The Longest Journey

From the time she was tall enough to reach the keys, we’ve watched Julia (and, later, Thomas and now Annie) reach up to pluck out a few notes on our piano. We keep the lid up–and, to be honest, we keep a piano–for that very purpose.

So it wasn’t as surprising as it was gratifying when Julia asked to take piano lessons. We’re both wary parents when it comes to burdening our kids with our own ideas of hobbies or interests–we learned that lesson, to an extent, with t-ball, which Julia soldiered through in spite of her easy to spot boredom.

She’s a natural on the piano, though, and she sits down daily to practice without us even reminding her. She raced through her first and second and third piano books, and by the end of the summer was picking out the melody of “Ode to Joy.” When I saw the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra was presenting Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, I knew we had to go. Continue reading “The Longest Journey”

Echoes of Summers Past

kids and bikes


The weeping willows are the first in our neighborhood to let on that summer is waning. By mid-August they are dropping leaves left and right–early enough that at first glance one wonders if they’re simply dying, or if there’s some terrible drought–leaving their wispy, gray branches draped among a chorus of cicadas singing of colder nights ahead.

This fall we’ll mark five years living on this street, enough time for me to know that the willows do this every season. But this summer has had a lot of echoes.

Thomas learned to ride a bicycle in June. We got him a new bike to mark the occasion, a bold and smart looking blue and orange, and with a few lessons post-training wheels, he was soon enough on his way. Continue reading “Echoes of Summers Past”

A Third of the Way


My triennial birthday letter to my daughter.

My dear Julia,

Somewhere along the way I determined that I ought to write letters to you guys every few years on your birthdays, and just this week I was trying to figure out if this was your year.

It couldn’t be, I thought, because surely it wasn’t that long ago that I’d sat down to write a note to you. But I was wrong.

It’s very much possible that this is the last letter that I write to you that’s an open letter–one that I publish on my silly little online journal–in part because, only recently, you’ve seemed to understand that there’s a world wide web that sees so many of the things we capture with our little metal and glass phones and upload through the thin air. It caught me by surprise when I snapped a picture of you, a fun one, I thought, and you looked at it and told me not to put it on Facebook.

I put it on Instagram instead. Continue reading “A Third of the Way”