Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What I Am Doing at Four AM

I can't sleep! It is distressing when I can't seem to sleep.  I am so wide awake at 4:00 AM, and have been over an hour.  So, I fiddle around on the computer looking for a format for the "Where I Am From" poem, and discover a "fill in the blank" I Am format. My 4 AM efforts are honest, not very interesting, but who I am at the moment!

I Am

I am sleepy, but awake
I wonder why I am not snuggled in bed
I hear the leaves falling
I see ghostly shapes in the backyard
I want to be sleeping
I am sleepy, but awake

I pretend I am ok with this
I feel like I should be resting
I touch my keyboard
I worry that I will be really tired later
I cry when I think of other sleepless nights
I am sleepy, but awake

I understand that rest is important
I say to my students, "Get enough sleep!"
I dream that I will sleep through til morning
I try drinking sleepytime tea with honey
I hope I will sleep better tonight
I am sleepy, but awake!

Originally, I got up to let Nikki out, as she was milling around in the bedroom, acting restless.  I was awake anyway, and thought I'd just wait til she wants back in.  But, I've checked twice and she must be having trouble getting sleepy again, too, as she hasn't appeared yet at the back door to tell me she's ready.

Earlier, I remembered getting the phone call about my son, Chris, at around 3:00 AM.  It seems most nights that I'm not sleeping, I am remembering him.  Perhaps it's just that between times, between going to bed and time to get up, is a time when thoughts weigh heavy and sleep evades. Memories of that night are another story, not now.

Sometimes I think that maybe I just don't need as much sleep as I used to, especially since I secretly love being awake and alone in the early moments before the day becomes official.  Then I think about facing a room full of students in a few hours, and think, uhm, I should be sleeping and fortifying myself for the challenges ahead!

I'm not sure sleeping now will be much help, but I'm going to go try . . .

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

On Being Thankful

Thanksgiving is coming up, and this weekend Jessica sort of re-announced that she wants us to come to Bellingham for dinner.  Originally, I thought it would be a good idea, especially if she was working. But, now it's what she wants, even if she isn't working.  And I'm filled with all kinds of mixed emotions about the venture.

I've always had Thanksgiving at my house, for nearly every one of the past 40+ years! Here and there, we would go to someone else's house, but rarely.  I like getting up early, preparing the stuffing, baking pies and rolls; the steamy kitchen.  I love the smells, and the gathering of those I love around the groaning table, and the moments before we eat when I look at each face and am overwhelmed with thankfulness.

And last year was one of the best.  Both girls were home, and there was arguing over who would bake the pies, and make the rolls, and it was so chaos in the kitchen Babbittville. Amazingly, both helped with cleanup, and it was a very good day. I was so thankful for my beautiful, talented, creative daughters.

So, I'm thinking about the girls, growing up, being college students, both following in their mother's floury footsteps.  It is right that Jess wants to hostess Thanksgiving.  She's loves to cook, and I think she likes the idea of being in charge for a change. I've no doubt Kailyn will contribute by bringing one of her  yummy pies, or delicious homemade rolls.

Home for Thanksgiving doesn't need to be within the four walls where we've raised the family.  Home is where the family happens to be.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Daughters Bring Me to My Knees


Is there any short phrase that has had the instant impact on my life more than, “It’s a beautiful baby girl!”  I don’t think so.  If ever I was moved to my knees, figuratively and frequently, it was due to having daughters.  I prayed for the usual, good health, happiness, safety and relationships. But, more often than not, my prayers are simply for gratefulness.  Thanks to God for the blessings of daughters.

I would have been content with one daughter, but God knew I needed two, and He, in His infinite wisdom, was right of course.  There are mom lessons to be learned from all of our children, and our children are so different, it would be impossible to learn enough from only one, at least for this mom.

Daughters do more for moms than mere words can express.  They soften our hearts, sometimes into pure puddles of grief, and we go onto our knees to plead for grace, for patience, for discernment, and always for wisdom.  They build endurance, and we find we can do more, and be more, than we ever thought humanly possible.  We can sew wardrobes, from Barbie size to prom dresses, mostly well, with a few near disasters, and we hold in our hearts that unspeakable pride when a daughter wears to prom a dress that turned out badly, probably because she didn’t want to hurt my feelings.  And I am moved by her generosity more than I was ever moved before. The disaster dress becomes a fairy costume later in theatre, and if memory serves, a Halloween costume, so it has served well, though not in the form it was intended.

Daughters make us brave, and strong, and capable of murder. We double-dog dare (under our breath of course) that anyone hurt our girls. This includes their sisters on occasion! We lose friendships over slights, real or imagined, determining that our daughters are probably more valuable than anything else we can ever think of or dream of.  We forgive them any and all transgressions, including the “I HATE you!” delivered with such honesty that it rips a hole in our heart.  

We listen to them, eventually, perhaps while held hostage behind the wheel, driving interminable carpools, to soccer, gymnastics, friends homes, the mall, and eventually, to college. We listen and we cry, over hurts that went right over us, words in anger that we can’t believe we actually spoke, and miracle of miracles, discover that our daughters forgive us, too.  Thank God.

To be continued . . .

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Where I Am From

I am from the Mayflower,
surveyor's chains,
printing press ink,
a ditch diggers shovel,
a treadle sewing machine.

I am from tuna sandwiches
with pickles and potato chips
From grandma's flower garden
of snapdragons, hen and chicks
From Hide and Go Seek, and
Kick the Can, and Red Rover, Red Rover
From laurel bush forts
and baseball in the street.

I'm from a hundred year old beach house,
the old Sid's Market,
the ferry to Astoria,
and Grays River stories

I am from Willie and Alta,
the big barn on the hill
Imogene and Ed,
the house on Maple
Ethel and Kenneth,
Sunday dinners and Sunday drives
Pepper and Carmelita,
beginning and too soon end.

I am from VW bug, and classic cars,
50 Plymouth, Studebaker Starliner,
Honda, Harley, Camry
to a Sienna???

I am from berry and bean fields,
apple and pear orchards,
hiking the Grand Canyon.

I am from moving every couple years,
to staying put over twenty,
how did that happen?

I am from always running, never still,
to never running, always still
from doing to watching
from wishing to being
from dreams to reality

I am from the depths of despair
to the heights of recovery
from sorrow and grief
to faith and belief
from knowing it all
to realizing how little I know
from wanting more
to being grateful

I am from laughter and love
goodness and grace
passion and perseverance
honor and honesty

I am from a mother and son
who die at thirty
to a woman who has doubled
both of their lives.

I am from all who have gone before me
preparing the way for those who follow
weaving myself into the
living breathing tapestry
of those I love