Sunday, October 20, 2013

the garden

For Mom at 79

You read that at the Garden of One Thousand Buddha’s
we must walk clockwise, our right ears turned
towards the statues, our right ears ready to hear the words
between the space that is sameness, stillness.

You clutch your blue cane, butterflies dance around the
steel periphery and we walk hand in hand, your weight in my
hip like I did with my babies, those natural grooves, that flow.

So very slowly we circle and I feel the false move, the slightest tap,
could knock you down, a heap of only the finest linen,
lips outlined in subtle red, not a smudge, everything just so,
the weight of my task immense as we
shuffle this circle, the still of this valley,
the patterns, intricate and deliberate, molded and holy and you say

you can almost feel it.  How it feels to feel.  Because, perhaps,
when you’re near the end it’s better to ground in logic and
knowledge, your strong mind dictating the terrain,
because you’ve always done it all by yourself.

Come to this country.
Marry this man. 
Raise these children.
Education and education, work and work,
one heavy step after another. 

Though today, your legs barely support your frame,
your back bent and broken, a tiny hand shakes,
your face serious and deep,
pained clarity.

Sixteen years ago, I never thought you’d still be here.
The morphine dripped and I told you all my secrets,
spoke to your closed eyes,
laughed myself silly, delirious,
those hours spent in that stale room,
striped curtains and flowers,
everywhere flowers,
just barely

getting my groove on

I love how everything is a muscle.  Working hard and moving fast?  Muscle.  And suddenly the weeks feel more sane as they ebb from school to home to back again.  Homework managable, dinner on the table, alright.  Even after the stove finally goes kaputz.  An excuse to eat out for a few days until we get our ducks in a row, our credit cards out of the wallet. 

My mom came for Grandparent's day at our school.  My mom came and the skies were sunny, the leaves yellow, the days fall in that way that is so spectacular.  It's hard to see my mom sometimes.  She's getting older.  This is not easy for either of us.  For any of us.  I want her here always.  But we go deep and talk late into the night and, somehow, manage to find some rhyme and reason at the end of it all. 

Eliana got into the flow of fall by embracing her inner crafty madness.  Her mama is not so crafty.  I don't sew or knit, have never been on Pinterest.  But little lady loves a good project.  So damn if I can't conjure up some good juju to get something going on with those old nasty old crib sheets in the closet.  And double damn if I didn't just roll into Michael's after I took my mom to the airport, determined only to buy the fake cobweb stuff because I really did love it when I was a kid. 

I cried happy/sad tears as I pulled into my parking spot at everyone's favorite craft joint.  Wicked's, "For Good" was blasting on the stereo and Eliana was singing out like only a good girl could.  I felt so full with the love of my family, then and now and all together, the way we are all getting older, the way we are all understanding more every single day.  I want my girl to always sing out.  To always proclaim her awesomeness, cry big tears, feel big feelings.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

natural re-set

I'm learning a few things that seem to work every single time as a parent.  Work when things begin to unravel.  Work when the Sad begins to emerge from their Happy Sad selves.   Food is high on the list.  Music is a solid second.  But the absolute sure bet these days seems to be some time outside.  Not outside with games and rules and bats and balls, but outside just to be outside.  Outside in nature.

The past month has been harried and jolting.  Of course it's been filled with all the goodness that is new and exhilarating, but it's also been very, very full.  I've sworn off the word, "busy" but seem to have replaced it with, "full."  So, indeed, the fall's been full. 

This full feeling is not just coming from me.  Solomon has started a new school and is settling into long days where mommy, daddy and sister are all on the premises, just not in his sight.  Eliana returns to the same classroom, teacher and amigas, but has been met with the new rigors that are first grade.  More accountability.  More homework.  More Happy Sad. 

It seems that 4:30 marks the potential for breakdown.  We're all hungry.  We're all exhausted.  I try to rally with different ideas.  We've done Butterfly Herbs for cookies and tea, the library, the neighborhood for cul-de-sac biking and general merriment.  But it's like they just don't have it in them anymore.  Especially big sister. 

So last week after the cookie date failed, instead of heading home in a frustrated huff, I was for whatever reason inspired to head up to our local farm.  It was a gorgeous afternoon and I knew there would be heaps of pumpkins to check out, late harvest rows of multiple hues of kale.  The kids went along with it; it's been forever since we've been up to the farm and even in her weird state, Eliana is generally up for adventure. 

Within five minutes of wandering through the fields, taking in the hills, the colors, the smells, Homegirl said it herself:  Sometimes all you need is a little time in nature, mama. She was back.  Totally back. 

The collective mood only elevated when we found a handful of pigs to check out, listen to and, most fantastically, name.  Eliana was cracking us both up with her ridiculous names and astute observations of the piggie's idiosyncratic features.  So we laughed and called the pigs their goofy names and made it home with smiles on.  You were at the farm?  Jeff asked when he came in from work.  Whatever works. 

So with that little life lesson in mind, we committed to a mellow weekend outdoors.  The kids were super gung-ho for our, "signs of fall hunt" on Saturday and they both busted through the steep open space in our new neighborhood. Solomon is such a little bad ass. He's physically fierce and trekked hard-core for a guy his age with nary a complaint (as long as there were plenty of snacks on hand).  The next day they were a bit less game for hiking and exhausted after a late night and rockin' pre-school brunch that morning.  TV was in hot demand and I was ready to cave.  But then someone suggested biking instead of hiking so next thing we knew, Jeff was loading the kids bikes into the car.  We're pretty sure Solomon got into the mimosas because he was biking like a little drunk down the trail, all sharp curves, his head tossed over his shoulder to see how far ahead of us he was.  Eliana has a sweet green mountain bike and all the self-assurance to pull it off, wild curls blowing behind her, little booty working extra hard when she stands up to maneuver the uphill bits. 

As always, we were quite a scene, kids and dog and bikes.  Loud voices and wacky plans and random goals.  But, again, we pulled out of some major resistance and heavy moods and managed to salvage our day and enjoy one another.  Both days felt totally complete with only those two events to shape them:  hike the hill behind the house, bike the main trailhead down the road.  Such simple endeavors, such enduring gratitude.