Dear Ben

You know what? This whole going away to college thing is way overrated. I think I’m going to start pushing community college on Stefan– would it be immoral to sabotage his ACT and SAT scores? And let’s not even talk about going out of state.

You know I’m joking (and good luck to anyone trying to hold Stefan down), but we miss you. Every night your place is set at the dinner table until Gabe furrows his brow, protrudes his bottom lip and shuffles back to the shelf with your clean plate. At family prayer, I do the mental count– one, two, three, four, five… oh, Ben’s not here.

And that’s why we call you so often at bedtime, with each child jockeying for a turn at the handset eager to tell you of their field trip, the soccer game at recess, the zip line Xander created from the upstairs hallway to the family room (only for Playmobil guys).


Manning the bottom of the zip line. Gabe went on a fieldtrip to the planetarium while Mary went to the aquarium. As Mary said– “He got to touch a model of Pluto, but I got to touch a real

You can hear, but you can’t see the shirts vs. skins ballgame in the hallway (Mary and I stay out of that) and Stefan counting off his one hundred and thirty pull-ups. I wish you’d seen Mary’s face when Dad reached over lat night and plucked her front tooth right out of her mouth. Oh! She screeched! But by this morning she was admiring her toothless grin and insisting on a smoothie for breakfast.

Catching a close up was impossible, but you can see her toothless grin here. And besides, I knew Tracy would appreciate the outfit.

Xander has procured the habit of reading blog archives– “Look at that! Ben used to live here!– oohing and aahing over the past and guilting me about my lax entries of late. The truth is, I’m not getting much of anything done lately. Even though I took on fewer photo shoots than last year, I’m ridiculously slow at editing them. Much of the yard has gone to weed and all my good intentions to clean the pantry have come to naught. I tell you this not to elicit sympathy or concern, but simply to dispel the widespread myth that I’m so amazing and on top of things. The truth is, I’m not. My adorable Energizer Bunny running partner accomplishes more in a day than I do in a week.

And I’m OK with my somewhat lazy and slow behavior– it’s a season of laying fallow for me. I have been making dinner nearly every night, playing Monotony and Ticket to Ride (though I’d really like to retire the Monopoly game to the garbage– it’s torturous) and pulling up the couch to the computer to watch “Lost” with Stefan (“Lost” is weird; really weird).

La vita è bella! We adore you, and I’m assigning the next blog post to Xander. Here’s a photo preview:


Much love,


November 9, 2010
November 14, 2010



  1. Tracy

    November 12, 2010

    I missed your letters to Ben. LOVE the Oilily – thank you for showing us the full Mary. That Sina skirt is amazing.
    Love you and your taste in clothing.

  2. Cath

    November 12, 2010

    This glimpse into an evening at your home is joyous. And “lying fallow” is a beautiful metaphor for how most of us feel this time of year. At least I do. Despite your self-deprecation, I still think you’re amazing. Looking forward to seeing you soon.

  3. Blue

    November 12, 2010

    at least you’re still running! and anyone in charge of as many lives as you are leaves most of us in the dust when it comes to busy.

    that said, every time i read your posts, i miss the regular association that we enjoyed during the SG years. (moreso now than during all those months when i was really depressed ;-} )

    i am just grateful for what we were able to share, and that it gave me the opportunity to see things from another perspective. i see your kids sometimes and they kind of don’t even recognize me any more (note: we did not trick or treat Craig this year. which was a bummer.)

    remember, be gentle with yourself! ♥

  4. Carrigan Clan

    November 12, 2010

    I love your blog Michelle! And while I find it refreshing that your pantry looks like mine 🙂 i KNOW your an incredible mom! I’m with Blue…don’t sell yourself short! Just keep being the person you are…the one we all love!

  5. Tifani

    November 13, 2010

    My girls can’t pull off Oilily, but you know I appreciate seeing it on Miss Mary. But I must say that these posts to Ben are hurting my heart. Morgan is most likely going to go away to school next year. I think I’m enthusiastic about it, but when I read your letters to Ben, I get scared. Tell me to not be scared.

  6. Selwyn

    November 14, 2010

    Oh, I miss you! Hugs, and luvies, SK

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