Freshly Picked & Just Write: Reality in a Shopping Cart

Oh.  My.  Goodness.  Hello; it’s been a while.  I’m not only back from a recent trip to the east coast, but back into the rhythm of usual island days.  I took a break & a long one at that.  I barely replied to emails & kept my laptop zipped up for weeks.  It was everything I needed, with hands in ink & paper, face outside and turned towards the sunlight.  There’s been great laughter & tears, unexpected events like Luke’s knee surgery & the welcoming of sunshine season back to the pacific northwest.

Today a beautiful experience and project is featured on Freshly Picked.  Click [HERE] to check it out.

In February I worked on a project with a friend, for a friend.  Sara Parsons Photography and I completed The Labor Project: A Birth in Words and Pictures in February.  Sara’s post can be found [HERE].

photo credit::sara parsons photography

Attending a birth is an honor, a privilege and a downright amazing experience.  Writing a narrative alongside an artist and wonderful friend like Sara is an honor, a privilege and a downright amazing experience.

It’s an honor, today, to be featured on Freshly Picked.

And, today, a bit of unedited writing joining Just Write:

Reality in a Shopping Cart

Hi, I’m Olive.  I’m half-big girl and half-baby.  I don’t use markers, Olive squawked from the grocery cart, hardly meaning to startle the lady just trying to reach the crackers we’d stopped beside.  It’s just something she often does, saying exactly what’s on her mind to anyone near.

She’s been begging for her own package of markers and processing the wax and wane of naptime and eating without a bib.  She’s discovered the newness of buckling herself in the stroller, zipping up her own footie pajamas while needing my hand to cross a street or listen to a scary story’s page.  Olive longs to be elementary school cool like her big sisters, but wakes each morning sandwiched between us from some late night sneak snuggle mission into our bed.

Most days, she covets the box of big girl art supplies in the bedroom her two older sisters share.  She’ll often come down after sneaking in to create with Sharpie, oil pastel and glitter glue.  Proud, she stands in the kitchen door until a sister spies the aftermath of marks on a carpet, colors on clothes and fingers. I intervene when the tears come as one of her sisters says something out of the pain from a mess they feel they now need to clean up: Olive, you’re just a baby.  Stick to the big wide crayons and colored pencils in your baby art center!

It’s hard to watch three sisters so close in age who at times want to be triplets and other times want to be only-children in a far away land where life is fair and toys left in a secret spot remain safe from the hands of others. And it’s hard to watch Olive stumble along to big girl activities, some she’s ready for and some that come too soon.

I spent the week leading up to Easter talking to Olive about all the things she could draw with markers.  I think I’m ready, Mama.  I won’t draw all over myself or the pretty carpets of our home, she said.  She spoke of elephants and eagles and baby sea otters.  Clearly, she had a lot to draw.

Mama, where do markers even come from? asked Olive.  I had to laugh, since this is such a testament to the tiny island we live on where shopping mostly means our local grocery store.  I bet the Easter Bunny brings them in baskets, I said.

Olive said, smiling, I think the Easter Bunny would want to be my best friend.

So, three and a half years old is magic in make-believe voices, sneakers on the wrong feet and now, for Olive, it’s markers new in a box, first names written in bold Crayola purple, over and over.  She’s got a new tag line to use in the grocery aisles, this time hanging from the handle, Hi, I’m Olive.  I’m three and half years old.  I use markers because I’m a big girl.


  • Karin Becker says:

    I love love love your stories!!! ♥

    Thank you!!! My kids’ childhood went by wayyy tooo fast for me to even notice … while working full time … 🙁

    Now I get to re-invent myself as a grandmother to two boys, one 4 year old and an 18 month old ♥ ♥ … doing all those things I had no patience for as a busy mom with a belief system (BS) that I bought from others, even though it did not serve me well … I get to remedy that now … 🙂

    in JOY-filled Gratitude ~

  • Ami says:

    Oh I love Olive and her marker saga. Sometimes it is just so hard to be the youngest.

  • Vera says:

    I would so love to one day meet all your girls! When I plan my Seattle trip, I will have to visit your tiny island.

  • Summer says:

    what a great story! Once again you’ve captured the essence and the magic that is childhood.

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