you were

“you were the love of my life,” she whispers, softly touching his face. the hair there is still soft, if faded.

closing her eyes, she touches his ear, down his neck, all along the hard ridges of his spine.

“i loved you for so many years.” her voice is on the edge of shattering. “you were so magnificent. handsome. funny. my life was better with you. even when you shut me out, it was still better because of you.”

she sighs. pauses. strokes his head again.

“i know you never loved me like i did you. i know i shared more with you than you did with me. i know all of this. i know.”

his ribs rise and fall. each dip a little more shallow. each exhale a little more faint.

“you weren’t my only, nor are you my last. but you were the love of my life.”

he moves a little, an eye flickers open, shut.

her eyes well. “i told you so much, but never the truth. and i am sorry for that. but i’m here now and will be until the end.”

she pulls a tissue from the box and another falls to the floor. “we’re ready,” she calls out.

the doctor enters the room, her white coat garish, her smile fixed and bright. “if you’ve said your good-byes, we can begin. do you want his ashes returned to you?”

the woman looks at the table, her hand still resting on his side, and thinks. “no, i don’t think i do. he never did want to stay. it’s more fitting if he’s scattered free.”

“that’s fine. we’ll arrange that with the cemetery for you.”

his eyes open again, lock on the woman. she strokes his cheek. “it’s time, my friend.”

he gently bites her finger and purrs until his breath is no more.



Last night was the last night

Last night was the last night I was the mom to a 5-year-old. I’ll never again be the mom of a 5-year-old.

Parenting is so full of endings. Many we never even notice. I couldn’t tell you the day or time of when I changed Bean’s very last diaper. Or when I fed her her last spoonful of baby food. Or the last time I zipped her into footie pajamas.

So many endings, that just go unremarked, unnoticed in the continual noise and evolution of life.

Bean has a playlist of music on my phone. It’s mostly They Might Be Giants and My Little Pony songs, spiced with Disney tunes and Jonathan Coulton.

Last night, after we’d eaten dinner and the nightly ritual of chanting “get ready for bed” had begun, the song, I’m Better When I’m Dancing, from The Peanuts Movie played.

Bean grabbed my hand and said “Mommy, dance with me!”

Of course, I did. Arms flailing, silly faces, jerky kicks … basically, me doing The Elaine from Seinfield, except less gracefully.

I picked her up and spun her. Helped her jump high. We twirled and laughed and tried to out-goof each other as we whirled around our tiny kitchen, shaking our hips and hair.

And it occurred to me that, right then, as her little fingers intertwined with mine, that this was the last time I’d dance with my 5-year-old.

We’ll dance again, but she’ll be 6. Then 7. Then, one day, it’ll be too embarrassing to dance with her mom, even in her own kitchen where nobody’s watching. Then, one day, it’ll be fun again. Then one, day, I won’t be able to dance.

So many endings yet to come.

And, even though I told her we could only dance to one song because it was late and school night and she needed to get ready for bed, as that song faded, The Princess Who Saved Herself by Jonathan Coulton came on.

She looked up at me, eyes wide, pleading, mouth in a wide grin. “Please, mommy! Just one more song! Just one more dance!”

I looked at the clock. Past her bedtime. I looked at the kitchen, sink full of dishes, food cooling in pans.

I looked at her face, and said yes, of course. One more song, one more dance for you, my 5-year-old. Because tomorrow, I won’t dance with you again. Tomorrow, when we dance, you’ll be 6.

Parenting is full of endings.

One day, I’ll pick her up, set her down, and never pick her up again.

One day, I’ll drop her off at school for the last time.

One day, I’ll help her carry her last box of things out of my house and into her own place.

But each of those endings is a new beginning, too. A new chapter, a new step in the ever-evolving relationship between my daughter and me.

I love watching her grow up. I hate it, too. It’s such a dichotomy. And I don’t think I’ll ever get over that vague future grief and nostalgia of knowing I’ll miss the present with her, just as a much as I’m looking toward the future and who she will be.

Endings and beginnings aren’t always as sharp of a contrast as they seem.

Last night, I had a 5-year-old. Today, I have a 6-year-old.

She’s really not that different, yet. The difference is all in my head so far. She’s still vibrantly goofy, scarily clever, and deeply funny, even if she doesn’t mean it. She’s still the kid who wants to hold up the bus line to wait for another kid who’s running late. She’s still the kid who spirals into a poutfest when she doesn’t win the Hatchimals game.

But, last night was my last dance with my 5-year-old.

Today begins a new dance with my 6-year-old. I can’t wait to see where she takes me this year, because, at the very least, I know it will be an adventure.

Happy birthday, my darling Bean. I love you, my precious, silly, brilliant, sweet girl. Te amo.


no not

“no. not that one. the other one.”

“this one over here?”

“no. the one next to it. the one with red on it.”

“oh. this one?”

“isn’t she cute? look at her.”

“i guess. i mean, she’s yours.”

“what do you mean “you guess”? do you not like her?”

“she… she just looks like all of the other ones.”

“no. see that bit of red? she’s different. cuter.”

“when do you get to take her home?”

“couple of days.”

“are you sure you’re ready for this?”

“yeah. i still need to get a few things. a bed. carrier. toys. that sort of stuff. you really don’t like her?”

“i do. i do. i promise. it’s just hard get a good look from over here.”

“i’ll bring you back tomorrow and you get to know her more then. but we should go now. hospital visiting hours are over soon.”

she pauses

she pauses in the doorway, one foot tentatively outside, her palm resting on the weathered white frame. she looks at the ground beneath her two feet–one hovers above fallen leaves, the other on a scarred wooden floor.

she turns her head slightly, biting her lower lip, and looks over her shoulder. caught between two worlds, the late autumn sun lights her hair, the darkening room shadows her face.

a slight intake of breath, her fingers tighten on the frame.

she looks up. “i’ve always been in love with you. ever since…”

her hand releases, her feet move forward. leaves crunch. the door moves slightly in the breeze.

you reach up and touch the frame where her palm last rested. a faint trace of warmth lingers, you imagine it moving up your hand into your arm. tracing veins, chasing blood back to your heart.

you press your fingertips to your lips, closing your eyes. breathing. she can’t be far. you can stop her.


“honey? dinner’s ready. and shut that door before the cats get out.”

Bean and Moana

I just tweeted about this, but thought – hey! New year, new adventures, let’s get back to this blogging thing. I want to be more creative and flex my writing muscles more, so, perhaps, my first instinct shouldn’t be a threaded tweetstorm, but a blog post.

Anyway. I digress.

Let’s talk about Bean and Moana.

For anyone reading this who doesn’t know, Bean is my kid. She’s currently four years old. She is a delight, a challenge, a light, and the love of my life. (No offense meant to my spouse.)

When I first heard about Moana, Disney’s latest animated adventure, I bookmarked it as something I’d like to take Bean to for several reasons. I want her to see strong, brave, smart, kind women on screen. I want her to see stories from other cultures and people. And I loved the idea of her seeing a movie – animated or not – that didn’t have a single white person in it. I also loved that there was no romantic subplot.

We went to see it opening weekend, I think, and we both loved it. It was, simply, joyfully, a rollicking adventure about a girl finding her destiny and learning to trust herself.

The music was pretty awesome, too.

Then Bean asked to go and see it again, so we did.

Then she asked to go and see it again, so my spouse took her.

And she’s still asking if we can go see it again. She loves Moana. We listen to the soundtrack on a loop when we’re in the car (and sometimes during dinner). We read one of her Moana books every night at bedtime. She reads stories to her Moana tsum tsums and has tea parties with her Moana dolls.

(BTW, there’s nothing like the image of the tattooed demigod Maui ordering the mint tea and a biscuit at a tea party.)

We are all Moana, all the time at Casa Celt is what I’m saying.

But here’s what’s amazing to me. Bean is talking to us about Moana. She asking about character motivation. She’s asking why certain events transpire and what she thinks it means. She’s working out that there is more to the story than what’s on the screen and trying to figure what all of that means.

It’s incredible to watch. To see her edging around discovery. To see her beginning to understand that stories are often deeper than what’s on the surface. And to see her actively trying to work out what Moana is all about.

She’s beginning to think critically about things, to think symbolically about things. And it’s freaking amazing. She asks us what we think, tells us what she thinks. She wants a give and take, though she’s just beginning to understand what that is.

And it’s mind blowing.

It’s funny how little things like this make me realize what an unbelievable thing parenting is. How gobsmacking it is to watch a person forming and emerging.

From my perspective, being the middle-aged woman I am, it’s so easy to take knowledge for granted because I know it. I understand what it means to interpret and dissect stories. I know what symbolism is. I know how to spot themes and subplots, how to speculate about character’s motivations.

I forget that all of that was new to me at one point. That I had to learn that.

Watching my daughter go through this discovery on her own, is humbling and wonderful. She is figuring this out, she’s beginning her journey. And it’s marvelous, in the purest sense of the world. I marvel at her, at her cleverness, at her imagination, at her empathy for fictional characters and their trials and tribulations.

She knows the world is bigger than it seems. She’s beginning to see that our stories often are, too.

I couldn’t be more proud. And I can’t wait to see what she discovers next.



A quick, sort of related aside:

So, there’s a giant crab monster in Moana named Tomatoa. His species – as far as I know – is never identified – mostly because I think “giant crab monster” is about as specific as it needs to be. But, the key thing about Tomatoa is that he’s gathered shiny treasures and covered his shell in them.

Out of nowhere, Bean speculated that Tomatoa must be a decorator crab because he’s covered his shell with things. As she put it “He’s a decorator crab because decorator crabs gather things up on their shells to hide themselves, which is why he probably has so much stuff.”


She’s learned about decorator crabs from watching Octonauts, but to make that leap knocked me over. She’s truly thinking about the story, about the characters, and trying to apply what she knows – her worldly 4 years of experience on this earth – to Moana.

And she’s practicing being a good little biologist, too, what with the deductive reasoning for the species identification, too.

Oh, she is my heart.







Obliquity of the Ecliptic

I don’t know about you, but I often find myself earwormed by words and phrases. Don’t get me wrong, I also get the incessant jukebox repeat of songs, too. But, sometimes, it’s actually just language. A phrase. A word.

Today, it’s “obliquity of the ecliptic”. It basically means the earth’s tilt on its axis. And yet … today, the phrase is leaving swirls of beautiful infinity in my brain. It feels peach-ripe with possibility and allure. All I want to do is stare at it, run it around my tongue and through my teeth, hold its weighty, surprising grace in all of my conversations.

The obliquity of the ecliptic. It feels pregnant, a story waiting to be born, a world waiting to be tapped and pulled into existence.

Perhaps I should get started on that.

Three Worlds, One Shot: a February 2015 Conjunction Event

Lights in the Dark

Conjunction of the Moon, Venus, and Mars on Feb. 20, 2015. © Jason Major. Conjunction of the Moon, Venus, and Mars on Feb. 20, 2015. © Jason Major.

Did you have clear skies last night? If so, you may have been able to catch the sight above: a conjunction of the crescent Moon and the planets Venus and Mars in the western sky!

I captured the photo above with a Nikon D7000 and a Sigma 150-500mm lens. Venus is the brighter object at left, Mars appears dimmer and redder above. Part of the Moon’s “dark side” can be seen due to Earthshine – sunlight reflected off Earth onto the Moon. (Sometimes romantically called “the old Moon in the new Moon’s arms.”)

Although the worlds were only within a degree or two of each other in the sky they were in reality very far apart (obviously). The actual distances from Earth to each at the time of the event? Moon: 363,784 km; Venus: 213 million km; Mars:…

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For the record, let me state this – I am a boring, generic white woman with mousy brown hair. My hair, in its natural, unruly state is still considered perfectly, socially acceptable. If I never did anything to it again, it would remain that way.

I don’t bear any social costs for my natural hair because it’s still white person’s hair. Nor do I have to put up with people wanting to touch it. The following ramblefest is really just me whinging about my hair because I have the privilege to do so without it being called political. Continue reading