i took this photograph of my mother last week, on daddy's birthday, the day after i came back from ecuador. i love this image for so many different reasons: there is the raggedy ann doll, big and small, both of them from my childhood and both of them sitting in an antique high chair in my mother's kitchen, where they've resided for years and years. the kitchen has changed, but the dolls have not. my mother has had this embroidered shirt from guatemala for probably 20 years or more, and because she is so good at household chores (and i am not), the shirt has survived who knows how many washings and wearings. i love the light on her shirt, on the gold cross she wears around her neck.
i'm spending today being with daddy, as i said a paragraph ago. it is a stop and go day, trying
not to worry about my mother, trying not to be impatient with my sister who sits and knits in the waiting room, who meets with a friend in the hospital deli, when she hasn't called since the minutes right after mama came out of surgery 4 1/2 hours ago. it is a quiet day, but also a rattled one, with just daddy and their big dog isaac and me bumping around this house sometimes together, sometimes alone. he tells me over and over again, often
through tears, how much it means to him that i am here, how he will be forever grateful. i look out the window and see houses and trees and wonder how they stay so quietly stationery, so solid, so normal, damn it, when all this worry and concern is whirling noisily around inside my overloaded head. daddy has been sitting in his corner of the living room, polishing the ring he one day plans to give to me, attempting to write this plan down on paper; when i walk back to see what he has written, i'm sad when i see a blank page. this breaks my heart. he cannot concentrate. he never can; that part of his mind is just forever gone.
this is not the jagged peaked splendor of ecuador - this is simply the quiet every day stuff that we all go through and endure - but there is, i know, a raw and rugged beauty to all of this, as vast as the wonders i witnessed just days ago in another hemisphere. how wonderful a thing it is to love someone so much that it aches when the other is hurting, it throbs when the loved one is cut. what a gift that is. what a gift, this thing called life. xo