I padded down the carpeted steps, pausing on the landing to absorb the lavender light pouring through the floor-to-ceiling window. Turning to descend the last several steps, my grandfather’s milky eyes supervised the endeavor as he peered out from the family portrait at the bottom of the stairs. My attention moved to the small girl pouting on his lap, then to the eight other children surrounding him. Nope. This boy is pure Rocco.

Distracted, I nearly lost my balance as my socks hit the hardwood floor. I expected to find the kitchen empty. Instead, I found Dad at the kitchen table, gazing across the water with his morning pages open before him. He turned when a floorboard creaked beneath our weight.

“You’re just in time, Paul!” he exclaimed in a voice far too bright for morning. “It’s almost the best part!”

Paul smiled and wobbled before ducking his head into my armpit with mock shyness. Dad closed his notebook, slid back from the table, and pulled the weight from my arms before the baby stopped giggling.

“Well, technically you missed the ‘best’ part. I personally think the purple is the best part and that already happened. But you’re in time for the most important part. The sun is almost here!” He slung Paul over his shoulder like a bag of oranges and moved towards the expanse of windows that flanked the living room.

“He just ate, Dad, so maybe don’t turn him completely upside down.” He nodded absentmindedly as he moved the child to his chest while trying to make Paul focus across the water rather than at his bushy beard. “I’m going to go grab the laundry. I’m pretty sure we’re on the very last diaper.”

“You must think of your diaper as Truth, Paul,” he said in acknowledgement. “You must ration it.”

I smirked to myself as I passed the sculpture that had temporarily taken up residence in the foyer. The golden light reflected off her shiny flanks, bestowing her cold flesh with the warm flush of blood.

Rather than turn left to head to the basement, I continued on to my parents’ bedroom. I laughed aloud at the down throw atop the knit throw atop the quilt atop the blanket atop the sheets atop the tight ball that was my mother. The mound of fabrics moved at the sound of my snort.

I swung my right leg up onto the high mattress and pulled the rest of my body up behind Mom, resting my knees behind hers and curling around her back. “You could turn the heat up, you know. I’m fairly certain you could afford it.”

A row of fingertips, tight like the kernels of a corn cob, lowered the fabric to expose two bleary, blue eyes and a mop of thick hair. “You again,” she muttered with a mock look of disapproval before turning back to face the windows. “Is your dad out taking pictures again? I swear we have more pictures of sunrises than we do of my grandson…and that’s saying something.”

Dad’s voice grew in volume as he, too, worked his way towards the bedroom. In seconds, he and Paul burst into the room. Dad’s constant narration bounced of the windows. “Can you see that coot over there, Paul? And the loons? I like coots more. They’re more fun to watch. Come this summer, we’d already be out in the rowboat by this hour. Or would you rather kayak?”

He paused to slide a chair away from the wall of windows, moving ever closer to the glass. Paul’s head wobbled as Dad lifted him onto his shoulders. “I hope you don’t outgrow your life jacket by the 4th of July.” He turned his eyes back to the horizon. “Oh look, Paul,” he pointed at the dip in the mountains where the damn hid. “Here she comes…”


  1. My god Elly. You know I’ve usually got some wiseass crazy thing to say but not today. I love these. I love that your dad takes Paul to the windows to look at this rising sun while he tells him tales. I love that Paul looks equally interested.
    Also, can we book me a room at this picturesque fairy tale lake house? I’d go just beautifully with the decor and I wouldn’t make any noise. Except if I’m drinking.

  2. How wonderful it must be to live in paradise…so beautiful!

    Perhaps your parents could find it in their hearts to adopt someone…ME!

  3. Good morning, dear. I’ve missed you, through fault of my own. I came, today, to jump into the party that seems never-ending over here. What a story that I’d find instead. I love it. I read this thinking: “Man, she’s really become the writer, hasn’t she? This is beautiful. Is this the new way of things?”

    Then I saw your “SEXIS: Read about my Vagina” banner, and knew I was in the right place. Once I find a way to send electronic loves your way, I’ll get right on it.

  4. I don’t have anything witty or smart or funny to add. I just wish I knew the right words to describe how much I love this, you, your words, the pictures, the love implied. I didn’t realize how much I’ve missed your words until this.

  5. I must have been saving these posts for a moment when I could actually gaze upon them and also savour your beautiful text. What a brilliant (and talented) blending of four generations of family. I don’t think I would have notice this had I have read it any time before this in the past two weeks.

    Remember how I said it gets better, in that comment oh, one post away from this?! Well … I have had a very busy two weeks that were reminiscent of those first crazy months with my first. It. Just. Didn’t. Stop.

    But it is important to notice the ebbs and floes I suppose. *shrug* whatever. I now have a half of a yummy muffin and an *actual* coffee so things are normalising for now. =)

    Anyway, back to this fucking awesome post. Ellie. This is, as the previous commenter stated. Breathtaking. By the end I was in those perfect kind of neartears that remind a person what is wonderful and yummy in this world. Paul is one lucky little nosesucker. <3 Thanks for finding the moments to record this one. It is pure gold.

Comments are closed.