Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Can I tell you a little story about my boys?

Noé and Asher, Powell Butte.   Nov 2014

Noé has never seemed outwardly connected to his brother.  Despite Asher's constant outpouring of love and affection, Noé ignores him, only interacting with him when we prompt him to do so.  Asher has learned to accept that this is the way it is with Noé.  It doesn't upset him anymore.   And Asher continues to try and engage with his brother and help out.  This kid has played more games of Candyland and Hi-Ho Cherry-O than any typically-developing ten year old should have to endure.

Asher has hit a rough patch at school.  He is bored with his schoolwork, a little disengaged, and is getting more self-conscious around his peers.  He says that his bright spots at school right now are his after-school pottery class, PE, and lunch and recess with his little group of dude friends who mutually obsess over Minecraft, Harry Potter, and the Seahawks.

Yesterday, Noe's teacher cornered me in the school yard after school ended to share this story.

After winter break, Noe's class switched lunch periods to the same one Asher has with his class.   Noé buys his lunch every day (I've never been able to get him to eat sack lunches).  After he went through the hot lunch line, he spotted Asher in the cafeteria and immediately went over and sat next to him.  Panic ensued for a moment when Noe's teacher couldn't locate Noé, but an IA quickly discovered him.  She asked Asher if it was ok if Noé ate lunch with him and his friends.  She said Asher looked up at her, surrounded by a swarm of 4th grade boys in Seahawks jerseys and said, "Of course it is! He's my brother!"  Then she asked Noé if he wanted to stay with Asher and he nodded his head yes in his way that means, "don't even think about making me do something different than this thing right here." They've been eating lunch together every day since.

These are the stories that I carefully gift wrap and store in the back of my mind in order to pull out, unwrap, and admire, during the hard days.  Of which there are many.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Saluting Your Sister Ship

I'll never know, and neither will you of the life you don't choose.  We'll only know that whatever that sister life was, it was important and beautiful and not ours.  It was the ghost ship that didn't carry us.  There's nothing to do but salute it from the shore.

~Cheryl Strayed, via tiny beautiful things: Advice on love and life from Dear Sugar

This was written in the context of an advice column to a man trying to decide if he should become a father.  It might be one of the most beautiful, profound things I have read in awhile.  We all have ghost ships.  Some of my own have included having more children, having a more robust career, my constant obsession with moving back to my hometown.  Instead of living in regret of the choices we don't make, it is such a powerful visual to salute those sailing ships from the shore.  Wish them well.  Know they were virtuous, formidable alternatives, but they no longer belong to us.  And treat them as such.