Saturday, May 27, 2017


{and there is no After}

Every year, I forget how the last day of school goes down.
They wake up spastic and funky, in a hurry, yet still asking for two waffles at 7:32 when they knew we're leaving at 7:33.

It's field day.
It's movie day.
It's help the teacher pack up her room day.

It's everything.

Every year, minutes before they arrive home at the end of the day, I wish I had done some Fun Mom sort of thing, maybe strung up a few streamers or rigged up an End of School paper plate banner. Something.

But I haven't and I didn't, so I committed to plan B, meeting them right at the door with whoops and hollers.

Only when I fling the door open, they are standing there sobbing.
Indeed, they have walked the three blocks home together, utterly bereft.
They cannot control their breathing.
They miss everyone.
They hate everything.
They want me to rub their backs then jerk away like true, emotional basket cases when I do.
Summer is the worst.

It's not that I can't relate. I cried myself into a low-grade asthma attack at the end of second grade, and I'm not even an asthmatic. My teacher was moving away, leaving our school forever without her perm and her perma-press knits. Dang, was she beautiful. She gave us each a photocopied form letter with only our name hand-written at the beginning and end. The last line had something to do with her great love for me because, "Shannan, you are YOU!" For years to come, if I wanted to make myself cry, I would pull it out and read it.

(Sometimes girls want to make ourselves cry.)
(It's our party, etc...)

So summer break is upon us, even though it's still chilly outside and we keep forgetting to plant our zinnias. We're making our plans, even if they're futile.
This is the promise of hope.

I'll be stocking up on toilet paper, cereal, and Spaghettios.
I'll pray for decent watermelons and we'll collect junk for a new sculpture.
I'll pretend we're going to make chalk pain and then we'll accidentally watch too much TV instead.

It's not even day one, so I'm not making promises. But I'm ready. For sleeping in! For books! For sea-glass hunting and milkshakes!

My comedy crush Melanie Dale says it all so well. I cackled in my bed reading her post this morning.

:: This Summer Will Be Different by Melanie Dale
"This summer I’m going to be Fun Mom. You know the one. She surprises her kids with trips to the movies and never minds holding everyone’s bags while they do the water slides at Six Flags. For bonus fun in the afternoons, she pulls out the old school Snoopy Snow Cone machine and her arm never gets tired cranking and cranking minuscule piles of shredded ice out of that thing."

Here are some other fun/interesting/gripping reads from my week:

::  I've carried his story with me for weeks.

::  I don't think anyone feels comfortable meeting someone in their grief. This might help.

::  I'm always trying to balance the artistic expression of social media with just living my life, no audience necessary. I loved this.

::  We all understand that Anthropologie is basically straight-crazy, right? But they have overpriced eye candy ON LOCK and this behind-the-scenes catalog shoot was so fun to read!

:: Ever wonder what it would be like to live in generational, American poverty? Read this.

::  This is the perfect antidote to the large-scale tomfoolery happening in this world.

::  I dare you to not watch this 1,000 times.

::  My friend Jerusalem Greer released a stunning book and I was among the first to read it! At Home in this Life: Finding Peace at the Crossroads of Unraveled Dreams and Beautiful Surprises is a hopeful liturgy of endurance. It's the perfect summer read.

PS - Our teacher gifts were a jar of homemade jam (blueberry rhubarb or pineapple rhubarb,) a loaf of sourdough bread from Aldi, and a small bag of local coffee beans, along with a note. Each gift was around $6! You can find the "recipe" over at my Instagram account.

Happy Memorial Day weekend, Homies!
Invite someone lonely over for a cookout.



  1. For our last day of school I decided to take my boys to Weinerschnitzel (because few things welcome summer like a corn dog and fries) BUT when we got into the drivethru I realized I had left my wallet at home. Mother of the year, And I thought about making a summer to do list like my friends are doing, but my second grader looked at me so blankly when I asked what we should do this summer, saying, "It will be hot. I don't think we can do much here (in Arizona) for the summer." so no bucket list, no pressure, just something in the fridge saying we will make our beds and brush our teeth every morning. 😁 Also, I miss Aldi. There is only one in Tucson, nowhere near me.

  2. The grief article was good but if you haven't read this one, it's so key. Probably more key than the 13 ways one, because it is so much harder with a baby I imagine. Thought you might also appreciate it. I've bookmarked it for a hopefully-never-need-it... I've followed Lindsay's blog for years and she's been processing her loss on her blog, so it's been a powerful journey to follow along. But this post especially so.
    The video of the baby hairdresser was cute!

  3. I need to make that homemade jam!

  4. I read, "Have someone lonely over for a cocktail." Cookout. Cocktail. It's all community, right?

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  6. OK, so first, I am LOVING your book right now. I think I said that in a FB post somewhere too, so don't think I'm weird. Second, I NEED that sign in your front yard! Where did you get it?

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  9. Are you guys ok? Hoping this absence is just a summer break.

  10. So are we to assume you've left the blogging world for good? Obviously that's your prerogative, but I would be very sad.