Aug 042010
 
…for some reason we like to see days pass, even though most of us claim we don’t want to reach our last one for a long time. We examine each day before us with barely a glance and say, no, this isn’t the one I’ve been looking for, and wait in a bored sort of way for the next one, when we are convinced our lives will start for real. Meanwhile, this day is going by perfectly well adjusted, as some days are, with the right amounts of sunlight and shade, and a light breeze scented with a perfume made from that mixture of fallen apples, corn stubble, dry oak leaves and the faint odor of last night’s meandering skunk.

The Life of a Day, Tom Hennan




Today was a good day, Little Ones.


Because of our picnic blanket under the pink tree in the front yard.




Because of the colorful chalk scattered across the sidewalk, just dying to be held and used.




Because of our front porch and its space and its swing and its shade.




Because of wagon rides and laughing so hard we can’t hear ourselves anymore.



Because of quiet moments alone. Moments when I watch you and remember, That’s right. You are a whole person. Who needs some time to herself now and again. How strange and amazing.



Because of our baby insisting that she’s not ti-red. Till she’s going…



Going…


Gone.



Because of a big brother whose rapidly changing face, voice, and demeanor keep insisting that he’s ready for more. Maybe a big yellow bus, maybe a brand new school and new friends, maybe a little life of his own beyond our front yard.




But not today. Today he’s still ours.


 




Because of a little girl who makes me think: I should probably quit now. Because I will never, ever make anything more beautiful than you.










Because of a teeny one who has recently discovered that life is not fair. Because of a baby who is, officially, TWO.




Who now points at me in the midst of her fury and yells, “I SAD AT YOU, MOMMY!” And thus, the separation has begun. She has learned that not only am I not the solution to her problems, but perhaps the cause of them.






And so she flails and kicks on the Time Out stairs screaming, “I SO FWUSTWATING!




To which I reply, “Oh, sweet girl. I just couldn’t agree more.”




Because, in our family, nobody suffers alone. Although I really wish they would.







Because all three of you were in the same place today. With not much on your minds, other than each other, and your snack, and the breeze, and When’s daddy coming home? and What’s for dinner, mommy? Which is cereal and pickles, for your information.



 


Because daddy surprised you and came home early. Because I left him a message at noon and said: You gotta come home, baby. You’re missing a special day. It’s TODAY, honey. And because daddy said, Okay, I’m comin’. And he did.





And because after the squeals and the hugs and the You’re HOME, Daddys! it was up the stairs and across the porch and Me first! and into the house to wash off the dirt and the chalk and the sweat of a delicious summer day. And because of pulling your slippery bodies out of the water and wrapping you in towels and smelling your necks till you wriggle away, and watching you scurry bare bottomed through the kitchen. Chasing each other. Always chasing each other. Sisters.






We have days ahead of us, my babies. Big, eventful, memorable, important days. But there will never be one more beautiful than today.


Don’t ever forget that.


Sweet Dreams.





Happy Weekend, Monkees.





Aug 122010
 


The following events occurred yesterday:

As I was getting out of the shower,Tish burst in the bathroom and stared at me rather critically. I gave her the evil eye.Undeterred, she said the following:

Mommy, what are those dangly things on your belly called again?

I nervously looked down to find out what foreign objects had attached themselves to my person during my shower without my knowledge. I located nothing.

What are you talking about? There’s nothing on my belly.

Eye roll from Tish.Yes there is, moooom. Those dangly things you used to feed Amma with.

I double check.

Wait. Are you talking about my breasts?

OH YEAH. Breaaaasssasts. You got Belly Breasts, Mom.


Go to your room, I said.


It’s two hours later. I have completely forgotten where I put Tish, which is far from my main concern. My main concern is that I also can’t find my book and I’m dying. It was a really, really good book, and it’s been lost for three days now.I finally find it.

In the washing machine.


This is the third book I’ve washed. I washed Barbara Kingsolver’s Bean Trees, (please read) David Sedaris’Me Talk Pretty One Day, (please read) and now I’ve washed Howard Zinn. (Yes, Sister, I know I also washed Bird by Bird but four book washings might suggest that I have some sort of problem, so I thought I’d stick with just the three for this particular post.)

This book washing issue might not be so weird, especially for me, who once had to call the sweet fire department three times in one week to rescue my children from cars into which I’d locked them nice and tight.

Unless, as my now repentant husband pointed out yesterday… it’s just that you hardly ever even wash our clothes…so how does this keep happening?


Go to your room, I said.


I must find a way to start paying attention while doing things. I don’t understand how people do it. I mean all the time? A girl has to pay attention all the time? That’s ridiculous. I think I’d rather just pay for new books.

Love you Monkees. Really, really do. Have a fantasic weekend. Try to pay attention.


Kive,

G

P.S. Yes, the book reeks of mildew. It was in there at least three days. I have come to the conclusion that while I may be able to do hard things, I am incapable of doing easy things. Whatevs.





Aug 152010
 



And all of my practices have been replaced by poetry…Rumi


I’ve been posting a lot of poems recently. I love poetry, and reading it is one of my favorite ways to spend time, ever. Also foot rubs from Craig.

I’d like to explain why I post so much poetry here . . . because each time I do I get emails saying: C’mon, G…we need funny. Didn’t you set anything on fire today? What’d Tish do? Got any shirtless pictures of Craig? Let’s have some pan talk!

I know you need funny. But in addition to laughing here, we are also exploring ways to communicate our feelings and ideas non-combatively with other people. We are trying to find common ground. And I think poetry is a good start.

Poetry is one person’s heart to another person’s heart. Sometimes when I’m reading a poem, a moment arrives in which I discover the question that the poet is trying to answer. And my heart leaps a little. And I realize that I also have that question, and have been trying to answer it forever. My answer might be the same or different than the poet’s, but the answer doesn’t matter, really. I’m just so grateful that someone else is asking the same questions. Makes me feel human. Discovering the question behind someone’s poem is like being invited into her most special, private room. It’s an honor.

I don’t write poetry or fiction, but I wish I did. I might start trying, actually. Because they’re the only two forms of writing that don’t feel bossy to me. It’s hard to take offense to a story or a poem. Poets remind us to think and feel without telling us how to think and feel. This is how art differs from say, politics and preaching. Good art doesn’t have an ulterior motive. It just says…In this busy, bossy, distracted, confusing world, I have to keep remembering what it means to be human, to be divine. Will you remember with me? And so people with wildly different ideas and opinions and styles can come together over a good poem, and have a moment together. Because truth is truth. C’mon. We know it. We just like to argue to pass the time.

My favorite thing about poetry is that it reveals both the power and powerlessness of language. The poet uses language to reveal a truth that resonates so deeply in my heart and I’m saying YES, YES, YES, That’s IT. That’s RIGHT. That’s TRUE.

But that’s all I got, usually. I can’t put into words what it is that my heart is celebrating.

I just know that The Truth is in that poem and so all of a sudden I feel known and understood and connected and forgiven. And I also feel like my suspicions have been confirmed . .. that the truth is simple after all!

But I can’t describe with words what it is that the poet and I have shared in that moment, what it is specifically that we both know. What she has revealed and I have seen. There are no words. It’s just this deep, deep knowing. It seems just outside of my peripheral vision. But this inability to grasp it fully is how I know it’s true. Because language has its limits. Words are not God. So it follows that God cannot be reached only through words. We have to use our hearts, too. We can’t really understand the prayer or the poem. We have to feel it. We have to remember that the poet’s words are just the map, not the destination. The poet does not prepare the food. The poet is just the menu writer God uses to present dishes that might taste good, might nourish. The creation of the food and the tasting of it are between God and the reader. And so the poet presents the menu respectfully, then steps away and lets the Two eat together in peace.

There is something about prayers and poems, monks and poets, that is exactly the same. They try to live in a place where truth is found behind (beyond?) words. Their hearts meet beyond the words. They could never describe that place, that place where they meet, their destination. But they know how to get there. And they know the others will be waiting there when they arrive. Because that’s where they have agreed to commune. Just beyond the words they are saying or chanting or reading.

Sound familiar?

It’s like this. Can’t you read this poem and know exactly where the poet stands without explanation or commentary? Don’t you just know? Doesn’t it make you want to smile and nod and wink at somebody, but wouldn’t you have a hard time explaining why? It’s okay, I don’t think we should try to explain. Because then lots of words would become involved and we might hurt each other accidentally. The beauty is that we can just read the poem, and meet behind and beyond the words. And giggle.


Dropping Keys


The small man

Builds cages for everyone

He

Knows.

While the sage,

Who has to duck his head

When the moon is low,

Keeps dropping keys all night long

For the

Beautiful

Rowdy

Prisoners.


So yes, Monkees. There will be kitchen stories. There will be shirtless pictures of Craig. But there will also be poetry. Always, always poetry.

Love, G