When Finnian was about a year old he had a terrible fever and was quite ill over the course of a weekend. Joe's dad was in town from England and the second night Finn was ill he held the baby on the couch and placed his hands on Finn's head and became very serious in his attention.
Dad was healing him. He was trying to heal him with his magic.
Magic is the best way I can describe it.
Dad was a spiritualist and his views on life rooted from that place.
My grandfather is a Baptist minister and his views root from there.
My grandfather would lay his hands on me too if I asked him to.
He would pray hard for me.
It is all magic. It is all magical thinking. It is all reasoning.
Magical thinking is all around me right now. I place my hands on books and telephones and wood and tables and press harder than I should to try and make things feel real.
But they don't.
I try and chant inside of my head letters strung together that form words and then sentences that beg the people that I love to find peace. I say these little words over and over in my mind and even as I am saying them I wonder if it will ever work.
Because grief is not a simple action.
It begins and assaults at random and does it ever have an end?
Or does it just hide away?
It is like a heavy velvet curtain at a theatre.
It just falls at random from the sky and blankets you.
It makes it difficult to move and the fabric traps yr feet.
It pools in piles at yr feet and you cannot move until it lets you.
I find myself trying very hard to think things fine. I reason with myself that in some arbitrary number of days that everyone will feel better and life will resume again in formation.
I make little deals with the universe that I will be a better wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend if everyone can just find that peace.
But it's only magical thinking. I pray in the quiet to a God who I am told by my grandfather knows the number of hairs on my head.
I say tiny words to God, but I am lost out there in the dark.
I am not sure I am heard.
I am not sure I am worthy or my magical thinking matters.
But the day after dad placed his hands on Finnian
the morning after he was so loving and focused and true
the very next day
my small boy uncurled in the bed
and stretched and smiled
and snuggled to my chest and his forehead
was as cool
as a early morning breeze
and I can't help but irrationally wish for dad to be here now
to place his hands on his children's heads
to take away the sadness
the way they all feel
dealing with the subtraction of him from their lives
And nothing makes sense but I say the small words over and over again
inside of my magical mind
I didn't know what he was talking about the first few times he said it.
fat finger pointing towards the hallway
I sat up from the sofa the next day and heard it clear as day
Blaise said it and pointed at the cellar door
while me and my brother-in-law had coffee in the kitchen on afternoon.
And he has continued to say it randomly throughout our time here.
We all want to believe it is dad.
And we do now as in the country garden wake at Uncle Richard's estate he looked at old photographs that a friend of dad's had brought and took the thick little finger and pointed at the handsome man we all now miss and said clear as crystal knocking off a surface and breaking into thousand tiny pieces:
and his finger lingered
mushing cake and other food bits
right on the reflection of dad
Last night he told me in two year old broken toddlerish
that old man was sitting beside me
I wasn't afraid
Dad was a spiritualist- he told me so much about his beliefs in the last decade.
I believe. I know he would try and come to us now.
I guess none of us thought he would find his way through a fat little boy in his last year of babyhood.
Through a small mouth that made things real.
I may from time to time add a song here that lives in my dad's jukebox.
I grew up with one in the living room.
I did not find that cool until much later into my life.
I thought my parents were weird.
We had a vintage coca cola machine in the kitchen too.
My dad collects things. Old cars. Old signs. Weird stuff.
He also drove me to school in an El Camino.
I only have started to realize how cool he is. My dad.
title post- Saturday Night Fever 1977
We are becoming block makers. Finn was apprentice to a sexy carpenter last night. He loved being around dad and all the sawdust and noise. It was true bonding night and he was up until 9:30pm (unheard of at our house- ask our friends...we tuck in wee ones wicked early!) Finn had a rather hard day yesterday that ended in his missing out on Tuesday play date with his buds. I could take it no longer when dad walked in the door- thank God he took away Finn's mean streak and the rest of the evening spread out against the dusk like glitter. How can dad make it all better like that? I get jealous. I could hear them talking in the bath last night as I sat in the dining room at bottom of the stairs. Finn told Joe that he was naughty bc he was bored. Grrrrrr. What does the kid want? Circus tents and acrobatics across the backyard while I spin webs with my hands and make banana bread with my feet? Oh well...Some days are diamonds. Today I let the sunshine and outside do most of the entertaining. The boys are sleeping hard bc the morning was heavy with non boring outdoor fun.
We are slowly going to start selling blocks on my etsy shop. We hope to make some toys in the summer too out of some gorgeous maple and other woods, but for now we are making blocks. They are cool and if you buy some and are a doobleh-vay reader you get a free bakers twine package if you use the code blocklove in yr order to me. Yahoo for blocks! xo
My Joe has always made blocks for the boys and now I have convinced him to make some for me to sell to folks who love wooden blocks as much as we do.... I am super excited to help him make some and learn a bit about woodworking. I mean, I am married to a master carpenter- I should know a few things! We are researching non toxic paints and finishes and will sell them this summer at some local festivals I am doing and on Etsy eventually. I have been restoring furniture and working on a million projects at nap time recently. My house is a tip and I have worn the same shirt for two days, but I am so juiced with creativity. I just had to photograph this little chair today. It has a charm to it- old and metal and once loved.
An old cootie game
found under old newspaper today
another gift from the pack rat papa
I like to imagine his hands as small as Finn's
turning antennae round to fit in small holes
making Gran play with him
on old linoleum floors
It can blow the mind
He turns 60 this week and I am wishing I had a
treasure for him
I sometimes wish he and I could go back in time and
rewalk portions of our path
this is not going to happen
but I wish I could reach out and turn a dial that would
run a constant loop in his mind
a message of how much I love him
even if I have never been very good at showing it
Finnian was gifted with an antique box of child sized tools by our friend Joe Shepard. Joe is my Joe's business partner and Finn refers to him as either "old Joe" or "handsome Joe" as those are the nicknames we call him. (I call him the latter.) Joe was at an auction and found these for Finn and the boy could not be prouder. Finn says that he can now be like dad and fix and build and make. This is true. Under the wise master carpenter that is his dad, he can soon start his apprenticeship. I think it is cool that Joe will pass on his talents to our kids and arm them, for at the very least, the ability to fix shit around their own homes someday- But, if he wanted to become a carpenter and not the haute couture designer, plastic surgeon, or rocket scientist I hope for him it would really be OK. I love that my husband loves what he does and that his work sustains us and fulfills his passions. I love that all over this city there are buildings and houses that were touched by the art of Joe. I think in this life we ought to find what it is that we love to do and do it all the way. I heart my carpenter and I thank you handsome Joe for the box of possibility for young Finn