “You have to read it,” I tell Jesse.

“I think the water looks like it’s clear,” Jesse says, helping me up from craning my neck at the sink. “Sorry if that was uncomfortable. We need one of those salon sinks.”

“I’m fine,” I say and look in the mirror. “Woah. It’s kind of red and purple, isn’t it?”

I blow dry it, as the directions say, and Jesse begins the next step: highlighting. I continue telling him about David Sedaris.

“I want to do what he does,” I say and Jesse pulls bleach through a strand of my hair. It’s blue to mark as a guide. “I want to be funny and haunting and I want to write essays.”

“Sounds good,” Jesse says. And then, “It says here to put highlights close to your face if you want to look younger. I don’t think you need that.”

“Eh, just do it. It’ll look cool.”

So he does and I tell him that I think Sedaris might be like Flannery O’Connor because of his examination of the grotesque except he doesn’t claim to be a Christian so maybe he’s not aware of the grace in his essays. “But I think it’s still there,” I say, “the grace. I think so, anyway. Do you think it’s OK if you don’t know if you’re writing about grace?”

“I think it’s OK to not always know what you’re doing,” Jesse says and I look in the mirror. My hair is very blue and dark brown.

“When you get to Santa Fe next week, don’t tell anyone that I compared Flannery O’Connor to David Sedaris, OK? Flannery O’Connor makes me cry. And she scares me. She makes me want to give up a little, too. Not with writing so much, but you know, with life. I see myself in all those freaks. I mean, take the grandma in A Good Man Is Hard To Find. I think I’m her, just being a nuisance all the time, and always worrying and not understanding any of it. I get on everyone’s nerves.”

“No, you don’t,” Jesse says.

“Yes I do, and I cry too much. And what if I figure out grace in the last few seconds of life? And did the grandma even figure it out? Ugh. Just don’t tell anyone about this, OK? I don’t get Flannery O’Connor and I think I get David Sedaris, and I feel stupid about it so don’t tell anyone.”

Jesse takes the gloves off and throws them in the trash. “I won’t say anything about David Sedaris or Flannery O’Connor in Santa Fe. Time to rinse.” He leaves and I’m in the bathroom blow drying my hair again and it seems to be getting more red because of the heat. When it’s dry, I flip my hair up and look in the mirror.

I’m not a screamer, so my reaction doesn’t seem dramatic. Not yet. But I walk downstairs to where Jesse is, sitting on the couch going through emails. He sees that I am crying, closes the computer and does his best not to laugh.

“Jesse,” I’m sobbing now. “What am I going to do?”

“Did you not see the box said, ‘red’? I thought you were going for something new.”

“I look like I listen to Depeche Mode!”

“Hon, you do listen to Depeche Mode.”

I get up and go to the bathroom to check my hair out again. Maybe it’s not so bad.

We had a bathroom once that we painted orange and it was so bright you could see it radiate from our kitchen. That’s what my highlights looked like. My hair was a dark, dark red with purplish hues and firecracker highlights.

“What am I gonna do?”

Jesse’s next to me now giving me a hug.

“I just wanted to do something nice for myself, you know? I’ve done all this work, the girls are going off to school full time, and I’m teaching again. I just wanted to step into this next phase boldly, you know?”

“Everything you do is bold,” Jesse says. “But if I had known that, I would’ve said to get it professionally done. Callie,” he holds both my shoulders and looks at me and I can tell he’s trying so hard to peel that smirk off his face. “I have no clue what I’m doing here.”

The next morning, I call the place I get my hair cut and tell them what happened.

“When can you come in?”

“Whenever you say.”

I’m there an hour later, and when I walk in the ladies all look at me with wide eyes. I point to my hair and say, “I’m the one who called earlier.”

Sarah snaps out a cape with the expertise of a surgeon and nods me over. They don’t even let me explain, or sit in the waiting area and read InStyle. Other hairdressers hover around sort of subtly and I think they’re jealous that Sarah gets to work on me and they don’t. “I’ve never seen anything like this before! Let me at her,” is what I think they’re thinking.

Tracy, the girl who usually cuts my hair, looks at me with slight disdain.

“What’d you do?” she asks.

“I’m sorry.”

“I tell you, stop messing with your hair.”

“You told me to stop straightening it.”

That was two weeks ago, when I went in for a cut and Tracy said to stop using a flat-iron on it. “I love straight hair, though!” I whine. “I want to look like Jennifer Aniston. I’ve wanted to look like her since 1994.”

“We can’t have everything we want,” Tracy said.

“I don’t understand those words,” was my reply.

Sarah flips open a huge poster-like magazine with about seventy five hair color samples. She immediately points to a brown color that my hair used to look like.

“We’ll do that,” she states.

“OK.”

There is a pause and Sarah looks at me. “Is that what you want?”

I look at my lap. I don’t mean to make this into a metaphor, but I don’t want to go back to where I started.  “What do you think I should do?” I ask Sarah.

She takes a deep breath and lets it out. I’m sure I’m at least ten years older than her, but today I feel like a kid. She taps on the loop of medium brown hair that she showed me before. She thinks one color is best.

Conversations are not easy to have at Extreme Hair, the salon that’s tucked in between Diamond Nails and a Mexican restaurant that serves margaritas in glasses that look like soup bowls. The ladies, who all have the most beautiful hair on earth, are Asian and English is not their first language. I love coming here because nobody makes small talk with me. But today, Sarah picks up on something in my face and asks, “You want highlights?”

“I do,” I say, trying to not to sound like I’m pleading.

“OK,” she says and gets to work.

The ladies begin to speak in another language and I quickly learn that there doesn’t seem to be a translation for highlights because that’s the only word I understand. That, and the giggling. It’s OK, I think. This is all going to be funny to me too, in a little while.

Tracy’s working on a woman who looks like she could be my grandmother or aunt, and I wonder if she’s Greek or Armenian. At one point, Tracy walks away and the woman lifts her cape up above her mouth so all we see are her cheeks and eyes. She holds it there until Tracy comes back with a flat iron, and the woman lets the cape fall. She shakes her head at the flat iron. I can tell she thinks it’s frivolous.

“I have to,” Tracy says. “You’re hair is big now. I need to smooth it out.”

The woman says nothing and Tracy begins. “I’m trying to help you. Trust me.”

I watch Tracy as she works her magic and about a half an hour later the woman, who I thought was pretty before, is stunning. Her hair is not complicated, but you can tell it’s a good cut. A well crafted cut.

The lady is smiling in that Mediterranean way I know too well. You know at the end of Karate Kid when Daniel is screaming, “We did it, Mr. Miyagi! We did it!” And Mr. Miyagi is sort of nodding vigorously and fighting a smile? Like that.

She stands up, still smiling, and thanks Tracy. Tracy nods as she cleans up, and the woman walks to get her purse. She pulls out a scarf that’s turquoise and green. It looks like what I think the sea in Greece probably looks like. She drapes it over her head, and sweeps the extra material over her shoulders and the scarf is striking against her skin and brown eyes that I can tell are still gloriously happy.

Some of the other hair dressers gasp after Tracy’s work has been covered up. “For her husband,” Tracy says, and we are all quiet as she pushes the door open and glides outside.

As Sarah finishes up with my hair, I think that all this is a big fuss. I think I’ve made a huge deal out of something small. After all, didn’t I just finish my coursework for grad school? Can’t I be happy with that? Aren’t I above all this now?

No. I am not. I might by shy. I might be introverted. But I am not humble. I am self-centered and selfish and I might’ve joked with Tracy about having it all but I want what I want. And right now Sarah’s giving me what I want.

It turns out that what I want is a hairstyle that was trendy around 2000-2001. I understand that as Sarah finishes blowing out my hair. I look like Snooki.

But I’m smiling. For real smiling. Because you know what? I’m going to embrace it. I wanted something different and this is something different. This makes a statement. I bet Snooki is the grandma in A Good Man Is Hard To Find, too. And I hope I don’t start to understand grace moments before I’m offed, but I damn it, I earned an Master in Fine Arts. I am learning to sit in a world where I feel “wholly alien although [I] love it still.”  Maybe the Misfit isn’t all that bad. Maybe he’s read All The Pretty Horses and was crushed by John Grady Cole’s realization “that in the beauty of the world were hid a secret. He thought the world’s heart beat at some terrible cost and that the world’s pain and its beauty moved in a relationship of divergent equity and that in this headlong deficit the blood of multitudes might ultimately be exacted for the vision of a single flower.”

I might be the grandma, but I’ve found those words because of Seattle Pacific University. They make me scared, and ashamed. They make me cry and they make me see a little bit of grace before it gets dark again. I’m clutching onto them as I make my way into this world.

Ridiculous highlights and all.

Posted in Uncategorized | 18 Comments

Right Now

District 2-20140717-01071{savoring} those feet that don’t touch the floor yet. When I snapped this picture, it felt like someone pressed a pause button on my soul. I’ve been worrying a lot about what’s next with writing, and teaching, and then Harper starting Kindergarten. It feels like the end of an era. I’m excited for what’s ahead, but it is my nature to have a plan so I can be prepared for the excitement.  “Control the fun,” like Monica Gellar says.  But you can’t do that.  You’re out in the world with your kids and you come home for lunch. One kicks her shoes off and throws her socks on the floor just like her daddy, and one kicks her shoes off and goes to put on purple socks just like…well, just like her because nobody else is like her. And anyway, you’re making peanut butter sandwiches and they are sitting there talking and you notice their feet freely swinging and you grab the camera and take a picture because good gracious, those cute feet don’t touch the floor yet!

{writing} my thank yous at graduation next week.  Before each graduate reads, we get a chance to say thanks to those who have helped us with our words.  There are a lot of you to thank.

{running} four thirty-five minute runs/week and one sixty minute run/week to get ready for the half-marathon my cousin Tara and I are running this October. I hope to increase that amount in a few weeks, but in Santa Fe I can barely breathe and I’ll be happy if I get three twenty-five minute runs in that week. My favorite runs are those that I can do in the morning while the neighborhood is waking up.  It feels like I’m in on something with the deliveries going on, and the steam coming out of the bagel shop, and the stoplights shifting to the beginning of a rush hour schedule.

::Six Years Ago:: Goodbye, Friend.

::Five Years Ago:: Trying New Things. At Growlers, where new things ought to be tried.

::Four Years Ago:: Rollin’ in Rockville. Harper and I hang out while Hadley is off at VBS.

::Three Years Ago:: Worst end to a birthday party. Ever.

::Two Years Ago:: Writing about shoes before I leave for Santa Fe for the first time.

::Last Year:: And leaving again for Santa Fe.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Not Here, over there.

Washington-20140719-01080

I’m over at The Glass List talking about a play that was directed by my good friend Cara, and that’s part of the Capital Fringe Festival.  Come say hi?  There’s beer.

DC Brau

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Poets at Work

Tweetspeak Poetry arrives in my inbox every Saturday morning, and while I prefer to read things I love on paper, I eagerly delve into the website’s newsletter.  Each weekend morning writers share possibilities for playing with words, telling stories, and ways to notice all that shimmers (or perhaps look at a thing until it does shimmer).  It’s like recess.

Last week I read that Wednesday, July 16 was Take Your Poet to Work Day, and the website offered a free coloring book filled with different poets that we can color, cut out, stick on a popsicle stick (or maybe one of those cool hipster red and white straws…are those hipster?), and go to work with a poet.

District 2-20140714-01054I printed out the coloring books for Hadley and Harper, then added a few blank sheets of paper for them to add pictures or favorite phrases of poet’s on, then slipped the pages between two pieces of card stock and tied it up with yarn.  We headed to the library for a poetry hunt.

District 2-20140715-01055District 2-20140715-01056We found a bunch of books with Emily Dickinson and Langston Hughes in them and thought we’d start with those two.  Hadley also found some books of poems on Frankenstein.  I’m pretty sure Mary Shelley would roll over in her grave if she knew about these.

District 9-20140715-01059The girls colored their pictures of Langston Hughes and flipped through some of the books with his poems in them.  Harper was very concerned about getting his blazer color correct. I told her that probably, he wore a variety of colors.

“Did he wear sparkly blazers?” my child, who has decided to wear fairy wings wherever she goes, asked.  I told her I didn’t think he had blazers with sparkles on them, but I wasn’t 100% sure.

I read some of his poems, then asked which words the girls liked.  Harper loved the words, “sweet silver trumpets,” from Hughes’s poem, “When She Wears Red,” allegedly written by a gal he once knew in high school.  Hadley loved “Low….slow/slow…low-/stir your blood./Dance!” from “Dance Africane.”

District 2-20140715-01061Here’s Harper’s picture of the girl with the red dress on.

District 9-20140715-01063District 2-20140715-01064We also took a look at Emily Dickinson’s poetry.

District 9-20140715-01065Harper had a hard time understanding her poems.  She likes to look at the pictures that accompany the words.  It’s always interesting to me to see how much more she grasps (and grapples with) when there are pictures on the pages.  But since she is still learning how to read, it was hard for her to focus on Ms Dickinson.  I think she’ll like her in no time, though.

Hadley thought this poem was nice:

“There is no frigate like a book./To take us to lands away,/Nor any coursers like a page/of prancing poetry./This traverse may the poorest take/without oppress of toll;/How frugal is the chariot/That bears a human soul!

She made this picture after she read the poem:

District 2-20140715-01066

After Hughes and Dickinson, we decided we were getting a little hungry, so we walked back home for lunch. As we walked, we heard Motown coming from a nearby restaurant and as she always does, Hadley began to stomp her feet and shake her hips to the beat (that girl’s hip shakin’ are going to be the end of me, I swear it).

“How’d that poem you liked go again?” I asked Hadley as she danced. “Slow, low, boom, what was it again?” I’d completely forgotten.

“It went like this, Mama,” Hadley began and she clapped as she said: “Low,” clap, clap, clap, “Slow,” clap, clap, clap, “slow,” clap, clap, clap, “low.”  She turned around and said, “Stirs your blood.” Then she jumped in the air and exclaimed, “Dance!”

I think she tested Dickinson’s theory about words living the moment they are said today.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

What To Read In July

What to Read in July

 

IMG-20140713-01050

Hadley suggests you get yourself a copy of Ivy And Bean and The Ghost Who Had To Go.  “It’s about a ghost,” Hadley tells me with a dramatic pause, “IN THE TOILET!”  Oh, the giggles, and oh man, that poor haunt.  Here’s a trick I’ve learned about dealing with children’s fears: it is impossible to be afraid of a thing if you introduce the words: toilet, poop, toot, anything that has to do with a bathroom, really.  Toilet paper works well, too.

Hadley wants readers to know that there is also a really strict gym teacher in the story, but that this is OK because sometimes you need strict teachers. She doesn’t want anyone to be afraid of the teacher who seems a tad grouchy.

District 2-20140713-01051

Harper thinks Oliver by Judith Russell is the book to read this month.  If you look closely at this picture, you might guess why.  Harper and Oliver both have on a pair of wings. Harper’s are fairy wings and Oliver’s are clearly not, but they both hope to use them to fly. Oliver, like Harper, has a vivid imagination and readers get a chance to see it in action in this story.

 

Of course summer is the time to delve into a chunky book that’ll keep you sitting on your porch while the fireflies dance around, but I’d like to suggest you head over to The Glass List where I am honored to be a part of the group of ladies that write about all sorts of things we find delightful.  Today, I’m writing about a bookstore and a very large piggy bank.  I hope you like it.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

On the YouTube screen

13984023497_2f7a0da7d5_oOn my goodness my Listen To Your Mother performance is up! Check it out here.

Superbuns for life.  Let’s make it a hashtag!

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

The Best Place To See Fireworks

There’s the top of the apartment building on Lake street in Oak Park; the one that’s really more of a tower and you can see most of the Chicago west suburbs from. I was up there one July Fourth with my friend. We’d been on a mission that night to find as many fireworks as possible, not an easy project as most of them go off at the same time. After racing around with little success, she suggested we go to the top of the building on Lake and watch them from there.

Would we have been a seniors in high school, or had we graduated? Was she getting ready to go to Maryland and I to Calvin? I wish I knew because we’ve known each other since we were five and she was my buddy: The girl who took my mind off the pain of getting my thumb stung by a bee on the Pilgrim Preschool playground, my partner in an American Studies project that, when we stood up to present it, we got the giggles over the word “gangrene,” a terrible aliment, but my goodness it was a funny word to us at sixteen. She’s the one sitting next to me on the front page of the Oak Leaves. We’re laughing and holding our dozen red roses in our white dresses on graduation day twenty years ago. I wonder, when I look at that picture if others can see that our smiles seem shaky, that they’re the shy smiles of a friendship trying to be mended. I’d not been nice that year, to her, and to a lot of people, but now I wonder when it was that we stood and looked at the fireworks. Was it before or after we’d patched things up? Which Independence Day was it that we stood above those sparkles that would never be able to touch us because we were way too high?

There’s Lake Michigan, near the pier. (Is it Navy Pier? I don’t know, it’s been so long.) WXRT used to play music to accompany the fireworks that flew over the water. That year, I took the architectural tour where you get in a boat and float down the river and listen to facts and anecdotes about the surrounding skyscrapers. I happened to get a ticket for a tour that occurred at dusk and just as we sailed out onto the lake, the lights to the city’s buildings showed up against the purple-y orange sky that would soon give in to a blanket of navy. I’ve written about this moment so many times and I don’t know if I’m lying when I write that the group I was with convinced the docent to stay out on the water so we could listen to XRT and watch the fireworks. I don’t think I am. I can see the tour guide’s face so clear as we pleaded – it was the most animated I’d seen him – a slightly excited smirk, like he knew now was his chance to take a break from all that scripted information and watch this beautiful wall of buildings become characters. Like those monsters in Where the Wild Things Are.

I also can’t remember who I was with. Was it a boyfriend? My best friend? My dad? Had you gotten out of work early and met me on those steps at Wacker and Michigan? I’m sorry I don’t remember who you were but did you think that skyline was the best it’s ever been? Can you think of a better place to watch the day end?

There’s the hill on the corner of Clopper and Germantown, a few blocks from the Soccerplex in Maryland. The hill’s steep enough so that sitting on a blanket or lawn chairs is incredibly uncomfortable and your view of the fireworks pop up between the two streetlights across the street. This isn’t where you’re supposed to watch them. You’re supposed to go to the soccerplex where the real show is, but when you have smallish kids who haven’t mastered the art of sleeping in, it’s hard to motivate yourself to keep them up until it’s dark so they can see flashes of light for fifteen, maybe twenty minutes. So we went to a less crowded place and waited; the girls chased after fireflies with some family friends while we chanted, “Soon, soon! The fireworks will start soon.”

Then the first BOOM and that sizzle sound and Harper said, “OOOOO,” and I’ll never be able to capture her delight and surprise at what she saw for the first time. She was sitting on my lap and each time a firework shot in the air her legs clenched, squeezing my legs, just as she’d done when she was a baby and I had her on my hip. I’d reach for our front doorknob and she’d tense up, excited for what it was she would see next: a ladybug, a daisy, the blue sky. Her legs gave my waist a squeeze and I would fling our front door open to the stairwell and think, “Yes, yes! What will we see for the first time all over again? What will she show me?”

“Does this happen every year?” Harper exclaimed pointing to sky where the lights blossomed between changing streetlights that seemed now to be joining in the show.

“Yes,” I told her, “it happens every year.” These bursts and streams of of light happen every year, no matter if you’re looking for them or not, if you’re ready for them or not, if you deserve them or not, they come every year.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments