Cabin Smiles

Familiar loving smiles and remnants of a peaceful early morning shuffle 
greet us at our gas station meet up. 
With pajamas and bare toes our little birds remain strapped in tight, pre-flight.

Three Mama's bow our heads together and thank Him for what He's given Us. 
For that which we are about to receive. 
We petition our God for health, safety, and His constant presence on our getaway.

Our caravan cavalcade pulls out for what feels like the 100th time together. 
I wonder if Nina or Nori are feeling the same sense of strength and belonging 
in the synergy of this flock, flying again in our usual formation. 
One that is becoming our signature.


Nearly four hours, three pit stops, and two new Love & Logic CDs later 
we pull into our final meet up destination.

Entering into about as "backwoods" as it gets 
we refuse to be segregated away from the main dinning room,
laughably, to order some of the worst food we've ever turned down.


We sit and visit and play and visit and finally check our clocks.

Two hours have passed, 
and with an ambiguous time frame set in which the guys should come and 
lead us back to where they've spent the night, in the middle of nowhere, 
we decide to attempt the dirt road maze on our own.

We find our way and the guys.
We pile what little we brought into a house they've already prepared for us.
Set the kids up to playing in the game room...


and get the scrabble rolling.

We play until we fear loosing our brains out of our noses. :)


Then the daddy's go fishing, 
and the mama's take the babies for a raspberry picking hike outdoors.

Back at the cabin we enjoy a delicious lasagna dinner together.

Zeek and I spend some time out on the dock by the lake 
while the rest pack up to boat and fish while I put him to sleep for the night.


I keep close to the boy who has chipped away at me these past weeks.
A hand holding that promises a forever heart to keep.

We sit quiet and good.
He loves the edge the way I used to.
I pray.


In our bed I nestle this summer boy in the yellow light 
streaming through the blinds in our glowing room.  
 I recall my own memory of being little,
sleeping in the yellow streams at my parents' friends beach house.

...I remember playing in the sand, on the paddle boat, 
eating lunch with bananas in that same light.

I curl up in a ball next to my baby and whisper into his ear, 
"don't ever forget this".

He's fast asleep. 

I creep downstairs,
and I'm alone for the first time in what feels like forever.

And I'm a grown up wife and mother, with a man and a child. 

And I'm still here. 

And I stand in front of God and whisper to myself,
"don't ever forget this."

Outside I hold a few of my dearest possessions.
Camera, Pen, and Journals.


The stillness calls to me.

I answer.

And I've sat in this same place, 
water's edge, camp, dock, ocean side, sand dune... 
with this very heart
usually all jumbled and taped up.
I've sat alone, gentle in this surrounding peace,
loosened flip-flops, pouring out my soul in ink.


I sit here again, to turn myself over in my hands
and see what has become of me yet.

This time, it is all me and Him and Him and me,
entwined sweetly together, 
wrapped in forgiveness and forever. 
"And I know I'll never be the same." -TD

And I'll never forget Who and why.


The smiles return on the water to lay down their own babies for the night.

Ben, Noah and I head out to boat through sunset. 

And my love reignites of gritty night crawlers coiling tight at hook's point,
of the ticking spin at casting reel,
of the plop, settle... and click of the pin. 

We cast and catch, cast and catch, endlessly.


Back at the cabin the kids are down and the adults play hand and foot.
All night long.
We share and poke, wink and smile, sparkle and laugh 
and being with them helps me, heals me.

Morning breaks and we...


This time Nori, Ben, Noah, Zeek and myself.


Zeek's first time, and he is NOT in love like his Mama.

(photo by a mortified Zeek)

Try as I might, I can not make him more comfortable with
slimy creatures on hooks. 
Not today.

But we cast and we catch, anyway.

(photo by Nori)

I keep him near, hold him tight.

(photo by Nori)

We smile warmly with our friends.


We cast and catch.

We return for lunch.

I look at my son, rested and full.
And I know in my heart what it's time to do.
I cringe at the thought that it goes all wrong.
That he lashes out and takes me down.
But I feel stronger here, 
and I push against my fear of disappointment.

"Would you like to go on the boat and fish, just you and me?"

And he would.


and he casts SO well.

And he sits and waits for his catch.

And I'm proud of him for being just four years old, brave and strong and sure.  
And he's proud of me for being the things he needs from his Mom
but can't express.


And something changes on that water, that afternoon.
Something finally.

We return, Mother and Son.

And everyone wants to go fishing, again.


We fish

and fish,

and fish.

We have a fishing contest.


Noah wins for largest fish caught.

(I'm sure this isn't his "whopper bass", 
but he catches SO much who can keep track?) 

Nini wins for the most caught: 39

The night goes on and on in smiles and catches.


We eat steak, corn on the cob, asparagus, onion halves, zucchini, and pilaf.  
We have a bon-fire with hoodies, smores, flash lights, and candles.

The kids fall asleep, hard.
The adults play hand and foot.
Laughing and healing in a place that's become 
more than a cabin to me, now.

Breakfast comes like all food that Nina and Nori serve.
Oversized, picture worthy, and unbelievably tasty.

We play a couple more games watching rain from the big windows.

We pack our things, give our hugs and kisses and head out.

He sleeps in the back seat while I drive home. 

I listen to more Love & Logic. Order pizza.

Reflect on all that this weekend has done for me and him.
Pray that this is a real turning point for us.

He wakes up for his half of the pizza. 
I look in the mirror facing him.

He's smiling wide,
and I smile with him.

My heart soars.


  1. Awesome, very quieting to read. Peace. Aaaahhh. Good for the soul. Love you lots, Mom

  2. what beautiful photos -- they really tell the story of your awesome getaway weekend. great post.