Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Birthday Reflection

What I really wanted for my birthday was something I couldn't explain.

I wanted homemade cards with lucky pennies and seashells taped inside.

And a stint in my own skin, to see it unprepared, without illusion. Time to embrace the lines that have formed, and remember why they are there in the first place. A chance to soothe my tired body, to look into my eyes, past the smoke and mirrors. Time to relax. Breathe. Listen. See my shadow. Understand where I have been and where I am going. Heal. Rest my head. Hear what comes to me in the quiet of my mind.

Cards made with hand-picked flowers and feathers that fell from the sky. Paper decorated with crayons and Christmas bows, and scribbles made into song.

A chance encounter with Sunday, when the world stops and I feel untouchable. Time without ringing, blinking or noise. Hours to walk or run – fast, like when I was a child. Moments to feel the wind if I so desire, read a book of my own choosing. Time to feel the sun and breathe the air in my own, unlocked space.

I wanted poems and pickle trees and noodle designs. Cards full of love and adventure confetti. Handprint silhouettes with rocks and stars to wish upon.

And time to realize what I liked and what I like, and who I am, uninhibited. Time to let my compass decide which direction makes me, alone, fulfilled. Time to open my heart and forgive. Time to recall how it once was and time to peacefully abandon what no longer is. Time to embrace change and courage and continue dreaming. Time when I am unaccounted for, and only the sunset knows my whereabouts.

I wanted to remember, when I do have time, what it's like to paint a rainbow.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Inventory Specialist

No one told me when I had kids

that I would become

an Inventory Specialist

who worked the swing shift

No one said I would always know

how many cookies are in the box

how much toilet paper is on the roll

and how much milk is in the refrigerator

or that I would remember the date it expires

I think about a job interview someday in my future.

“One shake of a cereal box, Sir,

and I'll know the exact number of servings.”

No one mentioned

when I had kids

that I would become

a chronic list maker

who always has a pen and paper

Or that I would announce to my children

what I already know

So they don't remind me

again and again and again


Paper towel

Ice cream


I contemplate alphabetical order

more than I should

But what I really don't get

is why no one confessed

when I had kids

what I would absolutely know for certain:

That there will never,


be enough wine.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Trust Me On This One

My only sister is having her first child soon, and I already have three. I definitely won that round of sibling rivalry. I have more and she has less.



Ugh. Just give me a consolation prize and brand me like livestock. Second place again.  

I do know some things she doesn't, though, and after years of listening to parenting advice from her, I have a few words of wisdom of my own.


Dear Kelley,

Welcome to the club.

The first rule of the club is that we don't talk about the club.
Just kidding. Don't be scared.

You can do this.

But there is no more time for small talk.

 Buckle up, remove all jewelry, and try to stay in an upright position.

Hire an assistant and keep the maid. You will need her.

Pre-write apology letters to your husband, and anyone else you may ignore when you think they don't understand what you are going through. I can write my own if it helps, and you can just sign your name.

Don't bother clipping coupons to save money. You will be too tired to remember them anyway.

Learn to brush your teeth really fast. Learn to shower even faster.

You will never use the bathrom alone again. Ever.

 Your mother-in-law will be your new best friend, but she likes to babysit so keep that in mind. 

Don't turn the radio up when you are driving, because your child will realize that you like the song and drop their pacifier/snack/sippy cup every time it plays. Don't give yourself away.

Are you SURE it's not twins?

Try to offer healthy foods, but know this: There is a vegetable boycott coming. It is a proven fact that you will, at some point, have squash in your hair.

You can throw your alarm clock away. You'll never need it again.

Your husband will see an entirely different side of you. Say goodbye to any pride you still have.

Trying to sleep when the baby sleeps is pointless. Who can sleep with a sink full of dishes and laundry strewn about?

You can call me at 3 am if you need to. I will most likely be awake, packing someone's lunch.    

And guess what else?

This is important, so pay attention. I know Mom made us take that speed-reading class, but don't speed-read right now.

I love you.

You are going to be a great mother.

I believe in you, and so does everyone else.

And a few months from now, if you can't figure out where your life went - look down. It's right in front of you.

So hold on tight.

Enjoy the ride.

And, as Dad would say...

Trust me on this one.


Monday, August 16, 2010

The Bologna Princess

"How long until you sleep, Bologna Princess?"

"I'll sleep in a lot of longs, Mommy, or maybe just a few."

She doesn't know it, but I don't mind. I'd stay up late to watch her sleep, wake early to breathe her caramel skin. Read her favorite book again and again.

She is three years of magic and music to my soul.

"What color are my eyes?"  I ask.

"Purple," she laughs.

"Green," I say.  I want her to always remember.

Her tin-foil crown sparkles. Her pink tutu and soft brown curls, painted gold by the sun, dance in the summer night.

"Can I have bologna? Just bologna," she says. I would give her the world on a plate if I could.

She fills her dad's lunch box with blocks, imagines he'll make a castle instead of eating.  "And crayons do belong in high heels," she proudly declares.

Wise beyond her years, she pilots the middle perfectly, as if she's been there before.

She is centered, like the small freckle on her nose I kiss each night.

"Rest with me," she'll say, her eyes sweeter than melting chocolate.

She is a gift that keeps me present, accountable in times of confusion.

A kaleidoscope of joy

Her colors different from the rest

"Bologna Princess, I think you're an angel."

"Maybe, but I need to find my wings," she says, and gently drifts off to sleep.

"Yes, baby,

And you will."