Thursday, January 12, 2012

Top Ten: Small Stones.

One of my writer-mommy-friends, Elizabeth, has been doing this thing on her blog this month called "small stones." Every day she makes some kind of observation about something and then jots down a few words about it. It can be just about anything. Something in her house. On a photograph. An action observed in one of her children. Or even just some everyday object like a chair. That's it.

So Elizabeth got this idea from this writers' blog and linked over to it when she started this. Here's what they say about the whole "small stone" thing:

1. Notice something properly everyday in January.
2. Write it down.

Hmmm. I admit I was a wee bit intrigued. (And seeing as Elizabeth often intrigues me, this was not unusual.)

Seeing as I was feeling all intrigued and such, I linked over to that writers' blog and read this part of their spiel:

"Pay more attention and fall in love with the world." 

Now that I can get with.

Don't get too excited. I'm not nearly as organized as Elizabeth. But I do believe in paying attention and falling in love with ordinary things through careful observation.

And so. . . since I don't have my act together enough to do one per day for the whole month of January, I thought I'd do the next best thing--a top ten!

Ladies and gentleman, damas y caballeros! I bring you this week's really introspective top ten. . . . .inspired by Elizabeth. . . .


Technically, it isn't a top ten but a list of ten. . . but you get the picture. Also, Elizabeth effortlessly uses words like bougainvillea which aren't really in my vernacular . . . but that's okay. (She'll be proud of me anyway.) 

Hey! Stop by and read some of hers if you want some of those delicious words because they are delicious and . . . intriguing, for real. Any writing that makes me want to read more or write more is my kind of writing, man.

Here's my crack at it.

Small Stone 10

Hands held high, fingers splayed like so. Playing defense or hoping for an offensive rebound. High tops squeaking on slick wooden floors. My hands clapping, splayed like so -- I didn't realize you knew how to dribble with one hand! My heart swells with pride but also a hint of melancholia, remembering those same hands once tiny and reaching for me to lift you. . . .fingers splayed like so.

Small Stone 9

I showed this photograph I took with my iPhone to Isaiah and he saw what I saw immediately.

"ROY G. BIV," I told him. Then I smiled my smart-mommy smile anticipating his little-boy question surely to follow my cryptic statement.

"Mom? What is the 'I' for again?" he asked nose wrinkled. 


"Oh yeah. Indigo."

Not what I expected, but maybe I should have.

Small Stone 8

"Are those special shoes?" you asked me while pointing at my feet. I look down at them and realize that perhaps a shoe with such a thick rubber sole and outwardly visible staples might warrant some explanation. "They look a little bit like the orthotic shoes," you add, "You know what I'm talkin' about?"

And in response to this I smile at you, then chuckle and nod. Partly because I do know exactly what you are talking about. But mostly because you are a Grady elder who didn't think twice about letting me know this fact.

And me? I love every minute of it.

Small Stone 7

Hands over hearts, mouths moving in synchrony and voices ringing out in unison. Your faces full of first grade mischief, fingertips drumming on your chests and eyes trained on the Lego table. You say this part the loudest:

"Indivisible, with liberty and justice for all!"

I walk away laughing, wondering if you think this pertains to the United States or the Lego table.

Small Stone 6

Time blocked out to talk about career guidance and all things academic and future-related. A sharp turn takes it somewhere else. First one tear and then many more. Fast, furious, hot, necessary. I scoot the box of Kleenex closer to you. You talk. I listen. That's it. That's all.

I want you to feel safe and whole and not alone. Before you leave, a hug instead of a handshake. You cry some more because you can.

Small Stone 5

You unlock the door and I hear your feet strong and sure on hardwood floors. The next sound is of keys splashing on the table--and even with kids sitting at the kitchen table, you greet me first.

Eyes on eyes. Smiles on smiles. It doesn't matter how your day was or mine was. Now? It's already better than it was before. My arms encircle your neck and then, my lips press firmly against yours. You kiss me back, eyes closed. Then, you open them and look at my face, the same as always.

"Eeeeeewww!" Zachary squeals.

"Disgusting!" Isaiah chimes in.

Decidedly I tighten my embrace and kiss you once more. . .intentionally. . .deliberately. Knowing that this can and will become a teachable moment for our sons on how to make love a bidirectional verb.

Small Stone 4

In between emails and work and more, eyes quickly scanning to see. Do you like me? Do you really like me? This day there is a paucity of comments. Very few reactions, responses, replies or epiphanies. Is anyone even reading?

Oh please, I tell myself, Don't tell me you're disappointed.

Then I do what always provides the affirmation I am looking for--read my own words. Clicking and reading. Reflecting and feeling. And then I am there again. In those moments, those lessons, and all inside of those words. Yes, I am.

This is why you are doing this, I tell myself,  Remember? This is why.

Ironically, that night I click the stats bar. 1,034. The most unique visits ever in a single day.

Lesson there: Sometimes when you don't feel like a hit, you are still getting hits. But the real lesson there: You need to be a hit with yourself first.

Ah hah.

Small Stone 3

I study your face to make certain you are okay. . . inspecting your eyes for some hidden exhaustion and watching your smile to see it quivers from being forced. Instead I find you relaxed and whole and more than okay--you are great. Us? We go waaaay back like car seats . . .way back to your very first day of medical school when you didn't even know the difference between words like distal and proximal.

Now those early days seem distal; here you are an intern with two capital letters behind your name that you earned fair and square.

But on this rainy Wednesday morning we laugh and catch up over hotcakes and hot coffee. You are passing through town and in all that hustle bustle thought to call me. Me, of all people. And so I study your face and hear your laughter again . . .remembering that through those shared moments our hearts remain proximal for good.

Small Stone 2

Retro-green and busy with fuzzy wool that pills and catches on any and everything. But so what. You are like my tomato red pants or my leopard print kitten heel pumps; when I put you on, I feel good. And even if I already felt good to begin with, when I slide you over my shoulders I feel better. Even on my glasses days.

Stuff you put on can do that to you sometimes. At least for me they can.

Small Stone 1

Behemoth and burgeoning, the worse off business gets for this country, the more business seems to come your way. And just how your business comes to you--a lost job, a lost insurance plan--it doesn't matter. You don't make it your business to dissect or judge or turn away. Instead you remain steadfast--standing tall, mighty and welcoming to all. To all.

You accept broken English and broken lives. You also accept the criticism that comes with opening your doors to the least of these. To the least of these.

I am proud to be a part of you; you heal more than just patients. More than just patients.

Happy Thursday.


  1. Indeed. IN.DEED.

    Fellow Meharrian, Maria

  2. Kisses. Hugs. Stones skipping across the water. Beautiful.

  3. I love all hose beautiful snippets of your life.

  4. What can I say? Thank you for the shout-out. We all have much to learn from one another. I know that I come here every day and learn something. I sit and read and then think and read some more. Sometimes I comment and other times I just think. You are a blessing in so many ways. You are a small stone that skips over broad water.

  5. There a huge stone at Elizabeth's right now (Blog entry "Let's talk" and "Let's tals some more", Please check it out and do what you can to help.
    Thanks from Switzerland

  6. I love this! I don't comment often but just so you know I catch up on your blog every single week... I'm a pre-med student (I think, I don't know if I'll end up there, still working it out) but you are such an inspiration. Not just because you're a doctor... because of the amazing spirit you bring to what you do. <3

  7. first off, you're rockin that coat- damn i love it!! too bad it's never that cold here-
    second, i miss you. MISS you! i keep having intrusive thoughts of meeting up at Murphys or something.
    third- may i remind you- if and when feeling badly about not enough comments or attention on the blog- that there are 100000 of others that are much less followed, even little old me :) so yes- write for you! and let the chips/ or hits fall where they may! xo

  8. We love you! :)


  9. Love these, especially #10, which is a prose poem as written. Love the shout out to our Elizabeth, too.
    x0 N2


"Tell me something good. . . tell me that you like it, yeah." ~ Chaka Khan

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