Hairdos and Don’ts

By Dayna Patterson

She would have me kneel in front of her, asking please hold still, while she yanked the brush through my hair. I’d sit and stare or watch TV as lock by lock she’d roll with rags or curlers, double Dutch braid, fishtail, or crown my blonde all prim for Easter. She’d have me flip my …

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Learning to Read Later

By Sandra Clark

It’s been a year and a half since I wrote about reading, and how my daughter wasn’t. Long after kindergarten and into first grade, and still no. I was at a loss, jaw slack, trying to remember to breathe through my nose and out my mouth. My heartbeat sinking into my stomach; what was going on? At the end of the school year she was laboring to read a Little Critter book. Clifford was out of reach. Forget about Nate the Great.

Sitting on her flowered comforter with a stack of books spread before us, she implores, “please, please can you read tonight? [Sigh.] It’s hard. [Sigh.] I just want to listen.” Lucy labors over each line in saying this to me and reading. Sifting through her memory for sight words she’s memorized is not easy. Sounding anything out is asking her to read a foreign language. By the time she’s produced the sounds she can’t remember what the line was trying to say. It’s word by word. I help her through the phonetics, giving away more than I’d like to, afraid she’ll shut her stuttering mind and struggling mouth in frustration. I say that the last thing I want is for her to hate reading. For her to feel forced. For me to push for what I want instead of what works best for her. The real last thing I don’t want is for reading, or any lack of understanding, to wreck our relationship. I take the book from her to finish. Together we sink into the pillow and relax into new posturing, trading places of reader and listener. Reprieve. The flash cards of sight words lay beside us in her reading tote; I just can’t.

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Lazy Eye

By Dayna Patterson

On even days, I patch my girl to treat strabismus that has left the left eye weak. Cyclops for a few hours, the flesh-tone Band-aids will save her from the fate of Raylene, the girl in junior high whose thick glasses didn’t hide the yo-yo of her errant eye, twitched by invisible string. Everyone was …

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Nine Does Not Equal Nine

By Terresa Wellborn

And all the lives we ever lived and all the lives to be, are full of trees and changing leaves. -Virginia Woolf Just for today, nine does not equal nine, it is another sum, an age that perches, a celebrated page, a heap of advice, murmured predictions, spells grafting you to me as the girl …

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Burying our Weapons of War

The newest installment in July’s “Up Close” series on Inactivity and Faith struggles is Kim, a mother of four daughters and seven granddaughters. To balance things out her husband has been involved in Boy Scouts for 20 of their 36 years of marriage…so they have many wonderful young men in their lives. Now that all …

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Janey jane

By Lani B. Whitney

Smiling, Mischevious, And proud, she Takes all the Clothes off the shelf, The books too, And cleans the drawer. Jane is learning to walk.