Category Archives: family life

Thank You Dad

Standard

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

Standard

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

Standard

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

Standard

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

Standard

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.

Those Mothers

Standard

Those mothers who manage
to write, sing, paint, dance,
practice yoga, cook, garden,
etc. etc. etc.
with their children around–
how do they do it?
Am I an oddball for wanting silence
when I write
or when I’m trying to learn new music?
Am I strange for wanting to be alone
when I roll out my mat to practice asana
(so that no one will be crawling all over me)?
When it’s 5pm and I have no idea what to make for dinner
and my kids are relentless in their lists of needs
am I a failure because I lose my temper?
No, I think I’m pretty normal.
But how do they do it,
those mothers who manage to create
with their living creations
making all that racket?
How do they do it?

Motherhood is Letting Go

Standard

Time is flying
but we don’t notice
because it all unfolds
in this one moment.
I look at you, my children,
and cannot believe
how much you’ve grown.
Every moment of motherhood
a giving away,
a letting go.
Celebrating your steps,
your leaps and bounds,
knowing that someday
you’ll fly away
and I’ll have only the memory
of your tiny hands
reaching out to me
asking for the comfort of my arms.
It takes every ounce of courage
to not hold on too tight.
I don’t want my love to be a cage
that obscures the light you need
to flourish.
So I hold you when you let me
and breathe and let you go
when you’re ready to stand on your own.
Every moment of motherhood
a giving away,
a letting go.

Hotel Room Musings

Standard

I’m in a hotel by the Atlantic Ocean in Cape May, NJ.

We set aside a few days

just to be together as a family.

It is the first time I have seen the ocean

in five years;

tomorrow we will play in the sand.

There were frustrating moments 

on the drive here,

but I managed to remember to breathe

deeply every now and again.

I managed to summon compassion

for everyone else who was feeling the same way.

And now, as my husband and two children

sleep quietly right by me–

I wonder about tomorrow,

where I will sit,

how I will find enough quiet to go inwards.

But for now sleep.

Patience Not Perfect

Standard

Patience.
I’d like to say I’m an adept,
but sorrowfully, I am not.
I yell at my kids still.
Especially when it’s about 4 pm
and my son has peed his pants
for the sixth time that day
and my daughter is wildly
flinging toys left and right
leaving landmines in my path
as I attempt to manage the chaos.
I’d like to say I’m patient
when I’m tired beyond belief
and there is no respite in sight,
and when I dare to attempt to rest,
closing my eyes
for just fifteen minutes
both of my children team up and destroy
the basement–
couch cushions everywhere,
toys everywhere,
complete disorder.
I’d like to say that my years of
daily meditation,
yoga studies,
therapy,
journaling,
and just growing older
have cured me of my reactivity,
but no–
I’m still reactive.
Only now,
I can see it, and I can feel it more.
I also apologize to my kids
for yelling at them and scaring them.
I am not the pinnacle of patience,
but I do know enough about it
to realize that if I can tap into its source
just a little bit more,
I might learn how
to love myself unconditionally.

Always a Mother

Standard

Sometimes I’m a monster.
The hormones rage,
awakened by a child too many times
in the night
sleep deprivation depriving
me of insight,
cannot see the light.
Patience is gone,
replaced by rage,
I’m an animal in a cage.

I’m loud, I stomp, I slam,
I feel put upon, resentful,
exhausted, alone.
Then comes the guilt
for not being better.
When it’s like this,
I often forget that…

Sometimes I’m a saint.
Most of the time
I meet my children
with tenderness and kindness
when they are grumpy,
resistant, messy, loud,
and mostly oblivious to my efforts
toward their happiness.
I cuddle and hold them close,
I tell them how important they are,
how special, how dear,
how glad I am that they are here.

I love from the deepest part of me
and forgive every single thing,
because I see their purity,
their goodness,
their absolute trust in me,
and I want to be worthy of that trust.

Sometimes I’m a monster.
Sometimes I’m a saint.

Always I’m a mother.