Posts tagged ‘love’

A Birthday for Papa

We stepped off the world yesterday to celebrate the birthday of my partner and the girls’ papa. He’s important to us and we all look forward to ways we can make him happy on his special day. And for some reason, for the girls, this means constructing things out of recycleables. I’m not sure when this tradition began, but each year I have to suppress all of my cleanly urges as the girls take trash out of the bins, spread them all to kingdom come, cut them into bits, and plaster them all with entire rolls of tape. The end result is an assortment of sculptures, the sort that require a forgiving perspective and lots of imagination. The cold-hearted anti-clutterist in me sees unwieldy structures that don’t stack easily on the shelf, or tuck compactly under the bed, but are so filled with sentimentality that I am not allowed to immediately return them to the recycling bin. But the springy jumps of excitement on the birthday (almost) make it worth it. Nathan is basically trapped in the bedroom while the girls randomly scream:





Meanwhile I am circling the table trying to tidy, prepare the house for the birthday, nearly scrapping several objects that turn out to be crucial to the hodge-podge, rickety, birthday sculpture. When he is finally allowed to emerge, the girls squeal with delight, sure that he will nearly faint from the beauty and amazing-ness of it all. Together they present the scene. This year involved a tea box with wings in which a paper version of Papa rattled about. With the help of a grubby hand, the vessel took off over a chunk of egg carton, circled the birthday flower bouquet and various handmade cards, and landed at a dock of cereal box nestled at the base of “The Tower of Papa I Love You”, which was constructed with several plastic cups and a berry basket. At the end of the presentation the girls had a proud look of shazzaam, now that was goooood.

And he loved it. Of course he would.

I celebrated by writing a card that might make him cry, making a dessert that is to die for, and a bouquet from our garden. His garden really, the one left to struggle through a summer of construction, without his care, with weeds, and little water. I picked through the debris of lumber and insulation, through the poky unidentifiable invaders to find black-eyed susans, sunflowers, yarrow, ferns, and one enormous blood-red day lily, open for this one special day.

And he loved it. Of course he would.

But I want to do more, to set him free from any concerns, to float him on a raft of pleasure and peace. I want to watch him love his girls without knowing we only have a day left before one, or two, leave for their other house. I want to see him dive into the river with abandon, again and again, without glancing at the leaves that dance above the current to see if they are changing to red, signaling the end of summer. I want to sit next to him at dinner, loving his hands, his face, the sound of his voice, without hearing the tick of the clock that tells us tears and bedtime are close at hand. I want to orchestrate perfectness, to freeze all the good and bar all of the trials and tribulations of life from entering the scene.

I want to serve this to him on his birthday and be able to promise him that, because I love him so, I can maintain it.


August 18, 2010 at 9:43 am 1 comment

contentment is …

echo and em

  1. Hearing a bump and a clunk on the back porch and seeing my sister Emily walk through the back door.
  2. That happening enough days in a row that it feels like a regular occurrence.

November 5, 2009 at 5:00 am Leave a comment

empathy delivery

ponies illust. n.christensen

Welcome to the weekend. There have been highs, lows, and a lot in between for me these days, and I have the feeling this may be true for others as well. Therefore, I hereby deliver a big batch of empathy to any and all:

  • that feel their clothes are tighter this morning than they’d like.
  • that aren’t getting enough sleep, and wonder or worry that they may never catch up on sleep.
  • that are sniffling, or coughing, or hot with fever.
  • that don’t like the seemingly new wrinkles forming near their eyes.
  • that don’t know what is going to happen next, and they don’t like that.
  • that don’t have honey for their tea this morning, or milk for their coffee, or whatever the essential ingredient is for the essential, reason-to-get-out-of-bed, beverage.
  • that “has to” make a phone call they don’t want to make.

Empathy is not only for moments of struggle. So I hereby deliver another big helping of empathy to any and all:

  • that learned to do a cartwheel, or remembered they could still do a cartwheel.
  • that feel their money situation shifting for the better.
  • that made themselves vulnerable and did not feel fearful or regretful for it.
  • that have recovered from coughing, and sneezing.
  • that love Fall and leaves and damp air.
  • that made love, had a date night, or had a stimulating, intimate conversation, with their partner. (Or all of the above!)
  • that are at play; brushing plastic pony hair, shooting hockey pucks, or whatever their delight may be.

Thank you for meeting us here. We love you.

If there is anything else in particular you would like empathy for, or anything you would like someone else to receive empathy for, email,, and we will include it in next week’s Empathy Delivery. (Please put “empathy delivery” in the subject heading).

October 24, 2009 at 10:39 am Leave a comment

i feel… love


We took those plane rides to get to this guy.

It was his birthday on Saturday and a huge team of helpful loving people worked together to surprise him on his 65th birthday. My loving partners Kris and Nathan are holding down the Feeleez fort while I am away, my mom secretly picked us up at the airport and showered us with grandmotherly love (including paintings sessions in her beautiful studio), my stepdad made meals for us, and my stepmom bought the airfare and concocted this grand plan to give my Dad the BEST GIFT he could imagine. And surprised he was! We walked in to the party like regular guests and SHOCKED him. He was in a hazy daze of love and gratitude for several hours.

Echo leaped into Grandpa’s arms and stayed there the duration of the party. Watching these girls flourish under the safe wings of their extended family makes me think: even if you make every parenting “mistake” in the book, if you can surround your children with people that adore them and love them unconditionally you are doing them a great service.


September 28, 2009 at 4:05 pm 1 comment

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