Category Archives: family life

What Separation Taught Me


My little family of four
was flying standby today
and only two of us could board the plane
from Boston to Salt Lake City.
I didn’t want us to split up,
but my husband insisted, saying,
If we don’t do it this way,
it will be the same thing tomorrow.
At least this way, we’ll have a better chance
of all of us getting there,
even if two of us have to arrive later.

So I and my son boarded the plane.
My daughter was in tears as I hugged her goodbye.
I told her she’d have a fun date with daddy
and tried to cheer her up,
but inside my heart was breaking.
As our plane took off,
I held my son’s hand,
really feeling the distance expanding,
separating us from my husband and my daughter.
And it struck me that experiences
really aren’t so fun
if the ones most dear to your heart
are not there with you to share them.
Nothing can buy the deep feeling of  connection
that blossoms from within when you spend time
with those you love.
You could be on an island paradise
with delicious food, beautiful weather,
and luxury accommodations,
but without your beloveds,
it all becomes quite dreary.
So hold your loved ones close,
they are the most precious treasures of all.
When you’re happy together,
when you cherish one another,
it doesn’t matter where you are,
it all becomes so  lovely.

Thank You Dad


Thank  you Dad for listening.
You gave me hope tonight.
For so long I have judged you,
misunderstood you,
but that was a lonely place to be,
and I wanted to connect with you, Dad.
I have hope for you and me now.
I believe that we can make things change
for the better.
And I have grown up enough to know
that it’s foolish to expect immediate results.
Love is not fast food.
It’s not even a flower.
It is the totality of all that is–
the earth, the rain, the seeds,
the warmth of the sun,
the cycle of the seasons,
the passage of time.
I hope I can be patient for your sake Dad.
I hope I can honor your process
and be kind and gentle and tender with you.
Thank you Dad for listening.
I love you.

NaPoWriMo Day 23: Avoiding a Sonnet Haiku


The cool night breeze stirs
White dogwood blooms whispering
Springtime is here now.


Hello friends.  Today I was awakened a little before 3 am by my four year old son who trundled into our room and promptly took up most of my half of the bed. After being uncomfortably wedged between him and my husband for a time, I took the lad back to bed, then made the mistake of looking at what time it was.  The iPhone read 3:18 am. I mused at the time and attempted to fall asleep, unsuccessfully, and finally got up a little after 4. I had a productive morning starting with my regular morning meditation, then some breakfast, then some writing in my journal, then sewing a little–ALL BEFORE 6.  This early morning industriousness started to feel a little crazy to me, but by the time I needed to leave to teach two yoga classes, I was feeling fine and ready to greet the day.  I taught two classes full of earnest, hardworking people, many of whom had the courtesy to laugh at my jokes. I returned home, ate lunch, wrote a little more in my journal, and then the husband and children came home.  At this point, after we got the kids settled in their rooms for “quiet time,” I attempted to take a nap.  All that happened was a little dozing but no real sleep. Then we were all up for snacks and after a lot of dithering around, I finally got the kids out to the park so that they could ride their scooters while I’ll rollerbladed…yep…rollerbladed. Then back home, it was already past 8 and we had a lovely dinner of homemade quiche and salad. Finally got the kids in bed way past their usual bedtime, and now here I am.

The above recounting of my day was in all likelihood an unnecessarily long preamble to my confession that I’m tired and therefore won’t be laboring through the sonnet that the NaPoWriMo prompt for today encouraged us to write.  Yep, too tired to think in iambic pentameter, and too tired to worry about rhyme schemes–therefore, a haiku. When in doubt, a haiku always does just fine.  They’re short, sweet, and it feels meditative writing them, and that’s about all I have energy for tonight…so here goes…


The cool night breeze stirs
White dogwood blooms whispering
Springtime is here now.

NaPoWriMo Day 18: A Snowball’s Chance


Hmmm. Today’s prompt invites us to go back in time and remember the sounds of home–particular sayings that we no longer hear, sounds that made up our home environment back in the day…Right off the top of my head I can remember a few expressions that strike me as pretty funny now.

Things my dad said: (notice lots of expressions involving Hell):
It’s hotter’n the hinges of hell in here. (Said if we let the wood stove burn too hot)
He took off like a bat outta hell. (Often used in reference to drivers on the road)
There’s about a snowball’s chance in hell that…(______ will happen)
Beats the hell outta me!  (
used in lieu of “I don’t know.”  )
Jesus William H. Christ!  S
aid when annoyed and frustrated and unpleasantly surprised.
You’re an accident looking for a place to happen.
(Said if we put our cup too close to the edge of the table)
Aw, horseshit (insert someone’s name here). 
Used to express incredulity.
I don’t give a rat’s ass about_________ (Talking about some situation that he didn’t think was important).

A funny thing Gram (Mom’s mom) said: If your father sees this, he’ll have a shit hemorrhage. (Talking about a mess my sisters and I made.)

As you can see, these expressions tend toward the vulgar side of the English language, which is really funny to me now, because both my dad and my grandmother were highly educated, articulate, intelligent people–so they had access to a much richer and more varied language than they ended up using in daily conversation. I wonder where my dad got all those expressions.  Not sure where the poem is in the expressions, but recalling them stirred up some feelings of tenderness toward my father. So maybe I’ll write about that.
Dear Dad,
You were always so gruff with your words.
Were you afraid of what you’d feel
if you didn’t use them to build a wall between us?
I know you cared about us,
so why would you say, “That’s nice,”
when we told you that we loved you?
Of course we were messy–
we were little kids.
Why would our messes upset you so?
Were you not allowed to be messy
when you were a little boy?
Did someone tell you
that you were an accident waiting to happen?
I wish I could get closer to you Dad
while you still walk this earth.
But the little girl in me
doesn’t know if she can bear your prickly words.
She isn’t sure that you give a rat’s ass about her feelings.
She thinks that there’s about a snowball’s chance in hell
of you understanding her.

NaPoWriMo Day 15: Doubles


Today’s prompt encouraged us to incorporate the idea of doubles into our poem…writing about mirrors or twins or grouping poetic phrases in couplets–or doing both by writing about double things in couplets.  I’m a twin. So I’ll write about that.

She is right-handed; I am left-handed.
She is half an inch taller
I always weighed a little more
and had slightly bigger feet.
Yes, there is a strong resemblance,
but we are not identical,
and still people would confuse us.
They always asked us if we were best friends
but there were times when she was my worst enemy.
She traveled the world as a fashion model;
I went to school at a liberal arts college in VA.
She was often partying in some exotic location
while I was buckling down to write papers
and study for exams.
Sometimes I’m glad that she lives far away,
although I miss her frequently.
We spark so much in each other
that it quickly gets exhausting
being together.
One day maybe we’ll resolve
the wounds of childhood,
but for now
It feels good to be me, just me
instead of one half of a set.

NaPoWriMo Day 2: Family Portrait


I can see an old family portrait
clear as day in my mind.
Everyone is younger
and our hair is pretty funny.
Our smiles cued by the photographer
but there was sincere humor in our eyes.
Mom, Dad, big sister, twin sister and me…
Yes I can see it clear as day in my mind,
but so much time has passed
and gone are the days of togetherness
under the same roof.
Each bird has flown to its separate nest
And that old picture is buried somewhere
in my father’s mess.

Here is the prompt for NaPoWriMo 2016 Day 2. My family of origin–rather than the family I created with my husband–sprang to mind.