Tuesday, August 27, 2013


You wake up and you're tired.  I know.  Me too.  There are only two minutes I covet in this world with all my heart.  The two minutes right before falling asleep because I know I have the e-n-t-I-r-e night to be asleep.  Then I wake up and I'm just not ready to do all the day things again because I can't let go of all the night things and the laying there not cleaning, cooking, walking, standing, folding, nurturing, cussing, and let's not forget someone has to tackle dressing my daughter. It feels gluttonous to lay in bed doing nothing and having more fun in my dreams than a person should talk about but still, I'm not ready to get up.

So yes, I get it.  I'm tired during the day too.

But there's an awesome way through it that I think might be a secret.

We can fall in love every day.  Sounds impossible or too exhausting but believe me, it works.  And it's so much damn fun.

Falling in love is risky.  It's dangerous, innocent, inspiring, delicious.

Falling in love is not easy but it's worth it, every single time.  Even the time when that super hot college freshman saved a seat in Bio Chem for you decided not to love you back.  It was worth it to catch a whiff of his Marlboro soaked T-shirt and rusty scruffy beard. When you are awed by the things of your day, your hours are that much juicier.

Your breakfast.  That avocado.  Look at it like it's the last vegetable (fruit?) you'll ever see on earth.  Cut it in half to find that magical wooden orb that looks like it could dangle from your neck on a beaded necklace if you weren't so worried people would gawk.  I've thought about it too.  Sometimes I stare at the center and think, You are more than a pit little avocado ball.  You are a mystery of the universe that I would accessorize if I only knew how the hell to drill a hole through you.

Fall in love with yourself.  See your hands as they put the dishes away, arrange items in a lunchbox, rake through your graying hair.  Your hands haven't let you down in all these years.  They've worked, toiled, cheered, celebrated, and comforted more than your children.  More than yourself.  Ask your friends.  They love your hands.  Those aren't wrinkles you see around your knuckles.  They are impressions and constellations of what's happened to you throughout a lifetime.  You may have forgotten that time you dragged a nest of baby birds out from the bushes (one made it and flew away) but they remember every branch.  

Fall in love with your soft belly.  It's not hard and ripped and ready for Jello shots.  It is soft, supple, likeable, and real.  Children rest their head on it and feel happy just because it's there.  Husbands don't want to change it and friends love you more because theirs looks the same.  We are humans who make humans and sometimes there are reminders of your impossible climb.  Don't hate on the reminders, fall in love with their effort and strength.

Fall in love with the impatient lady at the bus stop who refuses to make eye contact.  Her stomach hurts because she's waiting for an important phone call from the hospital.  She only gets one mom.

Fall in love with someone you miss and cannot see.  Take out his picture, let yourself take in the color of his eyes even though yours are welling over and spilling out onto your naked knees.  Let yourself love him even though you can't hear him calling your name.  Even though you've done really well not thinking of him for a few minutes.  Fall in love with him again because I can't think of a better way to remember, in 3D remember, the smell of his hugs.  Loving him again is an honor.

These minutes collect whether we're ready or not.

Why not feel dizzy in love through most of them?

Monday, August 19, 2013


It is a gift to start life backwards.

Growing up in my grandparents' home gave me a perspective not many kids my age get to have:  finite time.  From a very early age, I understood people did not keep indefinitely.  The facts were dictated before me in my grandfather's shaking hands as he dialed Sears' service department on our rotary phone.  In me grew a divine melancholy when I'd watch my grandmother's tiny frame curve as she used both hands to slowly bring a gallon of milk down to the counter.  There was no forever in the black and white pictures of people they stopped to touch with one finger, in the hallway, early in the morning when the house was just beginning to smell like coffee.

I'd listen for the clink tink tink of saucers and the clearing of my grandfather's throat before he started his morning soliloquy to his wife.

"{eh-eh-eh-hem} You know I was thinking we should probably replant those tulips from the backyard to the side yard next to the freesia so they'll get full sun..."  My grandmother would "Mmm-hmm" and "Ohhh, I see" in the right places while tearing small pieces of Kraft cheese into the dog's dish.  Her morning rituals started with others and her day followed suit.  She spent a lifetime caring for everyone and everything around her with the kind of magnetic love that drew wild deer to her back porch and stray kids to her kitchen.  Humming her Fred Astaire songs the whole time.  Old Blue Eyes made weak in the knees.

If I didn't have to get up to shower, I'd stay in my bed and record this soundtrack like my life depended on it.  I knew one day too soon all of this would be gone and I'd desperately need it to be real again.  So I listened with the intensity of passing an exam.  My ears became open tunnels, filtering and memorizing specks of their voices and the rhythm they made together;  every word blazing its own path inside my memory.  I took in smells the same way:  Folger's brewing, toast browning, sweet wet grass trailing through an opened screen door, new sticky asphalt of our driveway.  I stayed perfectly still like this for probably hours.  Storing it all up for later.

"Mommy, put your hair down,"  my kids ask me every morning as they reach for my black hair clip.

"Just a minute, babies, let me get my coffee first," as my sleepy hands grope the counter for one more filter.

They plop their wiry bodies full of hunger and happiness onto our bar stools.  "What's for breakfast?  Can you make it not Paleo, please?"

I go about my business quickly but not before seeing them.  They're watching me as I deftly pour a carton of milk with one hand and close the refrigerator with my opposite ankle.  Their faces radiate all the warmth they've held onto overnight.  In their eyes there is expectation, hope, and a twinge of entitlement.  I stage their little dinosaur cups and clank around the silverware drawer with my free hand, searching for a pink fork for her and a green one for him.

My kids don't know the hourglass like I did.

And for that, a big piece of me rejoices.

Monday, August 12, 2013

My Something

Me:  Sorry I was so out of it tonight, Bud. 

Grayson:  You mean because you were all pink-face, Mommy?  You still are pink-face, what's wrong with you Mommy?

Me:  It's the usual, Honey.  You know...

Grayson:  I already know (He admits as he brings my face close to his on his pillow, pushes his velvety little hands through my hair, and finishes off the sentiment with love pats.)  Uncle Jimmy, right? 

Me:  Bingo.

Grayson:  Ok, Mommy.  But you forgot something.

Me:  I forget a lot of somethings.

Grayson:  There are two Uncle Jimmys. 

Me:  There are?  Well then where in Simon Says is the second one hiding?  In the closet?  (Grayson told me a while back he thinks Jimmy is hiding in a closet somewhere.  Abby added that yes he is hiding in there with Tillie.)

Grayson:  No, the second one is not in the closet.  He's right here in open air.  You are tucking him into bed right now.  It's me.  I am your second Uncle Jimmy.

Me:  Oh, Baby.  If anyone could be, it would be you.

Thursday, August 1, 2013


Home from morning
filled with new friends
a water slide
homemade smoothies
the color of malted honey. 

Nobody wants for anything because there is this humming of my children.

And for a while I glide
into a slippery sleep
where legs feel weightless
while gods blow on ankles with hints
of where we're going next.

I am not the leader here -

Off we go toward stars of blues
that dot the highest trees
to taste like minted lime
if only I would try.
And oh, this view
of zebra feathers stealing time
between a lightly purpled maze
of Queen Anne's lace,
it's just so pretty here.

My hair is long in wispy trails like an anime named Hannah.
This isn't me but I don't care because
someone else
plays with this hair
and oh God please let me stay for dinner.

I know we've got more worlds to see
To be, to try hard not to need

But then,

"Mommy, can I watch my show?"
"Mommy, is it time to go?"
"And what about this salamander?"

I skid and bump toward tacks and spines
feathers gone now, only rinds
and just in time
A dimpled sky goes dancing.
Cinnamon trees bend their knees
While sticky frogs whiten up their green
in ponds of pillows overflowing.

I can't stay long, I tell him how
I want I feel I cry I bow
but now my feet are that of clay,
it's time
to be the leader.