31 January 2011

Inside.

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One more day of being stuck inside, as Alex continues to battle the dreaded virus. We'll all be crazy by the end of the week, because there's a blizzard on the way that will presumably close schools for a day or two. I don't try to take photos of the kids very often, at least not "real" photos - usually just candids. They don't care much for being my models, usually, but today I think Bean's hit an all new level of boredom. She didn't flinch when I asked her to let me pose her and play portrait photographer. Peabody's shot was simple - I just waited for the garbage truck to arrive, and then I got my camera and followed him to his usual post by the windows along the side of our front door. Voila!

They are very lovely little people, even if I'm honestly getting a teeny bit tired of looking at them. (Grin.)

30 January 2011

Touch.

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She had a few days off between, but Bean has been sick again this weekend, with a fever. She's a tough cookie and an unusually good, cheerful patient, but this time she's clearly felt quite bad, and for several days. Makes a Mama sad to see that, and elevates my need to touch and hold and fuss over her, which she accepts readily. I remember my own Mom and how she always made being sick a special thing for my sister and me, and I always felt especially well-loved and cared about in those times. I'd love my children to remember that about their childhood, as well.

29 January 2011

Friends.

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Last weekend, the day I was sick, Al walked a package into our bedroom and plunked it on the bed beside me, grinning.

"Oh wow! For me?" I asked, excited even though I felt like plough mud. Worse than plough mud.

"Yep."

I opened it, and inside was this pretty little reminder of friendship from my secret sister. She's holding daisies, which are a symbol of friendship and love. I keep her on a table by the window in my room, and she's among the first things I see when I wake up every morning. What would I do without my friends?

28 January 2011

Cracked.

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Clay jars get used metaphorically a lot. I'm pretty sure this one is just a clay jar, though. (Smile.)

27 January 2011

Happy.

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Last week I was struggling to make the decision about whether or not I could honestly commit myself to fundraising and training for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure this year. I cried and prayed and looked at pictures from the 2010 walk, and finally, I opened up to my teammates and asked them to help me decide. And they listened, and waited for me to finish crying, looked me in the eyes, smiled and hugged me and said, "Yes." And so I am. And I'm happy with that decision. So, so happy.

This post is featured as part of You Capture: Happy, hosted by Beth at I Should Be Folding Laundry.

26 January 2011

25 January 2011

Bleak.

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I'm sad and tired and when I look up and around, as I did when I went to take this picture, to figure out exactly where the sun hangs in the sky, I can't see it anywhere. It's just nowhere, only still everywhere, diffused for now with this thick, heavy bleakness. But, inevitably, there. It is there.

24 January 2011

Circles.

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I missed taking a photo yesterday thanks to the stomach flu. Doing much better today though, so I decided to make up yesterday's post by sharing two photos today from some work I'm doing to teach myself about depth of field.

I love marbles. Love their shine and color; love the sounds they make when they're dumped out of their jar onto the floor, or when they click together quietly as they meet, or when they roll across the floor or careen down a long, winding track (that's what Matthew was doing with them when I took the picture of his feet). I love the beautiful hard, defined boundaries of each sphere in contrast to their swirly, thunderstorm-brewing cloudy insides.

I played with these particular marbles growing up, when we'd go visit my Aunt Faye where she lived on my Grandaddy's farm in South Carolina. My sister and cousins and I would sit on the carpet in her shady, quiet den, and we'd arrange the color-filled marbles into pictures of flowers and butterflies or Santa Claus, then proudly show them to our great Aunt and our mothers and await their praise. When Aunt Faye died some years ago and Dad and Mom helped clean out her house, I asked them if she still had those marbles. She did, and they brought them to me, in the same glass snifter, with the same rusted round metal lid, riding along in a bucket on the floorboard of my parents' car. And now, thirty-something years later, my kids spend happy hours scooping and pouring and sorting and scattering them.

22 January 2011

Ick.

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Poor baby girl was up all night last night throwing up. Thankfully Daddy managed most of the fun, so Mama could get some sleep. Love you Daddy! Bean is better this morning but still limp and pale, so she'll get to enjoy a day of lying around watching TV and resting under the "special blanket" I made her for Christmas. Posting this one early because Bean and Peabody are inseparable when she's not at school, so I expect my boy to be about 12 hours behind his big sister in stepping up to the old barf bucket. And he won't accept anyone but Mama when he's sick.

21 January 2011

Normal.

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We woke this morning to a temperature of negative seven. And life went on as usual. That's how it goes here, even though my Southern soul rails against it, and my fingertips are on fire with icy stabbing pain 10 steps down our short driveway when I go to pick up the mail mid-day. Bean comes home from school later in the day, drops her grubby, well-worn gloves on the kitchen counter, passes right by the thermometer that reads negative two (!!!), and goes on about her business as if this is all just completely normal.

God help me, I'm raising a Midwesterner.

20 January 2011

Tracks.

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I have a boy. Who plays with cars. I don't know why, but sometimes, even two and a half years later, I walk in on a scene like this and it still surprises me. WOW! HE'S A BOY! He's so fast, and so growly and dangerous, and SO STUBBORN, and he leaves little traces of his boyishness everywhere (especially on my HEART!), and I love every one of them.

19 January 2011

Balm.

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Even better than learning to read, Bean's learning to write.

We've always had this bond. (I know, who doesn't have a bond with her daughter, right?) She can read my moods (sometimes, when she wants to!) Yesterday was a tough day, and there were a couple of moments in the late afternoon when I felt like parts of me were short-circuiting or something, and I just sat down at my desk and went BLEEEEEEEEH. A few minutes later I walked into the kitchen, and there stood my daughter, holding this out to me. "Here, Mama," she said, and she threw her arms around my waist and squeezed. You lose sight of who you're raising sometimes because you're so busy doing the raising. I got a glimpse yesterday from a different angle. I'm raising someone very special.

17 January 2011

Warm.

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A cold, snowy MLK day at home. Good friends, hot soup, cocoa with marshmallows, and lots of laughter.

16 January 2011

Bright.

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These two faces made me laugh and smile all over myself today. And their hair looked really good, too. Both of them! It's a very rare day when we have both heads of crazy curls under control at the same time. Peabody is totally all ears and eyeballs for a few days after his Dad cuts his hair (which he did this morning), and I can never seem to stop myself from rubbing his little head as if it's a crystal ball or a fuzzy puppy. Completely irresistible.

14 January 2011

Raw.

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You let down your guard, of course, when you come home. I took a lot of pictures today of a beautiful urn I bought last week to put on the kitchen table. I quietly clicked away at it, harvested the photos and started editing. But then in a long pause of quiet thought as I sat here at my desk, I realized how vulnerable and raw I feel today. There's always this micro-fragment of the biggest one-time soul-shift of my life, from daughter to mother/wife, each time I leave my Mom and return to my family, and today I feel the in-between-ness of it. Not being all the way in or all the way out of a role, I'm slightly adrift, unmanned, like a boat broken free from its moorings in the silence of a still night. I ditched the urn pictures, even though they were so much more comfortable to look at.

13 January 2011

Ritual.

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I take a long hot bath in my own bathtub within hours after returning from any trip. I'm not all the way home until I've done it.

12 January 2011

Strength.

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“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power." -- Unknown

In the quiet of my mother's house, clocks mark each passing second, and strike away the hours. Life keeps upping the ante with each tick, and I carefully study my insides to find out what undiscovered part of me will arise and respond to its next chime. Last year my mother fought cancer. My grandfather died. And was I enough of me, but enough of God, and enough of bone and muscle and heart?

All I know is I'm still here.

11 January 2011

Ice.

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Crystalline shells over brilliant red, bright and tender leaves I vaguely worry will darken and wilt under the close protective glaze of ice. And as I took these pictures, I was too close to see for sure that the focus was where and how it should be. These were my dilemmas as an amateur photographer. They are also my dilemmas as an amateur mother.

10 January 2011

Care.

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I'm learning that I take out my camera and hide behind it in moments when there's nothing else I can easily or naturally say or do, or when I'm afraid to feel what's there in bold-face to be felt. I won't be in the moment now, I will suck it up into the camera, distracting myself with composition, lighting, angles. And later, I will go there, in a moment of my choosing. This is often how I write, as well.

09 January 2011

Flying.

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I traveled all day today. Big plane small plane, airport-airport-airport. Alone. My feet move so much faster when I can just let them find their own pace, and so even as I walk, it feels like I'm flying.

06 January 2011

Legacy.

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Grandmama FriedOkra's china, Grandmama Clover's silver. I should be so fancy and elegant! I shook so hard as I took these down from a high cabinet yesterday that the tea cup rattled in its saucer. These are too special for a klutz like me, but, as I think about it, also way too lovely to sit unused in the dark.