Skip to main content

Breathing

The house is just beginning to stir. I balance a load of laundry on one hip and tiptoe toward the laundry room. I pass Claire on my way. She is dressed and rummaging in the pantry in search of a pre-breakfast snack. My early morning girl. Lauren, still cozy under her covers, turns the pages of The Indian in the Cupboard. I peek in on her but she doesn't notice. Faith sits up in bed and pushes tangled curls aside. She dangles her legs over the side of the bed and rubs her eyes. The sun pushes through the curtains and makes patches of light on her feet and on the floor.

I pause at the boys' door and scan for dirty laundry. The room is dark. The sun will not make its way to this side of the house until the afternoon. John's stack of midnight reading and his flashlight are in a heap. I pick up a shirt and a pair of shorts and add them to my basket. John and Charlie are sound asleep. John sprawls on his back tangled up in his red fleece blanket. His arms and long legs stretch out. His ribs rise up and down with slow regularity. "He's so thin," I think to myself for the thousandth time. For a moment, I am filled with a familiar ache and worry. It is a fleeting thought. I watch his serene face, eyes closed under long, long lashes, and smile at the menagerie of animals that make bumps under his covers. Sweet innocence.

Charlie's fleece blanket lies crumpled on the floor. His sun browned body is tummy down a few feet away from John. He wears only a pair of Lightning McQueen undies. He breathes deep breaths and sighs softly on the exhale. His little rump and Lightning McQueen rise and fall with each breath. He has pudgy little boy legs and arms and a sturdy frame. I wonder at the difference in the build of my two boys. I watch them for a minute...two minutes...loathe to leave the tenderness that is in this room. Charlie rolls to the side and opens his eyes but he is not awake. A second later, his eyes close again and his hand covers his face. I slip out and give the night owls a little longer to dream. I feel my own gentle breathing as I continue down the hall. Peace.

Comments

Kate,

I love how you weave words together. This post made me tear up! There is just something about sleepy children that warms my heart. (And Lightning McQueen underwear!! That just cracks me up!)

Thank you for the Elizabeth/Mary comment. I had not thought about that, but I totally agree.

Love you all!
stephanie
L.L. Barkat said…
I was right with you the whole time. There's a poignancy, isn't there, in watching our children... knowing they are "other" even while they belong to our family? Beautifully expressed here.

Popular posts from this blog

Spelling Wisdom

One day while skipping around the internet, I came across these:




And when I clicked on the sample, I knew we had to change spelling curriculums. Again. Goodbye Spelling Power and MacMillan and Sequential Spelling! We've found our true love.

The problem with the afore mentioned curricula is sheer boredom. Memorizing lists of words is mind numbing and as my children don't like their school work to lull them to sleep, they often push spelling to the side in favor of more exciting lessons.

When I found Spelling Wisdom, I realized what has been missing: an idea, something to engage the mind so that learning the difference between than and then occurs almost incidentally.

Sandra Shaffer uses the writings of famous men and women (Helen Keller, Beethoven, Winston Churchill...), Bible passages and quotes from quality literature...poems and novels (Robinson Crusoe, The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, All the World's a Stage...) to teach more than six thousand frequently used word…

Rain

My sister-in-law lugs a heavy bucket of water around her herb garden, gives each plant a long sip. "It's been three weeks since we've had rain," she sighs looking out over the dusty vegetable garden and the shriveled brown grass in the pasture beyond. We help my brother pick beans and pull the weeds around them. The dry ground pulls back and some of the weeds snap off above the roots. We give up in the strawberry plants, sit on the porch, listen to the dogs pant.

We travel home in an air conditioned bubble. The whole length of the Shenandoah valley is crispy brown, the corn stunted. We pull into our Amish county driveway, greener here but the grass is short and the air hot. We breathe shallow breaths, unpack, crank the air conditioning. No rain in the forecast, three weeks and counting.

Saturday there will be a wedding, an outdoor wedding, and finally rain threatens. Stuart is on the phone with the bride. "Pray that the rain holds off," she says. Saturday w…

Until Death...

Kindred spirits, Anne would call them.  Two who complete each other, two who are better...best together,  soul mates one cannot imagine apart.  I can count the kindred marriages I know on a couple of fingers and after last week, that count is down by one.

"You look so happy," Dave says as Stuart and I stand awkward and wordless before him.  I bend down to wrap my arms around him and wonder, Where is the good in this?  Where? A week before we bumped into Dave and his wife, Deb, down at the Famous Brands.  Deb glowed with good health and good news and for the remainder of the day we basked in the unexpected good fortune of meeting these old friends.  And now there is Dave minus Deb.  How can this be?
"It is one of the mysteries of our nature that a man, all unprepared, can receive a thunder-stroke like that and live."  Mark Twain's Own Autobiography
"You look so happy." We do not look happy but somehow this remark makes sense because Dave has loved with …