When I’m the girl in the photograph

January, 1922, a young dutch girl is at school in Zaventem, Belgium. She writes the date carefully, each word a work of art.

96 years later I hold it in my hands. I trace the letters she wrote; my great-grandmother.

She started writing it just after a world war, not knowing it would only be the first. Before she had children, before those children grew up.

Did she make ever make the fancy recipes she carefully wrote down, for visitors or in-laws?

Sometimes I think of life back then in black and white, or at least in the faded colors of the photographs I find.

But the sun shone just as brightly, and the grass was just as green.

Life seemed to stretch out just as endlessly for her. After she went back home and put her simple brown notebook with its elaborate curly writing on a shelf, she couldn’t have known that almost a century later it would find itself back in Belgium close to the place where it received its first word.

Someday I’ll be the girl in the old fashioned photograph. And although it won’t be black and white it will seem just as […]

Love

Yesterday, love looked like you loving me when I was grumpy, reading Dickens all day in an effort to forget the pain and letting the children run wild.

It wasn’t pretty.

And when you came down after 5, you sent me up to take a hot bath, making supper and feeding the boys.

Yesterday, love looked like you going down after 10 to make me hops tea like so many times before.

Today, love looked like me bringing your pancakes and coffee for breakfast up to your office even though I was annoyed you didn’t come down to eat, and maybe I shortly considered being spiteful and let you starve until lunch.

Love means staying, even when I want to run hard and fast. And I love you. Also when I merely know it and don’t even feel it the smallest bit.

I love you, because I promised. I promised I would stay in the hard times and although there have been hard times, in which I wished I hadn’t promised you anything, I always end up being glad I did.

By which I mean: I’m glad I’m stuck with you.

Love is staying. And staying means having […]

Slow, really nice and slow

I sometimes complain that life is rushed.And then I rush you.I complain everything is fast, and busy,And then I busy the life out of you.You do it so very well. Living slow.The toothpick falls.

Slowly, you get of your chair. You crawl under the table and find not only the toothpick, but also a ball and a spoon. This delights you.

Your mouth curls into a mischievous, satisfied smile. Your cheeks deliciously go along, not wanting to miss out.

The cheese is lost.You check your t-shirt. Your pants. Your chair. And find it under the table a few minutes later.

Slowly, you push the chair away and I restrain myself from bending down to just do it for you. Your little fingers rub the cheese, relishing the texture. To me, it looks unappetizing. To you, it is a piece of gold.

I tell you to hurry up and finish eating.

You twist around on your chair in an everlasting dance, bumping your plate and your milk. All I can see is the possibility of spilled milk and all you see is the crumbs in the shape of an airplane.

Staring at the ceiling, you contemplate…something? You can’t and won’t […]

Under the sandstorm

To me, sometimes. To you, right now or then.I wish I could wrap you tight in a circle of safety. I wish I could give you my certainty, that everything will be all right even when everything is too hard.

Would that steal your own soul adventures?

I wish I could show you the hope that burns bright, even when you can’t feel it. It’s always there, like the sun, but it might not be visible in your today. It might be just around the bend, waiting for morning.

I wish I could make you understand that you don’t need to feel it.

That you don’t need to feel okay.

That someday, this darkness will recede and you will step out hesitantly, finding out you are so very victorious. Then you will smile and square your shoulders and take the next step confidently.

I wish I could show you the height and depth and width of His love for you… I wish I could always have the right attitude and speak the right words so that you’d be convinced.

I wish I could fast forward. I might be tempted to do it, but would it rush you through something […]

Goodbye 27. Hello 28

Goodbye 27. Honestly, 28 doesn’t sound that much older then 27, so don’t get all uppity or anything.

Thanks for teaching me a little more patience. I do hope 28 is a little bit of a gentler teacher than you, though. You don’t have to be all-in-my-face, you know.

Thanks for the good moments and the bad. Well, I really just mean the good but I know what I’m supposed to say, you know. It’s like in Sunday school. Just say “Jesus” and all will be fine. Your teacher and your father will be immensely proud of you.

Seriously though, if I stop being sarcastic for a moment, I have to admit that while I would never chose the hard things, I am not sorry for the lessons they have taught me. I might still prefer a little fairy to come along and instill a loving and forgiving and totally nice character into me without having to go through, you know, hardships.

But if this is the way it has to be, then so be it. Through living we learn to live. And I do live. I do think I’m nicer at the beginning of 28 than 27. Imagine […]

Garden magic

I walk to the far end of the garden, where the hedge meets the grass. Its branches, untouched for two years, droop down gently in a green, cascading waterfall. Now and then they ripple in the breeze.

In a few weeks, the hedge will be cut into a straight rectangle. It will be a bland, boring old lady, all prunes and prisms.

Now it is a kind friend. A friend who knows all the secrets of the garden, and will reveal them to a select few. She hides bugs, and bird nests. She protects children from colds winds and makes safe corners.

The grass is long, gone into seed. It looks like a meadow wanting to be played in, waiting for someone to lie down in its green carpet. Soft yet tickling, with little bugs exploring grass and the bodies or books on it.

Buttercups and daisies are sprinkled randomly, where the fairies wanted them most.

When I get up, it wants to remember a little longer that I was there. It keeps the imprint I made and then slowly lets it go. So slow I almost miss it, the grass sways back up, to dance in the […]

when life is not idyllic

Last year, we went to the Hallerbos. It is, as I told Abel, the place where fairies live. Every morning, before anybody else is awake they pick up their little buckets of glittery water and clean all the flowers until they shine.

I had been stalking the Hallerbos website for almost six weeks now, waiting until the Hyacinths would bloom. Then one Friday late in April we went, and I was quite excited about it.

The year before had been sunny and warm, we had picnicked and it was beautiful. Even though we did get a little lost and the walk took us a lot longer then planned.

So we parked at another parking lot, hoping it was closer to the flowers than the one we had parked at last year.

But it wasn’t.

And after about 2 minutes of walking the children decided they had enough and they wanted to go back to the car.

I, on the other hand, was intent on enjoying this walk and so I became the mom that over-cheerfully, loudly praised all the things the forest has to offer.

Mike wasn’t complaining, but the un-excitement was seeping of his face. He didn’t […]