If clouds were hunks of cheese and you’d take the biggest one, grate it and spread the shredded bits all over the sky, you’d get a milky-white cupola cradling early morning light like one does in a white tent.

That’s the sky this morning. It smells of roses and the noises from far away are dimmed down to a light buzz.

The street I walk on has old fences, shy cats, and garlands of head-heavy roses, bowing to the morning light. I like it. Two blocks more then I switch streets.

This one has been touched by inner city life more than I care to accept. Graffiti is not artsy but offensive. Dirty. Is offensive sprouting from artsy instincts? Creativity is a beast of many shades but is this one?

Cigarette butts and a few empty beer bottles guard the outside of a restaurant that has an intriguing sign in the parking lot. ‘The most amazing show on Earth.’ What, where? Is it a live show? Why not say more. I’ll leave it to remaining a mystery for now.

My walk to the library is complete. I drop the books into the slot (already two days late,) then I head back. The streets are still empty.

It is early Saturday morning. The boys were still asleep when I left the house. I like that. It is like they are left sleeping in a cocoon; they know some early mornings are for running or some quick errand and they usually wait in bed, reading. I like that too.

Today they are just about waking up; warm faces and fuzzy hair, trying to remember yet another dream forgotten in between the place between asleep and awake, the repository of lost dreams.

Since the first sleep after they were born, I’ve loved to watch them sleep and then wake up. The fluttering of eyelids, the first glimpse into the world they’ve missed a bit of during sleep. The smile that follows, an offering of their most inner being. I take it all, I am greedy that way. I like those moments of full acceptance. Arms wide open, eyes lazily hugging my face, slow paced sweet human beings returning from a world of their own and stepping into mine.

The day unfolds. They’ll move from sweet beings to wild, loud, mischievous, unkind and they’ll challenge me to bits. Again. I know they will.

Acceptance will wane during the day and I will logically remind myself of it. It is a trap, I know it is, and it is everyday learning… to accept my boys not when they shine in all that they do, not just when they’re sweet and surrendering to hugs, but when they simply are.

If I don’t accept them whole, how will they ever accept themselves?

I learn to do it every day, sometimes I fail, and then I try again.

As parents, we are stopped frozen in our tracks by memories of conditional acceptance. So did our parents. It is a bad spell that needs to be broken, yet there are no instructions. How to then?

We become more every day, and our children do too, all sides showing. We yearn for acceptance, in all that we are. Gracious, ungracious, sparkling, dull. If we’re loved, all sides show. And we become better.

A giant yellow swallowtail butterfly flutters around the front yard, a dance I perceive both indecisive and fascinating. Latter is accurate, and I will never know about the first. Assumptions can be traps sometimes. Still, I’d like to stop the butterfly. Beauty is captivating in a most primal way. That part of us never grows up, never becomes bored with seeing.

‘Mom, a wasp is eating the pollen off the daisy I gave you!’

Oh, let it. Little boy is not convinced. In his world, wasps are enemies, reputable ones.

‘No, it’s yours. I’ll chase it away.’

Don’t, look at it… The daisy is mine as much as it is the wasp’s. Or less? Wait, it is not pollen. I see legs. Do you see them?

‘Eww! Now I should chase it away?’

No. Let’s not. Daisies come with pollen and tiny spiders and sometimes wasps that eat them. It’s all that could be, and it’s real. Chase the part we don’t like away and then what?

Can we do that all the time? Chase the unwanted, the ugly, the scary, the parts we don’t understand or accept?

Life is unkind, ungracious, ugly at times, but fascinating in how it expands minds and souls. Real is all we get, if we’re ready to accept it. Real is what we grow from. Selecting but the good parts will never give you the full measure of what life is…

Half the sky has cleared up and it is blue. We sit on the porch steps, holding the glass with the one daisy, with many tiny spiders, with a wasp, with a chunk of life explaining itself, no shortcuts.

‘Mom, can you please make some pancakes? It’s Saturday.’

It is indeed. We always have pancakes on Saturday.