My Bicycle History

I don’t experience myself as a risk taker, or as an adventure seeker. In fact, I can comfortably assure you that as the conveniently-positioned middle child (fourth of eight), I’ve happily lived my life watching others live theirs. My two older brothers and sister were constantly out doing, creating, and (oftentimes) misbehaving. My younger set of siblings (three brothers and a sister) were never not organizing activities, rallying the neighborhood, and getting into scrapes. I have always been (and still am) content with an active library card, a pile of books, and an oversized chair in which I can curl up. These days I would also add a couple of knitting projects to that pile and I’m happy happy.

When my daddy bought me my first bike (it was a beautiful red 10-speed Schwinn) I was 15 years old. We had just moved from Maryland down to North Carolina, and for the first time lived in a contained neighborhood where it was safe to ride bikes and host neighborhood block parties. Our home in Maryland was situated on a very busy stretch of highway, and my siblings and I supplied 95% of the total number of children in the neighborhood. All outdoor recreation happened in our own backyard.

My brother immediately younger than me (number 5 in our sequence of eight) also received a brand new bicycle on our move to NC. His was a dirt bike and I remember it was silver with orange lettering and had posts for his feet in case he wanted to do tricks, which he assuredly did. He ended up in the emergency room less than two weeks later after skidding across some gravel and nearly taking off his own ear in the process. But he was right back on that bike riding it off of picnic tables and whatever other surfaces that were not the ground he could find.

No table jumps for me; my bike wasn’t designed for dares. I delicately rode around the block and back home again, wishing only for a basket on my bike in which to carry a book.

Fast forward many years and I was a single mom living back in North Carolina, not ten minutes from my childhood home. Our town is littered with the most beautiful parks system of anywhere else in the world I have ever lived or traveled. They were early adopters of the nationwide Rails to Trails program, which resulted in access to more than 100 miles of greenway across the city. And all of those greenway trails have mountain bike trails leading off them for deeper exploration of the massive interconnected parks system.

A good friend suggested I get myself a bike — a mountain bike so I could experience it all! What would I possibly do with a mountain bike, I wondered out loud, while inside my head remembering my brother’s numerous trips to the ER earning him VIP status and a first-name basis with the staff. But I did it. I bought a bike and it was gorgeous — powder teal, 15 gears, hybrid tires, and the best shocks of the season. I also bought a bike rack to fit on the trunk of my Kia Optima and loaded myself up for the scariest and most thrilling adventures of my life.

I became a regular at Country Park, where I rode the trails not visible from the greenway. I thrilled at the speed I could attain on the downhill runs. I was terrified jumping fallen logs. And I was always nervous crossing the narrow bridges. But I rode and never ended up in the ER, and kept my teeth intact, and proudly displayed all my bruises from the inevitable and innumerable wrecks and falls I had. That seemingly random piece of advice to buy a bike turned into something I’m still proud to talk about to this day. Years later I had to sell that beautiful bike to its next caretaker on my way to Santa Monica, where I bought my dream bike with a basket for all my books.


I don’t remember much of my life before preschool. I’m not sure how many people (besides my uncannily-remembering husband) have many memories pre-three. Here are my three earliest memories:

1. Taking a walk with my mother, just the two of us holding hands on a sidewalk and my mama pointing out all the things to me as you do with a spongy toddler, so eager and willing to look where you’re pointing. And there we were side-by-side on that sidewalk when Mama says, “Oh! Look at that caterpillar,” and I looked and just as quickly, I stomped. Right on top of that caterpillar and said, “Ew. Yuck.”

2. I remember being inside my grandparents’ house. I know now they lived in Michigan, but that’s certainly not part of my memory. I only remember being on the inside on the other side of the front door, not the porch or the door itself, just the physical beingness, the noticing of a place to sit immediately in front of me. It might have been a bench or a sofa; I don’t know. I recall it lined up against the wall that stretched from the front door and that wall ended abruptly where the stairs went up on the left. Straight ahead was the kitchen. But my memory is sitting on that — let’s call it a bench — with my Pop Pop. I was little and he was holding me on his lap, laughing.

3. Preschool I remember like it was yesterday. Well, that’s not entirely true. I remember preschool playtime. I actually have no memory of class time with our teacher, Miss Libby, whose basement was converted to a play and learning room. I just remember lots of color, and it was probably the all primary colors carpet. I can still sing you the song My primary colors are one, two, three — red, yellow, and blue. The sliding glass doors opened onto a backyard playground as vast as my imagination, with a swing set + slide, a monkey gym for climbing, and a real boat! Miss Libby’s sheepdog loved the backyard as much as we did, spending the entire playtime walking the perimeter of the fully-fenced yard, never interfering with our games, but always keeping an eye on us to be sure no one was lost, missing, hurt, or being left out. 

As was our recess ritual, once we passed through the sliding glass doors of our basement classroom into the great expanse of backyard possibilities, we magically morphed into mighty superheroes, capable of any feat requiring strength, heroic acts of bravery, and daring escapes. 

I only get to go to Miss Libby’s two more times before we are all done. Before I’m one of the big kids, and ride the school bus at the top of the street, and go to kindergarten. But Mama says big girls do not suck their thumb and only big girls ride the school bus. But I just really like sucking my thumb. 

It has to be today I decide while rushing toward the open sliding glass door. I make sure I’m the first one to the treasure chest to pick the shiny gold cape I now slide over my head and onto my shoulders. I take big enough steps fast enough to see my cape fly up behind me. I walk/run straight to the swings, my heart racing against my own legs with anticipation, to the one in the middle and I sit down in the center of the seat. I tug the cape out from under me and quietly sing one of Daddy’s favorite campfire songs to myself, the knee bone’s connected to the thigh bone — the thigh bone’s connected to the hip bone, while moving my two legs to scooch forward to the seat’s edge until I feel my legs drop where they’re connected to my hip bone, like a hinge. 

The tips of my toes now reach the ground and I’m a ballerina wearing the most beautiful satin slippers with pink ribbons wrapping around my ankles. I reach and stretch my toes connected to my feet, connected to my legs, and the push-me-pull-you action bends me at my knees, my two hands making tight fists around the chains fixed at my sides. The seat is holding me! I am moving! Faster and faster like I’m Flash Gordon! My toes brush against the ground, my feet are up, my legs are working, bending backward and forward, and with Shep the Sheepdog as my witness, I am flying, my golden cape billowing behind me. 

Peach Me, It’s Summertime

Knowing that today is the Summer Solstice my heart is jumping around like we’re about to have popsicles and run through the sprinkler. I did not actually make popsicles because I only thought about it when I wrote that sentence, but it would have been a great idea. Also, I do not own a sprinkler. You know what? I can make popsicles tomorrow and we’ll eat them with our friends tomorrow night after our pizza party — we’re grilling the pizzas out on the deck. Not on the deck, but the grill is on the deck! Have you grilled your pizza? It’s a culinary experience I want for you as much as I want to eat a popsicle. I make my own pizza dough (the secret ingredient is maple syrup) and my own popsicles. Normally I love using avocado as my base, but we don’t currently have any in the house. However, that sweet, ripe, begging to be eaten peach from last Saturday’s farmers’ market might just end up blended on the end of a stick. Popsicles will be made and eaten; at this point I’m committed, and they will be draped in dark chocolate with sea salt crystals studded across their lick-able surface, presentation-ready, always. 

It’s the harvest that thrills me this time of year. Is it even possible to consume enough tomatoes? Here’s my favorite thing to do with them — thick slices on top of toasted homemade bread slathered with mayonnaise and sprinkled on top with salt and pepper. If you have it and have a hankering for it, gently cover the tomato slices with some fresh basil leaves like a light little summer blanket — not too heavy because it’s too hot, but just enough to keep the fan air from blowing you cold while you sleep — is a surprising delight. Speaking of mayonnaise, do you have a preference for brand or is that just us southerners attached to our spread like we are to the King James version of the Bible? 

Thanks for reading Write It Down Already!! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.Subscribe

The other night I made the most delicious salad, which by the way, is my favorite cuisine. It was pure, unadulterated summertime in my mouth, exploding with seasonal surprises, and I was squealing like I was sliding down the water slide at age 12. Fresh peaches, peeled and sliced, juicy tomatoes, sliced, croutons (which I made from the last of the current loaf of bread, which you have to keep in the fridge during the summer or else it goes bad quicker than your momma can shout all your names at you because you left the refrigerator door open for too long and we’re not cooling the kitchen, mind you), and some chopped fresh basil plus some chopped fresh mint, and the easiest pour of olive oil and red wine vinegar and I topped that whole thing with some vegan feta because I have a dairy allergy or else I would have done goat cheese. Divinity in a bowl, y’all. 

And what I will not leave off our summer plate are the yellow squash and zucchini that I fry up with some onions on the stovetop until they’re basically caramelized, and I’m telling you you’ve never had anything so damn delicious, not ever in your life. And when we were kids and my mama made that squash from what we grew in our very own garden and I turned up my nose and had to plug it to get it down because we could not not eat what we’d grown — what in the Sam Hill was I even thinking way back then? Only about getting back outside tomorrow to run through the sprinkler, and getting fresh cut grass clippings stuck all over my feet, and drying myself off hanging from the dogwood tree branch I used as my personal reading nook, and eating a peach from our very own tree overhanging the back of the garage.

Bach and My Best Friend

It was not uncommon for me to find my dad weeping as he listened to his music. From the time I was a very little girl, and I’m sure long before my arrival, he amassed an extensive record (later CD) collection across multiple genres. If I had to identify his favorite type of music to listen to, without hesitation I would say, “classical.” My dad’s dad, my Pop-Pop, was a professional organist and music teacher. He was an organist-for-hire and would play for any congregation in need of his services. I was only three when he died, so don’t have any personal memories of hearing him play. I feel like I do though, vicariously through my own dad’s love of record playing.

At the end of the day, and sometimes well into the night after the rest of the family had gone to bed, my dad would put an album on his stereo, turn the volume waaay up, turn out the lights, and sit on the sofa with his back to speakers and push play. Entire concerts were held for an audience of one and no one could appreciate those recordings more than my dad. He always listened with his eyes closed, but was never asleep.

I knew whenever I heard the unmistakable notes of Bach’s The Toccata and Fugue in D Minor resounding through the house, that my dad was thinking about and missing his dad. That composition was written for the organ and it’s one of the most powerfully moving pieces I’ve ever heard performed.

My dad used to tell me how much his dad loved that piece and would often perform it in the churches with the best acoustics while my dad would sit in a pew nearest the door, farthest from the organ, watching and listening to his father in reverential awe.

A favorite memory was once accompanying my dad and his mom to a local church when I was around seven because there was an organist performing The Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. We got dressed in our Sunday best, Daddy and I, and drove to pick up Mom-Mom. It felt like such a special occasion because it was dark outside and we were going to a concert.

Daddy and I parked the car and walked up the stairs to my grandmother’s apartment and flanking her one on each side, escorted her down to the car. I inhaled my grandmother as a little girl, adored her more than anyone else in my world. She was my best friend. And that night we got to take my best friend to remember her husband. I felt the sacredness of that assignment, like I had a job to do that mattered to my Mom-Mom in ways that my seven-year-old self couldn’t understand. But I did understand loving someone so much you’d walk beside her in the cold night air to be sure she didn’t slip on the ice.

That was probably the first time I recalled my daddy crying, to music. The organist was a master at his craft and I felt the notes move inside my own chest, watched goosebumps rise on my arms when he pounded the reprise. I saw my Mom-Mom holding her own two hands with a white handkerchief clenched between them, which she sometimes dabbed her eyes with.

Music, I learned through direct observation and through personal felt experience, moves you. We were a family who felt notes all the way through ourselves. Record listening parties were a daily occurrence, which listening always and inevitably and desirably turned into dance parties.

Growing up on a daily diet of dance parties fueled by the greatest composers of all time, with intermittent bursts of emotion (sometimes tears, sometimes laughter), birthed in me a creator all my own and she is creating all her own way.

Smells of Summer

My young feral instincts


raindrops’ residue on hot pavement

(without being told or taught)

meant summertime,

In the same way 

cut grass goodness

dictated and begged

our nightly revelries — 


(Ghost in the Graveyard

firefly chasing

front porch sleeping).

Working in the garden,

turned up dirt

lingering and clinging to

Daddy’s wrist and arm hairs

muddied the kitchen sink

spraying earth fumes, 

inhalation inevitable,



The Waiting Game

“Waiting for . . . the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No. . . just waiting.” From Dr. Suess’ Oh, The Places You’ll Go

she lost consciousness 
in my arms and I
thank any and all 
gods attending us — 
for our Nurse Practitioner friend,
(now family) 
reviving her, and 
for Gigi
(also now family)
who had the presence of mind and 
free hands to 
call 911, and 
for the paramedics 
who arrived in minutes,

They took her away 
for her second ambulance ride 
in as many weeks, and 
thus began the waiting, 
the longest day of my life.

Tears were cried,
hugs were given, and
more prayers were prayed,
calls were made, 
and we waited. 
Six am until ten pm on that 
longest day’s ever night 
for a conversation
with the doctor — 
any doctor — 
for news on my girl.

She was 
the doctor said, and 
thank goodness 
they had her 
right where she needed to be, 
back in a hospital bed with 
tubes going in, and 
PICC lines coming out,
for the myriad medicines going in.

They said she would be 
for a long 
long while — 
for this infection 
consuming her lungs,
was waiting, too.

We can play 
(and win)
the waiting game,
we cried,
hunkered down
for a long 
winter’s month — 
warming up 
phone lines,
and bowls of soup
between us —
the distance always too far
for our waiting hearts.

Days and nights
became weeks
for the medicines 
to work,
for the chest tube 
to drain,
for the doctor’s calls
to be non-emergent,
for the hospital
to let me in,
for my tears
to stop,
for my fear 
to dissolve,
for our nightmare
to be a bad dream,
for permission
to go home.

The waiting
(finally) and 
we drove away,
leaving the waiting,
(impossible to see)
behind us,
packed to the roof,
as we were,
with living.

Peach Sap

Sunday afternoon I was sitting gratefully under the shade of a pecan tree, whose leaves are shaped like a peach tree’s leaves, in my estimation. We grew up with an old peach tree in our yard, but I think trees prefer to be called “mature,” instead of old. Our peach tree was perfectly situated behind the old carriage house, which had a low slanted roof from the back grading up toward the front of the building, which my parents used for lawnmower, tiller and large garden tool storage and a workshop for my Uncle Tom when he would visit in the summer. I could pretty easily get myself up into that peach tree and climb its super sticky branches onto the back roof of the carriage house. The tree’s branches were just tall enough to offer my tiny self and her book a modicum of shade over the just-right-sized spot on that scalding carriage house roof. The downside to being up there was, of course, the sap stuck to my fingers, which then smeared from page to every turned page.

There was also the day I discovered our cat’s — it was either Cupcake’s or Twinkie’s — collar wedged up in that peach tree, which he’d promptly gone and configured himself out of the moment Mom brought him back from a very embarrassing (for him) trip to the Vet. Being butt-less in the wilds of outdoor cat living was an ego-blow he had to face head-on, no collar to announce his coming. He may have lost the fight that landed him at the vet and cost him both his tail and his derriere, but he sure as hell wasn’t going to walk around with his head held in place for him. I am pretty sure the day I discovered and delivered that missing cone to my mother was the last time she ever paid for any pet’s veterinary needs again. We were always a menagerie; there were just too many of us not to be.

In the sixth grade our classroom moved outside for a week — it was called Camp Greentop — and (thank you, Google, I just learned that) from 1957 through 1996, every student in Frederick County, Maryland, “enjoyed the opportunity to make a national park their school.” Another fun fact just learned by me 30+ years after attending Camp Greentop is that it was the second of three camps designed and built in the Catoctin Mountains, with the third camp of that 1930’s construction era being Camp David. My time at that camp as an excessively skinny prepubescent girl predisposed to climbing sappy trees to enjoy quality alone time with her books (and none of her seven siblings), was both enlightening and embarrassing.

We went on actual nature hikes for class, looking at and learning every type of leaf associated with every type of tree that our precious slice of the Catoctin Mountain showcased. We were shepherded late at night onto a large open field, most certainly with a fairy ring in its center, for a class of star-gazing, learning and looking for the constellations visible on a late starry night in May. We scoured the woods for flowers and poison ivy, touching and picking none of them. Also I peed my pants during one of our day hikes because I was a new 12-year-old who didn’t know who to tell or who to ask or where there might be a tree behind which I could — no, I could not — hold it. And, no, I didn’t, couldn’t, tell anyone. I relocated myself to last in line and raced my way back to my cabin as soon as I was back in camp, surreptitiously swapping my under and outerwear before my high school senior counselor found me for mess hall responsibilities.

It turns out that I was in the stingingly painful throes of my first ever bladder infection, but I didn’t know that until I got home at the end of my week at Camp Greentop, bringing with me my wonder and my shame, racing to the laundry room to put my under and outerwear into the washer, an extra scoop of soap to be extra sure no one would know. I wanted to climb up the peach tree with my book du jour, get covered up in sap and sticky fingers, surrounded by leaves I now knew were: deciduous. Instead, our 60-year-old babysitter sent me with her husband to see our family doctor, also a man. So my longing to climb up the peach tree and pry loose my embarrassment to leave it behind was never realized. I got spotted immediately by our old babysitter, who was probably just matronly and mature and understood things I couldn’t see or say. Mrs. Perry was perfectly-situated to ask me where there might be a tree behind which I might be hiding. Cupcake or Twinkie, whichever brother it was who got his butt bit off in that late-night fight — turns out that he and I aren’t cone wearers after all.

Bees and Birds

Bumblebees spend their days banging into my window and into each other — it must be something to tumble through life because you’re just so happy to be in it — you touch everything in your flight path, albeit frenetic to the outside observer.

The mama hummingbird outside our kitchen window splits her time between nest sitting and food sourcing for the babies she’s sitting on top of. We keep a pair of binoculars on the counter next to the sink for 24-hour surveillance of the life flitting back and forth in front of us. The nest she built gets just as many views from us as she does; its craftsmanship at a mastery level my knitting only dreams of attaining in this lifetime of needles clicking. Curt’s Aunt Carol recently told me, casually of course, that I’d have to knit faster if I ever hoped to finish anything. She’s right, of course, but I do have a track record now of beginning projects being completed, begging the beginning of something new, which is where Aunt Carol was sitting next to me — at another beginning.

Our curiosity that our neighbors (whose house is the backdrop for the hummingbird’s nest) might — or must — wonder if we’re scrutinizing them with our round-the-clock laughter that tumbles and tangles together like two bumblebees on the back porch: the bounce effect of belly laughs only ever begs for more.

We spent the last four days in New York City, bumbling our way through the City That Never Sleeps. We took the stairs underneath 28th and Park and swiped $2.75 each (that’s the current rate to ride the MTA) to get on the 6, which would take us to the 7, which would take us to the B, all of which would take approximately 28 minutes. But this was the wrong 6, heading in the wrong direction, so we exited through the same turnstile we’d just paid $2.75 each to enter. We walked up the stairs to 28th and Park, did the Hokey-Pokey, turned ourselves around, went back underground, swiped another $2.75 each, and stared at the same wrong 6, heading in the wrong direction. Rinse, lather, repeat — back through the turnstile, but this time I asked the MTA attendant sitting in his box for help and when we walked topside to come subterranean and swipe another $2.75 each, I did it with confidence and verve. Start spreading that news. . . I’m looking at the same wrong 6 for the third time! and the MTA guy is looking at us shaking his head waiting for his moment in the subway break room to talk about the two bumpkins from Birmingham who spent $16.50 in a ten-minute swiping spree to figure out how to cross the street NYC-style: by actually physically crossing the street.

Bumbling, tumbling, and laughing our way through life is the lesson we keep learning from the bees and the birds who fill our windows and our hyper-focused lenses with reminders that through the lens of someone else’s window is the funniest and most fun way to be:  just so happy to be in it — you touch everything in your path, albeit frenetic to the outside observer.

What Love Made Me Do

During a recent doomscroll session on Facebook, I pulled myself away and forced a full stop. I had a mission to fulfill.

But first, the doomscrolling — I belong to a private Facebook group made up entirely of women who in some way are separated from the Mormon church. Some are inactive members, others who have openly removed themselves from the church, and still others who are in mixed-faith marriages (with one of them engaged in the church and the other not at all, or participating with limited activity), but all of them on what I would call a faith journey. Confessionally (and by the way, Mormons don’t have formal confession in the way Catholics do, but that adverb specifically seemed the right one for me to choose in this moment), I initially joined this group two years ago to see if I could find clients in my work as a transformational guide. I have never actually solicited anyone — nor do I intend to — but I have stayed on as a witness.

Whenever I pop onto this private page to read what’s been posted, to catch up on the lives of these women spread across the country in their range of communities, life and relationship circumstances and stages of their respective faith journeys, I am no longer surprised by the common and persistent theme of posts and responses to said posts. These women are hurting, and deeply.

Most of the women who post (there are over 9000 members in the group and certainly not all of them are posting, myself being part of the latter percentage) are sharing intimate and vulnerable situations they are personally encountering. All of these situations are heartbreaking for me to read, especially with the pile-on comments that add up to literal volumes of the stories of families abandoning their loved ones, mothers and mothers-in-law belittling, guilt-tripping and blaming their daughters, and entire communities gaslighting, ostracizing and turning their backs on these struggling women.

They are alone and they are seeking support in an online forum, where they’re not alone in their fears and in their experiences. It’s so difficult to read these accounts of mothers not loving their daughters.

My mission, which became evident to me only at the bottom of one-such doomscroll session, was to immediately step away from Facebook and to shut it down completely, and to then open FaceTime and call my own mother.

My mother answered my call with a whispered finger drawn across her lips, warning me not to speak too loudly because she was at work, at her volunteer position with the Mormon church as a researcher and a guide for anyone visiting the Church’s records building in Salt Lake City, Utah.

“Why are you calling me at work?” she whispered before I’d had a chance to make any noise.

“Hi, Mama! You sure look pretty today. I just wanted to tell you that I love you!”

“Well, I love you, too. Now why are you really calling me?”

“No, really! That’s all I wanted to say. I’m just so grateful for how you keep loving me even though I don’t go to church anymore.”

She so matter-of-factly stated: “Well, of course I love you no matter what. You’re my daughter and I love you.”

“Yes, well there are so many women I see hurting because their mothers are choosing to fight against them instead of just loving them, and it makes me so sad for those moms and their daughters, and so grateful for you and for me. I just wanted to be sure you know that.”

And my mama — who is the actual greatest — looked at me with her beautiful soft smile and said, “I do.”

My mission — to ground into what was, what is, and what will be — is, has been, and always will be — to love out loud, just like my mama continues to do with me.

Taking Up Space

I went for a run two hours after the call came from Curtis that his dad was gone. I covered familiar ground, sticking to the sidewalks through the neighborhood nearest the village library. I just learned (I read every single installment of the library e-newsletter, of course) a water pipe to the fire suppression system burst and released a large volume of water into the library. I have never heard of a fire suppression system, but mostly I am sad when I think about that wonderful building holding my heart on every single page on every single shelf. I don’t know what new and temporary location will hold space for us when we gather as lovers of words while we wait for repairs and replacements to be made. Recovery takes a long time and I’m still mentally preparing for and reminding myself of that truth. A couple of months ago, I gave my spare library card to Curtis for safekeeping because you never know when I might need him to run down the hill or swing by the village on my behalf: my library proxy.

Have you ever noticed how much space we humans take up? That space occupying was all I could feel, see and hear while running my library-adjacent route: the man walking three tethered-to-each-other dogs, the two women pushing double-wide strollers (coffee mugs in-hand, too consumed with their conversation with each other to notice me using the same sidewalk), the jumbo-sized SUVs in the morning school line (stretching endlessly-adjacent to the sidewalk I was running), the distracted drivers with no crosswalk awareness cruising straight through their right and left turns (completely oblivious to my permission-granted blinking light trajectory, swiftly dodging their swift deli meat slicer moves), the overly-cologned man leaving a trail for my nose to unwillingly follow (with the window of his truck cab down all the way), the wailing siren somewhere in the distance (unseen but felt in an instant in my heart — my sharp breath intake, breathe out a silent prayer for peace, for grace, for love), the laughter of a cluster of middle-schoolers making their way through the same crosswalk as me (but in opposite directions). Trapper Keepers took up more space in my backpack than their clever commercials promised, but I had to have one.

We’ve been walking Curt’s dad to his next adventure, Curtis and I, these past few months. Taking up space in his room, where he’s gradually occupied less and less of it: walker-assisted walking, to a fall that rendered him bedridden, to therapy to move that hip, to reassert dominance over a wheelchair, sitting upright with self-propelled mobility, to nursing station hangouts, filling that hallway with his jokes and quick retorts, inciting laughter and delight (both space taker-uppers), and then back to bed, curled up in the fetal position, refusing food and water because they take up too much internal space.

Love (and grief — because grief IS love) takes up space and moves between and among us, filling us all — all at the same time, with no limit to its capacity. It might be the great mediator among us, Love. While we wait for repairs and replacements to be made to our hearts, I remind myself that healing, if there is such a thing to be achieved, takes a long time. I’ve noticed that my dad, who’s been gone three years now, and that Curt’s dad, who’s been gone just eight days, are still tethered to us, taking up a lot of space inside of us, holding our hearts on every single page of this story we’re still living out loud and writing in real time.