school is out and our first morning of summer break starts slow. the boys sleep in until eight-thirty. they make their way down stairs with their blankets and bedheads. we have a long, slow breakfast of scrambled eggs and pancakes. i sip coffee as we talk and laugh and plan. with every story they share, my world grows in size. the baby sits in her highchair blowing raspberries with a mouth full of food. the dog scratches her bowl waiting to be fed. my heart swells as i recognize the beauty in this moment. my three little souls safe in our nest. together. happy. thriving. this summer nothing will be forced. we’ll allow life to unfold organically and gently.
happy seven months together my beloved trifecta. every month that passes we find more reasons to love you…
jt: you’re all about playing golf on the wii this month. we laugh because you are so competitive. i’m pretty sure you get that from me. actually, you remind me so much of myself in so many ways. the other night you came into our room after having a bad dream. i laid you down next me and we quietly talked about it. you told me that you dreamt about boheme drowning in the swimming pool. you were hysterically crying. don’t worry buddy. it just means that you love her so much that you can’t picture life without her. thank you for loving her as much as you do. you’re such a special little guy.
kingston: your sense of humor is amazing. you make me belly laugh daily. your favorite thing to do this month is carry on conversations with me as if we are strangers. the other day while you were swimming I asked you if daddy heated up the swimming pool. you said, “who’s that, you’re husband?” knowing you started the game without telling me, i answered, “what do you mean kingston?” you replied, “oh oh oh oh oh I’m not Kingston, I’m i’m i’m jim the swimming coach, but but but but you can call me coach. I’m just waiting for my student donnie to show up. then I’ll walk right into your house and meet your husband. okay?”
boheme: you are always smiling. and happy. and lovely. you are pure magic. pure light. i still catch you looking up at the ceiling communicating with your angels. you love tubs with me and kingston. you love rolling around on the floor to get to where you want to be. you love sitting up but you’re still a little wobbly. you love your brothers. your face lights up when they play with you. i tell you a hundred times a day how loved you are but it still doesn’t seem like enough. remember, words are never enough.
our girl. she joined us six months ago and has quickly taken her place as the beloved baby sister. she is perfectly comfortable being the burst of pink in between her brothers. the burst of joy that penetrates the entire house. everyday she grows and our family ties intertwine. as we twist and tumble together we become stronger. how to be properly thankful for our girl, will remain one of nature’s secrets.
a day without laughter is a day wasted.
photos taken by my friend, keram malicki-sanchez. i’m the luckiest to have him grab my camera from time to time.
june 3, 1946 to may 3, 1996
your passing has made me both stronger and weaker. when you first left, i had to learn new ways of existing in this world. it was clear to me that i would always miss you. that you would never walk me down the isle. that you would never meet my children. in the early days, i picked up the phone to call you a couple of times–only to realize you wouldn’t answer. now, i know other methods of communication.
as you watch down on us today, I want to tell you that your grandchildren know you. they know you’re happy. they know you were sick. they know you got your wings. they know your favorite song and all about your “gym bag”. they know about the cracker game we used to play, and that you used to say “ruff” instead of “roof”. they know that your left arm used to twitch and that you had a burn on your other arm. they know you were a lawyer and then a cab driver. they think it’s cooler that you drove a cab.
today we mourn your death, but every day we celebrate your life. did you see the spaceship to heaven that jt drew at school? he said when he is older he is going to build it so he can come see you anytime he wants. i tell your grandchildren all of your jokes. i give them all your advice. i show them all your love. you are alive in this home…
boheme, this is the ocean. what do you think? does it scare you with its deep, dark secrets? does the sound remind you of when you lived inside of me? can you feel the salt on your skin? can you taste it on your lips? do you feel different here? look boheme, this is sand. do you like the way it feels in between your toes? boheme, see the seal swimming in the ocean? do you notice how peaceful he seems? Boheme, that is a boat. this is a sandcastle. those are clouds. here is a salty kiss.
“I don’t want just words. If that’s all you have for me, you’d better go”
-F. Scott Fitzgerald
i have to admit, this monthly progression shot is getting harder and harder with these three. jt and kingston only agree to lay down for the photo with the understanding that there will be a snack afterwards. they can’t sit still for more than thirty seconds before they start wrestling with each other–boheme in the middle. speaking of boheme, she refuses to stay on her back these days. as soon as i place her in between her brothers she immediately rolls over onto her belly. the boys start shouting, “rolling baby” and all hell breaks loose! i reposition them. i bribe them again. boheme yanks their hair and scratches their faces, which sends them all into a fit of laughter. i stand over them pleading, “look at the camera and smile, just once, please guys, stop hitting each other, you’re scaring the baby, no rolling boheme, look at mommy’s cool camera, take bo’s hand out of your mouth, okay that’s it no snack! kingston put your clothes back on.”
finally, i give up and pray that i got at least one good shot. the boys are gone in a flash–back to playing and wrestling. i breastfeed boheme while looking through the photos and i smile. i see that it is worth all the bribery, begging, and pleading for this one shot each month. now if you’ll excuse me, i need a nap!
boheme, i took you on our daily late afternoon nature walk today and, while watching your soft, delicate, dimpled hands touch the world around you, there arose a feeling of truth from our familiar path. a truth so obvious that it has taken me my whole life to learn. a truth i want you to know from the start.
as human beings, we can be so complicated and rarely say exactly what we mean. rarely show exactly how we feel. never truly touch life. i can’t even tell you how many times, after an interaction, i have been left confused and struggling to understand what it really meant.
but nature is unconcealed. like you at five months old, it holds nothing back. it will be your greatest teacher so stay close, watch, and listen. watch how trees blowing in a storm show you their strain. listen to the birds proudly sing their song, unafraid of what the other birds might think. watch how the plants and animals thrive without technology or modern luxuries, showing you what the real world really looks like.
now our walk is over and we are home. you are in a deep sleep beside me. the kind of sleep that only comes from fresh air in your lungs, and sun on your skin. my suspicion is that you are dreaming of colors, and textures, and butterfly wings. warm tears burn my face because i know i can’t protect you from the human experience. i can only teach you what i’ve learned.
so, as you bloom like spring, i will do my best to show you the real world. i will do my best to expose you to the wisdom of nature. but if i fail, you always have these words.
i love you my darling daughter. you were beautiful in every way today–and everyday. i can’t wait to see you when you wake up.
here i am at the end of another film that chronicles the past year of my life. moments of 2012 documented through the good and bad and blossoming of new life.
the first year i completed this project in 2011 i had no idea what an amazing gift i was giving myself. this project has become more than documenting my life–it changes the decisions i make about how i spend my time. it has given me reason to stop and really see where i am. really see my children and my husband. it has inspired me to treasure everyday, even my worst days, because there are always beautiful moments hidden in the depths.
and while this film is about everyday moments that seem like nothing, they are also everything.