to my daughter

January 29, 2015 § Leave a comment

I have this moment pinned to my thoughts, a smile just askew of my attention. This week you threw a quiet temper tantrum, a storm of self-righteous indignation that simmered beneath deceptively calm waters. At the time I was so very frustrated by a casual detachment from your studies that I contrived to withhold every possible outlet of entertainment, not expecting to uncover a smile. You shook off each consequence with a stoic disregard; boldly you crossed your arms, straightened your posture, and stared me down. Each posture was an exercise in independence, but the cockeyed arch to your eyebrow and determined pucker to your lips betrayed your rage and unraveled my mask of seriousness. I could push no further and so I relaxed into a genuine appreciation for the passion behind your certainty. I did something I rarely managed when you were little, I laughed openly at the ridiculousness of the power struggle between us.

Sweet girl, I hope you choose your battles wisely and find your footing carefully. Know when your cause is lost and be thoughtful in your conviction. Don’t be afraid to look silly, but don’t mock those who guide your choices with love. Never apologize for your strength, but be mindful of your power. Love, Mom

this & that

January 25, 2015 § 2 Comments

This month has been a study in contrasts; less of this and more of that.

Change and conflict were tempermental companions this past year as my husband and I navigated uncertainty with a forced conviction and false confidence. Work worries and family tensions frayed the tender strings of patience as we trudged through the unfamiliarity of old routines mourning the comforts of hope in the company of fear.

At the least convenient opportunity we leapt into a messy, full-hearted commitment to a sweet pup; abruptly interrupting our expectations with an assumption of change. It was a pinch on the arm, a foot thrust forcefully into a doorway; calling us to attention and creating space for light.

This year we have become still where we were once frantically busy with empty endeavors; attentive where we had become unconsciously paralyzed. Our routines had been reshaped by doubts and our hope informed by a stubborn complacency, hollow gestures of living shaded by misfortune.

None of this is to say happiness swings to the joy of a puppy’s love. It doesn’t.

At the core of discovery and recognition there was a discomfort that alerted our consciousness to greater contentment just askew of our perspective. In tending to another’s happiness we looked further outside our discontent.

Rather than tallying what we might lose we have been inventorying what we have; unsettled by comfort we have created sources of rejuvenation.   We are trying new things, planning for change and playing at forgotten interests. More of that which was ever-present and overlooked; less of what we do not need and cannot control.

growing up

January 22, 2015 § 6 Comments

Perhaps it is because my children are of an age where I find myself unintentionally referencing outside expectations and their growing independence with an insincere acquiescence of external values, but lately I am unimpressed with the accomplishment of maturity. I hear my voice contorted into hollow directives as I play at my role of adult, chagrined by the unoriginality of my dialogue and lonely for the magic of my children’s childhood expressions.

There are few lingering exclamations of exaggerated mastery, those treasures of language that once speckled conversations with endearingly irrelevant statements of fact and whimsical brushstrokes of self. Pronunciation and tense were a chaos of communication that drew me into a Seussical world of impossible realities that I became adept at translating into the gray language of the world around me. Some days the gray seems to suffocate the prisms of possibility from our speech.

There are fewer pockets of clutter as play seems relegated to more private spaces. I give thanks every day for the carnival of colorful figurines that circle the perimeter of the bathtub, poised in a silent story line, for interrupting the monotony of my routine with an act of imagination. I tenderly note the direction of the characters, wondering at the changes in their stance and marveling at the endless performance of which I am a second-hand witness.

Most worrisome is the absence of Why, a word that so often announced the beginning of a new adventure with enthusiastic curiosity. The school years have directed our attention to a more singular expectation of mastery and I miss unraveling all the possibilities of the unknown.

To my children,

Growing up is about balancing responsibilities; we are all committed to basic burdens that exist to inform care for self, home, and our world. Do not let your success in these areas define the measure of your maturity. I hope you will continue to color outside the lines and speak in passionate uncertainties. Think less of the answers and more of the journey to knowing. We are never too old to play and always old enough to dream. Don’t ever misconstrue growing-up with outgrowing the child within.

Love, Mom

a day off

January 20, 2015 § Leave a comment

It isn’t unusual that I wake to a Tuesday that feels ominously like Monday, the week’s routine unfolding with the grinding resistance of denial. Likewise, I have misconstrued a Thursday for Friday as I race enthusiastically toward the weekend’s leisure. It is, however, rare that I overlook a day entirely.

This morning I woke my son with Monday’s apologies for Tuesday’s early morning beginning. I chased him through breakfast with reminders and hurried him towards school with empty gestures of routine; making it half way home before my sleepy teenager called to remind me of the day, a well documented day off from school.

It was a fully conscious, bright-eyed conspirator that dismissed my error, sneaking back into his room until his younger sister left for elementary school so that she wouldn’t feel excluded from his good fortune. Suddenly, today feels a little like a misplaced Saturday torn from a day long past, when it was only the two of us exploring nothing in particular with all the time in the world.

to my daughter

January 19, 2015 § Leave a comment

This morning you stood tall in a determined conviction, the surety of your responsibility pulling the frame of your form to consume the periphery of my attention. Your voice was quiet, but the cadence of your words was persistent. I heard the emotions beneath your interruption before I could make out the shape of your confession.

Your brother had been punished for your actions. The injustice and judgment warred in your conscience and I felt the sincerity of your remorse beneath the tremble in your voice.

The actual error was insignificant, not even worth the details it would take to elaborate. By tomorrow we will have forgotten the cause of the consequence, but there is a memory I hope you recall for all the days to come: standing inside the fear of judgement when you recognized an injustice and speaking for someone else, even when your own voice tremored with the weight of your burden.

Brave girl, the individual who can stand so firmly for another, has the power of flight for herself.

Love you, Mom


January 18, 2015 § 9 Comments

Some days I drift through bookshelves, my hand trailing the closeted promises with a lover’s touch. Each story is a possibility, exquisite for the impossible uncertainty. It is a returning to; the first blush of an old love. Some pages turn with a hollow din, but others create a void of sound that consumes each minute, exaggerating the senses to an almost unkind generosity. In these stories I taste the words carefully, letting the shape of the ideas melt against my tongue with a childish delight for the impossibility of their composition. It is a genius of ability that manipulates the common into the exceptional and I am lost to the ritual of companionable loneliness that drives me toward a voice I cannot hear, until the ending brings a silence too loud to bear.


patient care

January 16, 2015 § 2 Comments

This morning an appointment for a routine exam resulted in an unexpected measure of care. Clothed in a paper gown that served only to exaggerate the naked vulnerability of my discomfort, I moved with empty submission against a stubborn acquiescence for a procrastinated commitment to care. Normally on these occasions I disappear into the cool unpleasantness of unwanted attention with shrouds of silence or sterile banter; drowning out my discomfort by disconnecting myself from the experience. Today I found myself sitting unconscious of discomfort, absorbed in a genuine conversation with a woman who was eloquently transparent in her humanity; a stranger with whom I was immediately familiar.

It has become the most predictable anomaly of my life experience that I find kindred spirits in unexpected corners of my day at the most urgent hour. In each instance I am reminded that for all the ways we might divide our identities, we are beautifully made to share.


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