Middle of the road

Every morning I listen for the sound of the bus, stopping for my young teenager. I hold off on my morning chores and busy myself in the kitchen, just to be near and hear it. And everyday, I peek through the rhododendron, that blocks the window, to watch her patiently waiting. And then I watch her cross the street. Confident, beautiful, strong and amazing, especially to me.

The last time she rode the bus was first or second grade. Then I would bundle up the pajama clad toddler (or two), and hustle out the kindergartener/preschooler and we would all stand together. We played games of guessing the color of the cars before they zoomed past. With my coffee in hand, I taught them hop scotch. The driveway, then, was more covered in chalk than black pavement. On rainy days, the bigger ones, all dressed for school, would huddle under an umbrella with me. Meanwhile, the littlest stomped in puddles till the water came up over the top of her tiny rain boots and soaked her feet. Occasionally we missed the bus, and then I would drive all three of them the three minutes to school. By the time the youngest was off to kindergarten, bus riding was no longer cool, or fun, or the easiest choice for our crazy, rushed, mornings. If I drove them the three minutes to school, it gave us more time in the morning to do three pairs of braids, and pack three sets of lunches.

Then came middle school: and early, (very early) mornings. Too early for me, really. She has handled them like a champ.

At thirteen, she gets up without a fuss, and dresses quickly in mature and stylish clothes. She comes downstairs within 30 minutes, (as I am barely stumbling out of bed), with hair done up, tasteful makeup on, nice clothes, and a plethora of bags. I make her a sandwich for lunch, but no longer sneak in little notes or silly surprises; it is easy to accidentally embarrass a middle schooler. As her father heads off to work, she and I have a quiet breakfast and chat about the days plans. It has become a time I look forward to everyday: connecting with my eldest, beautiful daughter. And then she is off to wait for the bus.

No longer are there screaming struggles of “nothing to wear!” Nor do I have to go upstairs 10 times to finally rouse her from the bed. Occasionally, I remind her to fill her water bottle for soccer/basketball/softball, butler she has it all together, ready. Instead, we have calm conversations about what she might want for lunch. Or she tells me the latest drama story of eighth grade. She sighs and harrumphs sometimes, not wanting to go to school or practice later; but don’t we all.

Once in a blue moon, she has a down morning. Where I can see she is barely holding it together. Something (that in the great scheme of life is usually nothing) has gotten under her skin and rubbed the wrong way. Perhaps she is physically exhausted due to her sports and extra dance classes, and she is feeling the strain in her muscles. Or sometimes she isn’t sure of a friendship and a turn that it has taken (or that she perceives it will take) and is questioning her place in middle school society. But still, we make it through and she pulls it together fabulously. Off she goes to wait for the bus, always leaving 5 minutes early, so she will be sure not to miss it.

With her ‘A Game’ on, she is gone. She is out the door, school bag, gym bag, sports bag, lunch box, water bottle and phone in hand. With a quick and final smile goodbye (or sometimes even a kiss if I am lucky), she strides to the end of the drive way. Her straight and strong back, her beautiful dancing posture, will be the last I will see of her until well into the afternoon. No looks back of sleepiness, sluggishness or sadness, or even another goodbye. She marches forth into the battle ground of middle school, prepared to fight the dragons of the day with courage and poise…my little girl is growing up and headed out to the middle of the road of life.


The journey

The first steps into the night,

Guided by years of traipsing

These hand formed stairs.

Grass and cedar hold back the hill

As flowers tumbleAnd weeds intermix.

Starless warm skies,

A sense of endless time,

A traveler lost in moments,

(Or could it be hours or years?)

My boots are drenched with dew,

The damp darkness has settled

Into every nook and blade of grass.

Loosening the hinges of reality.

Ah! But the night reveals a door!

Guarded by stretching rose bushes

And overgrown shrubs.

An old summer cottage,

Overgrown by fall.

The light and sound within:

An aproned grandmother,

Cleaning up the last of her dishes.

Or an ought to be abandoned shed,

Filled with bickering children

And lit by flickering candles’ glow.

Inner reality is blurry, obscured by dust

And a half fallen curtain.

No candles glow.

No grandmotherly figures wiping up crumbs.

A strange disorderly order

Of objects pressing together,

Jostling for space or attention,

Demanding a closer look…

What oddness abounds!

Greeted by fluff and feathers

And attitudes all around…

“How dare you disturb my night!

Have you never heard of privacy!

A moment to gather my senses

And find my evening bonnet!”

I pause, to allow the dust to settle,

And then begin my evening chores.

All chickens accounted for

All foxes shut out for the night.

Food and water filled for morning.

All have settled down

And are ready to turn out the light.

I re-traipse my wet footprints,

Back up the overgrown stairs.

Awaiting me at the top,

My own cozy cottage

With children happily giggling

And a husband washing the dishes.

All is well and quiet and good.

Good night.

No, I am not…

No, I am not at the amazing and super fun annual pumpkin drop today. No, I am not driving to Waterville and back for basketball today. No, I am not cleaning the chimney, or cleaning up around the wood stove today. No, I am not harvesting apples or making cider for the winter. No, I am not.

Today I am resting.

The world will not end if my children miss a chance to see 1000 pound pumpkins dropped on stripped down old cars, this one year. It will not end if I rely on friends and coaches to ferry my middle child to and from the Sunday basketball games, an hour away. Nor will it be horrible to wait a few more days before lighting the wood stove this fall. And the world will certainly not end if I don’t drive the 15 minutes over to the job site, to harvest apples on this windy day.

This week has been a doozie of a busy week. There have been six soccer practices, one basketball practice, five soccer games, eight dance classes, a PTO meeting, two deep car cleanings, one camper cleaning and set up for fall, two cavity fillings, way too many bills paid, one morning of volunteer work, one day off from school, a four day headache, two sleep overs, three grocery shopping adventures, one big hassle with internet service, two evening-out dinners, a birthday celebration, an early morning play date, a friend’s baby born, a failed car repair, as well as week of working two paying, part-time jobs. I am tired.

So, today I have been helping children find Lego pieces, reading my book, mindlessly playing on my iPhone and doing only one load of laundry. I suppose I also had to tend the chickens, cat and bunnies; as well as make breakfast, lunch and dinner for the family. And I did have to deliver one child to the coach and another to the dance class. But that is all.

Harvesting the potatoes can wait, too wet anyway. Sorting the art supplies and making a new art cabinet can wait, need to get more boxes and shelves still. The sorting out summer clothes from the multitudes of drawers and closets can wait, Young’Uns is probably closed tomorrow anyway. Even the planning of the week’s meals can wait, we can just have pasta and peanut butter sandwiches for a couple meals.

Would it be fun to see the pumpkin smash into millions of pieces and feel the impact shake the ground? Yes. But then the blanket would be all wet from the rain, and the children covered in tiny pieces of leaves and their pockets filled with acorns I will find in the washing machine. There is always next year, as well as the previous five (at least) years to remember fondly. Do I wonder and worry how the first basketball game of this new team and new season went? Yes! But there will be another next weekend and it gives her a chance to giggle with her friend for the hour ride there and back. Has the weather turned a bit chilly and damp and a fire would be nice? Yes, for sure! But we have so many sweaters, we love baking bread in the oven (which warms the house quite a bit), and it is far too windy today to be up in the roof anyway! There is always next Saturday to clean the chimney.

Today we rest. We let others help. We reset ourselves and brace for the next coming week: 6 soccer games, 7 soccer practices, 8 dance classes, one day off from school, one pumpkin boat regatta, one picnic play date, one fundraiser for a friend, one or two basketball practices, one hopeful car repair trip to Portland and back, one morning of volunteering, one sleepover, one spaghetti dinner fundraiser, and three days of solo parenting. But that is all just par for the course.

Three cheers

Today is a beautiful new day. It may be cloudy and the kids (as well as a friend) are all home this weekday. The car does need a rather important part fixed, and the house is certainly a mess. But today I am going to choose to see the good and the beauty. So here goes!

The bountiful harvest from my little ‘micro farm’! Being a very ‘Busy Bee’ I don’t find much time to work in my own vegetable garden. But I am certainly able to grow some easy to care for zucchini, cucumbers and delicata squash. These simply require watching out for the occasional bugs and perhaps a bit of watering and feeding. The heirloom tomatoes I grow in raised beds of tires, to warm up their roots and hopefully get tomatoes before the early Maine frost. These are my babies that I do indeed tend most days. The quiet moments of feeding or watering while looking closely for the tiny white or grey eggs of tomato horn worms is both calming and satisfying. These days my daily trip to the garden I come in with the lovely earthy smell of tomato plants on my hands and shirt and my hands over flowing with Green Zebra, Prudence Purple, and Roma tomatoes. The smell of the earth and the pleasure of growing my own food grounds me.

Last weekend’s four hour hike with the whole family, in a local state park. Not only did we get to see the last of the green leaves and the beginning of the beautiful colors of fall, but we also ALL went together. With lots of snacks, water bottles and sweaters too, we hiked up and down and along a beautiful ridge. It was a comfortably warm fall day that will be remembered as the days and nights get colder. Perhaps we may be inspired to try another local family hike, if the stars align to give us another day off together before snow flies. Time spent with family fills me with love.

Summer hair styles by the ocean. Seeing myself through the eyes of my children I am most often amazed at the beauty and strength. When they are bored, or needing to connect with me, all three of my children will braid, brush or style my hair. While I usually see all the split ends and gray hairs, they create four piece braids, French twists, Victorian updos and princess crowns. This particular creation was by my nine year old, while her sisters played in the chilly afternoon mid-tide at our local boat launch. Just the four of us, pausing in the midst of a busy day of errands and work for then to dip into the ocean. Each child is so happy, so independent, and so different; I stopped to breathe and acknowledge their summer love of any body of water. This frozen moment in time, reminds me to slow down, be gentle and enjoy the waves of life.

Three cheers for grounded, love, and life itself. Three cheers for cloudy days of reflection and writing. Three cheers for you as well my friends!

Today I feel fabulous and almost famous!!! Today I awoke with no headache and almost fixed teeth. Today I awoke to sunshine and the toaster ticking away for my egg sandwich and water boiling for my coffee. And today I am published on another person’s blog!

Today is a new day, with new opportunities!!!

So head on over to Mommy Rebellion and see what I had to say and chasing a busy busy Bee!


THAT mom, yup, it was me


A year ago…and I still occasionally get that tightness in my chest when I pull away from the curb, when I pass the spot where I sat for what seemed like hours.

But I have grown, and changed and learned. Mostly I have learned not to panic…it will all work out, just not in the way I had planned.

Today, my husband is again in England, but now my daughter rides the bus. Today my car still has little quirks, like needing coolant checked and tire pressure checked weekly, but now I can prepare and be ready with solutions, and a snack for myself.

Here’s three cheers for growing up!!! And three cheers for working it out!!! And three cheers for teaching our little people to, at least try, to roll with it!!!

Source: THAT mom, yup, it was me

🍀 Lucky

Lying awake at 3 am. My nose begins to run, not a cold, not allergies, Worry. I am worried about something, but I don’t really know what. I try to ignore it (impossible). I try to reach the tissues by the bed without opening my eyes (impossible).

My stomach rumbles. Hungry, yes, but also Worry. It is that strange feeling of maybe you over ate, maybe you have a sour stomach, maybe you want some food. Also impossible to ignore.

But lying next to me, rolling over to rub my back, and ask if I am okay, is my partner, my husband, my rock. Not judging or annoyed at being awoken. Just there, if and when I need him. He is there to hug, to listen, to hear.

Today, I am lucky. I am loved.

I am loved. I am important. I am worthy. I am me, and that is wonderful.

I do not fall back asleep, but run through my mind stopping at odd spots, like my first day of fifth grade, when I realized I was not something special. Or perhaps the beginning of anxiety in fourth grade when I did a presentation on Ireland, but the cassette tape had been put in the player with the wrong side up, and it didn’t play the wonderful Irish music to go with the Irish soda bread I had made the night before.

But at each turn and stop in my head, I know that it is okay. I am loved. I am lucky.

Tomorrow (really today) is a new day and I will try again. This is not my ‘normal’ middle of the night wake up. This is calm and contemplative. A bummer to not be asleep, but such a deep and profound sense of love and acceptance that I am almost brought to tears.