Saturday, May 26, 2012

Moving On Up

Our little guy turned two last month.   And today, in an impromptu trip to Ikea, we bought a big boy bed. The assembly was messy with a screwdriver wielding toddler helping us tighten all the screws (and a few other things).   And, then we went upstairs and, with that same toddler's help, disassembled the crib.

And, I felt a pang.  The tiny little baby we brought home at 7 pounds 12 ounces and 20 inches long is now a 28 pound, just short of three foot, curly headed boy.

The days go slow and the years fast--and that big boy bed has been the first big step away from baby.  I hope that he is ready.  I am not sure that I am...

This big boy/baby dance is a tough one.  It's exercise for the heart...because someday, if we do our job right, that bed will be empty and our big boy will be a man.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Cream of Wheat

Cream of wheat, the way my mom made it, was an off white puddle of hot cereal with a spoonful of margarine and a generous sprinkle of sugar.  The margarine would melt and then spread into a moat around the edge of the bowl.

It would be far too hot to eat at first, so I would scrape my spoon around the edge--gathering up the margarine, sugar, cereal richness that collected there.  Again and again, I would repeat the same rotation around the margins--each bite being a bit cooler than the last.  It was a favorite breakfast, a far superior riff on the familiar theme of cereal (it was usually cornflakes and I still don't understand why she would pour the milk before calling us to the table--the science of how each flake would somehow retain a semblance of cohesion, while simultaneously being completely soggy, is completely beyond me).

Familiar rituals...marking points of each day, each month and each year.

From cereal mornings to rodeo mornings--each day had a pattern that was familiar and comforting.  It was the variations from the usual that frightened me.  The too big, the too loud, the too much.  The uncertain parts that exploded with my mother's moods.

Yet, somehow, there was always a bowl, and a spoon, and a task to focus on--sometimes as simple as the dredging of a moat of margarine.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mom's Jewelry Box

When I was little it was always a big adventure to get to go to "the dump".  There was no garbage pick up where we lived, and so getting rid of our trash meant going to the local landfill.  Our blue pick up truck would be full of plastic garbage bags filled with refuse, and hosing out the maggots from the back of the truck was a disgusting chore.

But, we loved going to the dump.  Sure, it smelled and the flies were awful.  But, treasures could be found.  My sister and I would skirt the edges of the heap while our dad threw the bags of trash out of the truck and occasionally we found things too good not to drag home.

It was my brothers tho' who found the best find--a jewelry box.  They brought it home and gifted it to our mother.  It was a black faux leather material.  The lid hinged up and a small drawer slid out.  In it my mom stored all of her treasures.  We were forbidden to play with it and it held the place of the sacred in our house.

Gradually, as we grew older she began to trust us with the borrowing of some of those treasures--earrings for a school dance, a necklace for a family gathering.  But, I guess in some ways it was a misplaced trust--for, children are children, and I still feel the slow ache of regret when I remember losing one of a pair of rose shaped coral earrings.

It is that pain of regret that cause me to hold things lightly--because, things are not people and even irreplaceable things hold less value than the hands and souls that imbued them with that value.  Things end up in the dump, and are scavenged by the picking children and birds.

I do wonder tho' what became of that faux leather box and its treasures and long for it in an unexpected way.  Perhaps, it is because the things are all that are left when the people are gone.

And, in case you wonder if this trash picking was an anomaly...

Friday, May 11, 2012


Last Christmas my mom sent several of us the Harry and David fruit of the month.  Since her death I have received: a pineapple and, today, strawberries.

They are, quite honestly, the largest strawberries I have ever seen.

But, the thing I noticed (apart from the pang of reading "love mom" on the lid of the box) was that the box reads, "happiness delivered".

Too bad it doesn't quite work that way...

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The High Cost of Two Mothers--How Having Two Moms Affects Our Child's Financial, Physical and Emotional Security

I am married.  Regardless of what any state says or what anyone claims--my wife and I are married.  And, many of us have already claimed the right to be married. The key is whether the government recognizes the marriage and then offers the 1,138 benefits that the majority of folk are able to take for granted. 

To see these benefits head on over to

Further, the NY Times has an article on financial costs of NOT having these benefits (it's almost a half million dollars, fyi) at:

So, do we eventually say, sorry we can't help with college honey...we spent the money to make sure that if something happened to one of us the other wouldn't have to fight for the right to bury one of your moms, keep you and make decisions about your medical care and enroll you in elementary school...?  

Ohhhh, what we could do with even the conservative estimate of a little over 41,000!  (Pay off student loan debt, send our son to an awesome preschool, jump start a college fund, family vacations, give to fight poverty, hunger and homelessness...)

Off to go write a check to another organization lobbying for GLBT rights and protections...There goes the babysitter budget.  

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

North Carolina, Guess We're Not Vacationing There Anytime Soon...

At the end of the day
We just want our rights to take care of each other
In sickness and in health
For richer and for poorer,
To be protected.

At the end of the day
We want the child
That we planned,
To be protected.

At the end of the day
We want to be able to rest
Secure in the knowledge that, should the unthinkable happen,
We will be protected.

At the end of this day
We wait for the day
When we will be protected...

Mother's Day--Just Another Sunday

We never made a fuss over Mother's Day while we were growing up, or since as adults.  I don't *think* it was the expectation and it certainly wasn't our family's tradition.

As an adult with a child of my own, we've turned Mother's Day into a celebration of our family of two mothers and a son.  A celebration of our love--but, most days are that, a celebration of our love that is.  So, Mother's Day is fairly low key.

This year, as a mother without a mother, I am wondering how to best deal with other's expectations--within the context of honoring folks expectations of what church should be like on mother's day.  I would prefer not to mention it at all--it's not a religious observance and I really think anyone who is still waiting on the timing/planning of her mother's memorial service should get to just skip it.   But, it's not my parish, they don't know my story (and I'm certainly not in a place to share it, nor would I at this point)--and I do think this sort of external affirmation of motherhood is incredibly important to many folk.

Internally, I'm going "wah!  I don't want to!"  But church, and this, is oh so rarely about me.  It's about us...our collective yet individual longing/yearning/being with a relational God (and more, so much more).

We'll see...we'll see.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Stinging Nettles

Today I'm looking forward to our first CSA (community Sustained Agriculture) box.  I've been waiting, it seems, forever for the harvest to begin and for the fruit (veggies!) of the farm's labor to enter our diets.

This week we are getting: parsnips, sunchokes, chives, green garlic, overwintered spinach, black radishes, French breakfast radishes, sorrel and

stinging nettles.

Yes, stinging nettles.

I'm sure I can use that as a metaphor...or a sermon.

But, it's reminded my of the panini we enjoyed as children.  The panini (prickly pear cactus) appeared in literal islands of thorny cactus in my Tutu's pasture.  We used a tin can on a stick to pick the fruit.  My parents would then hose down the panini to get off most of the thorns and then peel and carefully examine the fruit for any thorns that may have been missed.

We lived in fear of having one of the long, sharp needles of the panini skewering our tongues.  It never happened, but we knew it was a possibility.

The panini were delicious...and our fear never kept us from devouring the sweet fruit.

Kind of like life, no?

The fruit is the red bulb on the side of the cactus "paddle"--if you want to pronounce panini correctly it's pie-neee-neee.  But, I'll try not to wince if you don't say it that way...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Other Side of the Altar

He lunges from my lap
A foot grabbing for purchase
A reaching hand

um, um, um
He wants the bread

He has already tasted it
A crumb on his baptism
Now a fistful presented.

Wait, wait.  I temper
He stands in line, wait.
He longs to rush ahead.

God's bread
For you.
He clutches his prize.

Not understanding
That it is freely given
And, just enough is given.

But not more.
And, he is hungry
Bordering on lunch.

And God's bread,
Has merely whet his appetite.