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Still Life: After Thanksgiving

1 Dec

As I slip my toothbrush
into its toothbrush cup
for the night,
I see
for the first time
in five days
its companion
and

my daughter’s
travel toothbrush holder
drying
on the side of the sink.

Tonight

13 Apr

Hushed
The house goes dim
Music begins to play
.
Then
One-by-one, black-and-white,
Black-and-white,
Blouse, skirt, suit, tie,
Performers take the stage
.
The light glows bright.
Young mouths open
In song,
Letting go
All the tones,
All the shapes
Of all the words,
All the consonants
And all the open vowels
They’ve been taught,
All they’ve discovered
Together themselves
.
And all the families
In our seats
Beam
Burst
In every row someone
Holding just one hand
Over one mouth,
Now open, too,
In
Empathy
Or awe
.
At how our children,
How our children’s voices
From year to year
Grow.
.
Yes, they fidget
and someone in the front row
Is always fixing his shirt,
But their voices
Blend. Their confidence
Soars. And we hear them.
We see them. They are
A choir now.
.

* * * * *

National Poetry Writing Month
30 poems in 30 days

At Twelve

6 Apr

At twelve, I rode home from summer camp
In the backseat of my parent’s car. All
Of the air had been siphoned out
And my mother wore braces on both hands

Or maybe just

On the other hand, a different hand, not
The same hand where she’d worn the brace
A week ago, when I was last home, and this –
This is when I knew there was no turning back.
This is when I understood for the first time
That we were only beginning our descent. This
Is when I realized there were no brakes –
Not even my dad knew how to stop the car.
Not now. Not ever again. I was twelve,

The same age my daughter is now.

R Phillips Conservatory 4

* * *
National Poetry Writing Month
30 poems in 30 days

Learning to Let Go: Year Eleven

6 Oct

Slowly, I realize your pencil is sharpest while my eyes are averted. Your attention is focused on the page, on the numbers, on the words you are meant to memorize when I hold my tongue.

You are every day so much more your own person – conscientious, creative, sharp-witted, smart – and you prefer not to filter yourself through the words or the gaze or the systems designed by your mother. I get it. I was where you are once.

I respect your choices. I respect your desires. I appreciate that good work, good grammar, completion of anything you begin matters to you. This is everything. This is … you becoming you.

As I, again, become me.

I am still your mom. I will always be your mom, wanting you to succeed, offering to put myself, my life, my own choices, desires, preferences on the line for you, even as you silently show me this isn’t what you need. Or want.

But this is my struggle: Being me, just me, knowing I am enough on my own. I am enough when I step back, when I talk about something other than you, when there is space between us. I am enough when I do me.

This is a middle school lesson I must learn – and not only for myself, which is why it may stick.

This stepping back is how I let you do you, too.

Flip Flops - Cabo

Email sent WED at 3:30 p.m.

17 Sep

It’s 3:30. School’s out. Middle school auditions are today, directly after school, and I am sitting at my desk downtown, acutely aware of the time.

I will not text Miss E
I will not text Miss E about her audition
I will not text Miss E
I will not text Miss E
I will not remind Miss E to introduce herself
I will not text Miss E
I will not send Miss E emoticons like kissy faces or thumbs extended upward
I will not text Miss E
I will not text Miss E
I will not text Miss E
I will not text Miss E
I will not tell Miss E to please use excellent diction and speak slowly and don’t overact and enjoy the experience and breathe deeply
I will do none of this because SHE’S GOT THIS

I will not text Miss E
I will not text Miss E

I promise:
I will not text our daughter today.
Unless she texts me first.

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