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. 

Hope

I work, and I struggle, and I try again, and again. I pinch pennies, I juggle hectic schedules of kids and work. I wonder if it will be enough. I worry it out, I wake in the middle of the night remembering those forgotten deadlines, appointments, and upcoming bills. And then, sometimes, I let go. And when I am least expecting it, life finds a way to bloom. 

Hanging above the ever present mountain of laundry, my summer purchased house plant has sat bloomless since mid-August. Despite care of watering, trimming, and loving, it has sat sadly looking out the window towards the birds and bees of the back yard. But this morning, after little to no care for a week and a half of soccer, dance, school and multiple work jobs, it has budded, with not one, but two blossums of hope and love and perseverance.

I wrote this blog beginning nearly two months ago, and never felt it was quite finished, nor where to go from this start. But looking today, I see it is complete in its brevity; and it is exactly what I need to hear again today. Life is hard. Life is complicated. We strive, we struggle. But like the story so often repeated in children’s books, we try again. “When I fall down, I pick myself up.” Life is change. Life is try. Life is another chance. Life is beautiful. 

Wishing you a day of some struggle, some love and some beautiful peace. 

THAT mom, yup, it was me

Yes, today I was THAT mom, dropping my kids off at school with a Popsicle and an Italian ice. I was THAT mom who brought her kids way too early, and asked the office if they could just sit in the entryway hall. I was THAT mom who handed them the treats and ran out the school door. But there is much much more to the story…

The day started well, up at 5:30 to feed the cat and start some laundry and begin the process of waking up the 12 year old for middle school. Sure, the coffee over flowed into the counter and the child took 30 minutes to even get out of bed, but these things happen.

I had plenty of time to make a sandwich for the oldest, lay out appropriate snack choices for the middle one, and check that the little one had packed her snacks the night before. I had plenty of time to fold a load of laundry, tidy the living room, empty the dishwasher and fill some water bottles for the kids too. I even had time to make  cheesy bread and cinnamon toast for the littles, so that it would be hot and ready when I woke them up.

There was a slight snag in clothing choices for the middle one, but overall we did fairly well; we were all four out the door by 7:10 all dressed, with breakfast-to-go for the littles and the biggest packed for band, school and soccer.

We had an uneventful drive to the middle school, even got her there better than her father, she said. There wasn’t even a line at drop off to worry about. But then, after I kissed my pre-teen goodbye, and watched her walk to the school…as I pulled away from the curb, my car gave a small lurch like I had missed a gear.

I checked my shifting and tried a little rev of the engine as I turned out of the middle school. But the driving didn’t get smoother, it got bumpier, lumpier, and decidedly more rough. It was a roughness I have felt once before in my life, back when I was 16 and new to driving. A bump that meant I wasn’t going home to finish calmly getting the littles ready for school by reading a book with all out extra time. A lump that meant $400-$1000, as well as 20 minutes to an hour on the side of the road. A sad lumpy, bumpy, rough ride, a flat tire.

I limped to a safe turn out just past the school driveway to assess the situation. Yup. Flat. Dead. No air in the driverside front tire at all. A blow out. The end of the road for that 215/55R16, as well as the other three (all wheel drive). 

7:26 am, a mom and two little people broken down on the side of the road, right outside the high school and middle school. A mom trying to do the best she can, with her husband currently on an airplane traveling for business for the weekend. A mom who tries to wrestle the full spare tire out of the soccer-gear packed trunk, and tries to figure out the strange (but really cool) Audi car jack. A mom who is trying to show her trio of young ladies that girls can do anything; girls can be  strong, confident, resourceful, and mechanical minded. A mom who panics,  looses it, and calls one of her dads for help.

So, yes, I was that mom at 8:15 with two little people who are recovering from strep throat but no longer contagious, and getting over the exhaustion. They are two little people who still have sore throats that will feel better with Popsicles and Italian ice, when facing a new day at school with a rushed and crazy start. I am THAT mom, and I hope they had a better morning than I did: changing my tire (with rather tight lug nuts) on the side of the road. 

Reflecting from the edge

The month proceeding my ninth birthday I was quite sure I would never actually turn the magical age of nine. I was too small, too short, too little. (I also was thoroughly convinced I was going to die from hic-ups, and I desperately feared I was in dire need of dreaded braces, neither of which came to fruition.)  

This month, proceeding my 39th birthday, I have had a similar feel of the dreaded edge of reality: it is too big, to old, to far in life to not have accomplished more. (Now, I am thoroughly convinced, there is not enough time in the day for sleep, and why, oh why, do my children pine for braces!)

Nine, the last step before the new decade, the time to wrap it all up and start over again fresh with a zero, the edge of the precipice, of the next leg of our journey through life. It is not quite as monumental as the big 10, or giant 40, of the next coming year, but still carries an immense amount of weight and pressure.

Back when I was a kid, 40 was OLD, really OLD, well not grandparent old, but really truly an adult old. Somebody at 40 was halfway to the end of their life, 40 was well into a career and heading toward retirement. Forty was gray beards, wrinkles knees, and boring clothes. Those were the responsible adults, doing boring things like reading chapter books or playing cards in the evening by lamp light, after I went to bed. 

Now, I am not the kid and 40 is not the end, or anywhere near. Forty is an adult making choices and decision that are good for the family as well as for the individual. It is no longer the crazy reckless 20s or the finding your self 30s, 40 is an adult with adult responsibilities like mortgage and car payments, jobs and children’s sporting practice schedules. 

Without really meaning to this past month, I have been making these adult lists in my head of what I have or haven’t accomplished in my previous 38.11 journeys round the sun. I have regressed to the eight year old mind and found myself lacking something needed to turn 39. I cannot quite put my finger on it yet, but there is a nagging feeling that this, this year is a big birthday (or it SHOULD be at least). 

Thirty-nine is too big, and I have not done enough, accomplished enough, saved enough, travelled enough. What do I have to show for the last 30 years? Have I lived up to my nine year old dreams of what an adult is and does? No. I have not. But, were those dreams and imaginings too far fetched, perhsps. Do I have my dream career, well underway and turning the corner towards retirement? Do I have 2 children, a dog and a cat, and live in a beautiful house with a big yard, beautiful garden and white picket fence. No. No, I do not. 

What I do have, is a wonderful family full of love and laughter, as well as our share of frustrations and fights (and more than enough eye rolling and heavy sighing, these days). Our house is a home, and well lived in at that (perhaps we could do with less laundry and junk piles). We have a good boat that runs,and cute little camper for excursions, and everyone at least, has their own space in the small house. 

But there still is something nagging me, something tugging at my psyche in the wee hours of the night. I have accomplished college, and a career or two, and gone in many directions. I have as Miss Rumphius taught “gone to far away places and come back to live by the sea…and I have made the world a more beautiful place.” So what, what is it I am afraid of, what is the sadness, the fear, the unrest about? 

Today was a particularly rough day with raging emotions (from most of the females in the house). And in the guise of shutting the chickens for the evening, I sat to contemplate this vast question at the edge of my garden and yard. (Perhaps it was the rain sprinkling or allergies acting up, as I when I returned to the house I had a red blotchy face, wet cuffs on my sweater and a salty taste upon my lip.) Coming into my house on the hill, I found two out of three children setting the table, stirring the dinner, straightening the living room, and hanging up their wet towels from tubing. The cat was fed and purring at my feet, and the bunnies were happily munching fresh grass. Things were not perfect (‘nobody is perfect’ say my three little parrots) but they were okay. There was tension, but there was life and there was love. At grace we said thank you for the love, thank you for the family, thank you for the food grown with love and prepared with love. There were still eye rolls and deep sighs, and a few tense thoughts held on back burners. But there was love.

And as we sat for a (most of the family) family game, I got it. I knew what the question was I had been asking myself. And even better, I knew the answer.

Do I know what I am doing and why? No. No, I do not. And that is okay.

Happy birthday to me.

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.

Hidden treasuresĀ 

It is now almost summer, the fallen leaves and last year’s flowers have long since been cleaned up from most gardens. But here, a grand lonely house stands guard over last year’s refuse, this spring’s now past forget me not’s, and perhaps hidden marvelous treasures of many colors.The early afternoon shadows creep from the steadfast barn and neighboring oak trees. Loads of debris has been carted away, but still more remains; it is all around the edges, under the growing greenery, and still obscuring the summer potential marvels. The clearing of the thick debris has revealed pale stems and leaves deprived of sunlight. Weak specimens of Summer’s potential glory.Sunlight dapples through, picking up a flash of brilliant pink, a spark of soft silver, a soft ting of gentle blue. Last year’s dead swordlike stalks crisscross the green recruits, that are searching for the light. The new fledglings reach to catch the passerby’s eye, but still blend in like wallflowers lost in the crowd.A treasure! With its wooly soft leaves, the lambs ear is revealed. Still holding tightly to the closed buds of the purple blossoms for the summer, the stems stand tall, reaching above the iris stalks. The velvety leaves pour out of the garden and erase the clear cut line between garden and pavement.And, not to be forgotten!  One mouse eared sentinel is still fully blooming in this round of plantings. Caught between the leaves and the treasures, the forget me not holds strong to Spring and the delicate, but hardy nature of Maine garden plants. The sticky seeds of the many plants gone past have been redistributed throughout the garden, wondrous treasures for the next round!There in the brown leaves, the white stars are shining! The Garden star of Bethlehem has lost most of its yellowed leaves to the treasure hunt. But the flowers, on long delicate stems survived to peep and peer through the few remaining leaves at the back of the garden. A treasure not often seen in this garden, as this little marvel often is over looked as crocus leaves gone by. But, given extra time this year, perhaps it will spread more!And finally the fuschia flowers are fully found. Hiding in several spots was a wonderful gem of a weigela. With some trimming here and there it has been returned to its place of beauty and glory around which the daffodils and forget me not’s will dance, as well as the lambs ear and day lilies, and finally the echinacea and goldenrod.The garden is restored, for now. The daffodil leaves are all braded, springs spent blossoms have been removed, and the summer’s buds stand ready for the warmth of July to open and revel in the marvelous treasures of summer color.

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.