2 AM

I am awoken from my slumber by the sound of the rain, the scratch of a branch on the house, or perhaps a shooting star. I do not open my eyes; I try to convince myself I am not really awake. My mind is not so easily swayed. Bills that are due come creeping slowly up to the edges, followed by the list of house keeping chores, and hand in hand with children’s sports equipment requests. Coming in behind all those distractions are the new baby chicks along the bunny cage that needs fixing. 

I roll over. I plump my pillow. I practice deep, slow breathing. I look at the clock. 2:05 am.

Now, I have to pee.

I certainly could stoke the fire on my way through the living room. And then I could check on those baby chicks. While I was waiting for the fire to catch, I could check my bank online, and schedule bills. I could probably switch over the laundry too, so there would be more available for the kids to fold tomorrow.

But I don’t want to get up. I don’t get up.

The fire is probably fine. The chicks are probably sleeping. There is already two loads of laundry waiting to be folded. I can schedule the bills in the morning.

I have to pee.

Rolling over I snuggle in the covers, I close my eyes, I try to sleep. I peak at the clock, 2:10.

A light thump, followed by the gentle creak of a floor board, followed by a cough. Someone is awake. Someone is walking. Someone is coming down the stairs. Someone is standing in the doorway. Someone is talking to me, beside my bed. 

My youngest daughter, ready with her story of why she needs me…I pretend to sleep. I whisper to her that I am sleeping. She climbs into bed, across me, to the empty pillow of my still traveling husband.

She is small, and warm, and has her snuggly lion tucked under her arm. She snuggles into me. I snuggle her back and, but wish I could check my phone, or check on the fire, and what about those bills.  She falls asleep. Cozy.

I have to pee. I try to sleep.

Suddenly, the most wretched middle of the night sound: the cat puking, on my bed!!! Yuck. Now I MUST get up…

Finally snuggling back in bed. The clock reads 2:50

I cozy up to the small child, still sleeping soundly. She does not worry about bills, or chicks, or laundry. She doesn’t need to clean cat puke off the bed and the floor. She needs love. She needs attention. She needs reassurance that it WILL be okay. She worries about bad dreams and what will happen to Percy Jackson and Grover. I can help with HER problems. I can give her love and ease her fears. I am her protector and her care giver. All she needs is her mom. 

I snuggle into the covers and hug my little person. As I fall peacefully asleep, I am calmed, having solved the problems in one little world. 

Oh to be the Cat

Oh to be the cat, lazing in the sun. Totally unaware of all that needs to be done. No cares for raking, or trimming, or cleaning up the trash. No need to rush, or hurry to make it anywhere on time. 

Oh to be the cat, a simple observer of all that is around. You see the chickens, the flowers, the sticks, and the rose’s thorns. But none require your attention, none require you to act. 

Oh to be the cat, keeping a careful, watchful eye on all that surrounds you, to never be surprised. You know when food is served. You sense when things go astray. But it is never your requirement to fix anything at all. 

Oh to be the cat, resting in the sun. To know that you are deeply loved, and amply fed by everyone. 

Clarity, in writing

I love my eldest daughter’s clear handwriting. It is so much more careful and prepared than mine. The curves are perfectly round and the straight lines are clear, but not stark or harsh. It is not hurried or scrawled; it has hidden patience. The letters can sometimes tend toward those fluffy, bubbly letters written by the ‘cool’ girls in middle school in the 90s. But my daughter’s have more substance and purpose behind them, (and none of the drooling, big eyes smiley faces). I feel the love of reading, dancing, and singing in the gentle, fluidity of the letters and placement on the page. 

My own handwriting comes out too fast, trying to keep up with the speed of my brain. Letters overlap or are squashed flat in my haste to put the next one down on paper. The ends of my last letters often draw themselves too far out, like a cat scratch that isn’t quick to heal. And the edges of my letters either cross too far, or don’t finish the connection. I am hurried in the process and overwhelmed with the next task.

When I was in second grade, I remember my teacher compairing my messy, out of the lines coloring to my neat and beautiful older sister’s work. I have never developed into a neat person, in writing or housekeeping. I push myself beyond my own limits and try to clean up later. When I slow down and actually try, (as in teaching first graders,) I can write perfect clear, text book letters. I am indeed messy and fast, but I get the job done and move to the next performance in my three ring circus. 

My eldest daughter stands on that brink of  life, 13 years young. She is full of grand ideas, wonderful beginnings, fantasy endings, and dreams too big to contain. She is also graceful and strong, beautiful and poised, gently independent with a strong dose of teen self-doubt. She has the potential to do great things, with clarity and  patience. She has many mountians to climb, and it will take many tears and much effort to reach her lofty goals, but she will do it.  I can see it in her writing. 

The moment

You can’t capture the moment. The high peeping of chicks on the dinning room table (who keeps chicks in the table!) The circles from suction cup lights stuck on the window (doesn’t she ever wash the windows), or the water colored silk sun capture spinning briefly all connect and bring reality together. What I really love is the light on the delicate pink blossoms of the begonia, the shadows of the yet to flower cherry tree on the upper window pane and the sunlight dancing gently on my  yellow t-shirt. I see the peace, but there is not time to relish, to frolic in the calm.

Many, many days I see a scene and start to write in my head. But the moments are so fleeting, so quick, and also too realistic, too messy to share. By the time I pick up the pencil, find the paper, or open the app, another moment is upon me and desperate for my attention. The children, the chickens, the house, the wood stove, time for school or work or practice. The moment slips through…

But just this once, I tried. I took a chance and flew by the seat of my pants. 

As the moment of peace changes, so must I. Dinner must be stirred, the children redirected in their ‘cleaning’ and the fire built to keep out the evening chill. 

I am indeed more peaceful though, even for just this moment. Thank you, world. Thank you, muse. Thank you. I will carry this with me to share and to hold. 

Appeasing the twelve year oldĀ 

At one moment big, the next small. Needing space but close by, like a two year old with mood swings.

The rollercoaster of emotions, hers-mine, intermingled; vying for space and acknowledgment.

I was once her age, but was I like her? Not nearly as much poise, never such attitude (at least not at that age)

Dancing around, finding the edges, pushing and pulling the limits, of elasticity, of the darkness and the light

Upon my lap, she is heavy, solid; but yet needing…needing what?

Across the water she is free, radiant, clear, Laughter. 

Watching her, I grow, nostalgic. Contemplative.  

The bringer of peace. The angel. The left shoulder of Virgo. The solid star which I rotate around.  

Glimpses of strength, hidden by her own strength of reticence. 

A jumble of emotions, bubbling forth at once loud, shy, angry, ecstatic, exhausted, and full.

The path is clear and murky. But we will find it. Together.

Flapping without Flying

Sorry for the rushing

the ‘hurry up’ and ‘get it done’.

I’m sorry for the crazy days that led

to crazy nights.

I apologize for take out food

and cereal in the car,

for piles of snack bags that served as lunch and dinner, and maybe even snack.

Your childhood is fleeting,

disappearing before our eyes.

We both must learn to slow it down,

to take our time to learn to fly.

We must remember, to see the butterflies that stop to sip the nectar.

We must slow down our hummingbird wings 

and rest our hearts, for just a bit.

The sun is warm, the sky is blue.

We can soar, and dip, and flip,

with joy and shear elation.

But first 

we must learn to fly.

A Sunday in Early May

Here’s a day to cold cups of coffee, finished at 1pm and curtains fluffed out over threadbare sofas, with half folded blankets. The living room rug that never comes clean of hair and fuzz. The piles of laundry that never end. Here’s to the moments of doubt, and confusion, or wondering what we are doing wrong, or what we are doing right.

But also a day for the small little hands and the round little eyes so filled with love and adoration. A day to be thankful for those little bodies that just want to share every moment with you, over, and over, and over,  even at five in the morning. A day to remember the sweet little person who so wants to please, as well as the huffy teenager, who really, also, wants to please but doesn’t know how anymore. A day to celebrate the moments with the middle child, who holds it all together so well, until they don’t and their world comes crashing down. They all need you, they all want you, they all love you so deeply. 

This is a Sunday to be thankful for lunches forgotten, papers that got lost, and socks that got wet. A day for finding the shoes left out in the rain, the glasses lost under the seat, and the kisses on scraped knees and elbows. 

The expectations we voice, and those we keep hidden, that maybe just for today, everything will go smoothly, everyone will be appreciative, and maybe we won’t have to pick up anybody else’s socks.