Monday, March 24, 2014


All those classroom years
spent holding in
straightening out
working toward
a life I never
believed in.

Every day,
a new cage
to claw up,
bear down,
escape from
with my shaking
and bloody hands.

Little me knew better
patting at mud pies
between steady palms,
feeding all the places
set for dinner.

So many places set for dinner.

I thought it was about being the best of all
Now I see it's about loosening the reins of perfection.

A man I loved once
called me his Nightingale -
and it has stirred in me for years.

Where there is art,
share it
Where there is music
play it
Where there is love
spend it
with no regard to what else you should be doing.

Because that might turn out to be where your story begins.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Forward March

There is contented snoring all around me.  My dogs have been lulled to sleep after a trot around the neighborhood and a quick meetup with a puppy.  Sadie never appreciates youth.  She doesn't relate to their doppy paws or their inability to recognize her as high priestess.  Sparrow whinnies like a small pony, overwhelmed by air, forward motion, and mailboxes.  Their lazy inhales make me feel like a good mom.

A basket of folded laundry waits for me to stop avoiding it.  It will have to learn to snore, too.

Blinds opened for sun on my shoulder, I can see four ducks trail up behind one another to carry on their mysterious geometry while they paddle the pond.  Line, turn, line, turn, line.  Suddenly, they sidle up the bank, following their fearless leader.  He has decided where they will go for lunch.

Abby's happy morning voice is still in my head from preschool dropoff.  Arriving to carline on time, she had a few minutes to unbuckle and play.  She used that time to slowly place one pink and one purple plastic connecting stars on my face to see what I'd look like in star-shaped glasses.  She watches me all the time, I can feel her eyes taking me in and putting me down somewhere for later.  I will always disappoint her.  This is one of those things moms must learn along the way.

Her innocence stares back at me in pictures now.  I imagine her older, her vibrancy taken down a notch, quieted for her peers so she won't stand out.  I miss her impossible shine already.  There is nobody who exists more than my girl.  She is all in.

My boy is soft and cuddly when his father's not home.  There is a gender distinction that never was before in Virginia.  There, Mom and Dad were his parents.  Here, Mom is soft, silly, and safe.  Dad is fun, fast, and revered.  Another thing a mom must learn along the way.  A boy loves his mother.  A boy wants to be his father.

My role is changing here and it makes me want to carve my name in all the trees.

Abby notices her brother doesn't want to play Leap Frog Hide & Seek anymore.  She wants me to hide his Kindle on the weekends.

When Abby and I drove across a long bridge recently, she told me she can feel the earth spinning and see it moving on the rippling water.  She asked me how to slow it down.

Such girls we are.  Both of us trying like hell to achieve stillness...sameness... for just a little while.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Loner Intermission

It's been awfully quiet on this blog for a good reason.  We've had a really nice flow of family visits for two months with about a three day layover for me to bust out my Cleaning Freak Flag again.

I usually spend medium to large chunks of my day alone, reflecting, and, keeping a steady log of my thoughts on this wee bloggity.  The past two months, however, have been quite the opposite.  I've spent time in conversation, planning ahead, and keeping a steady log of things I forgot to do yesterday.

The last few weeks, I've come to understand how being a loner is a crutch for me.  I rely heavily on those solo times to sort through thoughts and file away important things alphabetically.  Being around people often is out of my comfort zone and leaves me feeling disorganized and forgetful.  Not sure why my brain doesn't allow categorizing itself when another person's in the room but it doesn't.  It has serious modesty issues.  It often wears baggy shirts and knows how to remove its bra through a sleeve.

While I miss the ability to collate my thoughts, the missing is overrun by feeling honored my family (First Andy's parents, his sister, now my little brother and his girlfriend) choose to spend their only vacation time here with us in Louisiana.  None of them loves to fly yet they buy airline tickets and hold their breath during takeoff. All of them have very important things going on back home.  Each of them asks what they can do to help out while they are here.  If I respond, "Nothing," they find something anyway and do it better than me. Them there are awesome housemates.

On his second night here, my sweet brother burned off every calorie in his 6 4" lanky frame playing soccer with Grayson in the back yard.  Much like Grayson, my brother is quiet so they commune through play and smiling a lot.  And when I catch him whispering sweet to skittish Sparrow in the hallway, of course my sister heart thumps an extra thump.  This little boy who I remember chasing up a slide and around tree stumps is making adult plans to visit me, 18 years his senior.  

And wait till you see my brother's girlfriend.  She is an absolute living doll, too.  Last night, I found her in our kitchen with her auburn curls piled high, springing themselves from ponytail-holder confinement.  She was stirring brownie dough while swaying softly to something acoustic on her Pandora.  If my brother doesn't propose, I'm going to ask Andy if we can adopt her.  She is art in tiny bare feet.

So while I've not had my crutch to reflect, sort, and make sense of my own brain in the last few weeks, it's pushing me to grow outward instead of inward where it's safe, warm, and filled with chai tea lattes.

Through these visits, I've known familiar warmth, surprising beauty, and love in real time with worthwhile distractions keeping me from myself.

I hardly miss me at all.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Sunny Skies with a Few Rainshowers Possible

There's this friend I have back home..  She's my people.  We'll call her Vee. 

Vee's different from most women I know.  She says the F word.  So do I.  From the moment I met her, she seemed safe.  Like it was a waste of her time to know if my kids ate kale or wonder why I had on the same ratty cargo pants whenever we'd see each other. She asked questions about my life before kids like she knew that was the secret to owning my heart.  It is.  You can always tell if someone values their time with you if they ask you questions that show your guts when you answer.  

Vee's kind but not pushover schmaltzy.  She's crazy smart but not a bit precocious about it.  Vee's eyes tighten when she listens.  She's safe for me because I tend to over think a conversation before it even begins. Vee never lets me end a sentence in "but whatever," because she can tell whatever is important enough to solve.

I miss Vee.  It was a mean trick to play on a vagabond sap to rip me away from her accepting air a few short months after being surrounded by it.  We had so much more wine to go.  

But Vee doesn't wallow.  She is a strong working mom who has crafted a creatively-driven life for herself that I admire and aspire for myself.  Vee knows I'm sad to be new again but she urges me to fly.  She allows me tears to grieve but texts me pep talks on Fat Tuesday and names of venues I am not to miss if I care anything about my musical soul.  I do.  She figured as much.

Women are tricky.  I don't readily find many safe to walk next to, drink with, or borrow their dresses.  Bonding doesn't come around a lot because I'm a strange energy field repelling and attracting simultaneously.  Please do come in.  I'll be leaving soon.

The funny thing is Vee and I don't even know each other's middle name.  We are just as much strangers as we are sisterfriends.  Maybe that's the only way this thing works.  Give it your all but take an umbrella.

I miss Vee's air and the way I felt beautiful in it.

I'm so ugly all over again but I'm hoping it won't last long.