From Where I Sit

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“It’s a serious thing // just to be alive // on this fresh morning // in this broken world.”

 – Mary Oliver, Red Bird

From where I sit, the day is just beginning. Perched on the edge of my bed, I slip my bare feet into my sheepskin slippers, sinking my toes into the comforting fuzz. Mornings in Northern California start chilly, even in summer. I blink away the veil of sleep over my eyes and reach for my glasses. The dim room comes into focus. I stretch my arms over my head, roll my neck, catalog the snaps and crackles.

From where I sit, the space created when I unplugged from the usual beat of motherhood is about to fill. Today my two oldest girls come home from camp. The month they were away, the house was quiet and clean. There was less laundry, fewer dirty dishes, no sibling spats. Left with one child to mother, I scaled the symphony of our lives down to a neat little duet. In the afternoons, we played Go Fish and Zingo or watched Paw Patrol. Meal times were simple with just the two and sometimes three of us when my husband was home. My youngest daughter had us all to herself. We were rapt. It’s easy to dote on just one child. Continue reading “From Where I Sit”

Making Room on Mother’s Day

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My people, minus Josh who was still in the kitchen.

I woke up dazed and confused: this was not my pillow or my comforter. A Playmobil queen and her entourage stared at me from the other side of the room while a ginger-haired mermaid gazed sweetly down at me from the wall. Even more unsettling was the glowing yellow-faced clock that announced it was 9:04 a.m., two hours past my typical wake up time. Where the heck was I?

Then I remembered: I’d stumbled into my youngest daughter’s room sometime in the early morning when she’d come bouncing into our bed, awake for the day. Without saying a word, I’d padded down the hall, slipped into her slim twin bed and fell soundly back to sleep. Isn’t sleeping in what moms do on Mother’s Day?

Continue reading “Making Room on Mother’s Day”

The Right Side of Grateful

photo source: Orion Magazine
photo source: Orion Magazine

It is the day before Thanksgiving and I am driving. The road flattens and curves like a lazy river. Farmland on both sides, one planted in neat little rows, the other dotted with grazing, black cows. The car is stuffed. Duffle bags and pillows, snow gear, three kids and a dog, enough groceries for a month even though we’re only staying four days. We are on the road to Tahoe.

The hour and a half drive to the halfway point is taking double that. Holiday traffic. Everyone running into one another, tapping each other’s bumpers all in a hurry. Cars pull over on the shoulder. We all stop to stare then carry on. Neil Young sings Harvest Moon and I turn it up, hoping the girls will take notice, soak it in. Appreciate. “Because I’m still in love with you, on this harvest moon…” Continue reading “The Right Side of Grateful”

To My Youngest Daughter On Her 4th Birthday

imageThis morning you come prancing into our bedroom like you always do at 7 a.m. We are on the east coast instead of our usual west, yet your little body has quickly adjusted to its typical circadian rhythm: no matter what time you go to bed – and there have been some late nights because we are with cousins, because we are on vacation and the steady light of summer doesn’t fade away at bedtime – you still wake at the same hour.

“It’s my birthday! I’m four!” you announce and I smile in my half sleep even though I’m tired tired tired because I went to bed late hoping against hope that maybe just maybe you’ll sleep in. Don’t four-year-olds sometimes sleep in? Nope, of course not, what was I thinking? You are only four – wow, I can’t believe you’re four! – and there is no stopping you in the morning. Continue reading “To My Youngest Daughter On Her 4th Birthday”

To the Moms In My Daughter’s Preschool Class

KB Self PortraitsToday is the last day of our kids’ second year of preschool and it’s a little hard to believe it’s here. Even though I’ve been through the preschool years twice before and many years ago, it’s still a bit startling to come to the end of a school year and realize that time is, indeed, passing. The kids are all taller, their little faces have changed in subtle ways and their unique personalities are shining through even more.

This year wasn’t the easiest for me. Maybe you know this and maybe you don’t. Continue reading “To the Moms In My Daughter’s Preschool Class”

5 Lessons I Learned Staying Home with My Sick Three-Year-Old

IMG_5769 Winter in northern California is hardly challenging. Even during the years we get lots of rain (not this year or last), it’s rarely freezing cold and it certainly doesn’t snow where I am in the Bay Area. Despite the mild weather, we do still get hit with colds and flu though. My youngest ended up getting sick with a cold this weekend and stayed home from school today, which meant I stayed home too. Here’s what I learned during our sick day together. Continue reading “5 Lessons I Learned Staying Home with My Sick Three-Year-Old”