Celebrating love

I fell in love over mystery meat,
sock baseball and opened dictionaries. 
During days colored by nerf battles
and snowy ice skating adventures,
my heart grew stronger and braver.
We went on adventures with Brian's hatchet
and into the woods with Piglet and Pooh.
Our friends called it playing house,
 we were building our home.

Happy 6th Anniversary to the love of my life!


Everyday Treasures

I'd always overlooked these flowers.
Blown bare by passing wind or breath
  I picked their white haired siblings instead.

Clinched tightly in his small hand
he holds them as his precious treasures
and gathers more with each joyful step.

They stand on hillsides, fields and lawns
surrounded by younger versions of themselves.
Confident in their undecorated state.

How many times during each day 
do I walk right past such prolific treasures
drawn instead to flashier things?


All I need

It is painfully clear as I follow the news that there are few guarantees in this life. Over the last days and weeks, I've buried my head under blankets, in my Netflix queue and in my work. No words that I've strung together have helped me make sense of the changes our world is undergoing. Like many of you, I've run through a spectrum of reactions. Awe, horror, fear, guilt, distance, tears, numbness, helplessness, shame, confusion...

Through it all, my cat waits every morning just outside the bathroom door for me to finish my shower. The children in my life are still sharing their adventures and discoveries with me. Yesterday, I saw a singing robin through the eyes of an overjoyed twenty month old who quickly made the word "robin-bird" his own. This is the same child who prefers to pick the naked dandelion stumps, the ones that have already been emptied of their seeds by the wind. To him, they are pocket filling treasures.

Today, I will spend my afternoon with a young four year old friend. He will ask me to play tickle monster and the "I love you game." The latter began one sunny afternoon when I was holding him in my arms and spinning him in the soft grass of his front yard. Feeling the magic of the moment, I looked at him and said, "Do you know how much I love you?" He nodded and held up his hand holding out his thumb and forefinger, stretching them about an inch apart. "Mmmmhmmm. This much!" he answered me with confidence. Shocked, I said "No!" and while smiling, I spread my arms as widely as I could, proclaiming "this much!" As he tumbled down onto the ground he grinned and laughed that deep from the belly laugh that I love. I adore that this has become one of his must-do activities when we are together.

That much I can do. I can make certain that the people in my life know that I love and appreciate them. My cat and my young friend know. Now, it is time to make sure that those who don't remind me to tell or show them are every bit as aware. I will start here, thank you for being a part of my world. The fact that you take the time to visit and read my words humbles and inspires me. Thank you!


Cat On A Hot Plastic Slide

There are some things we think we'll never say.  In my time as a teacher and childcare provider I've come across many of them. Often I've said them more times than I care to admit. "Let's wait here. We don't want to cross the street without your cat," wasn't exactly on my list. Still, as I stood at the corner of a well traveled street feeling the warm dusty air that the speeding UPS truck had just stirred up, I shook my head as I heard those words leave my lips.  My nearly two year old pal and I settled in to wait as we both looked over our shoulders and watched his cat, Lenny, approach.  There would be no rushing him, as you know, cats walk at their own pace.

This particular cat is a magical creature. He is certainly the feline king of his urban neighborhood. He wasn't with us as we began our walk that day, but neither of us were surprised when he appeared behind us on the stepping stones. My friend stopped for a moment and greeted him with some toddler style petting and then we continued along. Walking with this cat sends my blood pressure skyrocketing- he crosses the street without looking, he plays in strange yards, climbs all manner of fences and in the moments when I'm certain he's testing Darwin's theory, he lays down in the middle of the street. My anxiety aside, these are the very things that we love about Lenny.  This is a cat who lives life the way he chooses and he seems to fill his moments with the things that make him happy.

On this walk, he followed us across several well traveled streets. He disappeared into a bamboo forest for a bit, probably off to hunt for a mid-walk snack. My young friend and I waited for a few minutes and then shrugged and headed on. We walked further along the path, past backyards that housed chickens and roosters. We heard pouncing in the tall grass next to one of those yards and saw Lenny had caught up to us. Oh, how my pal laughed as he watched his cat squeeze through a fence and begin to weave his body in and out between the pickets.

Our destination was the neighborhood park and the playground where we spend hours of our weeks. This time Lenny walked all the way and joined us at the park. As soon as we stepped on to the freshly delivered woodchips, he jumped up onto the slide and began his adventure. The playground was nearly empty that day, but he worked his feline charms on the two children that were there. Their eyes danced with surprise as he circled their legs and bounded past them. Then he settled into the woodchips under the bouncing bridge where dappled sunlight painted his back as people stopped to admire him.

Simply put, Lenny inspires me. I want to embody his spirit of fearless exploration and joy chasing. I imagine him thinking, 'who cares if a car comes over that hill right now? The warm pavement and the sun feel divine on my fur.' He offers love and smiles to the people around him and then off he goes to chase a cardinal or a dancing leaf. I've watched him defend his independence and I've watched him celebrate it.