Posts from the “Mama Sap” Category

The Talk

Posted on April 8, 2014

Finley and Avery were tucked in their beds, so sleepy that they’d drifted off to sleep before I’d crossed the threshold. Briar was waiting for me in her room. I slipped beneath the covers and rubbed noses with her. We talked for a few minutes before she sprang the baby question on me. It wasn’t like other times, she wasn’t casually wondering. How does it happen? Who does what? How does it feel? The questions came at me so fast that I had no time for doubt. The volley of question and answer went on for about fifteen minutes, until she changed the conversation like a right hand turn. “I think I found my library book.” I kissed her goodnight and stroked her forehead…

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There She Goes

Posted on April 4, 2014

It was a morning like any other, I’d forgotten to run the dishwasher, the hamper of socks that I kept meaning to get to sat unmatched, and I’d spilled my coffee several times. “B, do you have your lunch box and your folder?” I called from the laundry room. “Yep.” “Avery and Finley, are you dressed? You can’t be on the iPad before you’re dressed.” “Yes, mom. I am,” Avery called. “You’re dressed or you’re getting dressed?” Silence. “Ave, put down the iPad, get dressed and then come have breakfast, when you’re done then you can play.” I heard their muffled whispers and the shuffle of their feet as they returned the iPad to our room. The clock read 7:19. “Two minutes, Bri.” Running…

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Her Loving Arms

Posted on March 26, 2014

The other day I shared about our house and our marriage, the thing that has stayed with me in reflecting on those closest to me, is that we weren’t alone. There was a tree in our front yard, it bore the battle wounds of telephone poles and Adirondack storms. It was very nearly split down its center to accommodate the lines and from the nourishment the bugs infesting it gave the pileated woodpeckers that rat-a-tatted morning and night. Shade and music were abundant in its limbs, and time and again we tricked the workers into thinking the tree was not to go. “Ma’am, we’re here to manage the trees for National Grid. The one out around back and this one out front are on…

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A Change in the Light

Posted on March 19, 2014

It’s been coming for a while now, though I haven’t quite been able to put my finger on it. It’s sinew in the musculature I’ve acquired through 10 years of parenting and writing. It’s a taut bit that pulls at me, keeping me from going as far as I might want in a certain direction. The other night as we crested the bluff near the summit, I looked away from the smattering of twinkling lights that are our little town and I turned instead to the back side of the mountain.


I looked at the trees and drank in the colors of the sunset, the familiar pinks, purples, and blues of so many pictures that we’ve pinned to the wall or tucked away between the pages of cherished books. I looked over at Sean and felt my shoulders slip, wiggling out of the tense clothes hanger line that they so swiftly settle into at some blurry moment between racing to the bus stop and sitting down to my desk at work. He’d pushed for us to squeeze in a few runs; I’d lobbied to get the driveway cleared. We’d split the difference and done most of the driveway before heading to the mountain.

I second guessed the decision until halfway up the lift. It was just us. The film of guilt that so often sullies grown-up time, the indefatigable sensation that I am doing something other than what I ought to, was completely absent. Our legs swung as the lift gently rocked, my eyes stung as we emerged from the cover of trees and the wind hit. The smile of a dozen summers broke across my face as the air reminded me of poking my face out the window and of throwing my mouth wide open, allowing the gusts of wind to rattle my face and make sounds as they rushed inside.

Pushing off the chair, we headed for the trail and I felt the understanding sink in—our stories are changing, just as teeth are being lost and crushes are being lit, the rhythm of how we sway in the wake of our own momentum is new. Briar and I have talks at bedtime, the lights turned out, her sisters tucked away in their own room, we conspire—to learn, to laugh, and to begin the startling and exquisite journey to a place where the way she needs me is different, less predictable.

The times when all three girls are in agreement seem less, yet they have certain things that fuse them together. I am devouring all of it, while realizing that there are shadows cropping up, plumes of warning.

I cannot share every story and I cannot be present for every moment. We were supposed to get to this moment, despite the lump in my throat, at their ascent and my own racing heart; this is good. My clench is slowing to a pulse, allowing me moments of letting go—

“Sure, you can take a run without us, but please stay together,” I call to them as they disappear into the blur of neon ski coats, the other words about being super careful and not crashing into a tree fade at the back of my throat. They are letting go too.

We revisit before together, “Mama, ‘member how I used to always be in your arms?” Finley whispers as she strokes my face at bedtime.

“Yes, of course I do. You want to know a secret?” I ask. She nods.

“You are still there. That sweet, little Fin that you were, she’s always going to be in my arms. We get to keep each other together when we remember.”

“So even when I’m growed up and move away, but maybe not ’cause I might want to live with you and dad forever, I’ll still be with you in my baby time?”

“Exactly.” She sighs contentedly. I wrap my arms around her forever.



Got My Eye On You

Posted on February 27, 2014

The moment they put Briar in my arms on that September morning I realized that I would never see anything the same. Watching her nurse, take her first bite of cereal, the expressions on her face as she felt spring rain, snow, and the fur of a kitten—I was riveted. I still am, but for the first time I am truly aware of how much she is watching me.   Please come find me at Scary Mommy today, where I am sharing a moment when Briar and I locked eyes and really talked about what we saw. As is her style, she taught me so much about shifting the microscope.

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