Wednesday, April 28, 2010


The tension and angst that, at times, lightly punctuate my days and accompany me on my maternal journey all have a place in this confounding, exhilarating minute-by-minute life. Sometimes the fog and slight angst are obliterated by peaceful calm. Sometimes I find my breaths shallow and then luxuriate in the power of deep oxygenation.


In glorious hindsight, I see my tight grasp, manhandling a repetitive thought, an aura, or way of being. These moments have purpose. They lead me to my next present, my next now. When I let go, it feels as if I'm watching movie clips of someone else's life. I watch, mesmerized by the watershed. The final uncurling of the very last finger returns air to my lungs and allows me to unfurl, melting into the feeling of aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh.

Yesterday was just like that.

The light shifted. The air heavily weighted with now. My feet pounded down the stairs and I listened to their rhythm...Right. Now. Right. Now. Here. Now.

Lately, I've been trying, valiantly, to live right now, right here. And not too surprisingly, I continue to gain illumination from other people, people whose words about their right nows delight like a gift. I recently read something that hit me with the power of a tidal wave and the tenderness of a child's kiss. Thank you, Lindsey, for awakening my spirit to another powerful force, JenLee. (If you haven't yet visited and submerged yourself in Lindsey's blog, may I suggest that you do. Then you'll know (if you don't already) one of the people whose writing continues to speak to me and guide me along my way.)

For her one of her Present Tense posts, Lindsey interviewed JenLee. One of Jen's snipets, when asked about what rituals or patterns she uses to keep herself present, was, "..
but I also like to walk down any street in the city and really see and notice all the sights, sounds and smells around me
while the ground below me meets my every step". Her words reached up into my mind (the mind that seems to enjoy miring in the minutia of yesterday and tomorrow, masterfully avoiding the now), and plunked me into right now.

Woah. Such a powerful, visceral set of words for me. The Ground Meets My Every Step. (This spurred me to thank Mother Earth for providing such a glorious place to live.)

I try. Living presently allows me to heed to the quiet eddies, whispering in my soul. I feel each slap and move of Abby's and my secret handshake. Henry and I dissect the intricacies of Buzz Lightyear, Woody and Zurg. When I'm in the right now, hubby and I look at each other and just know.
I find, during the hard, painful, turbulent times that being there helps, too. Other times, I get swept away in the euphoria of a goal reached and the resulting celebratory cascade of joy. I give thanks for the friends, near and far, who keep me buoyant, reaching up, or down, to wherever it is I am in my moment. Feet on the couch. With chubby Henry curled round them. Feet on the ground.

Right. Now.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Redo: SNL, Meet Henry

I'm sorry for the reprint here; I needed a laugh today...

Henry loves caulk. If it's caulk-related, it's cool with Henry. He loves hubby's work shirt with caulk smudges all over it. He thinks a fun afternoon includes carrying around a tube of caulk. He adores the painters who prepared our house for painting because they got to apply lots of ... caulk.

He enjoys it when hubby gets all caulky (couldn't resist) when doing house repairs.

The caulk conversations and random caulk thoughts Henry shares range from humorous to slap-your-thigh-with-tears-running-down-your-face hysterical. Following are some of my favorites. If they aren't that funny when you read them, try saying them out loud. I dare you not to laugh.

1. "Daddy has a caulk on his head." (Hubby worked all day in the basement and had a little pile of dirt and caulk sitting on the top of his hair.)

2. Henry grabbed hubby's face just after waking up one morning. "Daddy? Do you like to eat caulk?" Somehow, hubby was able to answer this repeated question with a straight face.

3. Henry and I shopped at the grocery store. When I turned my head to concentrate on the bread ingredient lists, I peripherally heard Henry announce, "Yeah, we've got some sweaty caulks in here. Yup, some sweaty caulks."


The shock and crazy laughter I experienced doubled me over. I grabbed my phone to text hubby and friends. I could hardly see the letters on my phone through the tears. It was as if he was channeling two different Saturday Night Live skits--Alec Baldwin's "Schweaty Balls" and the more recent "DIY Caulk" skit with Jason Lee. (I love and highly recommend both; however, if you don't enjoy word puns about the male anatomy, I'd skip them.)

4. I took Henry upstairs for bedtime. He had been dutifully carrying his caulk tube around. When he realized he'd forgotten it downstairs he yelled, "Momma! I want to sleep with my caulk!"

I sarcastically thought, "No problem." I did retrieve his caulk for him while laughing myself silly. Freud would have a ball with this. Maybe two.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mother Earth

Oh Earth, with your impressive girth, spinning round each day. Supporting tender lives, leafy trees, coursing rivers, brain synapses and tumultuous oceans. You give a place for resting, loving, learning, growing, living and dying.

Each miracle so profound--and you modestly sustain each one, every day. You graciously provide a canvas for my days and nights, each moment of my life. Soaking my tears, absorbing my frustrated stomps, launching my dreams, celebrating my success and calming my fears by just being present, always solid and dependable.

I'm sorry for the times I've glossed over your gifts and bounty. Thanks for your patience when my eyes wouldn't see--and thank you for continually supplying a wondrous spectacular each day.

A garden plot. A lifting breeze. Cascading sunshine.

I adore the way you embrace your woman's prerogative, and privilege, to change your mind in an instant, providing a kaleidoscope of variables.
Thank you for the soulful mountains and hypnotic, rhythmic oceans. And thanks for the perch you provide for me to ponder the night stars. I am awed by your cool reserves of sanctity, piercing brilliance and graceful strength. Happy Earth Day, Earth.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

An Open Letter to Evolution

Dear Evolution,

I know that you're busy, with the evolving species and confounding societal and environmental impacts and all, but I need to bend your ear about this one thing...

As much as I love and appreciate the miraculous tenacity of my female reproductive system, and as eternally grateful as I am for the wondrous gifts it delivered to my life (named Abby and Henry), I respectfully submit some revisions to the female body.

1. PMS--delete.

Honestly, was that part of the grand plan?
Bloating? Unstoppable, voracious need to consume vast amounts of dark chocolate, salt and grease? Bags of potato chips consumed in 5 minutes? Raging, uncontrollable hormones, sending rightfully frightened husbands and children cowering into shadowed corners?

2. Four decades of menstruation? Truncate it, dear Evolution.

Seriously? 40 to 50 years?
I know, I know that women in some long-forgotten time started having children when they were 11, 12, 13 years old. But then they only lived to the ripe old age of 36. Come on... let's bring the female body into the 21st century. I started this journey at 11. I'm 37. I've got somewhere around 15 to 20 more years of periods and PMS. And my reward? The menopausal years. Geesh. Seems to me there's an opportunity to revise and create a more just and pleasant female journey. Some inventive body part, perhaps, that delivers the necessary hormones (in appropriate doses, see above) without having to deal with menstruation anymore. Maybe you could re-purpose the appendix?

So, my dear, impressive Evolution, as you're fine-tuning the awe-inspiring female body, would you please consider my submissions? My waistline and sanity thank you in advance. (As does my husband.)

With love and admiration,

Friday, April 16, 2010


This week. Oh this week. I haven't experienced a week like this in some time. The emotion descended quickly. I didn't see it coming. Sad. Tumultuous. Questioning. Doubting. Wondering. Tears. Frustration. Impatience--they all arrived at once. I think the collision of emotion stems from my soul-searching and public admission . It's hard to remember while experiencing their wrath that the emotions always serve a purpose. The bold, raucous fears, worries and questions can, hopefully, guide to truthful insight and deeper understanding.

During the oh-so-fun week, I read two of my favorite bloggers. (I read them every week--almost every day). And not surprisingly, I found words that soothed, lightened my load and shifted my perspective.

I measure a successful blog post by the number of people reading and commenting on it. When I write something that generates little comment, my ego and I get bummed out. Sad, a bit embarrassing, but true. Then I read a post at Theta Mom that stopped me in my self-deprecating spiral. Heather wisely wrote, "
measuring your worth against these numbers? Well, that’s when it becomes
self-defeating." Heather decided instead to focus on delivering meaningful words on her blog (and she does so gracefully). I realized how much energy I'd expounded on worrying about my numbers. Thank you, Heather, for taking me back to my origins and reminding me why I write this blog.

And then Lindsey at A Design So Vast further permeated my sorrow with these words, "The veil of our glorious, ordinary lives can be pierced, for good or for bad, in every second. Which just brings me back to the same persistent theme that tugs at me every time I sit down to write: what we have is this. Right now. And only this." Tears streamed as I read Lindsey's sage, thoughtful and spot-on words. Right now. And I thought: what am I going to do with right now?

After the first good-night's sleep I've had all week, today I awoke sleepy, but brighter. I think the bevvy of emotions left for their next destination. I felt lighter...and wiser. What a glorious feeling to actually sense the winds as the shift occurs.
Right. Now. That's what I've got.

In commemoration of the end of a brutal week, and my resulting clarity and insights, I decided to celebrate the ordinary and small divinities today. I actually brushed my teeth AND washed my face before I drove the kids to school this morning. I chose to snack on a peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread instead of chips and french onion dip. A new, working refrigerator now sits in my kitchen. (Thank you, dear hubby, for your tenacious research and quick turn on this purchase.) I didn't dole out ONE punishment before school. I have food, water and shelter. The tree outside my bedroom window proudly displays her fresh, fledgling leaves. I'm brainstorming fun ideas for the girls' campout we're holding in our basement this weekend. A lovely candle's flame inspires as I write. I am here. Right. Now.

ps: In the end, the chips and dip won out. But hey, I am celebrating after all...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Lunch Box

My temperamental three-year-old Henry has delighted me with his patience and joy today. We just returned home from a tantrum-free trip to the grocery store--which NEVER happens. I feel so zen and calm after this tear-and-scream-free trip that it feels like the grocers served Martinis at check-out and on aisle 12.

After we happily put away all the food, I hopped onto my computer. I heard thuds and grunts and something being zipped up. I walked into the kitchen to find Henry zipping up his lunch box. I figured he'd tell me he'd packed a "lunch" for school tomorrow consisting of pretzels and Oreos. But instead, he opened his lunch box and showed all of my wrist and ankle weights. When I asked what he was doing, I received this reply,

"I'm zippering this up. I'm packing for college. I have to take this to college."

Tears sprung to my eyes. My heart lurched and ached--I know, as all mothers do, that my time with my children is finite. Moments like these shine a harsh light on that reality. Henry then turned to leave for "college", lunch box in hand. Luckily, before he left the room, he said,

"Come on Mom, you have to come with me." Heart healed just a bit. God I love that little boy.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Over the last several months, a gnawing, unhappy growl has tugged at my heart and tummy. At first I thought I merely needed to decompress after months of indecision (we're moving, we're not, we are, we aren't, our house sold, it didn't and then it did again) and then an epic, cross-country move. Now the dust has settled (FYI, dust bunnies do find you when you change your address). After many reflective moments, I came to this conclusion:

a chasm existed between the me of the last six years and the today me. I no longer want to be a stay-at-home mom.

There. I said it.

I'm still a mom. I'm still at home. My children provide a permanent filter through which I will always experience life. I'm fiercely grateful for the opportunity to mother Abby and Henry in the way that suited our family.


my focus has shifted away from the myopic child-focused one of late to a more inclusive where I include myself, my whimsies, my dreams along with those of my children.

I cannot ignore the slow, long, empty call of an unanswered need anymore. I am a writer. I crave the sound of my keyboard clicking while I entertain the company of random words, stories and soul. I adore knowing my daily muses, Abby and Henry, will continue to inspire. I believe I found my voice when I met my children--each step, each mistake, each success with them ignites a deluge of ideas. For this, I'm forever grateful.


My timeless challenge lies within: how do I balance my children and my career in the small, cramped 24 hours I receive each day? Why do I feel guilty? How do I cajole the reluctant parts of my pysche to catch up with this new plan, the one that includes a career and time to tease out my dreams? Should I be patient or ignore their ardent pleas?

My wish for my family: for all of us to venture into our own daily, personal journeys, rejoining at the end of each one, together. To discuss, learn and open our minds. Our experiences will create a pointillism masterpiece, a Seurat-like expose. Dynamic, magnetic pieces scattering through time and space, instinctively returning home.

I know that my mindset will meld my future experiences. My future holds a satiated woman, mother, wife and writer who lives contently because she listens to the whispers of her heart. She's fulfilled. She's probably tired. But she's damn happy.

Friday, April 9, 2010

What's in my Bag? Which One?

Lindsey at A Design So Vast tagged me in the "What's in Your Bag" meme. What fun! A blog entry devoted entirely to the inner workings of a person's purse and pshyche (which I personally believe you glimpse when you peer into someone's bag, or, as my late grandma would say, pocketbook).

Full disclosure: I am a purse whore. I adore purses. Brightly colored ones, suit-case sized ones, supple leather ones, functional ones, timeless ones. I have an entire shelf in my closet dedicated to purses. (And wallets.) Shameful? Absolutely. Enjoyable? Ab-so-stinkin'-lutely.

So here's the lovely exterior of my current bag-de-jour:

And here's the peek inside my most private life:

The flowered bag, (a Liberty of London gift from my best friend), holds 4 lipsticks, 4 lip glosses and one lip liner. Tweezers and nail file. Pony tail holder and bobby pins. Pill box (you don't get to know what's in there). Hand lotion, hand sanitizer. Flushable wipe. ChapStick (like Lindsey, I'm an addict. But my poison is Medicated ChapStick--I keep them stashed all throughout my car, house and life).

Coupons. Wet Ones. Grocery list. Wallet (which makes me happy every time I see it smiling at me from the dredges of my bag). Sunglass case. Smooshed crumbs (a lovely combo of Goldfish, granola bars and pretzels. I'd like to blame my children for all those crumbs....)

Trusty uni ball black pen, notebook and my Droid.

I'm a neat-nick. (Stop rolling your eyes at me.) Really, I am. But my purse is one spot where I roll with the mess. Until I can't (like now, after exposing my messiness to the world), and I clean it out with vigor.

So come on, what's in your bag? I bag tag:

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Parent Patter

As a child, I remember drifting to sleep with the sounds of my parents sifting through the muted lights of the house. Like a lullaby, their voices, sounds and conversations lulled me to sleep. I usually wondered what they discussed, questioning whether it was different than the conversations held when I was awake. But those questions lingered only for moments as I fell asleep rapidly, calm because of their proximity and constant rhythm.

The evening sounds of parents, especially the very special sounds that accompany dinner parties and company, lure like moths to a flame. I still remember drifting to sleep to the hypnotic sounds of clinking glasses, bursts of laughter and hushed whispers. It all seemed so lyrical, glamorous and adult.

Now, as my children sleep (through most anything--a major blessing), I wonder what prattle and pixilation of hubby's and my evenings rise up through the rafters into their rooms and shape their dreams. Do they hear the music of our amblings? Do our sound patterns provide a cellular-level grasp of our nearness, and their safety? Will they remember hubby and I kissing them each night, whispering our love like a skipping record into their ears and souls?

I hope so.

And in a natural turn of events, I now find that the symphonic nighttime sounds of my children crafting a new lullaby. A little cough, a tousled sheet, the padding of pudgy feet to the bathroom. A long, contented sigh. All wrapping me in a nestled, idyllic hug. Fleeting yet divine. I know that the beautiful harmony might give way to dissonance at any moment (vomit, fevers, nightmares and wet beds). So I embrace the melodic while it resides right here, right now.