Children, Christmas

Sleigh Ride

Pops 002 Just hear those sleigh bells jingling,ring ting tingling, too.

Come on, it's lovely weatherfor a sleigh ride together with you.

Outside the snow is falling and friends are calling "yoo hoo."

Come on, it's lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with you.

Yesterday I went to Beantown to get my Christmas present from Snowman. He made me the happiest Mama Bird ever by taking me to the Boston Pops Holiday Concert!!!

And yes, that was our actual view. I asked if he had to make someone disappear to get us these seats. He was curiously silent on the subject.

Our cheeks are nice and rosy and comfy cozy are we.

We're snuggled up together like two birds of a feather would be.

Let's take that road before us and sing a chorus or two.

Come on, it's lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with you.

The weather in the real world was snowy, as it turned out, so I came up out of the T to a Winter Wonderland. I was as happy as a little girl, really, when we met at Snowman's dorm. Going to the Boston Pops is literally a lifelong dream for me. My parents loved watching the Pops, and I have clear memories of the Arthur Fiedler, Evening at Pops era. 

There's a birthday partyat the home of Farmer Gray

It'll be the perfect ending a of perfect day

We'll be singing the songswe love to sing without a single stop

At the fireplace while we watch the chestnuts pop. pop! pop! pop!

It's absolutely the truth that if they had played nothing but "Sleigh Ride" for two hours, I would have been completely delighted.

Here's me, happy at Symphony Hall.

Pops 005 There's a happy feeling nothing in the world can buy

When they pass around the coffee and the pumpkin pie

It'll nearly be like a picture print by Currier and Ives

These wonderful things are the things we remember all through our lives!

And I will remember this.

Conductor Keith Lockhart told us the story of "Sleigh Ride," composed specially for the Pops. "Accept no subtitutes," he told us after we cheered the orchestra until the trumpets rose triumphant for their bow.

From the opening measures to the trumpet whinny, with stops along the way for wood blocks hooves and whip cracks, I smiled so broadly my face almost hurt. 

And in this year when I wondered where my Christmas spirit would come from, Snowman and the Boston Pops made an express delivery.

Just hear those sleigh bells jingling, ring ting tingling too

Come on, it's lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with you

Outside the snow is falling and friends are calling "yoo hoo,"

Come on, it's lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with you.

Pops 012 



Children, Mothering, reverb10

Moment — #reverb10 day 3

Here's the third prompt for #reverb10:

Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).

Laundry bag The car pulled up in the driveway on a Tuesday afternoon in August, the summer air the kind that feels good on your skin. All summer communication failed between us. He lost one phone when things flew out of a convertible, then broke the go phone replacement. He finally had a new phone, but packed the charger deep in the trunk of a small car full of four kids' summer luggage. I held back from running to him, waited for him to get out. He unfolded himself from the crowded back seat; his face appeared over the top of the car, a broad, lopsided smile shining as he met my eye.

The words in my head were scattered: alive, home, love, happy. The kids with him didn't know me, but their goofy expressions told me they understood. My boy, so nearly dead, had lived and returned home, and no one who heard him tell the story could doubt the wonder of it. He had to learn how to hug, this one, but on that day we hugged a summer's worth, a life's long.

Then I met the others, learned their names, shook hands, got his things out of the car. He seemed to have nothing but laundry bags. He had to explain it to me. The suitcase did not survive the accident. 

(This is my worst nightmare for a writing prompt, to be assigned detail. Ugh. I am aware of emotional details and the physical things that point to them, but rarely the other way around.)

Children, Photos

2 out of 3 ain’t bad


We're checking out at Whole Foods.

LP: What are you doing? 

Me: Taking a picture.

LP: Why?

Me: I just want to.

(I turn to her.)

Me: Smile!

002  (She obliges.)

Me: Cute!

#1 Son (noticing): What are you doing?

Me: Taking pictures! Take one of me.

(I hand the camera to LP.)

LP: How does it work?

Me: You press the little thing that looks like a camera.


 LP: It's blurry.

Me: It's okay.

#1 Son: Why are you taking pictures here?

Me: I'm happy!

Bagger: Can I take a picture of all of you?

#1 Son and LP: NO!

Me: Yes, please!!


Tomorrow night we go to Beantown, hear Snowman in a concert and bring him home. 


Bearnaise Sauce Dogs, Children, Family


It's pretty sad around here without Sam. 

(This is a ginormous understatement, you might even say a Bernese Mountain Dog-sized understatement.)

People have been very, very kind, in blog comments and Facebook and Twitter responses and via email and in person. The choir at church gave LP and me a copy of Cynthia Rylant's "Dog Heaven," inscribed with dear, loving thoughts. 

So in the midst of this grief, I want to name some things for which I'm thankful:

  • Community
  • Hugs
  • Friends in the neighborhood
  • Friends far away
  • Friends from far away who have gotten themselves into the neighborhood
  • Friends' Dogs
  • Dog Friends
  • Photos by people who know how to take them
  • Photos by us, even the ones taken with cell phones
  • Two 15-year-old cats who still need our attention
  • One 15-year-old girl 
  • Two young men whose love was palpable even from afar
  • Memories that make me smile

Yesterday I saw a friend's two dogs wrassling, as we used to call it, and I remembered Molly and Sam lying on the rug, showing each other their great big dog teeth, or spinning each other in a circle, their mouths on opposite ends of a big stick. I remember Sam getting between Molly and various attractive Chows, her favorite breed by far. He had a mission, to keep her out of trouble!

I'm thankful to have lived with these blessed dogs, to be blessed by them. 

Bearnaise Sauce Dogs, Children, Photos

A Dog and His Boy

Peter and Sam 006 Last night on the walking trail near East End Beach, I took a picture of Snowman with Sam, perhaps the only one among us who doesn't realize how amazing it is our boy has returned home in one piece, not a hair on his head missing or a bone in his body broken. 

He got here Tuesday night, the first time we've seen him since his accident.

Each time he tells the story, it sounds a little bit worse.

Each time I hear the story, I find it harder to believe he is among the living.

A bag of golf clubs wedged in between Snowman and the front seat of the convertible remained in place while he fell out of the car. The head of the driver (the club, not the boy) snapped off. 

The front seat passenger felt his head hit the ground on both rollovers of the car. He had a bump on the back of his head, but no concussion.

When Snowman showed me with his hands the direction the car rolled and the way he fell out, I couldn't make sense of it. Maybe I never will.

The survival rate for people ejected from cars going at the speed they were traveling is 5%.

I still cannot understand how he happened to survive, how all three of the boys involved managed to live through it. As a good theological liberal, I can't give God the credit without wondering why that same God would not intervene on behalf of other young people, or old people, for that matter. I only know I'm thankful. I only know I'm breathing deeply again. 

Well, except when he adds another detail.