Love Wins

For all the bad news in the headlines lately that I feel I need to protect my children from, it was with great joy that I turned up the President speaking to a national audience today without hesitation or censoring. I didn’t need to explain guns or wars or terrorism or reassure them that they are safe. I didn’t need to say anything really. Except this. Today our country made history. Today we said love is enough. Today anyone can marry anyone, they just need to love them because love is the thing, the binder, the joy, the truth, the strength, the peace. Love is universal and free and cherished and innate. Love is the ultimate destination in the pursuit of happiness. Always. Forever.

The best part? They listened to me then looked at me as if I had three heads. Because of course. They had yet to learn there were people in the world willing to set limits on someone’s love. They had no concept of the parameters society put up out of the constructs of fear. They didn’t realize that differences might be a problem because each and every day they are taught they they are different and different is okay, better than okay, that our differences are what makes us great. They have restrictions on screen time or sweets or how late they can stay up, not on the amount of love they can give or receive and to whom they can give or receive that love. They love their parents and each other and their cousins and their grandparents and their family and their teachers and Batman and Luke Skywalker and Minecraft and LEGOS and the beach and the ice cream truck. Why would someone ever tell them not to?

Now they won’t have to find out. Love wins. As it should be. Now. Always. Forever. For the greatest of these is love.

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The Weight of my Son

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My son stands in the surf regarding the horizon. His face is calm as he receives the waves, the wind, the sun. The lip of the ocean kisses his toes, embraces his ankles. He looks so small against the stretch of sand, the girth of the Atlantic, the enormity of the horizon. But there he is. Two legs, two arms, strong torso, blonde hair short but still tousled by the breeze. He is a piece. A piece smaller than the world but larger than the grains of sand under his toes. A part of the whole. He has touched the Earth, tasted its salt, felt its caress. He is my world wrapped in the blanket that Mother Earth provides. He is strong. He is smiling. He is mine. He is hers. He is here.  He has yet to make his mark, to consider his steps. For now he runs, he kicks, he plays, he breathes. He is free. I watch him in wonder and envy, remembering the safety that freedom provides before the reality and the worry and the routine colored my view of the same vista. He stands singular and becoming. A promise I made to the world. One day, many, many years from now, when he is grown and gone, the world will be older and different in some small way because of him. And somewhere, tumbling about in the ocean, there will be a few grains of sand that remember the weight of my son.

Lazy Days of Summer

Today was a lazy day. The little guy had a half morning of kindergarten camp at his future school and the eight year old and I spent the morning reading and hitting up the library and attempting to fold an origami yoda before we picked up the five year old. The afternoon was spent in a Wii tournament, playing games, building Legos and watching the rain fall. The boys are having a great time this summer. But the fact of the matter is that they are playing better and better together and so the demands on my time are diminishing.

The day I have been waiting for with baited breath.

So why am I so down about it? I should have more time to dedicated to editing, to read my own books, to finish yard projects. And I have done some of those things, but haven’t hit a rhythm. I still don’t trust the non-needing. I keep waiting to be wanted. To be needed. To be summoned. I loved playing Connect Four and Chinese Checkers this afternoon with the five year old, but then he moved on. And I lolled on the couch.

Great. Except not. I’m still left feeling a bit lonely in my crowded house.

I’m assuming this is just an adjustment period. That soon I will no longer be cleaning out folders in my office to keep busy and instead able to set some ground rules to accomplish real edits, finish my own projects. But it’s a strange, strange feeling. My boys are getting big. They are gaining independence. No one needs me to catch them in the pool anymore. They are arguing and negotiating and compromising (when they aren’t hitting and whining and tattle-taling). All things I want them to learn so that I can trust them out in the big bad world.

So we’re having a lazy summer. A summer of boredom and play and discovery and growth. For all three of us.

High Heeled Mama Reads: The Same Sky, Amanda Eyre Ward

First off, this book reviewing business is harder than I thought. Reading is my go to. My solace. My boredom buster. My company in the quiet moments (what are those again?). So I read. A lot. And there is so much other life happening that it can be hard to find the time and think through all I want to say about a book for you. A reader. A reader who deserves a thoughtful account in order to determine whether they want to spend their precious few quiet moments in the heads and hearts of a particular character or plot. And it’s hard to know what to say that might convey that and then time goes by and I’ve lost any real intelligent thought about the books I’ve finished. So, I will not abandon the effort, but let me just say I will save it for those about which I truly have something to say.

Which brings me to The Same Sky.

The Same Sky follows two parallel, yet seemingly unrelated stories – a nice device, actually, to keep you sucked in. Just how will these two disparate story lines merge? You know they have to, somewhere, somehow, or else what was the point? And so you keep following Carla, a Honduran child, abandoned by the adults in her life and trying to keep her and her younger brother alive; and Alice, a woman struggling with her inability to have children juxtaposed against the giant need for them while navigating an adoption system and process that has only led her and her husband to soul crushing disappointment. Add in some Texas barbecue, local Austin color, a horrifying trek across Mexico in an attempt to enter the United States and we’re talking beauty. Beauty in the ashes of the lives of two women, both still girls in many ways, both aged beyond their years in others, both navigating the world motherless, both wanting nothing but to believe in hope and to find that they are enough.

I want to write books like this. I find Amanda Eyre Ward‘s dialogue brilliant. Never too much. And what her characters do say? Boy, does it pack a punch. She has the unique ability of using simplicity to tell complex, emotionally fraught, horrifying at times tales. It’s a neat little trick and one I wish I could master. She tells you just enough, letting her reader fill in any necessary blanks, never lingering too long anywhere, but jam packing every paragraph, sentence, word with a sincerity and meaning that allowed the story to sit with me, whole and burning, in my mind and soul long after I put the book down. Alice and Carla are real to me. I picture them in their respective post-book lives. I wonder about them and imagine what their future holds. I hope the best for them.

The Same Sky is all you want in a story – heart-wrenching and true and an odyssey and a love story and an epiphany and home and loss and family and ending in hope, which is such a central theme to this story. Hope in the face of hopelessness, fighting for hope, hope that there is, in fact, hope somewhere, redeeming hope and hope redeemed.

I give this book five glorious stars out of five.

(When you finish this one, go read Forgive Me).