Tuesday, March 27, 2018
As I looked through boxes, I found myself thinking. I'm tired of the dark and the cold. I'm tired of stale air and abbreviated walks... and then I found this. It is a poem written long ago by a young woman with a similar wish.
It made me realize that I am, who I am. Despite knowing that in the sweltering heat of summer, I will look back and regret this wish. It seems that every year about this time, I wish it anyway.
Listening for Spring
Window cracked open to swirling cold air,
I lay in bed, settled deep in warm hollows and listen.
To silent nights and still mornings.
To churning gusts and crackling winter.
Peace becomes desperation,
Cloaked in frozen dusk.
Still, I listen,
longing for a distant high note,
to start the budding spring,
for the creak of barren branch
weighed down by a winged choir.
I sink back into lethargy,
Eavesdropping on the wind.
A chirp, a pipe, a warble, trill.
An aria announcement,
All sullen hearts take flight!
No more craning. No more questioning.
They are here.
Lilting melodies of hope,
Hymns of endurance
Anthems of faith.
I weed the depths of a tired soul,
fall to my knees and thank the Heavens
for feathered, miniature, messengers of spring.
Saturday, July 23, 2016
I've been trying for a while now to capture the sorrow I feel for the loved ones I miss, and the responsibility I feel for the things I've done that made them go.
Though I have tried many times, I've not been able to find the words in standard prose. Though I don't consider myself a poet and likely neither will you. Sometimes the lilt of a sonnet, a song, or a rhyme is the only way I can accurately express what is seared into my heart.
This is dedicated to anyone who has ever lost someone. May they visit your dreams.
Last night you visited my dreams.
Eyes wide open, salty tears.
You’ve still been gone for all these years.
Thursday, November 5, 2015
First, by the power of this small red symbol. With amazing precision, the sight of a red poppy would instantly remind me of its meaning. It is as if every poppy were accompanied by a soldiers’ whisper, “I know you are busy, but don’t forget. Don’t forget me.” Next, I was inspired by the graceful unity of the Canadian people. I was impressed by the diversity of ethnicities, ages and economic classes whose solidarity to the cause seemed to whisper back, “You liberated me and I will not forget.”
I will wear my poppy proudly into the November night and I will not forget.
In Flanders Field
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Monday, August 31, 2015
It took a bad hair day to remind me of this absolute truth:
Whatever we choose to believe in; God, collective energy or even the people who’ve gone before…if you listen long enough, you will hear their significant message:
“Be happy. Be open. Be loving. Focus on living. Don’t drown in the abyss, instead let go of all that tethers you, and reach for the light.”
The sun will rise,
Monday, May 11, 2015
Instead, it’s a magnifying glass kind of day.
Magnification: is the process of enlarging something only in appearance, not in physical size. Typically, magnification is related to scaling up visuals or images to be able to see more detail with increasing resolution.
When I was 8, my Father gave my Mom a microwave for Mother’s Day. He brought it into the house after church and proudly set it on the counter. We gathered around and cheered her on as she removed it from the box. To my surprise, I watched my smiling young mother go from anticipation to anguish in seconds. Tears welled up in her eyes as she turned and ran out the front door. At the time, I didn’t understand her reaction. My Dad had given her a gift and a pretty cool gift at that. I thought she was ungrateful. I wanted a microwave dinner!
I didn't understand then. I do now.
I think she was suffering from magnification, just as I did yesterday. The scaling up of what “Mother” means compared to what she felt capable of, combined with her enlarged hope for how gratitude would be expressed for a job she felt so inept at doing.
Mother’s Day increases our appearance, but it doesn’t change our physical size. Mother’s Day doesn’t change who we have been or how able we are. Though on some level there is part of us, at least for some of us, that wishes it could.
I have heard it said, “to have a child is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”
There is no greater exposure. There is no greater love.
And if everything has an equal and opposite reaction, then it shouldn’t surprise us or make us feel guilty to say, there is no greater pain. On Mother’s Day, we feel it ALL, with increasing resolution.
Every last boundless hope coupled with our mistakes, our disabilities, our selfish needs. Then we feel our children’s’ sorrow, a driving ache to take away their pain and our anger at high-priced agency. Of course, we feel love. Abiding, limitless, joyous love. All of this is magnified and pushed into one tiny day.
It can be a little overwhelming.
It can make you run from the house in tears.
Sometimes we give microwaves. Sometimes we create National Holidays. And, though these are meant to celebrate…to somehow repay the debt… the day, the gifts, will never match the magnitude of the calling or the similitude of a Mothers’ heart.
On that Mother’s Day so many years ago, my Dad was trying to say, “I know you work hard, here’s a tool to make it easier.” As well meaning as he was, he didn't say it. As kids, we didn't show it.
Now that I am Mother, I think I know what my Mom needed that day. It’s what all Mothers need every day, but go without on most days. It’s not a pedestal that is easy to fall from. It’s not a trendy gift, although we probably won’t complain. What we really need is reassurance. Tell us to put the magnifying glass down. Tell us what we did and what we do, is enough. Tell us you forgive us for what we didn’t or cannot do. Say Thank you. Express your love.
These messages, even better when combined with your embrace, change our lens. They remind us to magnify the positive. Hopefully, they remind you too… that YOU, simple, beautiful YOU, are enough. More than enough for your Mother.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Sometimes I am disheartened by what I see. Most often I’m intrigued. Then sometimes, something different catches my eye, tips my world on its axis, and unties my perfectly packaged life scenarios.
Like when this happened at Regan International Airport.
I had just completed a palpitating rush through security and a frantic search for a half way healthy takeaway lunch. Panicked I ran to my gate, desperately hoping I hadn’t given up my chance to get home for a solution to my hypoglycemic state. I arrived just in time to watch a Delta Red Coat change my status to delayed. I gulped in a long breath of stale airport air and let the relief wash in.
This extra 40 minutes was a gift. I said a silent, grateful prayer. Then I found a table in a sea of travel weary warriors and peeled back the foil on my spinach chicken wrap. I took a long, cold draw of water and leaned back in my chair to watch.
I instantly noticed a woman and a young boy and I found myself pondering their relationship. She was short and slight with deep brown eyes and dark, olive skin. He was tall with pale skin and spiky platinum blonde hair. His brilliant quiff shot at least 2 inches above his scalp. Even from a distance, I could tell his eyes were a golden green.
I landed on these two, like a bird on a wire and perched forward in my hard plastic seat. Were they related? No way! Then I noticed they shared long thin noses that ended in the same abrupt point and high cheek bones that flanked almost hollow faces. And, I saw the crooked left smile that dawned from both sets of lips when they noticed the Dunkin Donut sign.
My detective work abruptly ended when I heard the excited boy.
“Mom, can we please get some?”
If there were any hesitation on her part, I did not see it. At his request, they moved quickly to the long line and chatted and pointed and finally disappeared. I went back to eating my sandwich, distracted by the parade of people who were now streaming out of Gate 27.
I noticed the pair again when “Spike” grabbed the newly vacant table just steps away from mine. Mom followed with 2 pints of milk, a few napkins and a box of donuts.
I thought I knew what would happen next, a perfectly predictable scenario. She would open the box and say something like, “Choose one. We’re saving the rest to share with Dad or Grandma or Aunt Beth.” He would whine and say something like “Only one? It is soooooo hard to chooooose.”
“No, she would counter. Choose one or don’t take any.”
My sandwich started to taste like cardboard as I predicted the plot.
But, oh, how wrong I was.
As she set the box on the table, he waited patiently. She opened his milk, unfolded his napkin and laid it on the table. He waited again as mom went through the exact same steps for herself. By now, even my mouth was watering. Finally, she opened the box. Without a word, each of them reached inside.
I caught my breath. “Oh, I thought to my spent and jaded self, I didn’t see that coming. They must have purchased a box of glazed.”
Somewhat disappointed, I resigned myself to take note of her
“Less fighting and whining when there is only one flavor.”
But, my axis was starting to tilt. Mom was taking an enormous bite of an airy traditional chocolate glazed and “Spike” had his long tongue extended waiting for a drop of blueberry icing to land squarely on its tip. When it did, he savored it, let out an excited moan and promptly took a large bite. They looked at each other with crooked left smiles.
“It’s gooooood!” he said, his mouth so full he blew cakey crumbs on her tiny face. She shook her head up and down in agreement. “Mine is good too.” Then almost in perfect sync, they both put their donuts, missing one bite each, back into the box. Each took a sip of the milk, eyed the rest of the contents and reached back inside. The world tilted again when both mom and son pulled out entirely different donuts. Another bite, another comment about taste or texture, another sip of milk, only to retire the newest flavor for a sweetness even newer.
Out came a glossy pink donut with white sprinkles and a sugary puff of a donut pregnant with raspberry jelly. One bite, one pleased glance, another trip back to the box. Next came a bumpy apple fritter, and fluffy Bavarian cream dripping with milk chocolate. One bite, a fist bump, another reach. Next came a sticky cinnamon twist and long fat maple bar. “Spike” dug his finger into the frosting and plopped a syrupy dollop on her nose. They both laughed. Mom licked the frosting off with her own long tongue. Then they each took a bite and dropped their donuts into the still full box.
A few more bites and they were done. Without words, they both glanced at the box one more time. She raised her eyebrow as if to say, “Do you want anymore?” He shook his head no, rubbed his tummy and closed the box. On their way to the gate, he dropped it in the trash.
Gluttonous? Perhaps.... just a little.
However, these are not the life values that come to mind when I remember that day. Instead, I can’t help but think about the beautiful lessons this mother is teaching her child.
Instead of: “There is only a small portion for you. You can have only one."
He is learning the world is accessible.
Instead of: “You are stuck with your choices. Choose wisely.”
He is learning his choices abound and though he might not always make the perfect choice. There is always another chance. There is always another donut.
Instead of: Discipline created by scarcity, he is learning discipline in the midst of abundance.
Instead of: “I feel joy because it’s mine”. He discovered the elevated joy that comes from sharing.
When I think of “Spike” and his wise mom. One of my favorite quotes comes to mind. Please forgive me, this slight revision.