The pieces of me, I realize as I sit here writing, are scattered about. My injured family member, back at the rehab hospital today; my children waiting to board a plane to take them back to Seattle-ish. They all need me, but I cannot be in two places. It is not an unusual story now. It is now more the expectation that families will in some way be split, by divorce or distance or indifference or opportunity or tragedy, than stay all Walton-ish in the same house or town.

Your "family," as you get older, turns out to be more than the people you are related to. You add and subtract, those you trust and love come and go. A few stick around, and you form some kind of rag-tag mismatched group around you to take along with you, proximal to you or halfway across a continent. You piece together, with luck and mindful work, your family, even though it may only consist at times of you, a TV, your dog, and a cheesecake. It's something.

Most days I accept that my family is here and there, only a phone call or email or plane trip away. Tonight, I will feel better when I know that my kids are back home, tucked in and sleeping, the dog has a fresh bowl of water, and that there are no unexpected calls from nurses who don't know me and my family at all.

Bishop Allen -- "Tiger Tiger"

Today, you are unlucky,
And that's the way to be.
You know at best,
It's just a test of your tenacity.
Answer with a mumble,
That's good enough for me,
For I am a mumbler too.

So imitate the action of the tiger,
Or imitate the action of the snail.

The greatest of the slouchers,
Whispered in my ear,
"Keep it in your notebooks and keep your notebooks dear".
"Write that down," he said
"Borrow my pen if you need
For you are a sloucher too"

So imitate the action of the tiger,
Or imitate the action of the snail.
Snap your teeth and smile a little wider,
Or leave behind a lovely silver trail.