Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sunday Poem: Snow Flower

Yesterday it was Spring.
The flowers grew.

Tomorrow snow falls.
Ice forms over
tree limbs, and I
hang from a noose like
a child's tire swing.

The wind blows.
The leaves rustle
across my toes,
bare feet pressed
into the dirt.

I live somewhere between
the flowers and the
flurries, flying flakes
like water fossils.

My skin is soft, I'm made
of petals, pink roses
with thorns.

My vines are afraid
of tomorrow.


Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Baby and the Labyrinth

Yesterday, I dropped Haydn at therapy and drove to the Catholic Church offices. Behind the brick building and down a slight hill, there's a labyrinth. As I'd read my friend's guest post at Middle Places, my mind flew to all of my past labyrinth walks. I realized it had been over a year since I stood in that sacred middle place, the center that always brings me drops of peace.

I walked slowly through the rock-lines. I looked at the ground. There was nothing to worry about there, no fear about where the path would lead. I love that about a labyrinth. I don't need to know for sure where I am on the journey. I don't look ahead and try to figure out how much longer till I reach the middle. I just walk.

How do I carry that out of the labyrinth and into my life?

There's so much going on today. Why am I thinking of tomorrow?

I have to trust the path.

For three mornings, I have gotten up earlier than usual, eaten breakfast, and walked down the street to a friend's house. There, I feed her baby girl some cereal and let her finish a bottle of milk. Then we play with her toys and she falls asleep in my arms. Within an hour, I am back home with my big boys. The weight of the sleeping infant is gone.

Did I enjoy it enough?

I did.

I sat with the baby. I lay on my back in the labyrinth. I watched her smile. I watched the leaves dance on the wind. The little girl laughed. The water rippled.

My God smiled.

Today, there will be Spanish practice and family movie time. I will read to my boys. I will make packing lists and get down my suitcase. I will interact on the Middle Places Facebook page and joke around with friends on Twitter.

I will not worry about the next two weeks, when my oldest will be doing school with his Grams and Pawpaw in Tennessee and I will be doing school with my youngest here in Mississippi. I won't wonder how he will handle it. I won't worry that he will have a meltdown and stress out my in-laws. I won't fret about what he's eating there or if he's actually gaining anything from the experience.

I am going to learn from the baby
and the labyrinth
and the moment
that is


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I Find Myself Still Here

We grow older.
We change.
Life changes around us.
People around us change.

We grow older.
We change.
But, somehow,
we also stay the same.

One of my favorite writers, Madeleine L'engle, said:

"The great thing about getting older is that you don't lose all the other ages you've been.”

She's right.

At 31, homeschooling mother of two, I am still the toddler who twirled baton and basked in applause, holding my crowned head high. I am still the nine-year-old designing dresses on notebook paper, enthralled by my Trapper Keeper. I am awkward and thirteen, afraid to admit to liking someone lest my adoration become their humiliation. I am sixteen, fully aware of the sexuality inside my limbs, aching for attention. I am eighteen and covered in glitter, pressed close to a boy who sings my name. I am twenty, a new mom, crying, desperate for sleep that never ends. I am twenty-five and lonely, meeting my best friend for the first time, worried she won't like me, that I am too needy.

I am so many people.
And all of them
are me.

In other ways, I am entirely different. That beauty queen me would not recognize this girl who notices her socks don't match and then doesn't care.

Why bother?

Dress designing me would gape
as I pull on jeans again,
because I don't want
to shave today.

I am still enthralled
by office supplies.

I tell people how I feel now.
Sometimes, people don't like me back.
It still hurts.
I get back up.
At least now I know it isn't
because I have no breasts and
greasy hair.
They are not ashamed of my cheap shoes, only
my ideas and values
when mine will never match
their own.

I don't need every man in the room
to want me anymore.
It's a nice change,
a relief.
I've kissed no one but my husband
for twelve years,
and I couldn't be happier.

I don't do glitter but I still like to shine.

Life is some days so hard I want to stay in bed, but I don't do that any longer. I get up. I take my meds. I read my Bible, say a prayer, make homeschool lists.

I face the day.

Thank God for Leila and the other friends He sent to me.
Thank God daily.

I do.

I still worry I am too needy.
I still wonder
if they really like me.
I doubt that will ever change.
It is ingrained.

I am no longer the teen who can talk on the phone for hours and shop for days, trying on clothes perkily and admiring my rear in full length mirrors. Now shopping makes me sad and lethargic.

Telephones make me quake.
I don't really know why.

31 years flew past.
32 in January.

One thing never changes.

Wherever I go,
wherever I land,
I find myself
still here.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Friday Felicities: 9/13/13

Friday Felicities

Online Spanish lessons
Project Runway
Books that suck me in
Rough draft of bio written
Text from Louise
Being trusted
Ice cream necklace
Photobook from Shutterfly in the mail
Benjamin acting cute
Writing conversations on Twitter
Art meets Lit with Peyton in Oxford
Square Books Junior
Everything Funny website
Spanish mom at the PO
Getting my passport
Compliments on my green hair

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Heather Truett, Filthy Whore, Happy Failure

Looks gross, but it is just food coloring.

David is learning about scientific method. Yesterday, as he did an experiment with red food coloring and ice, I thought about the concept of a hypothesis and, again and again, I repeated, "Scientists observe."

"Mom, can I swish the jar just a bit to see what happens?"

"No, scientists observe. You are observing."

"But... It's hard."

Ain't that the truth?

In Here's To Not Catching Our Hair on Fire, Stacey Turis writes, "If patience is a virtue, then I'm a filthy whore." Boy can I relate. I have no more patience than my children in most cases.

Yet, here I am, homeschooling and starting a writing career. Both activities call for infinite patience. Both require me to be a scientist.

Had you told me, as a kid, that I'd have to be a scientist, I would have laughed. It still makes me giggle, but it's true. When you have a kid, you become a scientist. You form a hypothesis about parenting. Most of the time, however, we turn our hypothesis straight into a theory and a law without bothering with the observation part.

Guilty? Me?


I am trying to observe more. My hypothesis must change from time to time. Yearly. Monthly. Weekly. Daily... sometimes hourly. I think I've got a handle on things, and my kids get "flip turned upside-down." I want to quit. I stare at them and think, "Who are you and how did we end up together?"

I'm a failed scientist. But failing is how we learn what doesn't work, so on I go, failing some more, failing differently, in bigger or smaller ways.

Today, I'm failing on the couch with my youngest and an episode of Doctor Who. Of all episodes, he picked The Impossible Planet which will be followed by The Satan Pit. These episodes basically make me want to cry and are bound to give me nightmares. But that is beside the point. David doesn't seem to care if this morning's hypothesis about having a drama-free day was incorrect. He gets to watch Doctor Who and eat popcorn. He's a happy kid. I'm a happy failure.

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