And We Find Ourselves Back at the Beginning

Hi, everybody. Are you good? Did you have a nice summer? Or have you forgotten summer now that most schools are in session so you’re busy pulling out the sweaters and warm boots because YAY I DON’T HAVE TO SUNSCREEN THE CHILDREN ALL THE TIME NOW? I hear you. I mean, I’m not in a hurry, or anything. But the mornings are now quiet without the singsong of our neighborhood birds. The light is different–almost flatter, if that makes sense–and the air outside seems subdued. The season is changing over, quieting down. And I think I’m happy with that–I love autumn–even if, in my world right now, a quiet season doesn’t always mean a quiet life. I owe you an update on my mom. I’ll post something more detailed soon, but in a nutshell, she’s beaten her prognosis (we’re now almost a year out from her diagnosis), has completed treatment (other than a twice-monthly chemo infusion to keep her brain swelling in check), and is working to get her muscles stronger so she can walk…

This is Why Some People Make Fun of Religion

Quinlan walked into my office the day after Easter, pursing her lips like she does when she senses deep, deep injustice in her presence. “Mom,” she said. Her tone was accusatory. “The jelly beans that were in our Easter baskets were the same ones you had in the pantry.” She wouldn’t break eye contact with me. “Mom,” she repeated. “Why are the jelly beans the same?” The time had come. I gulped–actually made a gulp sound–and half-heartedly tried to cover my (er, the Easter Bunny’s) tracks: “Well, honey, jelly beans are the same all over the world. It’s not like there are a bunch of different versions of, you know…jelly beans. So it makes sense that I’d have the same ones that were in your Easter basket.” She looked at me, then sat down beside me in such a manner that I was pinned between her and the side of the couch. She didn’t say a word for a beat or two. Then: “I know about the bubbles.” “The what…

Knowing the Way

A few weeks ago I dreamt my mom and I were sitting down to dinner in a lovely, cavernous restaurant. Our table was a two-top beside a far wall. The room was decorated in a mustard-beige hue, and there seemed to be an auditorium stage on the opposite side from us. The wall I faced, across the expanse of the restaurant, was not a wall at all, but made up of huge, large-paned glass windows that gave us a view of the dark world outside. I can’t tell you what was behind me, the space that my mom faced: in my memory, it was just gray, blank–a vacuum. I do remember rising from my seat to wave at a family I knew from school as they entered the room and sat down. They didn’t see me, though. The diners, including my mom and me, were very quiet, subdued. We were in a room full of people but it felt like we were wearing noise-cancelling headphones. Mom that night looked like the Suzie most of you know: blonde bob, bright blue eyes, wearing blue jeans with blue shoes and a top bursting…