wisdom

It’s another world in the branches above us.
“It’s another world inSIIIDE the branches too.”
My four year old reminds me
How wise he has become.
But perhaps children are always born this wise.
Maybe it’s age that makes us lose our innate wisdom-
the world’s insecurity thrusting its doubt into us.

Being an adult is such a burden
until we remember.

——-

He finds the parts of his world that don’t make sense,
the inconsistencies, the parts that are incorrect
and he creates order.

How does he order the ugly parts?
How does he make sense of the pain and confusion
that come along with living?

——-

I am one of those moms who thinks that everything is my fault.
I worry too much; think myself the cause of every tantrum, every fit,
every tear-stained cheek gnaws at me.
As if I alone could have prevented every bruise, every wound.

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——-

I never felt like I wasn’t enough
but I have long felt that the world was too much for me.

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One step at a time

Life is just one dream flowing into another

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Yesterday was a tough day.  Tempers flared and my anger got the best of me, I have a friendship on the fritz, a knee injury keeping me from being as active as I would like to be and a house full of messes that I just can’t seem to get on top of.  I just couldn’t seem to shake it off and  I woke up this morning and felt the lingering weight of it all hanging over me.

I got home from dropping Casey off at school and got Cameron out of the car, ready to walk into the house and tackle some project or another.  Instead, Cameron wrapped him chubby hand around my pointer finger and led me down the driveway, with plans of his own.  I let him lead me along and we took a long, leisurely stroll around what we call the “big block”.  On it’s longest side, we walked along a relatively busy rode and Cameron pointed out the trucks and school busses whizzing past.  We stopped, briefly, to crouch down and examine the gravel along the sidewalk’s edge and to sit on the big rocks in one of our neighbors yards.  It was beautiful to simply walk quietly with him.

Later in the day, after we had picked up Casey and taken a surprise trip to the candy store in the mall, I took another walk with the boys, Cameron walking with me and Casey riding one of our scooters.  I let them dictate which direction we walked and set the pace.  Casey raced ahead and then stopped to study an ant hill or fill his little pick up truck with grass while he waited for Cam and I to catch up.  The sun was warm on our necks and bare legs and little Cameron’s cheeks were bright and rosy by the time we turned back into our driveway.

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Taking walks with my boys is probably one of my favorite things to do.  When Casey was a baby I took multiple walks a day, pushing him in his strolled and listening to podcasts or music.  When he was older we would regularly take off on walks around our neighborhood, naming things, talking about colors and flowers and birds.  I don’t get as much one on one time with Cameron to walk like I did with Casey, and often walking when both of them are riding something (tricycle, scooter, ride-on car, etc.) is a bit stress-inducing, so this morning felt really special. With Cameron walking along so independently, swinging his little arms, his chubby feet confident in his newly acquired hand-me-down flip-flops, I was reminded how quickly these days go by and how important it is to cherish them instead of squandering my day away in a cloud of negative energy.

 

We don’t have babies anymore.  We have two wonderful little boys.  Two creative, inquisitive, independent, silly and often exasperating little boys who are full of so much energy and so much life and often drive me nuts but fill my heart with more love then I’ve ever known.

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Casey turns 4

Casey turns 4
tomorrow.
He will be sitting in circle time or
maybe getting ready to go outside
at 10:46 am
when he arrived
4 years ago
and made me a mother.

The exact time,
4 years ago,
when he was lifted out
and put on my chest,
squished nose and eyes
just squinting into the light,
where he began his journey
and mine took a sharp turn
in its trajectory.

Now, his short hair makes him look
older. Like a big kid.
He’s allowed to ride his scooter
half way up the street, alone,
and he’d go much farther
if I let him.
He constantly fights me these days,
defiantly beating down the boundaries we set,
pushing past his limitations
without stopping to think it through.

Such bravado.
It must be exhausting work being so brave, so fearless.

His sigh, as he relaxes against me
belies his tough act.
He’s still my little boy.
He’ll always be my little boy.
His short hair is soft under my fingertips.

Casey turns 4 tomorrow.

 

 

 

Cold Wind

If I went inside at the first sign of cold, I would never have noticed the green tulip buds starting to poke through the cold soil. We would have missed the lone purple crocus that decided to open it’s face to the sun. I wouldn’t have been there to pick up my littlest for the umpteenth time when he tripped in the old rain boots he insists on wearing, letting him know that I am always behind him, always supporting.

If I went inside when the first cold wind beat at my face, we wouldn’t have been outside long enough for my oldest to practice his tree climbing and slip, scraping his hand against the tree trunk.  I wouldn’t have been outside to hold him and remind myself  how much he still needs his mama, even though he boasts all the time about being a “big kid” who “knows everything.”

I imagine how tough he must act at school when he gets hurt, wonder if he holds in tears instead of crying in front of his friends, glad I was outside today to hold him and let him relax in my arms and give him space to rest his tear-streaked cheek on my shoulder. If we went inside with the first cold wind, we wouldn’t see how soft we can be, or how strong.

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Shine

My children shine when I look at them-
as if their light is so bright it can’t be contained
within the boundaries of their excitable bodies.
They look out at me through glimmering eyes,
their vision highlighted by the brightness spilling
over their soft edges. Their world is full of possibility.

Sometimes, at night when I lay beside them,
when I hold them in my lap, savoring,
I smell their light through the tops of their head.
It takes on shape and color, texture, form.
I can see it when I close my eyes.

Their light lives inside of me-
although I could never describe it to you.
But give me blindness any day,
so I might collect their light, hoard it
until the world before me shines again.

ROAR

I’m sitting in the boys room. Casey is ensconced in his tent and Cameron is enthralled with watching his reflection, in his little mirror, as he threw a ball. We’ve recently rearranged their room and I’m quite happy with the results. Casey declared that he “has the prettiest room,” which is pretty high praise from an almost 4 year old. Although this is the same almost four year old who declares enthusiastically every time he farts, as if it’s never happened before, then becomes downtrodden if you don’t respond with equal enthusiasm. Still, I take what I can get these days as we move into what I hope is the end of the “threenager” phase. It’s a real thing- google it.

Casey’s newest game is to gather every single toy he can find into a huge pile somewhere. I’m not sure what he imagines when he looks at it but I find that it resembles a large trash heap inside my house, a sight which sets my anxiety into overdrive whenever I walk by.

I’ve been trying to become more mindful recently, more relaxed in my reactions to the events that life throws at my during each day. Possibly, this is some unconscious response to Casey’s new hobby, or it may stem from the brief article I read on mudras and meditation in a Yoga Journal I picked up at Whole Foods. It has sat largely untouched on our TV stand since bringing it home, save the one time I opened it and chanced upon the article. Either way, I’ve begun down this journey of becoming more mindful and it’s led me to a few startling discoveries. Like the other afternoon when I was standing in the kitchen and discovered that I could have cookies and kombucha at the same time without any guilt. Turns out I have all these unconscious rules that govern how I live my life, what I consider right and wrong; rules which, apparently, can be broken without earth shattering consequences.

Actually, over the last few weeks, I’ve noticed that many of these “rules” actually interfere with my ability to stay present and feel happy. When I am held rigid by a rule, like “no mess in the house,” I can’t relax enough to be present with my child as he gathers every toy and stuffed animal into a “fort” around himself and let’s not even talk about being present to what he is thinking, feeling, seeing. What a huge loss it would be to not understand this, to never learn to relax within this tension just enough to open a keyhole to peek through and catch a glimpse of his world.

Practicing mindfulness, a little bit more each day, I find that inspiring thoughts seem to rise up out of no where:

You are not responsible for other people’s emotions.

Things are changing all the time. This too will change.

If you’re not sure what to do, do nothing until it presents itself

I am sure that I have read all these quotes somewhere- in books, on pinterest, posted on facebook. But all of a sudden they seem to appear when I need them, like little drops of fairy dust helping me to learn, slowly, to fly.

It’s not to say I don’t have my bad days. Sometimes, like yesterday, I feel like a shitty parent because I wake up in a bad mood and I’m immediately thrown into the trenches of motherhood, losing my patience and reaching my daily quota of butt wiping before I’ve even finished my first cup of coffee, which is now cold. I yell at my children to much, I yell at my husband too much and I stomp around the house muttering about all the injustices of life, feeling overwhelmed and ignored and wanting nothing more then for someone to throw me a rope and help me find the strength to climb up and out of it all.

Then I leave the house and drive and drive and drive until I can think straight and get myself in order and find enough distance and breath to regain a sense of balance and lightness. And wouldn’t you know it, these inspiring quotes spring annoyingly to mind, reminding me that this is just one day, that I can not control what other people do, and also that it is unreasonable to expect people to read my mind.

Upon returning home, I find not a thing has been done and no one else’s mood has changed but I feel better equipped to handle it all. I have taken myself away to find my own rope to climb and I realize that this is good parenting. For my children to see me have a bad day is just a part of life. The important thing it that they also see how I am able to get myself out of it- at least I hope that one day they will see that. For now, I make jokes about how the tiger ROAR’s like mommy did this morning and take comfort in my boy’s laughter.

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Body wars

My body is a temple
and temporary housing.

She is a battlefield
and a field of wild flowers.

A triage center
and a place of refuge,
carrying nourishment
to the weary young
who batter around her feet.

She is bruised and blushed,
hugged and hallowed,
held aloft and dragged down,
tickled and touched
and tugged on,
stuffed full and left empty;
surviving on the crumbs of the day.

My body is a battle ground.
My body is a temple.
My body is worshipped and forgotten,
gently coaxed into flame
and often left to fizzle.

My body has been at war
and found peace-
we’ve learned to trust each other.
This body.
She is mine and I
I am hers.

Both boys are sleeping on the couch next to me. Their bodies have been battered by a stomach flu the past 24 hours but it feels like the worst is over. Or perhaps we are in a calm between waves. I hope not. I hope that we have made it to quiet after the storm.

I was plagued by a case of the should’s; all the usual suspects: laundry, kitchen counters, sleep, toys. But I ignored them all and did what my body wanted. I sat. In one of my big blue arm chairs, with a fresh cup of strong coffee on the table next to me, I sat with my feet up, fuzzy slippers trapping the heat of the sunshine coming in through the front window. I finally put our good curtains back up this morning. They used to be our “old curtains,” wanting replacing, but then I got worse curtains and now they are our “good curtains.” I like them. They are easy to pull open and closed and don’t crease like starched notebook paper.

The thing about sick kids is that on the one hand you savor the sweet cuddles, the neediness that sickness manifests, but then there’s the vomit and the clean-up, the extra laundry, the sleeplessness which only generates further tears and irritability. You worry about them eating and not eating, being too hot or too cold, hold them until your arms ache and you have to remember how to tighten your core so your back won’t give out. You fight with your husband just because- because you are tired and wearing your fourth outfit covered in puke and just want someone to take it all away so you can just disappear for a few minutes to remember who you are.

Yet, sick days are the moments when memories are made. The days of cartoon marathons and sleeping on towels with a boy on either side, small hands gently holding you in place. One day we will look back and laugh that we literally went through every towel in the house in one night and finally found a reason to throw out that ugly throw pillow after Cameron threw up on it. Thanks Cam.

But for now I’ll savor the silence, the unfolded laundry, the sweet faces on the couch next to me, this momentary rest in which to catch my breath, and enjoy the wait for whatever happens next.