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Archive for the ‘Motherhood’ Category

I want to believe.
I think I belong,
I’m not really sure,
I’m scared of the words I put on this page,
fearful of the direction my thoughts will go,
unsure of the meaning,
avoiding the necessary pattern,
constantly questioning my motivation,
my sanity,
my ability to get you to hear.
… am I speaking too softly?
… have you tired of my attempts at clarity?
… could you see when I was weak?

I think I belong,
I’m not really sure,
I can’t find the brevity needed,
stringing words together so fast even I lose track,
my mind wanders from present to future to past,
randomly thrown together in a delicate mix,
waiting for a sign that you heard,
hoping my courage is safe,
hidden in an ornate metaphorical phrase.
… which words did you hear?
… am I still brave?
… are you leading the naysayers?

I think I belong,
I’m not really sure,
these words are neither black or white,
the picture they paint is in clear gray,
the mind they reveal is focused,
the beautiful disillusion of purpose,
pull it all together,
sit up straight,
breathe — become.
… are we safe in each others hands?
… does the sparkle still show?
… is a smile hidden inside?

I think I belong,
I’m not really sure,
moving away from concrete ways,
a chattering mouse quieting herself,
a novel destined for publication,
always becoming better,
welcoming revisions from a soul-filled author,
a story that needs to be told,
a song you will always remember.
… did I make you stumble?
… will you hear my melody again?
… am I learning who I am?

I think I belong,
I want to believe.

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I watch you,
staring so intently at the collection of toys you sculpted out of clay.
each one had your full attention,
each one felt the love of all your heart,
each one created by the bliss that lies in your mind.
I hope you have that forever.
I hope you never lose passion for things that matter.
I hope you always lose yourself in those creations.

I watch you,
your eyes sing a song the whole world can hear.
each glance takes a brick from the wall around my heart,
each glimmer reveals my lovely world,
each look brings me closer to understanding love.
I hope you see the world through those eyes.
I hope you never lose sight of your own perspective.
I hope you look in the mirror and smile at the reflection.

when the mountains in the distance scare you
… just climb them.
when the song seems to have no rhythm
… just sing it.
when the ocean looks too deep
… just swim it.
when life overwhelms you
… just live it.

I watch you,
your voice rolls sweetly across my ears.
each call of my name hangs in the air,
each laugh shakes the world free from doubt,
each question you ask has a million perfect answers.
I hope you hear your thoughts in a crowded conversation.
I hope you never listen to that voice that tries to quiet you.
I hope the story you tell will find the perfect audience.

I watch you,
my arms stretch out but know to grasp you loosely,
each breath I take leaves me hoping for another,
each thought I have is peaceful in its chaos.
each tick of the clock comes faster than I want.
I hope you take the path that calls for all your courage.
I hope you never stand still when the dance floor needs you.
I hope you leap and know your wings have always been there.

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… I’m not asking you to move on or forget it, but these are better days

… to be loved like a song you remember even when you’ve changed. ~~ Brandi Carlile

When I answered the phone that morning, I already knew she was dead. Nothing good ever comes from a phone call at 5:28 in the morning. When I left the night before, she was near death… always “near death”. I guess in a hospice facility that describes everyone — “near death”.
But still, that morning the phone rang, and I already knew. I answered it anyway, my sister said, “she’s gone”. I don’t think I said anything, maybe I just hung up, maybe I said okay, maybe I said I’m on my way. It wasn’t a shock and yet — it was, it was a shock.
I collapsed under the weight of the knowledge of forever being without a mother. I collapsed under the weight of all the things I needed her to tell me, all the things I needed her to listen to, all the things that wound my mind and my stomach in knots. But that was it… time was up. No deathbed revelations, no deathbed confessions, no deathbed secrets revealed — she was gone.

I’m sure my mother isn’t the only mother who could make ice water run through your veins with her glance. I’m sure she isn’t the only mother whose perfectly placed sigh could bring an abrupt end to any conversation. I’m sure she isn’t the only mother who could make you question your decisions as a competent 40-year-old as if you were 10 again — I’m sure of these things.

I’ve often wondered if people who get the news of someone dying in a sudden car wreck or a massive heart attack can process the news easier — probably not. But, waiting 15 months for the inevitable to happen is tiring… yes, I’d say it’s tiring. You think you’ll wait for the perfect time to say the words and to hear the words and you screw your courage and decide tomorrow will be a better time. There’s always tomorrow.

I drove to the hospice facility immediately — I was already showered and dressed, it’s not like I was sleeping that year she lived with me. A baby monitor in her room allowed me to hear every creak of the bed, every cough and nose blow, every turn of the page, every trip to the bathroom, every quiet calling out of my name for help — for a year, so… why sleep? I was always waiting for something to happen… waiting, always waiting for something.

I felt relieved to not be the caregiver and, of course, guilty at my relief.
I felt a new disconnect from things holding me back, not that my mother was consciously holding me back from things I needed to do, but her care was always fully on my mind.
Or maybe, she was holding me back.

The months, the years since her death have been a confusing time.
My body still fights sleep, it still wakes at the slightest creak, it still listens for my name.

My mind wandered and did backwards flips and tangled itself into tight knots of questions and confusion. My therapist must have been one hell of a girl scout because she has untied some horrendous knots in me.
The friend I looked up to more than any other person — my knots crept into her life… those knots, they weave their way around everything near like kudzu taking over a once manicured backyard. You cut one away and another grows twice as big… a noxious weed invading every crevasse.

It was a confusing time.
A time when it seemed the knots would stay forever — the knots of my mother, the knots of my friend, the knots of my failures, the knots of motherhood and womanhood and becoming a better me… the knots of another Mother’s Day.
Seems like a perfect day to help untie each others knots.

Mothers are a confusing lot, aren’t we?
We learn from our mothers, we attempt to recreate that amazing strawberry cake, that enchilada casserole we had at Christmas all the while cursing ourselves under our breath because we even try. We vow to be our own person. We learn to control the sighs and the icy glances, the all too familiar judgements.

Motherhood should be a collective. We have a much better chance of figuring it out together than we ever would alone.

This Mother’s Day, my children and I will eat out and go for a walk and I’m sure there will be a trip to the bookstore and we’ll go to the lake and feed the ducks and we’ll laugh and we’ll enjoy that time and when we get home… we’ll all retreat to our own corners and a few of my knots will untangle and a few more will loosen.
I don’t plan on being on my deathbed wondering if I was a good mother — I am always becoming a better me… these are better days. The stories I take with me won’t be worth confessing and the confessions I make will be well worth a listen. I won’t look at my kids and wonder if I sighed too much or judged too many outfits and boyfriends and girlfriends or used my icy stare too often. They won’t tell me anyway, of course. Who tells their mother things like that on her deathbed? They’ll wait and they’ll tell it to a therapist and the therapist will untie those knots… (maybe that’s how we can tell, the number of knots that our children have in them and the time it takes to untie them… maybe that’s how we’ll know) then they’ll write a post in their blogs about motherhood and its perils and its triumphs and how the bond between mother and child endures many things and maybe they’ll even post it on Mother’s Day… but, I know I am loved like a song they remember. Still… I wonder what it will reveal about me and my knots.

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dear _____,
stay.
stay.
… and stand fearlessly in the midst of it all.

there will be times that running away… far far away, will seem like the smartest thing to do. but know this, it’s not. running only puts the problem farther out of reach and harder to solve.
it’s not always going to be complicated either — learn to recognize the difference. learn to recognize the difference between someone else’s tragic bullshit and your beautifully complicated story.
stay.
stay.
… and stand fearlessly in the midst of it all.

when you’re young… too young to know such things, too young to worry about such things, too young to experience all of that — that complicated soul searching bullshit that you are too young to think about… stop. walk away. retain your childhood, the carefree skipping around in life that we are all entitled to — yes, entitled to.
stay.
stay.
… and stand fearlessly in the midst of it all.

when that summer seems to go on forever, lie on the ground and stare up at the stars and know the complete feeling of being so small and alone and yet you will never feel so connected to the world. let the shining of the stars and the chirping of the tree frogs and the swooping of the bats paralyze you with the knowledge that you are small… in the very best possible way, you are small.
stay.
stay.
… and stand fearlessly in the midst of it all.

stick around after closing time, that’s when all the best stories will reveal themselves but don’t become a story someone else writes. don’t waste time looking for a perfect apple… they all have bruises and those bruises have something to say — listen. listen to their story. don’t stand still, don’t ever stand still, keep moving forward.
and remember, forward won’t always be the right direction or the best direction or the safest… but you don’t need the safest.
stay.
stay.
… and stand fearlessly in the midst of it all.

when you get to the bottom of your rope, don’t tie a knot in it — let go. yes, let go and soar and be curious about what’s at the bottom. no more directionless, no more drifting, no more worrying, no more wishing — just let go.
never be made useless.
so don’t run away… reach out, reach out as far as you can and keep reaching — the hand you’ve been waiting for will be there.

dear _____,
stay.
stay.
… and stand fearlessly in the midst of it all.

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So, I have to ask, “what’s so wrong with a puffy face?”

If you haven’t had a chance to read the article by Ashley Judd, go ahead and read it now… I’ll wait.
I realize that the nature of the article that Ashley Judd wrote was in defense of the accusations against her regarding plastic surgery. Her thoughts are absolutely on point. The conversation about the way women look is perpetuated by us… women. And why is that? Why have we grown accustomed to being mean to each other, to pointing out the physical flaws in each other with vigor.

We accuse a beautiful woman of being too beautiful and so we don’t like her.
We accuse someone who wears her age on her face of needing to do something about it and so we don’t like her.
If you’re confident in your physical appearance, you’re vain.
If you’re humble in your physical appearance, you’re weak.
And who’s speaking the loudest… our “friends”, our friends are often the worst.

So what if Ashley Judd had plastic surgery? So… what.
She didn’t, however, she had taken steroids for an illness. As my, more than beautiful friend Kelly Bergin points out in her recent article in The Daily Beast… steroids can be a bitch. You never know what someone else is facing.

Plastic surgery, an illness, a life lived hard… so why propagate this maddening conversation revolving around women and their looks. We are affecting the younger versions of ourselves, the girls who are watching it all from the metaphorical sidelines with a nervous anxiety, hoping that this is not what it’s like to be a woman in our world. After all, they are already experiencing this in middle school… at what age do we all just shut up about it?

Why the rush to judge, to critique, to criticize? This misogynistic behavior isn’t just being bolstered by men — we are doing it to each other.

Here’s the thing… Ashley Judd is beautiful, but even more stunning than her physical appearance, as she showed in this conversation she’s leading us in, she is damn intelligent.
Would it have been so bad if she had plastic surgery? Would she have automatically become a fraud? Would it have made us, the rest of us, feel good about ourselves for a brief nanosecond?
What if Ashley Judd would have said, “yes, I’m puffy, I’ve gained weight, I’m 43, let me see your cellulite!” Would that have been the end of the world? Do we need an excuse to explain our outward appearance?

Here’s a truth. I’ve had three c-sections, three. Do you have any idea what having three c-sections does to a woman’s body? There are areas on my abdomen that will never be flat or taut or look anywhere close to a washboard. Quite frankly, I’m waiting anxiously for that day to come when my bladder completely fails me and I can have it tacked back up… because, when they’re in there, I am having them tuck in my tummy and take as much away as medically possible. And I don’t really care who knows, it’s what I want to do… it’s my body.

My body that wakes me up every morning.
My body that goes from plank to chaturanga about 99 times a day.
My body that sends a mesmerizing feeling all the way to my toes when my lips press against another’s.
My body that makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up when it knows danger is approaching.
My body that gave life to three humans.
My body that bounced back after a miscarriage.
My body that keeps my feet moving forward on all the switchbacks in my favorite hike.
My body that cartwheeled a car off a mountain and walked away.
My body that swims in the ocean.
My body that makes my heart beat quicken when I look in his eyes.
My body that finally allows me to fall asleep.
My body that wraps my arms around someone in a tight hug.
My body that runs that extra mile.
My body that loves me and never gives up on me.

So, is my puffy face unforgivable if it’s because I’ve gained some weight? Do you feel like an ass when you find out my puffy face is because I’m very ill? Will you laugh behind my back because I decided to have plastic surgery on my puffy face? Does my puffy face make you feel better about your puffy face or your puffy stomach or your puffy bum?

I’m not Mother Theresa on this issue, I’ve laughed and snickered and questioned other women’s appearances. But, here’s what I know, I’m tired of being in competition with the rest of the world in regards to my physical appearance, that only puts me in competition with my own body… my body and I are a team, we shouldn’t be competing against one another. The more I get to know my body, the more I realize all the things it does for me everyday. The more I learn to listen to it and trust it… the better care I take of it. I hope, as I’m older now and wiser, that I continue to learn just how magnificent my body is… it does so much for me everyday.
Like right now… my body is desperately wanting me to stop writing this blog post, get off my puffy ass, and go for a jog — so, I will.

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something made you cry and you screamed so loud,
when your tears streamed down and you fell on your knees,
when those last few words came hurling out,
when I stood my ground instead of turning to leave,
… that wasn’t me.

if you see someone facing the oncoming storm,
… that’ll be me.
if you see some toes wiggling deep in the sand,
… that’ll be me.
when the wings of self love fly high through the air,
… that’ll be me.

you got so mad with 10,000 rhymes,
did the words on the page embarrass you,
did someone ask too often for a minute of time,
did she steal your wish because she had so few,
… that wasn’t me.

on a star someone sits with all the wishes come true,
… that’ll be me.
when your page fills with words so easily,
… that’ll be me.
on the day the fog lifts and a hand is reaching for you,
… that’ll be me.

if I said “see me” more often than I should,
if I broke you down beyond repair,
if I tried too hard because I thought I could,
if that poem I wrote was as transparent as air,
… that wasn’t me.

that person still standing when the storm dies down,
… that will be me.
… that will be me.

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This is the air I dare to breathe….

The air I dare to breathe is sweet.
It’s calming, it’s blue….
like the water just past the shore,
leading out to the openness of the ocean.
You can see through it,
the colorful fish darting around.
It’s warm.
It’s inviting me to stay.

The air I dare to breathe is alive.
It’s movement, it’s green….
like the bush that grows out of control,
covering my step with all its wildness.
I don’t dare cut it to shape,
it’s messy.
It’s beautiful.
It tells me to sit down.

The air I dare to breathe is burning.
It’s love, it’s red….
like the quick glance from a stranger,
scanning my body for an invitation.
Looking away so our eyes never meet,
the blush creeping up my neck.
It’s remembering.
It reminds me to never forget.

The air I dare to breathe is filling.
It’s steady, it’s yellow….
like the sturdy hand of a friend,
grasping me so I know I’m not alone.
Letting go at just the right time,
my mind knows what my heart can’t see.
It’s learning.
It keeps hope in a safe place.

The air I dare to breathe is looking.
It’s searching, it’s gray….
like the crevasse in the mountain we climb,
giving me a place to rest.
Revealing my next stronghold,
unleashing the hero in me.
It’s living.
It has possibilities with each step forward.

This is the air I dare to breathe….

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