Thursday, May 31, 2012

You Are Here

Today, I played connect the dots
with my age spots
Joking about finding
mystical direction,
the answer to
"where do I go from here?"
I laughed
but I did 
almost hope 
that some sign
would take shape,
a symbol, a word, an abbreviation, at least.
But all that showed up
was a map
of where I've been
and it stopped right at today,
"You Are Here"
marked the last spot
So here I am
an older woman
who has just
drawn on her hand.
But I knew
not to use
a Sharpie.
If I've learned
anything in
fifty-five years
it's that
not one thing
is permanent

Monday, May 28, 2012

Babies Grow Up


 All around the house, scatter pieces of your dream come true. Photos clipped carefully from magazines of hairstyles and shoes and flowers. I see now how this dream sustained you these past two years, while you endured it here, in this temporary place with your mommy, this place that you had long outgrown. But you endured lovingly, so gracefully - bringing home tea and Diet Pepsi and butterfly mugs to make the sipping special.  I'm drinking my morning coffee out of the blue one; I always tried to give you the pink one when I poured yours, did you know that? Still giving you the pink cup, 25 years nonstop. How I love you, my little girl, all grown up. It is your time, Bird, finally, your turn. I look at all the spaces where your things are propped up waiting for you to take them. You deserve your own space. Your own alters. 

  The day after your wedding, I felt so tender, sore all around my heart that at the same time leaped with joy for the two of you. I have a friend who cannot understand, how I could feel anything but pure happiness, but it's ok, I know I am allowed to feel a little sad. We humans are complex creatures and life is rarely all or nothing. I will miss you so much, but oh how much light you and your big, loving, laughing man give off. How you belong together.  

It's a familiar feeling I have right now. Much like those early days after I gave birth to you. Feeling so very feminine, with a tender, secret ache.  Bliss was tempered with the ending of having you all to myself - knowing that I had to share you with the rest of the world, and knowing that the rest of the world didn't, couldn't ever love you as much as I do.  But guess what, Bird?  I think your laughing man might, I think he just might, and there is immeasurable relief in that.  I gave you away when you said, " I do" on a perfect day at water's edge. But your happiness, your happiness was worth it.

I am thinking now of all the times you helped me when I was too tired to stand. All the times you came through the door at the end of a long day, happy for the meals I made, and smiling, just about always smiling. And each time I knew, I always knew, I wouldn't have that forever. Today, wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles,  I know that I am able to open my heart and let you go. Really truly, gladly, let you go. Because, sparkly one- in -the -middle, that's how much I love you.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Wedding Days and Little Girl Ways

In one week's time, my little one in the middle will be getting married. She has been the sparkle in my days, the hug around my neck, for almost 25 years.  A sprite of a girl, I will always see her with her side-pony-tail, bouncing off the school bus and running into my arms. She will forever in my mind's eye, be six years old with a glint in her eye and a few cherished Nerds stuck to her palm.  Sometimes, even now, I will be talking to her when it suddenly hits me that  that I am sitting with a beautiful, fully-grown woman. Oh but she is still so full of light, still such a pleasure to be around.

Today, I was looking through my box of broken bits, you know those catch- alls where we keep stray earrings and rhinestones, and broken chains? I needed an AB crystal for the snap closure on a vintage purse I picked up for her wedding. Of course I had one crystal, just the right size; I have been putting oddities in this box for 35 years.  But I also found this.

It was a little pipe-cleaner tiara that I made for this very bride- to- be, 23 years ago for her first trick-or-treat outing. We were all fairies then, her older sister, and me too, wearing wings with my wedding dress. Oh those days were spectacularly easy, blissful.

When I held the little tiara in my hand, tenderly turning it over, I saw that it still had her baby hair caught in it. White-blond, fine, eternally baby hair.  Of course then I wept, what else was there to do? My baby bird is flying the nest. And even though it is into the arms of a kind and giving man, I will miss these "everydays" with her more than I can say. Her little sister will miss her too. The earth will shift on its axis, just a tiny bit next Saturday, indiscernible for the the rest of the world, but I will know as I stand and watch her take her vows at water's edge, that my life will never quite be the same. But I'll smile bravely and lift my champagne glass with everyone else. 

I'll watch intently all the goings- on: her dance with her new husband, her dance with my dad, her sisters' speeches -trying to freeze-frame it and hold onto it forever, with a million other memories. I'll do this right up till the last guest is gone. Then, when the ocean is dark, and the dance floor is bare except for a stray sequence and hydrangea petal,  I'll come home to a dull, quiet apartment. I'll kick off my shoes and get ready for bed. Then I'll lift the lid on my catch-all box, take out  the little tiara, and cradle it into sleep.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I Give You Glassware

       Dear T,
Bought a cut-glass pitcher for us today at the thrift store. Six dollars! Thought it would make us feel a little elegant, with the light streaming through, reflecting off our turquoise table. No bottom-feeders living here! 
 I imagined our fresh-brewed iced-tea or sparkly lemonade pouring from the spout. I swear I heard the ice clinking against the inside, heard us laughing about the dirty lyrics to your music, taking turns, turning the handle for refills. 

I brought the pitcher home, started to wash it in hot, hot, sudsy water. Then I saw it! The giant chip out of the spout, with a crack echoing on down. How could I have missed that, T? Did I want the bargain so bad, that I made believe it was part of the ruffled rim? Did I just look the other way and pretend not to notice? Well, I guess it wouldn't be the first time that I did that.

I know it was silly to think that I could lift our spirits with a second-hand pitcher. But, I tried; I'll keep on trying. For you T, always for you.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Tree of Wife

           Standing tall, unknowing. Targeted tree, an orange ribbon tied around her waist. Does she feel adorned? Like I did, wearing gifted earrings, unaware.
          Does she wonder, What occasion? Swishes, “I feel pretty, oh so pretty,” in her brand new sash. 
          Bony arms  stretch for sky. “ More, please," she asks,  swaying in May’s warm breeze.
         Someone should have told her. Swollen joints and scarred bark will not be tolerated. 
         I wince at her humiliation, the "not knowing". Then, think of the onslaught and panic rises. Her leaves are glossy, aren't they? See? She flowered, right there and there! Isn’t that enough? My heart quickens; spare her.  
          She-tree, still  giving, clueless. Flawed, infested beauty  - bristles with curiosity. She rustles. “What’s all the fuss?"
           Betrayal gashes. Roots clench in shock.
          “I shaded you!"  She wails.  Blades sinks in.
           She whimpers,“ I blossomed, I did."
           I echo her misery. I cherished, I did.
           Splinters sputter. Pride topples. Such a tall girl, in pieces on the ground. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


    As I dragged the trash out the other night, feeling very sorry for myself, I looked up and caught a fat, round moon laughing. 
     "So full of yourself," I snapped.
     "So fill yourself up; Who's stopping you?," He quipped, shimmering for a fight.
     I stared up at His Brightness with no come-back at all. The moon gloated in his cleverness. 
     I laughed at the absurdity of it all . Then, with the moon as my partner, a fifty-five year old woman danced by the dumpsters.