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What Love Looks Like

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


I don't get it. What I don't get is how ordinary people like me and Bill recombine some DNA and produce something like Phoebe and Liam.

I know better than to question miracles.

 But I'm convinced that the same thing that happened to shoes and stuffed animals has happened to modern children. That is to say, the shoes and stuffed animals I grew up with were clunky and not very nice. Shoes were heavy and uncomfortable. We clopped around in wooden Dr. Scholl's sandals and clunky platform shoes. Remember Earth Shoes? With the "negative heel?" Our kids get to wear Keens and Asics running shoes that weigh a couple of ounces and feel like heaven. I grew up cuddling stuffed animals with ugly vinyl faces, pokey wires and pilled, sheddy fur. Our kids get ravishing supersoft plush anteaters, koalas, condors and cool dinosaurs. 

I was not beautiful. Not even close. My kids are. All their friends are, too. I gaze at them and know something happened. Something good. Better nutrition? Better makeup? Better clothes? You bet. All that, and then about eleven pounds of fairy dust.



photo by Tanya Wilder

But it gets better. Because Phoebe and Corey found each other on Hog Island, Maine, in the magical summer of 2012, and he's just the best. He can identify bugs and plants and herps for me. He's starting out knowing more than I do. 


He plays old-time fiddle to make your heart melt. He likes to squaredance. But he'll dance any old kind of dance, even an azalea promenade.


photo by Laura Fulton

Bill and I weren't there for Phoebe's senior prom. We were working at the New River Birding and Nature Festival. But Corey flew out to take her there, all the way from Cambridge, where he's a freshman at Harvard, and our talented friends took these photos for us. Thank you, Laura and Tanya and Caroline!!!


photo by Caroline Eels Waller of Passiflora, who also made the hellebore/peacock feather bling.

The prom was held at the Comfort Inn, which did a reasonable imitation of a classy joint for a Great Gatsby-themed event. These two dress it up a bit, don't they? Pull that fire alarm!



Phoebe and I tried a bunch of ordinary prom dresses, but the vinegary Paas colors and excessive stoneware about the bosom that seem to be the norm this year just didn't work for us. We found this exquisitely understated thing at Cache. I gulped three times and said yes to the dress. She'll only have one senior prom. And she swears she'll wear this dress again.

photo by Tanya Wilder

This is what love looks like. 

Yesterday evening, Phoebe helps Liam with his math homework while he twiddles her hair. 


Love looks like this, too. 



19 comments:

The best! Love the photos of these gorgeous young-uns.
Yay for Phoebe and you by-passing the cheesy overdone prom dresses. Having looked at prom photos in our local paper, I wondered what happened this year--lots and lots of gaudy frou frou. I love the elegant understated perfect dress. And I bet she will wear it again.
As for what love looks like--speechless.

Heartbreakingly lovely, all.

Posted by Gail Spratley May 6, 2014 at 5:14 AM

Aw-w-w! If only all families were like yours. There are so many families missing out on the many types of love in evidence here. Appreciate every moment. Your daughter is gorgeous--inside and out.

Posted by Anonymous May 6, 2014 at 6:54 AM

A lovely post and a beautiful Phoebe. The dress is perfect!

I LOVE-LOVE-LOVE that last photo and comment!!!

Wow! What a ravishing beauty our Phoebe has become. So glad she had a happy prom to remember for years to come. And the dress is beautiful, too. Comgratulations proud Mama! love you gtoot

Posted by Anonymous May 6, 2014 at 10:02 AM

I know exactly what you're talking about Julie. I see it all the time with my own daughter, who turned 37 this year. I just look at her and think, "Wow. She could be a model on the cover of any fashion mag you can name." How the hell did that happen? Her friends, ditto. And her children? Don't even get me started. I have my own theories, and they are similar in nature to yours. More options, more acceptance, more of a realization of all that they can be. Less angst, less guilt, less all of those hidden things that sap the essence of a person. And yes, the shoes and stuffed animals too.

That dress-- and the girl-- are the bomb!

How beautiful. Every bit. And the DRESS! Phoebe, girl, GREAT TASTE!

Love also looks like all the beautiful flowers on the table, and brothers/sisters who cherish one another because of parents who raised them right. You & Bill must have the best DNA combo going! And the best nuture too. And that Corey, oh myymymy.

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You are incredibly blessed, but I think you know that already.

lovely, just lovely: the dress, the girl, the boy, the love...

They are so beautiful. Their faces give me hope for the future. They will surely go out and change the world for the better. I see it. I really do.

Rexroth's Daughter made me cry this time. Thank you, everyone. I see it, too.

Yes she is beautiful, but do you even realize how much she looks like you???

Genetics are amazing!! Great job and Corey sounds amazing as well. Beautiful, handsome and intelligent....couldn't ask for a better combo!

Posted by Anonymous May 7, 2014 at 5:41 PM

..."ordinary people like me and Bill.." I am not sure what your yardstick is for measuring "ordinary". Yes, nature and nurture has fostered the brains, beauty, presence, grace, humility, passion and limitless potential that is Phoebe. They are starlight, they are golden. And they're going to get us all back to the garden....

Posted by Amy G May 7, 2014 at 7:23 PM

Classy people, classy kids.

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