Dear Ben


This is the scene I was trying to describe on the phone last night. Stepping into the kitchen, I nearly lost my toes as Gabe careened around the counter with Mary in the baby wagon. They were screaming and giggling as those two always do; crashing into corners and barstools until Dad issued them a traffic ticket and sent them to unload the dishwasher.

At the sink, stood Hans scrubbing chili-spattered plates and creating a pool of water at his feet. He wasn’t thrilled to be back on dishes so soon, but we’ve created a new chore chart and guess what? You’re not on it. Can you believe that? No more: “Ben you’re on table setting.” “Clean the big boys bathroom.” “Mow the lawn.”

Across the counter Stefan and Xander are creating a poster to ask a cute girl to homecoming. Stefan begged me to add a flower to the border but soon abandoned me for Xander’s superior art skills. Perched in a barstool, reading Harry Potter, Dad offers occasional artistic suggestions and laughingly scolds Gabe and Mary who are once again racing between our feet. They’ve scared the cat and she hisses at Mary as she extends her claws.

Now, the poster is done and everyone, everyone, traipses out the door to deliver it just a few houses up. The sky is heavy with rainclouds and a reluctant moon but the little ones run barefoot in shortsleeves. Carefully arranging his offering on the front porch, Stefan is startled by a flash of light and we scramble for the bushes. Xander crouches behind a garbage can and Gabe is spread-eagled on the lawn laughing with full abandon.

Sneaking home, Stefan confessed that he’d forgotten to leave his name with the poster. No worry, I scarcely believe we could be confused with anyone else.


Don’t be fooled by the spotless floor; it’s a trick of the camera. I’m certainly not on top of the housecleaning or the many undone projects strewn throughout the house– let’s not even talk about the pantry. But I’ll follow your admonition and write here a bit more.

My back is tweaked and sore, so instead of running I’ve been walking and reading The Ladies Auxiliary. It sounds silly doesn’t it? But it’s not. It tells of a congregation of Orthodox Jews in Memphis, TN. You know how I love Jews– their observances make us look like religious pansies. I love their rhythm of life: Kosher diet, Shabbos, mikvah, holidays, sitting shiva. Every part of life has a reason and a purpose. I love viewing God through their eyes and hoping to find my trust in Him.

We miss you. The intelligence level of our dinner conversations has plummeted.

Much love, Mom

p.s. don’t be worried that Mary is flashing her underwear in the last photo. Those are her little white shorts that she wears under every skirt to school– she’ll be happy to show them to you. And c’mon, you didn’t think she was boring enough to wear white underwear? I bought them just in time since little broken arm girl got her groove back and is cartwheeling down the halls.

August 26, 2010
September 2, 2010



  1. Kerri

    August 31, 2010

    Ummmm…your back is tweaked, TOO? Seriously, you are being put through it. I vote that you get a break from life stress for a while.

    I liked Ladies’ Auxiliary a lot. I have it in my nightstand drawer to reread, but haven’t gotten around to it.

    This was a sweet post that made me miss my Josh. Oh wait, he’s still living at home? And making me crazy? Oh. I guess I miss FUTURE Josh.

  2. Rachelle

    August 31, 2010

    I simply ADORE reading about the dailing goings on with your family. I’m thinking a children’s book about life in your fun loving family is in order. I’m mean how many whole families traipse down the street to deliver such a sign. You people are wonderful!

  3. Rachelle

    August 31, 2010

    Oops… should have said “daily” goings on. I hate spelling errors (especially when I make them!)

  4. Selwyn

    August 31, 2010

    Can I issue you a traffic ticket, sending you to Oz for a breather?

    Wish I could!

  5. Tifani

    August 31, 2010

    How can you write so much about so many things when it looks like you are only writing a simple letter to your son. I adore you! I’m off to order the book. And I hope your back is better very soon.

  6. Michelle

    August 31, 2010

    Don’t worry Ben when you visit you can do all the dishes jobs.

  7. Sue

    August 31, 2010

    This was such a fun read!

    And I’m going to check out The Ladies Auxiliary. I hadn’t heard of it, and I love reading about all things Jewish. (Potok is one of my favorite authors.)


  8. Linn

    August 31, 2010

    I loved this post! And I absolutely loved that book you are reading. Loved it. So incredibly interesting to me

  9. Blue

    September 1, 2010

    your tweaked back could mean me getting to hang out with you! walk next week?! (we’re free after labor day)
    you’re such a darling momma!♥

  10. Ginnie

    September 2, 2010

    Hey Michelle! Thanks so much for your comment. That wheat field is just down the street from the new Oquirrh Mountain temple (on the south side). Hope that helps! 🙂

  11. Tracy

    September 2, 2010

    I love you. I had the biggest smile reading this letter. I would say more, but my brain is mush as you know what I am up to these days.

    p.s. Francine loves you too.

  12. jendoop

    September 10, 2010

    We had a wonderful discussion about The Ladies Auxiliary in our bookgroup. Amazing the similarities with LDS wards.

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