Learning from Laughter and the Trees: He Comes with the Mountains

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Cedar at the Poor People’s Campaign action on June 18 in Detroit.

By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

“You have rocks in your bag.”

Stunned, I said, “it’s possible. I have kids.” I searched frantically through my bag that I had carefully packed that morning in hopes of getting quickly through security at the 36th District Court before court. I tried to gloss over the contraband tics tacs and pencil I had hidden at the bottom- necessities for keeping a 2-year-old silent in the court room that day. I can’t find anything. They wait, “Check another pocket.” Sure enough, there in the front, I find them. I pull out hands filled with mountain stones, Detroit River rocks, and pine cones all covered in sand that pours through my fingers. I hand them over to the security guard who doesn’t flinch as I apologize and she heads for the trash can. Continue reading

Raising Boys

20180722_114619By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann. Published in Geez Magazine‘s most recent issue on Gender Flex.

“Mommy, baby is tired. I need to put baby in the pack and walk,” says Cedar, my two-year-old. I quickly design a make shift baby carrier tying his baby doll to his stomach. He walks back and forth across the house and then stops and sways. After five minutes, he heavy sighs and says disappointedly “baby is still awake.” He walks on mumbling to himself about how baby needs his milk and how the baby is too little to drink water out of a cup and baby just needs his milk. Continue reading

Learning from Laughter and the Trees: Dear Trump #2. The perfect gift.

27545226_1517543381692953_9067731188216851540_nBy Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

There has been a small, weekly vigil happening across from Isaac’s school for a year now. It started when a young girl told a social worker at school she was afraid of her friends and family being deported. When the social worker asked her if there was anyway that we could support her family, the little girl said she would feel better if ICE could see that people cared. So, this small vigil is one attempt at that- to publicly say to ICE that we stand with our neighbors and that we are paying attention. There is a commitment to keep standing in solidarity until there is a justice immigration policy in place and children can live without fear. Continue reading

Learning from Laughter and the Trees: Loved by the Generations

IMG_1945By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

I was terrified for Isaac’s first day of school. Terrified he wouldn’t go. That we would see his tremendous stubbornness arise. Somehow, we made it. The thrill of the newness got him there. I woke up on Day 2 even more worried. The newness had passed. The daily reality would start setting in and the idea of staying home all day to play with me and Cedar would be hard to leave. Erinn had gotten an attachment to her bike so that they could ride the 3 miles to school each day. We hoped that the excitement of biking would help and that the exercise would help him with the long days of sitting and focus. But by Day 2, the excitement of the bike wasn’t enough. We started hearing “I won’t go.” I kept a smile on my face and a calm, upbeat attitude as my heart raced. I had been on the opposite side of his stubbornness and there had been times I had lost. It is a powerful force that only joy seems to be able to crack. We went downstairs with him kicking and screaming, stepped outside, and there…..was Grandpa. On his bike, helmet on, ready for a race. Continue reading

Learning from Laughter and the Trees: The Gift in Their Voices

IMG_2589.JPGBy Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

My mom died New Year’s Eve when I was 19. We knew it was coming so that Advent as we sang “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” each night before dinner, I paid attention to the voices. I knew them so intimately- the tones and harmonies that our four voices made together. It was the sound of home and I ached to imagine how our singing would change with just three voices. So each night I zeroed in on the sound of my mom’s voice- desperate to not let it be forgotten. Memorizing deep within, in hopes that whenever I sang “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” that I would always hear her voice within it.

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Learning from Laughter and the Trees: What do these stones mean?

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Stone tower on Block Island

By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

I’ve started an altar of stones beside my desk. With each death, birth, or marriage that passes, I write the name upon the rock and let the rock hold the memory and the prayer.

This fall, our family went to Block Island for the first time in many years. We used to stay in Dan Berrigan’s little cottage beside the ocean every summer. Stepping back on that ferry with my kids felt like introducing them to a piece of my heart- a piece nourished by beauty, where my mom’s hair blew fiercely in the wind, where my imagination learned to soar climbing on rocks and pulling clay from the cliff. Continue reading

Learning from Laughter and the Trees: Under the Apple Tree Again

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Grandpa, Cedar, and Isaac digging the hole for Scatters under the apple tree.

By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

The rain is pouring down with periodic rumbles of thunder. It is cold and the sun has set, but we can tell that there is a need in Isaac’s heart to make this trek. We put on hats and shoes and give into the rain as we walk down the street and into the backyard of my dad’s house.

It’s too dark to see the loosened soil, but we bend down low and Isaac says, “This is where we buried Scatters.” Cedar, who is almost two, bends down too and after a minute looks up at Erinn and says “Meow” and points to the dirt. Erinn says, “Is this where Scatters is? Did he die?” Cedar responds, “Meow die.” Continue reading