A beautiful maybe


“Is it okay for me to jump?” he yelled.

I watched him pump his legs back and forth, swinging higher and higher until he was holding steady at a significant height. He and his brother had formed their own sort of Olympic game, gaining momentum and then jumping from their swings to see who could fly the furthest and “stick the landing.” Up until now, he’d been playing it safe, never risking too much, choosing to jump only from a reasonable altitude.

But now, I could see him wanting to push the boundaries, to go even higher, to let go even when it might feel crazy – and he wanted me to tell him if it was okay.

I watched him, wild eyed and wild haired, 7-years old and still so innocent. School has brought some exposure to the real world, with all of its ugliness and injustice – but mostly, he is unmarked. The thought of anything bad happening to him wrings my heart down the middle like a dishrag.

“I don’t know, buddy. How do you feel about it?”

He kept pumping his legs; he hadn’t lost any height. He looked at his brother swinging next to him, and then back at me. “Is this too high?”

I thought back to that feeling, swinging high, waiting for the perfect moment to leap. How do you ever know when the time is right? And how do you explain that feeling to someone else – all of the little confirmations that lead to the confident risk? I realized that I couldn’t answer the question for him.

“If you feel like you can jump from that high, then you probably can.”

His face flashed fear, courage, and a beautiful maybe. And with one more pump, he let go of the chains and sailed through the air, landing solidly on both feet, fists in the air.

I’ve never seen a smile so big.



  1. Bree Jeffries on August 8, 2012 at 12:49 PM


  2. Ginger on August 8, 2012 at 2:36 PM

    And crying.

  3. Michael on August 8, 2012 at 8:41 PM


  4. Sarah on August 8, 2012 at 9:58 PM

    I love these three boys so much.

  5. Nashville Miranda on August 9, 2012 at 8:18 AM

    You are a great writer, Annie.

  6. Perry on August 9, 2012 at 9:23 AM

    I’m so glad I happened upon your blog years ago, Annie. You are so insightful – always picking up on the important things in life – and such a gifted writer. And you’re only 30! You will get so much better with age, just like your friends, Wine and Cheese.

  7. Emily from Seattle on August 9, 2012 at 11:16 AM

    This reads like a devotional. Add a Bible verse and a prayer and you’d be good to go! :)

  8. ash on August 9, 2012 at 9:27 PM

    wow. thank you for expressing so many little nuances about Tyler and his journey that I could not in words. ever so thankful for you and the sacrifice you made this week to love these boys.

  9. Jeremy on August 10, 2012 at 7:59 AM

    I am such a proud daddy. And brother. Thank you Annie.

  10. Amanda on August 12, 2012 at 9:41 PM

    Perfect. The moment and your telling of it.

    Please, Annie. For the love of everything good and holy, please never ever ever stop writing.

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