i'm baaaaaaaack (from ack)

Hey there, beautiful you. I missed you.

I’m not just saying that. It was odd to be away. I’ve grown accustomed to our little world here. Our visits are important to me.

It’s good to be home. Incidentally, I think I may have a somewhat unnatural attachment to my own pillow. 

But if you’d like, we can step back to the beginning of last week. You’ll need a sweater. Go grab one. I’ll wait. The ferry over to Nantucket gets a little chilly.



Sunday Part One

I’m on Nantucket, squeezing the last few drops out of the New England summer

Somewhat guiltily enjoying a brief escape from the chaos and anxiety of the impending school year

I have no connection to the internet – to my outlet – to the cyber release of Blogland

Maybe not a bad thing for a week, but an adjustment

I feel a little lost without it

Posts start to write themselves in my head

I find that I don’t stop writing just because I can’t write

My brain begins to run out of room

Like a computer low on storage space

The words stack up in layers

Like sweaters in the attic

Colorful, chaotic towers – listing – threatening to fall onto each other like dominoes

I think of the term blogjam and make myself laugh


Brooke loves the beach

The water

Salty and heavy and thick

The sand

Warm and gritty

She lays down in the sand every chance she gets, extending her arms and legs

Making angels of a sort

The mud

Soft and wet and dense

Clumpy on her hands

Her legs, her shoulders

Everything has its own wildly different consistency

She loves the variety of textures

Rubs them into her skin

She runs through the dry sea grass

She shimmies into the middle of it and lets it scratch her skin

Like a cat

She spends most of the day in a running conversation with the beach

The people are incidental

She is aloof

Brief interactions with us are woven into the day

Each one delicious

Like the fudge from the candy shop on the wharf

So sweet it almost hurts

She hugs me tightly, forcefully, completely

I hug her back desperately

She runs away

Never in one place for too long

We laugh loudly

Only the ocean hears us

She runs back to me

Knocking me onto my back in the sand

“I knocked-ed you over!”

She lays on top of me

I hold my head up at first, conscious of the wet sand in my hair

Then I give in

I let my body go slack and revel in the sweetest hug this side of the Mississippi

I sit up so she can take another run at me

I scoop the wet sand of the sand bar into my hand

It cracks in perfect layers

We call them potato chips and she feeds them to crabs we can’t see

A game of pretend

Again and again

She digs her own tiny hand into the sand

And makes smaller chips

Her little chest puffs out with pride

She did it herself

We go on this way

Making chips, feeding crabs, feeling proud

And then I lose the thread

She’s sitting next to me

But she’s gone

I don’t know how to get her back

I try to make her laugh

She smiles mildly into the middle distance

She runs her fingers through the water looking for the small, transparent jellyfish that she slides from one hand to the other

She can’t find them

They are as elusive as her attention

I’m no longer in

She has shut me out

So I watch her


But I’m smiling

Because she’s happy

She squeals loudly and talks to her hands

The wind takes her words before I can hear them

They aren’t meant for me anyway

But still I try to listen

I feel like I’m eavesdropping on a private conversation

I look for chances to jump in

She doesn’t offer any

She’s happy

I make the decision to remember that

To fight for it

To be ok with it

To believe that her nature need not be mine

At least to try



11 thoughts on “i'm baaaaaaaack (from ack)

  1. Thanks for the virtual-invite to your vacation. I can practically feel the New England breeze on my face and the grainy sand in places I’d rather it not be. Can’t wait for Sunday Part Two.

    Glad you’re baaaaack!

  2. The Olympics should have included medals for Most Photogenic Humans Ever! You guys would have swept the event. Love the writing, you have a very immersive texture in the words…lots of sounds, sensations; makes it easier for us to live vicariously through your descriptions.

    collectively, we purr.

  3. Such a beautiful post. When I read “To believe that her nature need not be mine,” it’s like an alarm went off in my head, reminding me that I need to view my son that way, with all the wondrous elements of his nature. Thank you for inspiring words.

  4. You’re back! We missed ya. Very descriptive, very poetic images. Doesn’t it just make you so happy when you see your child happy, even if she’s not sharing it all with you, she’s drinking in her world in her own way and it’s clearly beautiful.

  5. So lovely, so familiar to me that feeling of longing and joy when included – you capture it so perfectly. Glad you’re back. We just returned from a month on M.V. and I wish either of my boys liked the sand as much as Brooke does!

  6. I realized all the while how much I missed your posts and the extra glimpses I’m able to get into my grandaughters’ lives (and yours). Welcome back! This was a fantastic post.

  7. Hi Jess,

    This one bowled me over…right up there with Katie’s God in the Rock. Sometimes I think you speak more to the rest of us, those of us who try to get it but most often fail because of our banal distractions.

    Love you, Jeanie

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