Thursday, June 5, 2014

Weeds and Piles

The sun is doing its slow slink down to the edges of the world, the temperature is plum perfection, no bugs, no problems. All I can think about is sweeping my kitchen floor.

Just like I rearrange the art on my walls, my emotional and spiritual furniture scoots and drags and before I know it, the epicenter of my faith and who I am hinges on the five piles of dirt/dust/Legos forming a loose perimeter around my life's ground zero. I know I won't breathe until I bring order to these ranks.

This is who I am, a woman who's growing older, the lines that were once nearly undetectable closing in around me. This is who I am, a mom who makes sense of things, the combiner of all the little piles, the boss of eyeballing the gallon of milk and knowing exactly when we'll need another. This is who I am, a wife who too often takes for granted the man I married, the one who feels so safe in being known and loved that the fall to grumpy and aloof is really more of a quick slide. 

I sweep the piles, thankful for this quiet house, the threat of little feet three dreams away.

I wonder how I got here. Here.
Certain things don't matter like they used to. The things we value live and kick and breathe differently now, like a neighbor, while the weeds grow up around us all.

Outside, the lawnmower whirs and the clover disappears. I miss it already. I caught its sweetness each time I stepped outside today and I'm not one to begrudge a flower.

I step out to shake the rugs, snapping them four times, five times, as many as it takes for the grit to let go.

Out the corner of my eye, I see her in her high-water jeans, following Cory up and down the yard, trailing him with a smile, picking up empty Popsicle wrappers and grungy cellophane that blew our way. He walks west, she does, too. They both head east, and back again. "I'll put this in the trash for you!" Her grin splits me in half because I know it's wasted. It is not honored. It's not paid back in kind often enough.

Hers is the face of regular, lower-class poverty, where single moms might have it all right but can't afford to prioritize anything but the electric bill. She's nine years old and she puts herself to bed every night.

Mariachi music pitches high at the horizon, zagging in and out of laughter and wheels on pavement.

This is summer in my neighborhood.
I want to believe it holds something special for us.

Inside, the floors are finally clean and I love the way they catch the light of my whole life, a nicked-up landscape of shadows and glare.

The kids breathe easy upstairs and the crickets sing while folks I don't know walk up and down the sidewalks and one little girl I'm starting to love chases my husband with fistfuls of trash.

I don't know how I ever got so lucky.

** Don't forget to VOTE today!


  1. Most beautiful thing I've read here. Hands down. And that's saying a lot. As I tuck in my 8 yr old boy and linger over my baby girl and now whisper prayers for a nine year old trash gatherer. That's Gospel my friend and I love how you help us see it.

  2. What Lisa-Jo said. Every word.

  3. That single thought of a little girl--the same age as mine--whom I just kissed and tucked--putting herself to heart is broken. Praying for her tonight.

  4. I love, love this. Every word beautiful.
    I'll be praying for your precious neighbors again tonight...and also praying for those I don't yet know who are walking up and down my own sidewalk.

  5. Your words kill me every night, right before bed. As I go to bed tonight I will pray for this sweet little 9 yr old girl, and all the other children just like her. I will thank the Lord that my mom was there to tuck me in each night. Oh my soul cries out for the little ones.

  6. it is such a lucky life, isn't it? i think the same thing nearly every day. how did i get to be the one to live these wide-skied, dusty days? it feels like cheating to love it so much.

    ps i keep imaginary voting for you, every day. i am on an actual computer, but it just cycles back to the original screen. ah, well.

  7. you're on a roll today, girl!
    loved this post too.
    i feel like i'm there.
    wish i could be scooping some salsa beside you!

  8. Smiling ear to ear that God put you in her path, to smile back and be nearby.

  9. What a lovely post to read this Friday morning. Thank you.

  10. Yesterday and today I tried to vote and received a message that said I had already voted today, when I clearly had not. You might want to let the administrators know. If they ask, I'm on a desktop, not a mobile phone. No problems prior to yesterday though.

    1. Hey Renee! I just checked with Noonday and they said a vote registered from you on June 5th around 2pm. You would be able to vote again later today. If you have trouble, they said you can email them directly. Let me know and I can get you their email. Thanks for caring about this with me!

  11. What a beautiful place to be!! What is the sweet girls name? My baby is 9....can't imagine her putting herself to bed every night. We still tuck and kiss from almost 18 rright down to 9.

    She's gonna get some good lovin from you amd your sweet fam <3. Love it!!

  12. Love love love. Everything is holy. Your words speak right to my soul.