Motherhood was baking pies, and the books she would read. And the way I could melt into her chest warm with a hug. The way her shoulder smelled next to her hair, and the look in her eyes when I would come up for air.

And I thought I would never be a mother because I could not bake pies, I didn’t even want to. But I read them books like a lifeline. I doubt I am as soft or warm or that I smell as good, but I give them words on pages, floating through the air, and I turn the pictures for them to see just as she did. Now she and I pretend to argue and dance in the kitchen, all grown up we are.

She holds all of her children and I do not. Sometimes it feels it’s because she knows more of mothering than I do. But what of all the mothers that have never held a single child to call their own?

Each of us, we women, hold the seeds of life inside. We are gardens and we are wombs. We are a gathering round the table. We are more than cooks and chauffeurs, we are more than empty arms. We are a giving of life, each in our own way, made by our maker to be a sacred place in time and space that life flows through. In blood and pain, loss and disappointment, still we dig our hands deep into the earth and somehow beyond us and through us comes life. All we can ever do is be the shoulder that their heads lay against when the day is long, the words floating off pages, the nourishment and laughter over plates full, the warm place when night falls quiet.

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  • Sue - Such beautiful tender words and images.ReplyCancel

 

My kids don’t have everything, but what they do have is made of dirt and sunshine, the moon, stars, ocean breezes and moments wasted. Moments invested in something they can hold and feel and smell and taste. I know it’s not the typical childhood these days to not even own an iPad, but I like to think we are keeping something alive, we are continuing the childhood that has lived for centuries covered in mud and filled with imaginings. They occasionally gather round our desktop computer to learn how to make bracelets and knit hats, and they dig and bounce and climb for days. This year I joined a collaborative project of photographers and parents encouraging and documenting their kids as they spend time away from screens, getting their hands dirty. Here is my monthly snapshot of some unplugged moments and you can see more on Childhood Unplugged,

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“We haven’t stopped running, but we are getting slower. We have little people running with us now. We have passed others. Our own people will pass us. They will grow and meet others who are young and strong and they will feel as if they are part of the very beginning of life. We may fall on our knees or into a final sleep, but we will see the inside of that storm. We will see the other side of that storm, where there is no death from living. The young will mark the sand with a stone and gather round to scatter words on the wind and ponder the speed of time, of life, of grace. I do it now.”

– from Death by Living by N.D. Wilson

This November we drove across the country to my childhood home for Thanksgiving. In the morning before we stuffed ourselves with turkey and mashed potatoes we hiked through McCormicks Creek, the state park  I adventured in as a young girl. It felt like time was coming full circle and spinning on forever as I watched my boys run through the same paths and waterfalls that I played in at their age. I wrote a short piece on fleeting moments and capturing time inspired by this hike. It’s available in the spring issue of the magazine Deeply Rooted and you can order a copy here. Below are some new favorite images from that day.

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11-2014 . McCormicks Creek hike on Thanksgiving morning during our cross country road trip to Indiana . images of me by Jesse

  • homeskool - we lived that day:)ReplyCancel

  • Sharon Covert - Sharon, these are fantastic. I feel like I was there and I want to go back and relive it again and again!ReplyCancel

 

Shortly after we moved here, happy to be back in California but uprooted once again due to my husband serving in the military, I met a group of boys at the beach. Their bond was instantly apparent, but defied words, and I knew this is what I hoped for my boys. Their dads came walking along a few minutes later and I asked them how their kids had met and what drew them together. They told me about Adventure Guides and a few months later during soccer practice, a teammate’s family invited my kids and their Dad to come on a campout with their tribe. Every month since then, Jesse and the boys have met in a forest, desert or beach with a small tribe of fathers and sons, part of a larger nation. I don’t know how much they talk but I know my boys have grown strong running wild with these kids and I know that through good and bad times in career, family and health my husband has had this group of men to sit around the fire and raise his sons with.

Each year there is a family campout where the moms and little ones are invited to join the fun, and baby man loves nothing better. This year the mountain campground was whipped with wind and freezing cold rain, tents sunk into the mud and we alternated between huddling under the one easy-up together and thawing our fingers and toes around the soggy campfire. We fell asleep to howling wind and pouring rain clattering on our tent roof, but when we woke all was sun and warmth and the baby man smiling the smile of someone who just conquered the world. The leather vests filled with patches and their traditional blessing after the Sunday morning hike before we leave, drawing each other in and offering up to the great Spirit, these have all become as well worn into their childhood as carving around the fire and stuffing themselves with potato chips, cocoa and s’mores.

The morning after the storm and miserable cold when everyone talked about going home to our warm beds because staying didn’t make sense, I followed a few of the boys around as they collected firewood and explored the cliffs and creek. And then we drove home thankful because being cold and tired with the tribe made way more sense than missing these memories.

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“Of course the Neverlands vary a good deal. John’s, for instance had a lagoon with flamingos flying over it at which John was shooting, while Micheal, who was very small, had a flamingo with lagoons flying over it. John lived in a boat turned upside down on the sands. Micheal in a wigwam, Wendy in a house of leaves deftly sewn together. John had no friends, Micheal had friends at night, Wendy had a pet wolf forsaken by its parents, but on the whole the Neverlands have a family resemblance, and if they stood still in a row you could say of them that they have each other’s nose and so forth. On those magic shores children at play are for every beaching their coracles. We too have been there; we can still hear the sound of the surf, though we shall land no more.”

– from Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

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