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Category Archives: Family

Strings Attached

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I look at a Facebook photo of a baby sleeping on the indentation of a guitar as his young father strums it quietly. I remember playing the guitar against my protruding belly when I was pregnant for each of my sons. More than sound, this was a bonding between two worlds, still unknown to each other. Love flowed through layers of skin and muscle with every note, every lyric carefully crafted from the wonder, anticipation and unity. This was and is my poetic hum.  I ponder the picture again, slightly worried about this tiny bundle nestled rather precariously in the crook of a wooden instrument. Could she slip off? Possibly…but only into loving arms.

 

love moves beyond walls

love is a constant murmur

love never silent

 

Written for Poetics ~ your poetic hum,

a thoughtful prompt by Gina at dVerse Poets Pub.

Join us!

 

Image credit: pixabay.com

https://www.faithpot.com/guitar-baby-naptime/

 

One Photo

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One photo

Frantically collected

From the poised and piled

As tornado warnings proceed

The sirens repeat

 

One photo

Treasured among smiles, scattered

Corners curled and tattered

Taken before digital days

This face, irreplaceable

 

One photo

Made of thirty six Christmases

And one million memories

Warmed in the palm of my hand

Rain quickens, pelting against windows

 

One photo

Could easily take flight tonight

Trailing the tempest

Clutching you closer to my heart

Stay with me in this storm

My brother

 

 

Written for Sarah’s Poetic prompt, “Mindfulness and Poetry” where she has asked us to choose a small object that could fit in the palm of our hand. Explore it, write freely about it and form a poem. In light of recent devastation northeast of here, we were under serious tornado warnings in my area tonight. I scrambled to choose “what is important” and take it to the basement. Easier said than done. Thankfully, what could have been, never was. We are all safe and sound.

 

 

Glass Fish

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You didn’t know

That on riverbanks I sat

Sinking in words unspoken

As waves sparkled and spat

Saying more than you could

And I ever would

I back-stroked in sea storms

Dreamed of days blue

While you fought the ebb tides

And this little memento

Means more than an ocean

To me

 

I am hosting Poetics at dVerse Poets Pub today. Today I am asking you to write a poem about one memento. You may use a souvenir from your travels, a photo, a keepsake from a special moment or event, perhaps a small token that is dear to your heart.

 

Neurons

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It is a privilege

To be part of this village

Paving the pathways

Breaking the patterns

Sowing the seeds

Eye contact, warmth of heart

Neurons ready for take off

Strange how for some

It takes science to prove

That love builds brains

 

Today for Poetics at dVerse Poets Pub, 3 p.m EST

We take a closer look at Ally Saunders, an artist from British Columbia, Canada. Through an interview, Ally shared with me more about herself and her life as an artist. She has kindly allowed us to use her work to stir our muse!

Join us!

In Search of Glee

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March 2011 018

December finds my heart heavy like branches weighted in white. I fail to embrace it. Instead I scoff at the scrambling of over anxious shoppers and assumptions that blaring Christmas music brightens my world. The carefully chosen Fraser fir stands unembellished in the living room for yet another day. You know my funk, that same old funk that fiddles with my mind, this time every year. You roll your eyes in circles of “here we go again” as mine well up.

Gazing out the window, I summon a spindly slice of moon for answers. She is silent. You wrap your arms around me as snowflakes flit and flutter against ink spattered skies. I count them like expectations. You hold me tighter, reminding me that the spirit of Christmas is not measured by the amount of hearts sitting around a table. It beats in the loneliest of hearts, even in the darkest of nights.

night cradles the day

Luna peeks from under veil

one star shines brighter

 

It’s Haibun fun again at dVerse. Toni leads with her expertise on the form and has asked us to write a haibun about a good night, any good night, keeping these haibun rules in mind for the prompt. “1) It is non-fiction 2) It happened directly to you 3) One to two tight paragraphs 4) You end it with a classical seasonal haiku.”  There is lots of time to join in.

Ties

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thailand-1578267_1280

 

He tells me he’s going to Thailand. Alone. For six weeks. Six weeks and six days. He is taking a backpack. I think he is joking but then…there’s the grin, that familiar smirk n’ dimple disposition that says he is not. I smile, wide-eyed while panic pokes at every ounce of my maternal self. “What?” “Why?” “When?” The fact that he will miss Christmas becomes trivial, getting lost in swirls of anxiety. I look in his eyes for answers to questions I haven’t thought of yet. He speaks of hostels in Bangkok and a train to Chiang Mai where you can ride an elephant. My heart races like a tuk-tuk but I remain focused on him, his dreams, his ambitions, his life. This is his life.

 

sea eagle sets sail

as easterly winds beckon

avoiding monsoons

 

Toni (kazensukura) leads our Haibun Monday at dVerse this week. The topic is your choice. Just remember to follow the etiquette of the form. “(1) The haibun must be non-fiction (2) The occurance must have actually happened to you (3) You are to write one to two tight paragraphs and (4) End it with a season based haiku.”

Image: pixabay.com

 

 

There is Light

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sunrise

 

The sun paints for you
In hues against blues
Reflections of great sorrow
You gallantly cope
Through beacons of hope
For sunrises and tomorrows

Let skies amaze you
Daybreak embrace you
Memories warmly whisper
Layers of love shine
Heal in your own time
He lives in your heart, sister

 

Dedicated to my sister-in-law, Michelle.

~

At dVerse Poets Pub, Gayle introduces The Alouette, a poetic form consisting of “two or more stanzas of 6 lines each (sestets) with the following set rules: Syllables/Meter: 5, 5, 7, 5, 5, 7 Rhyme Scheme: a, a, b, c, c, b”. 

Dinner for Four

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Pins patter across the floor

To the beat of stifled hearts

The scrape of metal on plates

Over a pea soup haze

Of perishing pipe dreams

Plates are full

Starving souls grumble

As sun stretches in vain

To reach darkened table

Four sets of blue eyes

Pale and gazing elsewhere

Wandering minds waiting

For something

Anything

To speak

These walls know

The pain of silence

 

We have all heard the phrase, “If these walls could talk”. Today, I would like you to do just that by giving walls a voice through your poetry. Join in with us over at dVerse where I will be your host for today’s Poetics. Doors open at 3 p.m. EST.

Image credit: pixabay.com

Horton Hears a Cleri-hew?

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dr-seuss-clipart-61dbikohmcl-_sl1500_

Image credit: clipartpanda.com

 

 

 

A writer, cartoonist from Massachusetts

He wrote about cats and red fish, blue fish

His Pop had dreams of him being a doctor

But he dreamed of “loraxes”, giggles and laughter

 

He had bunches of hunches, he thought and he thunk

Ate green eggs for breakfast and some other junk

The “sneetches” of Google, Wikipedia.org

Say his goal was to make literacy never a bore!

 

 

Gayle has introduced us to a “clerihew” which uses couplets and humour to present a biographical topic. She explains it much better than I can, so head on over to dVerse. I may have broken a rule by not mentioning the late Theodore Seuss Geisel or as we fondly know him, Dr. Seuss.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dr._Seuss

 

 

 

Departure

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pic for Departure

 

I watch the old bones
Of your pianist hands
Bend in new ways
Blue irises fading, not in beauty
Mind sharper than mine

Will you take flight tomorrow
Or am I blessed with more?
My pen is dripping tears
Dare I write these words?

Am I afraid to love so much that
The ground beneath me liquefies
When you go?

Will your skin, soft and weathered
Turn to pixels on a screen
Leaving me floating here
In the silence of white noise?

When you become that
One …star…ablaze
I will not stand in darkness…alone
Waving at you from the gate
I swear
I will be your moon
Gently glowing
By your side

 

 

We are facing our fears today as I tend bar over at dVerse Poets Pub.

Doors open at 3:00 p.m. EST.

My Happy Feet

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Beside my bed there is a magnificent mountain of slippers, each one a gift of love. She made them all, that mother in law of mine, from 1500 miles away. They usually make the commute in groups, a few couples arriving notoriously at Christmas, this time with surprises inside each one. Every night when I get home I choose a pair for my aching feet. There are those with extra reinforcement for the sole purpose of…well, yes for the sole purpose. Some days they wait obediently for me in true coordinated fashion, but there are those days when life is disheveled and one goes astray. Perhaps they play when I am away. I don’t mind when they don’t match, but when they do, all is right in my world.

 

stitching across stars

sunshine travels many moons

to scatter rainbows

 

 

Written for Haibun Monday #15 : All Things Quotidian (doors open all week). Toni asked us to write a short and sweet haibun about everyday things or occurrences.

Image credit: pixabay.com

 

 

 

An Elegy

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I.

That morning
When part of me
Died with you
I was forced to fathom words
So free of logic
They made no impact
“Gone where?”
The entity spread slowly
Like black ink
Across my heart, saturating me
Into dark pools of nothingness
Liquefying my legs so
I crawled and pounded
At the floor for another world
To open up because this one
Was no longer real

II.

I have your boots
Engraved leather, western
I know they danced up storms
Tears of laughter raining
With friends that could barely fit
Into the funeral home
I have your smile
Tucked into mine
I use it for all that
You forgot to smile at
And all that you did

III.

I recycle your dreams
Tarnished and tattered
They still matter
To me
I see you in the clouds
Emblazoned in
Fiery silhouettes
Did you know that
Seagulls float by
With sun speckles of
You on their wings?

cloud for elegy

In memory of my brother

~

An elegy is “a poem written to lament the loss of someone or something special to you”, as Gayle Walters Rose explains this week at dVerse: Meeting the Bar. Three stages of grief are included – sorrow, admiration and acceptance.

A Daughter’s Farewell

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May 30 016

 

I set sail without you

Into seas of rebellion

Waving white flags

At pilfering pirates

On quests for

Golden hearts

There was no good-bye

It was assumed that

You were you and

I was I

 

The sea swelled and took you

And I cursed not the wind

But your timing as I was

Left pining for words

Tossed and turned

Lost and churned

Into the brine

There was no good-bye

It was assumed that

You were you and

I was I

 
Sharing this with Open Link Night at dVerse Poets Pub, in response to Abhra’s poetic prompt, “Unintended Farewells”

Sheltered

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dance

 

I danced shadows to shield you
Magnificent steps
Choreographed sweetly
To the beat
Of my breaking heart
You wore my shoes
Heavy with irony
Shuffled down trustworthy trails
Longing to fly barefoot
Across murky dark oceans
Only to dangle your toes
Between shark’s teeth

We are writing quadrilles at Dverse Poets Pub.

 

Expectations

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December 2012 141

 

Words echo through

Ear piercing silence as

Secrets hide under

Blankets of truth

Moments ignite, rise

Only to fall like wasted air

Dancing on deaf ears

Jabbing at hearts

For various reasons

Known and unknown

But we fill our stomachs

And cordially consume

All that is placed in front of us

Still craving for all that is not

Earthly and Heavenly Conversations

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sand castle

 

“Hey! I can make my own waves in the water!”

      “Where are your shoes? I told you no.”

“But look…”

      “I told you NO.”

“Ok, I’m getting my shoes…oh I have to stop to get all this sand off my feet.”

      “Where is your towel? I told you to bring your towel.”

“I forgot it.”

      “Don’t pick that up. It’s dirty.”

“It’s just a straw, for my flagpole on my sand castle.”      

      “Put it down. Now!”

“But I want it. I need it. The flag is the best part.”

 

 

“So, by the way…I made my own waves in this world.”

      “How did you do that? I told you no.”

“Just look.”

      “You didn’t listen. That is good.”

“ I always listened to you….always did what you said until I was tired of wiping the sand off my feet. I needed to feel it.”

      “You threw in the towel? I dreamt of your success, your master’s degree in…something. “

“Oh I know…I have never forgotten your dreams.”      

       “I was afraid of failure…mine, yours…yours being mine.”

“I remember one time when I was little and we were at the beach… I couldn’t build my sand castle because I needed a straw and you said it was dirty. The straw was part of my…”

      “I know….part of your creation, your idea. Are you still making sand castles?”

“Yes, Dad. Every day that I can. I want them. I need them…and my ideas are the best part.”

 

~

 

When Victoria C. Slotto at dVerse  challenged us to incorporate dialogue into our poetry, I was surprised and overwhelmed when this prompt took me on a very personal journey.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Today Was a Good Day

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An open field in rural Ontario Embracing November Mother and son This was a good day ~ https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/today-was-a-good-day/

3 Days 3 Quotes Challenge: Day Two

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geese and goslings

 

“It’s not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It’s our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.”

~L.R. Knost~

     ______________________________________________________________________

This is something I hold close to my heart. Whether we are parents or educators, I believe it is our responsibility to nurture, be empathetic and model kindness for the mental health of our children and for the future of our society.

A big thank you to unexpectedincommonhours for nominating me for the “3 Days 3 Quotes Challenge”. Check out her blog!

Here are the rules:

1. Thank the person who nominated you.
2. Post a quote each day for 3 days.
3. Each day, nominate 3 new bloggers to take part in the challenge.

Today’s three nominees:

1. The 2015 Chronicles

2. Butterfly Sand

3. Zimmerbitch: age is just a (biggish) number

~

The Dis connect

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chain

 

 

Who broke the link? Who broke the link?
I think it could have been me
I stretched myself too far this time
I forgot where I should be
How does one fill the gaping void
Where fragments flake to rust?
Does time slow down to heal the wound
Does space turn hope to dust?

Does space turn hope to dust?
Does time slow down to heal the wound
Where fragments flake to rust?
How does one fill the gaping void?
I forgot where I should be
I stretched myself too far this time
I think it could have been me
Who broke the link , who broke the link

 

 

My first attempt at a Palindrome poem in response to Mary’s prompt for Meeting the Bar.  Mary explains that in Palindrome poetry or Mirror Poetry “the poet uses the same sentences (or almost!) forward and backward. “

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Forces of Nature

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Goslings on the pond

Droplets roll off golden fuzz

Buoyancy meets gravity

~

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/forces-of-nature/

Origin of Me

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October 100

 

 

I am from the wings of a dragonfly
The delicate sands of an anthill
Silky threads of milkweed seeds
Opened and tossed to the wind

I am from the roar of a Honda 70
Grasshoppers, gullies and go-carts
Dewey grass on sunburned legs
Arms wrapped around tree trunks

I am from flower power
Hiding in wall flowers
The tickle of rugs in shag
The crumple of paper grocery bags

I am from pumpkin pie with maple syrup
Borsch and crescent moons
Plaid jumpers and pig tails
Tied with purple yarn

I am from the scent of oil pastels
Grandmother’s charcoal sketches
Minor and major scales of G
Sunday school and follow the rules

I am from frozen toes and toboggans
Snowflakes melting on eyelashes
Hot chocolate steaming
As the porch light flickered

I am from pioneer women of strength
Men who worked the land
Prairies of rippling amber
Gleaming against western skies

I am from the salt of tears
In wounds still open
The pieces that are left
When hearts stop beating

I am from all that I wish not to be
And everything I wish to be me

 

 

“Where are you from?” That is the poetic topic at dVerse this week.

 

 

 

 

 

My Brother

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Driving east from our hometown

I remember a sunset

Blazing behind me

Reds I’d never known

Tangerines twisted

In tones of blue silk

Ivory smiles, infectious

Masquerading as cirrus clouds

I think it was you, my brother

I think it was you

              ~

Miles were meaningless

Moments embedded in golden hues

Purple streams extended

Like arms that had my back

I never lost sight of your afterglow

Love as large as the sun

Fades not in distance

Or in hearts

I think it was you, my brother

I think it was you

Grace encouraged us to write about brothers/brotherhood for dVerse poetics.  I lost my only brother suddenly when he was 36.  This was written as I recalled the most amazing sunset, traveling home one day from the small town I grew up in. It just happened to be his birthday.


50 Things I’ve Learned in 50 Years…#26

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“Being with someone as they pass is as phenomenal as witnessing a birth. It is a privilege to be present.”

26 post

It started out as an ordinary day in November.

I was 22, enjoying my first “real” job since graduating from college. However, this day turned out to be life changing. Today I would lose my dad.

As I arrived at work, I was immediately told that I needed to call my aunt right away. It was about an hour’s drive to get to the hospital in my hometown. This was a blur, emotionally and literally as I urged my boyfriend to drive faster.

ICU was like some kind of dreamworld, some place that shouldn’t be…because the reality was too hard to accept. I remember white…sheets, walls, floors, nurse’s uniforms, the grey tone of my father’s face almost blending in. There were heart monitors, tubes, oxygen masks…things I had never seen. My 19 year old brother was standing beside the bed, trying hard to control his tears. I remember holding him up as his knees started to buckle. My 16 year old sister had an 8 hour trip by train. She would not make it in time. I remember watching the jagged waves on the heart monitor…every beep was another second of denial. As long as his heart was beating, this nightmare had not begun.

I watched him struggle to breathe. I saw the fear in his eyes. I felt the tiniest possibility of hope vanish when a nurse politely explained to us exactly how a person dies when there is no heart muscle left to keep them alive. She told us how the oxygen mask would make him “comfortable” in the end.

A few minutes before my father died, he suddenly attempted to rise to a sitting position. There was no logic to this, given the amount of strength he had left. It was frightening, but amazing at the same time. Looking straight ahead with eyes wide open, he pointed at something. He was unable to speak, but he was trying to communicate. He saw something. He knew something. He was entering a new realm, a journey that we were no longer a part of.

As devastating as this was, I felt so fortunate that I was there. I cannot imagine how disappointing it would be to take your last breaths on this earth without someone you love by your side. Death is not just about loss. Beyond the heartache, there is something more to this moment.

We celebrate the beginning of life.

We need to honor the end of it.

~

Breaking Bread Habits

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Pelee Island 452

You sprinkle the flour
Careless chaos across my counter
I want to even it out, but I resist
This is your life now
You knead it

~

Watching you with motherly eyes
I finally see
That everything you are
Did not originate from this kitchen
And I thank God for that
You’ve moved on from
These minds, crumbled and torn
This table set robotically
With knives scraping on Corelle
Just to break the silence

~

You twist and turn this art
Into your own
Scoring precisely as planned
Filling the old loaf pan
With new hope, rustic and pure
This bread will leaven
And my heart will rise

~

Written for dVerse and inspired by Gail’s nurturing poetic prompt using the subject of bread.

Empty Nesting

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September 2014 375

 

Curried carrot soup in the crock pot

Peach berry crisp bubbling in the oven

This is my morning

Its sixty four degrees and perfect weather

To watch the geese come in

For a spectacular landing over the pond

But that is not where my heart is

I am blind as autumn guides me through

The rituals of raking and baking

Buying squash at the market

Pinching off the mums that are wilting

Because I don’t have enough sun in my yard

I don’t have enough sun in my life

It is all a facade when there are no

Mouths to feed and no laughter kicking

Up the leaves

That was my yesterday

Little jean jackets, mischievous smiles

I brace myself for the cold

That never fails to surprise me

Half way through October

Even though it’s never left

Since you did

 

September 2014 457

 

~

It’s Open Link Night at dVersean opportunity to share anything, but when Marina Sofia mentioned Fall, this one evolved quickly.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Work of Art My Grandmother is an Artist

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My grandmother is an artist.

Over the years, her oil paintings have adorned many walls. They were beautiful landscapes of colour and detail, shadows of mountains, life flowing in streams, and love delicately expressed onto canvass. I remember the smell of the paint, the blended hues she experimented with on her palette, her unfinished piece draped in cloth as it waited for more magic from her hands.

Ten years ago, at the age of 86, she painted what she thought was her last painting. Her eye sight was failing fast. Four years later, 90 years old and almost legally blind, she picked up the paint brush once more attempting a few final creations, including these two paintings for me and my husband.  She said she was not sure if she could paint again, but she hoped that we liked them.  What they may lack in her usual detail, they make up in visualization, strength and determination.

There are no words to explain how much they mean to me, so I won’t even try.

My grandmother is an artist.

She was also a dedicated wife to a Lutheran minister, devoted to her church and helping others, a most creative and resourceful person, and wonderful cook.

Today she is still a loving mother, grandmother and great grandmother. She lies quietly in a nursing home, unable to see or walk, and barely able to hear. In her mind, I believe she is still painting…memories of bright faces in the sunshine, places of long ago and visions of the light that waits patiently for her. I believe that someday she will paint with the angels.

My grandmother is an artist.

 

scan0001                                                    scan0002

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/work-of-art/

A Good Mother

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I built a wall around you

Believing that was right

Pushing away the darkness

To hold you in the light

Brick upon brick

Arms wrapped around you

Leaving you nowhere

To fall or hold on to

Except for me

But I don’t count

Because a good mother

Would have let you out

A good mother

Would have sewed you a cloud

To sail to the sun

And sing out loud

To swell up with tears

That rain on parades

To play with the lightning

And not be afraid

A good mother

Would have loved you from afar

Forgot where you came from

And learned who you are

She would have braved her own demons

And dried her own tears

Harbored your anger

And welcomed your fears

A good mother would love you

And that I have done

But you broke the wall

You found the sun

wall

Embers

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SAMSUNG

You are only gone

If I forget you

That could never happen

My brother, my friend

For memories, like oxygen

Breathe life again

Inhaling your laughter

Exhaling joy

You are only gone

If I let you go

But I don’t have to

Because flashbacks kindle the fire

Igniting hope

Warming my heart

And if my heart is warm

Then you are too.

~

In memory of my brother

who can still make me smile today.

~Oct. 28, 2000~

Dawning Hope

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April 9 sunrise geese033

You are with me in the fog

Drifting silently on your own

Though you hide within the darkness

You will never be alone

Waves of anger turn to ripples

As the faithful sun will rise

Murky minds catch rays of hope

To see the light inside

~

You are with me in the fog

Relentless it may be

I am hiding in the darkness

Words are lost and swept away

We are floating without current

We are discord in a daze

But there is promise in the sunrise

There is love beneath the haze

50 Things I’ve Learned in 50 Years…#19.

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#19. Parenting is lifelong.

DSCF7076

When your children are small, you think this is the most difficult time of your life. Diapers, fevers, tantrums, oh my!!  It has to be easier when they are grown.

“Grown”?

What does that mean? Do they ever stop growing?  I haven’t stopped growing!

We are always waiting for the next stage in their development whether it’s walking, talking or starting school. There is always a step, as though we are accompanying them up the stairway to ADULTHOOD…some magical place where we are no longer responsible, no longer needed, no longer of service.

This is so far from the truth.

Parenting is not a job that simply ends at 18 or 21 or 55. They continue to grow and change every day and you are part of that.  You never stop worrying about them, caring for them and loving them. Everything they do has some effect on you. There are feelings of pride, guilt, concern, sadness, relief, excitement and fear that run through you as they continue on their journey of life.

The hardest part of being a parent is when you no longer have the right to be involved. Your involvement becomes a privilege. Your knowledge of what is happening in their life crosses lines of confidentiality policies and ventures into new territories of friendship, mentor-ship and consultation…if you’re lucky.  Suddenly, the flashbacks of boo boos, band aids and kissing it “all better” are sweet memories. It was so simple then. As your children get bigger, so can their problems.  When you no longer have the ability to protect them the way you used to, it can be the most unsettling and frustrating feeling you have ever felt.  Your colicky baby that kept you up night after night was still SAFE in your arms. As they get older, it is much more of a challenge to let go and simply pray for their safety and well-being.

Parenting doesn’t end when your children are not children. As long as you are worried, you are still a parent.

They are part of you forever.