If I am strong, brave, resourceful,
If I know how to laugh with my whole heart,
if I know how to smile at a stranger
and speak to them until they are a friend,
If I know how to work hard in my home
and move with integrity in my world,
If I can speak my truth clearly and fearlessly,
If I can comfort those in need
and discover the solution
where others perceive problems,
If I can see the deeper meaning of all things
and love the essence of this universe,
it is because of you, Mom,
and everything that you taught me.
Thank you, a million times,
Mother saved me again today…
I was in a funk and needed her.
So I grabbed my kids,
some water, and a snack,
drove to the edge of the woods,
and took a walk.
She is so beautiful, my mother.
And she knows just how to make me feel better.
Her branches are the loving arms I need
and her blue sky the fresh air that nourishes my soul.
Her welcoming brown earth, the green moss of her hair,
the sound of the wind through the dry leaves,
a lullaby to me–
even as winter’s chill clings to an infant spring,
still I delight in her radiance,
the flowered jewels that promise to arrive
when the sun beckons them forth
from the womb of my mother.
Inside I wanted to scream
but on the outside I remained calm
as I spoke in soothing tones
to my boy whose finger was gushing blood.
Instead of going to sleep right away
after I tucked him in for the night
he got out of bed and
managed to pinch his pinky finger tip
in the folding door of his closet
cries of pain
sent me running upstairs
finger tip blue and awful looking,
blood on his other hand
blood on his pajamas,
now blood on me,
and I couldn’t see…
two friends who had come over for dinner
were downstairs helping us to install a light fixture
and of course
lights were out while working on the wiring
so we stepped outside in the sunset
and I administered first aid in the dying light
mother, healer, soother,
I managed to remain calm
even though inside I wanted to scream
Sometimes I’m a monster.
The hormones rage,
awakened by a child too many times
in the night
sleep deprivation depriving
me of insight,
cannot see the light.
Patience is gone,
replaced by rage,
I’m an animal in a cage.
I’m loud, I stomp, I slam,
I feel put upon, resentful,
Then comes the guilt
for not being better.
When it’s like this,
I often forget that…
Sometimes I’m a saint.
Most of the time
I meet my children
with tenderness and kindness
when they are grumpy,
resistant, messy, loud,
and mostly oblivious to my efforts
toward their happiness.
I cuddle and hold them close,
I tell them how important they are,
how special, how dear,
how glad I am that they are here.
I love from the deepest part of me
and forgive every single thing,
because I see their purity,
their absolute trust in me,
and I want to be worthy of that trust.
Sometimes I’m a monster.
Sometimes I’m a saint.
Always I’m a mother.
Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt tells us to try a dialogue poem. Alrighty then.
A Dialogue Between My Neurotic Mind and My Breath
Oh my god,
I’m going to be FIVE MINUTES LATE
to my daughter’s preschool for pick up time
that makes me a terrible mother,
and the director and my daughter’s teacher
are going to resent me for being late
for the umpteenth time.
Now I’m rushing,
and teaching my son terrible habits
as I drag him out into the rain
and drive too fast to the school.
Poor little guy,
I don’t pay enough attention to him,
and he’s growing bigger every day.
Why didn’t I savor his babyhood more?
And now it’s all gone.
I’m such a poor time manager.
Why do I do this to myself?
Will I never learn?
What is wrong with me?
Now I’m speeding, and it’s dangerous.
Hopefully I don’t get pulled over.
I shouldn’t be rushing like this.
Better late than dead.
They’re going to hate me for my lateness.
Oh good. I’m only three minutes late.
No other moment but this one.
More space than you can imagine,
All is well.
Beginning in the morning
with a little quiche
I threw together for breakfast,
and flowing into the afternoon
in which I creatively mixed some leftovers
to make a somewhat edible lunch
and then flying into the evening
with not one but TWO meals–
one for tonight
and one for tomorrow’s dinner–
I spent this day
thinking about how I nourish others,
and not just theoretically,
but truly, actually,
how I nurture others
with the food I spend so much time preparing.
And now, at night,
so tired that I can barely sit up straight,
so tired that I can barely stay awake
for my evening sit,
How much is too much?
When does the act of nourishing someone else
become a simultaneous act
And is there a way to strike a balance?
The question I’m always asking:
How do I get my own needs met,
when my focus is on meeting the needs of others?
I’m too tired to take a shower,
but that’s okay,
because it’s winter,
and there really isn’t any dirt or sweat
except for the dirt in my own mind,
and the sweat of the one inside me
who was racing even though
she knew there will never be a finish line.
Going to bed now.
Light a candle
Ring a bell
Anoint forehead with frankincense oil
B R E A T H E
M E D I T A T E
Inhale arms up
Exhale forward fold
Inhale halfway up
Exhale hands down, feet back,
lower down, hover in strength, inches from the earth.
Inhale, heart shines forward, back bends, eyes look up.
Exhale, hips rise to the sky. Blood flows into face.
Breathe. Downward facing dog.
Breathe. Breathe again. Breathe again.
Feet forward. Inhale halfway up.
Exhale fold. Inhale reach and rise through standing.
Exhale hands to heart.
P R A C T I C E
Hear child awaken.
Take child in arms.
Avoid being kicked in the face.
Hear the tantrum.
Try not to react.
Give child food, drink, hugs, smiles, reassurance.
M O T H E R
Feel the myriad emotions and sensations of life.
Notice the cravings and the aversions
Hold space for desires flowing in and out
Get caught up in body identification
Trapped in anger
Wrapped in sadness
Smothered by impatience, irritation,
Hurry hurry hurry
Hurry faster faster FASTER
Heart pounding, adrenaline coursing through veins.
There is no tiger, I am not in a jungle…
This fight or flight response happens because
I hate being in rush hour traffic on the highway.
My mind says: Hurry. RUN! FASTER!
Slow down. Wait. Wait.
S T O P