Posts Tagged ‘family’

A Friday Evening Mom, on Childhood

May 20, 2016

Some people wish
To return to childhood
So they may remember
Carefree play
Unfettered by worry.

Others recall
The gentle protection
Of a grown-up, secured
By space on a lap
Or a pinky to hold
Across the street.

Still others long
For the innocence
The trust
The earnest honesty
That only children
Can achieve.

All very well and good.

But what I seek
Is for someone, right now
To just send me to bed
Without my supper.



Reflection on a Day’s End

May 9, 2016

Whoever was the first
To pen a poem
About the demands of
Being a mom,

The whole

Think she had something going there.

Mother’s Day: In Gratitude

May 8, 2016


To have someone else
Cook my dinner,

To lay in the grass
With my boy
Pondering dandelions and sky,

To play catch
And baseball
And all manner of games
Without drama,

To eat lunch alone
Reading a book and
Chewing my food,

Is apparently

Not too much to ask.

Emptying the Pockets

April 21, 2016

She told me
That someone told her
To set aside
Each day for a
A counting of things
One carries.

After checking my pockets,
My shoulders,
My soul, I have this
Of what I brought to school today:

My tea thermos
A school bag
The weight of my brother’s passing
Eighteen mental reminders
A wish to do today better
Four separate to-do lists
The grief and anger of loved ones
The burden of self-expectation
The need for self-forgiveness,
And the restorative power of

Day #20: Dare

September 4, 2015




Really, dare?

I don’t know about that.

I am probably one of the least daring people I know.

Maybe some of you out there who know me might tell me different. Maybe some of you out there will tell me that I am underestimating myself. Maybe you’ll say that you think I’m bold, or daring, or courageous in some way.

I’m not feeling it.

I’d love to be more daring. Especially when it comes to people. I’d love to be courageous. To be a person who says truthful things, even when it is difficult. Who will speak up when I’m upset. Who will raise difficult issues in conversation.

It’s earned me a reputation, I think, as a diplomat. As a nice person. It’s also earned me a reputation as someone who will listen without judgement. I kind of like that.

Still, there are times it feels hollow, times when I feel I sell myself short because I haven’t said what’s on my mind.

I’ve gotten better, for sure. I have begun to care not as much about whether people will be mad at me for saying something to upset them. After all, the people who truly love me will stick around, even if they are grumpy. The people who don’t would find a reason to leave anyway. I sure feel I still have a long way to go.

Always a journey.

Day #17: Awake

September 1, 2015


Ever hear of Joseph Campbell? The guy who dedicated his whole life to the themes and archetypes of story and myth across cultures? The one who laid out the common pattern of the Hero’s Journey in culture? He’s one of MY heroes. Campbell saw the greatest human transgression as “the sin of inadvertence, of not being alert, not quite awake.”

Of going through life hearing, but not actually listening.
Seeing, but not really noticing.

It’s typing on the computer while the kids are talking about something that happened at school.
Going outside without looking at the sky.
Driving to work and realizing you have no idea how you actually got there.
Looking down at dinner and seeing, surprisingly, your plate is now empty.
Going a whole summer without feeling bare feet on grass.

I’d like to think that I spend my time conscious, truly awake, truly thinking about everything around me. But to tell you the truth? All of that paying attention can be exhausting.

That’s actually why, for all you lovers of irony out there, I use awake-ness as a strategy for getting to sleep.

Try it sometime.

Lay in bed with your eyes closed. Allow your ears to do all the work. Pay attention to the sounds. ALL the sounds your ears can possibly pick up:
The air conditioning
Traffic outside
The wind blowing
Your heart
Your breathing
The dog’s breathing
The hum of the earth

Listen to it.
All of it.
Bring it all in at the same time.
Keep it all there.
Your mind will fight you, will try to let some of it go.
Hold on to it, as much as you can, as long as you can.
At some point, you will have no choice
But to let go.

Day #15: Change

August 30, 2015


I’m not the same person I was
Four months ago.
I’m not the same person I was
Three years ago.
I’m not the same person I was
Twelve years ago.
Fifteen years ago.
Twenty years ago.
Twenty-two years ago.
Thirty five years ago.

Each life experience
Chipping away
Losses and gifts

As I change, I get to know
More of me,
Finding out more about
What I’m about,
Discovering, as I continue to unwrap
That I’m more the same self
Than I had ever realized.

Day #14: Learn

August 30, 2015


I’m a teacher. I’m all about the learning. I LOVE learning. It gets me excited. It doesn’t matter what subject area or topic. I can find a way to be totally jazzed about it. Here’s some of what I learned this summer:

  1. How to throw baseball pitches. I can throw a 2-seam, a 4-seam, a change-up, a knuckleball, a cutter and a curve. I’m not saying that they’re pretty, but I can throw ’em. Learning how to throw these pitches has taught me other things, too:
    1. I actually know what those pitches ARE.
    2. My sons can be incredibly patient and encouraging, even when there’s little reason to be.
    3. Really. I suck at pitching.
    4. But it’s fun.
    5. No matter how tired, sore or crabby I may feel, it will always, always, ALWAYS be worth my time to throw the ball with them.
    6. Always.
    7. For that matter, I will choose to accept any invitation from my boys, at any time. Frisbee golf? Got it. Open skate? I’m there. Dog walk? Let’s roll. Snuggle time? Can’t stop me.
  2. How to let people go. I had a friend in my former job. She is a great person, and is one of the sweetest, most generous souls I know. But after attempt after attempt after attempt after attempt, it turned out I was the only one who was trying to make any contact. It made me feel more insecure and needy the more I worried about it. So? I let the friendship go. I wouldn’t turn away if reached out to, but I have discovered that, for now, I have better places to spend my attention (see section 1 above).
  3. How to go upside down at the rings at my gym. Not a huge thing, but boy does it make me feel awesome to say I can. Plus it’s good street cred with my kids.
  4. That my kids will be just FINE. That when I sense myself getting worked up about one of my sons – about his achievement, about his skills, about his placement or play on a sporting team, about any of it – I tell myself the following:
    1. My worries stem from my insecurities.
    2. My worries are not about my kids.
    3. But my kids’ experiences are NOT ABOUT ME.
    4. And I can close my eyes and picture them at thirty, being wonderful people.
    5. And I realize there isn’t a need to worry.
    6. Because they will be JUST FINE.
    7. And I can calm down.

Of course, there’s much, much more to it. And there’s so much more that I want to learn. So much I need to learn. So much I’m going to learn, even if I don’t know I need to learn it yet.

That’s why I’m such a big fan of life.

Day #6: Know

August 21, 2015


What do I know? Right now, at this point in time?

That I have good friends who think about me.
That I have an amazing, supportive family.
That I can’t write anything deep with four teenage boys bickering ten feet away.
That it takes a special kind of zen to ignore said boys bickering ten feet away.
I mean special kind of zen.
Really special.
I know that a martini doesn’t make my children behave any better, but it does make me care *that much* less.
That a Shabbat dinner does offer a degree of specialness I don’t always get.
That said Shabbat dinner can still fall to pieces with a glut of male energy.
That a homemade chocolate cookie and a glass of milk deserve their own unique circle in heaven.

And you? What truths come to you, either deep or trivial?

Day #5: Accept

August 20, 2015


This is a tough one.

Acceptance is more than acknowledgement. It is allowing a presence in our minds, in our hearts, in our lives. It is the weaving of truths into ourselves. I don’t have to like something to accept it, but it does become part of who I am.

I accept that my brother Mike died this April.
I accept that it wasn’t an accident.
I accept that he had been hurting, emotionally, for a really long time.
I accept that I may never know what he was truly feeling and thinking in his last days.
I accept that I can no longer contact him, despite the fact that his messages are still on my phone.
I accept that that the rest of us need each other now, in ways deeper and more different than we can imagine.

These thoughts are who I am, where I am. For better or worse, they have become a part of me.

I’d like to think that acceptance is the best way, and that we need to create room for all things in the universe as part of our selves. That our minds should approach the world with open arms.


I also think there are ideas best kept away. There are patterns of belief which seek to destroy us, rather than make us whole. There are ideas which are, quite simply, not true. And those things I turn away at the door.

I do not accept that Mike made a decision in clarity, of sound mind.
I do not accept that he wanted to be without his wife and children.
I do not accept that anyone is to blame.

Acceptance any of these things would require me to believe they are true. And, knowing my brother, I simply don’t. Mike was a great guy who was a good dad. Who told his family every day he loved them. Who would sometimes text me lines from the movie Airplane because, well, c’mon. Airplane.

I’m still picking up the pieces. I’m still trying to figure out exactly the size and shape of the hole he left behind. And perhaps, as time moves on, as I learn more, I will come to different understandings and different acceptances.

Until then, I have come to acceptance of where I am.

Of where he his.