Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Forging Ahead - a poem for my Columbia homies

Forging Ahead

In the middle of the state
In the middle of the country
In the middle of their lives
Five girls found
sun-drenched laughter, beer-soaked tears,
And a love for one another -
            sweet, strong and pure.
We started out nursing broken hearts –
healing though being
on the other end of the phone, across the table,
next to a pool,
on a dance floor.

Now look at us.

As we mourn the end of an era,
We revere the sisterhood that has been
forged through millions of little moments --
Kleenex, concerts and road trips,
countless tubs of popcorn,
boyfriends, breakups, and martinis.

Overwhelming journeys lie ahead for each girl…
Some on airplanes, some in their hearts.

We are saying good bye to parts of ourselves
Even as we welcome the new,
Although it seems impossible without
one another's hands to hold along the way.

It's time

to go be better
versions of ourselves.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Love You Forever

Years and years ago, before crow's feet began to make their first appearance, and when I still used to get carded for alcohol, I worked at Barnes & Noble in the kids' section.  There was this book, whose illustrations were particularly cheesy, that the other booksellers and I used to make a lot of fun of -- how sappy its prose was, how dorky the pictures were.  It was called "Love You Forever."  We scoffed at its sentimental message. The mother in the book continually rocks her son as he grows bigger and older, singing to him the words, "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always.  As long as you're living, my baby you'll be."  Then she grows older and is unable to rock him, so he rocks her and sings the same song. 

I know - barf! 

A few years later I had a friend who owned this book - a male friend in his 40s.  I laughed at him - why in the world do you have this sappy, crappy book? I asked.  He explained to a sheepish me that it reminded him of his mom, how when she got sick he had to take care of her.  I inwardly giggled at the badly done illustration of the middle aged man rocking his mother.  How silly, I thought!

After the birth of my son, a co-worker gave me this same book.  I snorted and put it on the shelf with his dozens of other books, thinking I would never read it. 

Then the other night, for some reason, I got this book out and read it aloud to Miles.  He was sitting in my lap, playing with an Elmo board book, probably not even listening as I read the lines - "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always.  As long as you're living, my baby you'll be." 

Oh, how the tears welled up -- and spilled over.  Not even the cheesy illustrations could stop the bittersweet emotions from flowing. 

How different this book looks through the eyes of a mother.  

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Finding Time For Me

When you're a mom, for some odd reason, it seems you feel ALL your time and energy - every ounce of what you have to give - must go to someone else.  Why is that?  Sometimes my day seems to be made of obligation, responsibility and worry -- and no one does that to me but myself.

Why do I forget about the girl who is begging for some attention? -- I'm talking about me here.
For instance, when I was pregnant, I used to go to Body Pump at the gym, walk the trail, and hit the treadmill on a regular basis.  I swear I was in better shape then than I am now.  I walked 3 miles every day the last week of my pregnancy, and that was in the heat of June!  These days I'm lucky to squeeze in a run once a week -- and the whole time I'm running, I'm thinking I SHOULD be home with my baby, or I ought to be picking up groceries, or I really should've used that time to grade a few papers.

I am looking forward to spring when we can go for family walks, and strap Miles in a trailer on the back of one of our bikes.  But until then, it's up to me to remember to take care of myself sometimes too.

Are you listening, Jodi?  Don't feel guilty for taking a walk!  Don't feel like your missing something because you are washing your hair today!  And for God's sake, get a pedicure already!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I have NOTHING to wear

If you've ever seen my closet, you know this is definitely not true.  But it feels true some mornings, like this morning for example.  I changed six times.  I even had a new shirt but decided I didn't like it after all.  So I was rushing around, changing bras, jeans, tops, boots... I had to rush out the door without lunch because I was 20 minutes behind schedule.  Since then I've been stewing.  Responding to emails and putting off grading a stack of papers.

Then I got the best text from my husband: "He ate his medicine.  He's getting sleepy.  I loved this morning."

It melted my heart, the simplicity of those words. 

Knowing my sweet man is home taking care of our son.  Knowing that our son is doing well even if I didn't have time to kiss him 39 times this morning, like I usually do.  Knowing that whatever I wound up wearing is not nearly as important as the fact that my husband treasured our morning, time we usually don't get together.   

These are good reminders for me, someone who often gets caught up in the material.  When I look back on these days, chances are I won't remember which sweater I was wearing or what brand of jeans I had on.  I'll remember the sweet simplicity of words like

I love you
You matter.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

My Son

I remember nursing this now huge baby, his tiny feet crossed at the ankles, his toes the size of tic-tacs.  Everything was precious and smelled good - even his diapers were cute. 

Now he is picking up Cheerios and Gerber puffs and (usually) getting them in his mouth!  He is crawling and sitting and pulling up on everything in sight.  He comes home from daycare dirty and stinky.  It is adorable and so, so incredible that I had anything to do with how fabulous he is.
Robert and I were talking the other night about dreams... dream jobs, dream homes, etc. 
"What's your dream, baby?" he asked. 
I thought for just a half a second and answered, "I'm living it." 
I meant it.  And I was sort of realizing for the first time that being a mama is what I was made to do.  I enjoy all the other roles of my life -  wife, teacher, daughter, friend.  But Miles is my contribution back to the world.  I don't mean to say I ever felt something was missing before he came along, but I did sort of always feel like I was just okay at everything - not stellar. 

I'm a good writer, but not great. 
I'm a good teacher, but it isn't my life. 

But even on my worst mommy day, I know I'm always doing my best.  And that feels good.