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Showing posts from May, 2013

The Clothesline

Once upon a time, back when there were only three of you, you packed up all your stuff, loaded it in a truck, and drove (westward ho!), landing yourselves in Michigan. It was time for a Life Adventure. The Gingerbread Man had finished an MBA, and together, you decided more graduate school was in your future. So you sold your house, ending up five-seven-nine hours away from your respective families.

Faced with your situation, most women would get a job with a paycheck, but you are not most women. You had a job, a full-time job and then some: the gingerbread boy. He just didn't come with a paycheck. You know some would be quick to criticize that choice, calling you selfish or stupid or a drain on society. But you weren't.

Instead of making money, you made do. You knew the difference between want and need. You owned your car. You owned a house. There was no cell phone, no cable. You had dial-up internet, but no consumer debt. You had a Kitchen Aid. You knew how to make bread. Yo…

Because That's What We Do, Isn't It?

It is raining and I am tired. The youngest gingerbread boy was up last night at 12:42 am, then 1:30 am, then 2:15 am.

And he wants me.

Not that Daddy is an option right now considering he has shingles and is down for the count himself.

It's me he wants to hold his head, to get a wet washcloth, to sit by his bedside, to read to him, to carry him to the bathroom. To be.

And the whole time he says, "I love you so much, Mommy."

And he says, "I don't want to miss school. I haven't missed school all year because I was sick, and they give out prizes at the end of the year."

And he says, "You used to call me sickie-poo when I was little and got sick."

And he says, "I wish I didn't feel so awful."

And he says, "Will you pray with me, Mommy?"

So I pray with him and I call him sickie-poo and pumpkin. And I sit by his bedside. And I rub his back. And I hold his head over a bowl. And I bring him a wet washcloth. And I give him sips …


Once upon a time, you read Cheaper by the Dozen and you thought you'd like to have a dozen kids. How different that would be from your childhood, much of which was spent alone. Everyone would always have a playmate. It would be insta-party, all the time.

Then you had one child.

And a second.

But you didn't make it to a third, or a fourth, let alone a twelfth.

Two are party enough.

It's hard to remember the Before, the sans children, the time when you could sit on a sofa and read a book if you wanted to. Or you could go out if you wanted to. You could have whatever you wanted for supper, and not have to accommodate a picky palate. There were few tears, and no fights, and the quiet was immense.
But so was the emptiness.

Motherhood is such a complicated thing. It should be as easy as delivery: take a deep breath and push. But delivery is painful--not easy--and the pain doesn't stop once a child is born. The pain continues, though it moves upward from belly and bottom to h…


Walking preserves your sanity. So you tie up your sneakers, pop in your ear buds, and around the loop you go.

Well, you think, there are better things that preserve your sanity, but walking is the cheapest. And the most accessible.

You set a good pace--enough to get your heart rate up--one foot pounding the pavement after the other. It's rained, and that means one thing during spring in New England: slugs. You watch where you step.

You stand up straight, shoulders back, moving from the hips rather than from the shoulders.

Before long the music gets to you.

The fact is, you're a dancer. You've always been a dancer. From the time you were little, doing "Red Dances" and "Blue Dances" in the living room, to the time you performed with dance companies much later.

You're a dancer.

Dancing is what preserves your sanity.

But there's no stage and your body is injured and doesn't always do the things you want it to do.

So you walk.

Walk, walk, walk, w…

Small Things

You are forced to arise this morning when the youngest gingerbread boy knocks on your door.

"Mmph," you say.

He takes that to mean come in, because a few seconds later, the door knob squeaks, and the door opens. If allowed to wake up on his own, the youngest gingerbread boy is painfully cheerful in the morning.

"Good morning, Mommy!" He walks around to the other side of the bed, moves the pillow, and climbs in. "I came to see you."

You crack an eye open. It's hard to be anything but happy in the face of such filial devotion.

"Is it Mother's Day tomorrow?" he asks.

"No, not yet."

He snuggles up to you. He's been asking you when Mother's Day is for weeks now. There is a large wrapped package hiding in the other gingerbread boy's room, and the waiting is almost more than he can bear.

The siren call of morning cartoons sounds, and he leaves you for some PBS. That's ok. You got a morning snuggle, a hug and a kiss, an…