Sunday, April 17, 2011


"Momma, I have a secret that I've been hiding that I just have to tell you." Jane blurts it out, fidgets, turns her head to me. Her mop of curls flop over one shoulder.


"I have a secret, and I'm just like I have to tell Momma." She looks up at the ceiling. We lay side by side on the bunk bed.

"Ok. What is it?" I lean on an elbow.

She turns to the wall, scrambles aside a pink tasseled fleece. "I've been coloring on the wall here." She frames it with her hands, but it's invisible in the dark. "I've been trying to hide it from you."

"Oh." I pause. "Well, you'll have to clean that up in the morning."

"With what?"

"What kind of a marker was it?" She details the sharpie marker and swoops and scribbles of a couple large decorative E's. We parse out how to scrub a wall.

Then she hugs me all elbows and knees, chin poked into my shoulder. We lay in the lull. Secret whispered away, we lock elbows, stare at the ceiling.

"I thought I would get in lots of trouble if I told you," she says.

"Yeah?" I squeeze her arm.

"I just thought I would do it anyway this once," she says, "just to see what would happen if I did."

"What'd you think?"

She pauses, "I think," she says, "I might do it again sometime." She squeezes my arm.

"I hope you always tell me your secrets," I say, "so we can fix things and make them better."

She giggles. Then her voice drops serious, "I hope I don't start doing lots of bad things," she says, "so I can have secrets and tell you." Secrets. A reciprocal sling shot of intimacy between us, it's magnetic, pulls us together.

"You don't have to have secrets to be close to me." We fall quiet. "You know, I tell my friends, no, a lot so I can be here with you anytime. You can be close to be anytime." She answers in a gangly hug strung up tight as a ball of yarn.

"Like how do you tell them, no?"

Another idea begins to take orbit. I say, no, to say, yes. In a small cavern carved out by her secret we step closer together. And for a moment she sees the trusses and facia, the drywall boundaries of my life that say, YES to her.


778. School with the children.

779. Checkered gingham, yellow and white smocking on baby Rose.

780. A night out -- coconut curried chicken, couscous with dried fruit and mint, eggplant, asparagus, cucumber salad, gourmet chef friend.

781. How we laughed until we cried and finished birthday celebration with pirouettes and sorbet, coconut, mango.

782. How my friend and her gourmet chef sister teach me how sisters become friends, and I how try to memorize all the moves so I can show my own children.

783. How as we drive away, husband and I shake our heads that we haven't gone out laughing into the night like that for so so very long. And how the next time we fight, we stop and stumble into goodwill, an unexpected destination between us.

784. A new gallery proposal. How the artist spills tears agains his will.

785. Jane with her piggy bank of tootsie rolls and how she doles them out until Jack and Lulie grin chocolate and sticky.

786. A deal on Rosetta Stone Spanish and how the children laugh giddy when I speak my broken Spanish to them.

787. How it all comes back, broken and all, as the program peddles out phrases. And how suddenly I'm back in there Aguascalientes shooing a lizard and trying to calm a classroom of children with only present-tense Spanish.

788. How Rosie rolls instead of crawls.

789. New patches for Lulie and how she almost patches on her day off all excited.

790. Earrings: paper cranes, thumbnail small, folded shiny red.

791. My cousins who fold 4 sets of the birds for sister-in-laws and me.

792. The gift of being noticed by them.

793. How my parents help us tuck the children in on Wednesday and we pray and I hear it again, just like when I was a kid, my dad's humble brokenness before God, humble and bold.

794. Manners -- how the children gradually take on manners the more we invite dinner guests.

795. How we all play tag in the yard and Craig always tries to tag me, and how even though he's the fastest, he lets Lulie tag him again and again.

796. How after the wild tag chase and after I turn my ankle and after we all trundle inside, I realize Craig's right, we don't always have to talk to feel close.

holy     experience


Heather said...

Forgiveness. This brought tears to my eyes. If only we would realize how God longs to forgive us and be close to us. The guilt we live with needlessly! Thank you for sharing this so beautifully.

I love how your gatherings end like ours... in dancing twirliness :)

Erin @ Wild Whispers said...

This gave me chills. It is so amazing when we can see past the indiscretion to the "REASON" for the actions. She was craving close. She was craving you. I need to do this more often... to see the child, instead of the act. THANK YOU!

Goat said...

I love that you take time. You hold moments open without expectation to see what happens. I want to do that. I want to be that person.

Jenna said...

Wow...what a beautiful post. What a gift to hear of how you responded to your daughter. Thank you for sharing.

emily wierenga said...

A reciprocal sling shot of intimacy between us, it's magnetic, pulls us together.

i love how you invite us into your thoughts in this one, dear bethany. you are lovely.

CoffeeisMyLoveLanguage said...

I loved reading this Bethany, I'm always loving reading what you write, but this was extra special...thank you for putting it out there, you help me grow.

Connie@raise your eyes said...

Beautiful, how the consequence is so simple, practical and allows the closeness to be the main emotion. Wise mama you are, Bethany

Nona Yerbiznus said...

Yeah...about #782-- you might want to disregard the tidbit we mentioned about "anatomy" pinching. I dunno, maybe it's taking that whole sisterly bond thing a bit too far. (Not that I'm gonna stop or anything.) But on another note-- I made the gratitude list! YEEHAW!

Adina said...

Boundaries--such as limiting your blogging to once a week? I'm glad you make those choices for your kids, even though I miss your more frequent blogs.