Monday, September 23, 2013

on the shoulder raised, elbow arched, off-beat hop of delight.

Dinner is in the oven and every window is open, welcoming fall to stay for as long as it will.   Dead center in the space where the kitchen meets the hall, she begins to build a tower with her stacking blocks.

“Are you watching me?” she asks, as if my answer will determine everything.  So clearly, I’m watching and at the top she places a picture and her toothbrush, essentials for towers, I’m sure.  Next is her signature off-beat hop, wearing one shoe, shoulders raised, elbows arched, eyes twice their lovely size.  She applauds herself and shouts,  “Yes, Hooray!”  She’s part modern day Shirley Temple and part Pippi Longstocking, with all the charm of Shirley and all the stubborn quirky fire of Pippi.

“Will you put your hands like this and clap?” she says next, never ceasing to catch me off-guard.

I am informed that this is not a tower, but a “puurade”, or as you may know it, a parade.  And that brings me to think of all things they say which I will never correct, instead hoping to collect these little bits in an indestructible time capsule for always.  You know the ones, you can add yours too, if you like.  Like, how I need to hold you is really will you hold me?  And the way her brother first said, W, that made it last for approximately 18 syllables. It’s since become regular old W, three years later, but it was marvelous while it lasted.

Sometimes, I feel like I have nothing to write, because today I drank coffee, made breakfast, washed clothes, and had a picnic in the grass, which was short lived because the bugs were extra hoppy and hungry.  We collected flowers and autumn leaves and I held these not so small creatures as we read stories about nut-brown hares, Elmo, and Jesus. We did a reading lesson and probably, I watched Friday Night Lights while my boy played a game on my phone, during naptime.  Nothing major, but everything.  I should never believe that I have nothing to write, but sometimes, I do.  For when I begin a string of words, life unravels on the page, rich with the sweet nothings of noticing and remembering. 

And now they’re dancing to that damn reindeer dog with batteries that refuse to surrender.  In the glorious September sun that casts long lines across the floor, they all sing jingle bell rock.  I think I detect a bit of quivering in the sound recording, but it’s probably wishful thinking.


| Linking up with Heather and all those who Just Write.|

Thursday, September 19, 2013

September 19, 2013: a note

We bob along, carried by the current, ideas and dreams in tow. 

Wondering if we’ve already passed this place and how many times. 


Uncertain, yet, certain.

Weary, but willing to be transformed. 

Weary, but willing to discover the path that we have been invited to travel.

Bobbing along, puzzled at the rate of this journey,

Fueled only by the gentle wind that whispers hope in the rustling leaves and the rippling waters.

Monday, September 2, 2013

on butterfly wings and roaring lions

He doesn’t want to try hard things.  When he doesn’t understand or it doesn’t come easily, he wants to give up, going back to something he knows, to the safety of the familiar.  Inside, this war wages,  the adventurous dreamer wants to shout, Try it! Don’t be afraid! YOU CAN DO HARD THINGS! I want to shake it free, the resting brave and fearless in him, the belief that with work, he can do anything.  But he’s always been cautious, slow to embrace what isn’t his own idea.  The entire world is discovered and understood at his own pace, while imagination soars.   The creative mother in me understands that and wants to protect that light in him, the tender speed at which he moves and sees and learns and plays, uninterested in timelines or charts of progression.

He’s pensive and feels deeply, a soul at peace, unless he’s pushed too hard or he senses tension.    He’s wild and happy, eager to make people laugh and smile. Then stubborn, in a rooted, brooding, silence, the most dangerous kind.

His father often sits down with him and says, “I understand, because I was just like you, when I was your age, I know it’s frustrating when...”  For he sees the young version of himself in our son.

How do we encourage a little bird to test out his wings, while protecting its fragile spirit?  Oh, it’s a monster of an idea, that we are entrusted with these wild and wonderful creatures, with the roar of a lion hidden beneath the fragility of a butterfly wing. (sometimes the opposite.) And the world is capable of so much good and so much evil.  As are we. 

This morning, we wrote the alphabet on a large white sheet of paper and used found objects to mimic their shapes. He found a stick of artist’s charcoal and started to draw.  After a while, on his own he began writing a few wobbly letters, something he hasn’t done without instruction. In that moment, I wanted to proclaim all the reasons why I knew he could do it and why he just had to try and so many other bits of evidence for my case, but I didn’t, because that would have been mostly about me.  Instead, I softly asked, Is that an H? Did you make a P?  In that quiet knowing way, he answered, I did.

See, I wonder if these great reservoirs exist inside our children and maybe we have to say it a million times. Perhaps, we grow weary and wonder if it makes a difference. And sometimes, when we least expect, the water spills over the top, a burst of confidence trickles down, and they do the hard thing, they just do. 

You can do hard things, we say, and drop by drop, the reservoir fills. 

One day soon, he’s going to write all the letters and create the most unbelievable stories and he’ll finally figure out that whole bike pedaling thing, and we’ll watch him streak down the path like the brave rescue hero that he is.  One day that hard thing won’t be so hard anymore, but he’ll face something new, which will shake him and stretch him once again.

You can do hard things, we say, and drop by drop, the reservoir fills.

This parenting thing, it’s serious. It infuriating and mesmerizing. Just when we catch our breath, we face something new.  And each time, we’re quite certain, we can’t contend.  But, you know what I think?  What we tell these fragile, wild creatures, what we know to be true, it no different for us. 

The message, the reservoirs, the moments of break-through.

You can do hard things. 

We’re all wild and fragile creatures capable of achieving the unimaginable.  We are the butterfly wing and the lion’s roar. And we must fill the reservoirs.


Just Write