Simplicity

The Arby’s forced air felt blessedly cool after two long, hot days at an amusement park and Lake Coeur D’Alene and two long, hot hours in the Suburban being bombarded in the back of the head with shrieks, questions, and complaints.  We spent the previous night in a hotel room with five children and if that doesn’t make you feel just a little bit sorry for Matt and I well then you have never spent the night in a hotel room with five children.

The man wore one of those veteran ball caps that displays the emblems of past service and a slightly dirty white t-shirt stretched tightly over his impressive belly.  He leaned over the half wall between our plastic booths and surveyed us, once again crammed into a space too small for us, children covered in ketch-up, baby Xavier banging the table with both fists from his awkward perch in Matt’s lap.  The kids animatedly discussed whether the fake tree in the middle of Arby’s was a “real” fake tree or a “real” real tree with a fake bird’s nest because OBVIOUSLY the nest was fake.  Duh.

“Are they all yours?” he asked me.

“No, not weally,” Quinn piped, always willing to spill our life story to the nearest stranger.  (I wonder where he gets that tendency?)  “We have four kids. That’s not our baby. He’s our foster baby.  He just lives with us.  Last week we had another baby, but two babies was too many. He had to sleep in Dad’s office. He left but Xavier will stay until he can go to his family.”

I threw him a weak, wide-eyed smile over the monologue.  “We have a complicated family, but we have a lot of fun,” I told him with an apologetic shrug.

“Sweetheart,” he said, “I have four children in Texas who don’t speak to me and I can tell you something.  It’s not that first word that matters. It’s the “family.”

 

It’s so quiet in our house this week.  Quinn, Saige, and Garrett are at sleep-away camp.  I have a quiet glass of wine beside me and I’m watching the Outlander premier for the second time (Do NOT miss … Starz. First episode is free on-line. You’re welcome.) and I can’t stop thinking about this small, quick moment in Arby’s.

To family.

 

By the numbers

Once a month kind of borders on pathetic.  I am not writing, I’m barely taking pictures, and the days flash by in a crazy haze.  Ten days in Arizona.  Zoo Camp. Swimming. I am writing for Mamalode every other Friday.  In my first piece in June, Ripped, I shared a little bit about what it…

Love letters

Matt found a love letter in a wall of the new house.  It’s dated August 14, 1935, still tucked securely into a stained envelope faded yellow-brown with age.  The purple 3 cent stamp is perfectly preserved.  Carabelle gushes romance and love to Dick: the pretty moonlight over the lake is only missing you. She calls…

Getting there

I watched Nate walk into preschool today, pumping assertively up the front steps because he was so proud of his brand new Sketchers. The lanyard declaring him “dropped off” hung to his knees and his orange hair matched the orange T-rex on his shirt, which matched the bright orange piping on his new shoes.  Something…

But my heart, Anita

Where to begin?  It’s so cold. Our unplowed neighborhood streets are frozen into icy ruts that funnel the van into a lane of traffic like I’m driving one of those amusement park cars unable to veer more than a few inches left or right of the designated track.  I worry about the kids’ fingers freezing…

Two ladies on the internet

The thing I love about blogging is the connections with other women.  Because I write this life journal essayist thing on the internet, I met Ann Imig, who started a national show featuring and celebrating motherhood and I get to be a part of it.  Because I write and enjoy the writings of other women,…

What if

A photography team flew from Seattle and took pictures of the kids and me last Friday.  They arrived promptly at 10:30 a.m., two tall, youngish men, dressed in that casually rugged and yet still so stylish way that is popular here in the Northwest. Not Carhartt, Matt played with an excavator on the land all day, casually rugged. …

Rolling uphill

So, I’ve been stressed.  Mostly good stress, busy with kids and things I love to do stress, but still I haven’t looked at a writing project in weeks.  I don’t know what I expected. I have a part time job facilitating toddlers and their parents at our much-loved cooperative preschool.  I have a baby, who it turns…

A stitch in time

This December was the fifth annual gift exchange for a group of women – the group of women – my group of women – here on the border of Idaho.  I have made other close friends in our nine years in this sweet, cold, little city, but there’s something special about the women you meet when you…

Someone like you

She didn’t show again today. We packed his things in my old diaper bag backpack for the second time this week during the morning packing rush.  Pack lunches, pack homework, pack library books, pack snacks, and then Graham’s bag.  Nate likes to help – diapers, wipes, a change of clothes, his binky and a spare,…