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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Thanks for visiting. I am no longer updating Notes to Self. I hope you'll join me on my current website,

Love all lovely.

  • Your lovely long fingers come from your father's mother. When your hands were tiny and new, they would float through the air like starfish drifting with the tide.

  • You were the kind of easy baby and toddler that other mothers would point toward and ask, "Is he always like this?" and I would shrug and admit that you were. You could be trusted with scissors before you were two. Now that you are eight and much more trouble, I am relieved. I don't think your adolescence or mid-life crisis will be quite so atomic as I feared it would have to be.

  • You have these funny inflections and phrasing that we never correct because they are spoken in a meter so truly and correctly your own: you say "seeLING" for "ceiling" and "MAZ-ageen" for magazine "may you please pass the salt" at the dinner table.

  • You have a noble tenderness toward others, an innate sense of chivalry and corps d'espirit. You will stop running in the middle of a soccer game when a teammate goes down, because you are incapable of moving forward until you ascertain that he is okay. Nobody gets left behind.

  • Your stoicism toward yourself makes me ache for you. When you are feeling hurt or vulnerable to disappointment, you reflexively shield your heart with your arms crossed tight across your chest, your hands gripping your shoulders. When you do this, I want to peel them away, press my own heart to yours, whisper to you to stay open. I wish I knew how, myself, and could show you.

  • When I bring you home signed books of poems, you sleep with them under your pillow. You are the son, grandson, and great-grandson of poets and your blood understands: these are the consecrated objects of our tribe.

  • When we say prayers at bedtime, you gaze straight into my eyes as if you were a baby nursing. You love ritual and ceremony. We are a priestly tribe as well, and I try to honor and nurture this part of you with as low-toxic theology as I can find. When you were a toddler, we had a "beginners bible" that you loved (although parts of it made me cringe). You were especially fascinated with the Easter story. "He came out of the dark place and it wasn't dark anymore," you would say, in wonder. It is what you said to me when I explained about your grandfather dying.

  • You collect rocks by the hundreds. You cry in real pain when I forbid another specimen coming home with us in the car. Although they all look more or less alike to me, you seem to know each one of them individually. Something in your steady nature relates to geology. You and the rocks share a language that I can't understand, a language of sequence and persistence.

  • You are loyal as they come. Your favorite sleep toy—your lovey— is Snowy, a formerly plush snow leopard that was a gift from a kindergarten friend who moved away the next year. You have a long memory for people in your life. You tell me you can remember my father, who died six years ago this week, when you were two. I believe you do. His last words to you were, "You're lovely. And I love you."

I do too.

I changed the title of this post to a line from one of my favorite Christmas songs, "Love Came Down", words by Christina Rossetti, 1885. The music is an Irish melody. Shawn Colvin has a very nice version of it on iTunes. As I was composing this, I kept hearing part of the refrain in my head: "love all lovely, love divine."



Blogger island sweet said...

a beautiful tribute to your beautiful boy. xxx

12:53 PM  
Blogger Who She She said...

What a beautiful boy. I have a gentle, lovely boy myself and sometimes I just feel so privileged to be his mother.

1:54 PM  
Blogger Tess said...

This is so beautiful. Made me cry. Isn't it amazing how early strength of character can show? And in such lovely ways.

2:33 PM  
Blogger patsyrose said...

If you never gave your son another thing, a tribute such as this is priceless beyond words. Keep it for him so that, when he's grown, he'll know how very much you loved and understood him as a child.

3:28 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

This is very powerful of your best pieces! Your children are so fortunate to have a mother who loves them as much as you clearly do and who is also gifted with such vision and clarity of voice.

Elizabeth ( in Atlanta)

10:35 PM  
Blogger LetterB said...

Ach. What love. The tenderness in this post is almost unbearable.

10:52 PM  
Blogger blackbird said...


10:57 AM  
Blogger bluebird of paradise said...

so much like his sweet momma.............

8:35 AM  
Blogger lschwab said...

OH MY GOD! These is the sweetest ode to a child ever. That boy is so blessed- I am in tears-and I'm not even a mother yet! hehehe

I'm also completely stricken by your entry about finding the perfect time to start writing...argh- that is me! Thanks for the motivation!

2:30 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

Your prose is always so precise, so poetic. My students who would like to point to hard and fast differences between poetry and prose would not know what to do with your writing here, and that's what I think I like the most about it.

What a lovely tribute to your son. We should all say these things to our loved ones often.

12:18 PM  
Blogger peefer said...

This is the most beautiful thing of yours I've read.

1:00 PM  
Blogger Courtenay said...

kyran - beautiful. i had to stop twice to cry. your writing speaks volumes that words, alone, cannot.

9:30 PM  

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