Tuesday, June 12, 2018

It is bedtime.

It is bedtime
and his lap is full of our girls
and they are laughing and choosing
Shel Silverstein poems one by one
as the golden hour summer sunlight
streaks down the hall.
Our hearts and tummies are full from
dinner and bike rides
and I decide right then that
I will remember this moment
when things are hard.
When they are maybe scanning me for sickness some day decades from now
or I am heartsick over a catastrophic loss
or I feel I can't go on.
I hope I close my eyes and
see the streaks of golden light
and the smiles on their faces
and the closeness of their bodies
and I that I will still consider the pain of life
and all we must endure
to be an adequate trade
for this flash of pure joy.

Friday, March 9, 2018

A few things (I think) I'm doing right.

You watch me put make up on and ask for some. I oblige, show you the sparkles that cover your eyelids, and say, "It's fun to put this sparkly make up on, but what's the most important thing we need to get ready before we leave the house? Our hearts. Are they ready to be kind and loving?"

You lay in your bed. I kneel next to it, caressing your forehead and whispering over and over and over, "You are so important in our family. You belong with us. You will always belong here. I can't imagine our family without you. I'm the luckiest mom in the world because God chose you to be in my life. Our family wouldn't be the same without you. You are so important me - to us. You belong here."

You eat dinner and it is the exact duplicate of what we've just dropped off at my grandma's house as she recovers from her hospital stay. We talk about how it feels good to get new things and clothes and toys, but the best feeling? The very best? is doing something kind for others, like bringing them a meal to help their body heal and their soul to feel loved.

You ask me how my workout was. I say it was good because it has made my heart and my body healthier and stronger than they were before. You will never hear the word calorie come out of my mouth. You will never hear me talk bad about my body.

You like snuggles to fall asleep. The books and doctors and podcasts say not to, but I'm Your Mom, and I know that the recipe to a healthy heart for you includes snuggles at bedtime. If I don't want you to harden, then I have to meet you where you are soft.

I catch your eyes in the rearview mirror. I wink, stick out my tongue, and wave. No one else sees it, but you smile.

I reach my hand behind my driver's seat. You are right behind me, so I gently tickle your ankle because I know gentle, loving Tickles are your love language. No one else sees it. I can feel you relax.

You're playing and glance over at me.  I give you a tiny thumbs up. Our thumbs up (meaning, my thumb basically still laying flat on my fist). You return it and resume playing.

You come down the stairs first thing in the morning. I stop whatever I'm doing and open my arms. Palms-turned-out-elbows-wide-open, open. They close around you. Your day begins wrapped in my love.


I know myself and I know that I will spend many years of my life wishing I had done better in this season.... wishing that I had done more. That I had been more present, patient, emotionally available. Wishing that I had been more fun and more playful. I know that I will give my Past Self grace (as I already do). I will imagine me telling me that I did my best, that it was enough at the time, that where I fail, God can fill in the gaps. So I needed to take a moment to remember, that there are some things... some things that I'm doing right.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

I wrote.

I wrote my first angry poem.

I'm not going to post it here because, while it shared my truth of a situation and a scenario, it doesn't share the whole picture, and since there are other, wonderful people who are in the "whole picture" and who might stumble upon this blog someday, I'm going to let my angry poem sit in my 'saved' folder.

But writing it was really, really healthy for me. It also showed me for the first time that for me, writing is a form of art and creative expression. My poem began one night after discovering that someone we served overseas with had deleted me as a friend on facebook. The action bothered me, as it always does, but it was deeper than just an indignant "hey! What the heck!". It actually, well, hurt.

So I went to bed that night and for the first time in my life I couldn't fall asleep because my brain was writing. My brain was writing a poem to try to put into words the feelings that I was feeling. It was trying to make sense of what was flowing through my veins in an artistic way. Hurt. Sadness. Fear of judgement. Fear of what others must think of us, of me, of our time in Baku. The shame of leaving early. The guilt of leaving early.

Really, it opened a lot of emotions that I wasn't aware still existed inside of me.

I finally fell asleep and when I woke up I realized what had happened.  I was using art to process pain. My own art. Not music or painting or anything else, but my words. For some reason, it gave me ownership of what I do here... of what I do when I sit down at my computer to process my life in words.

and I'm actually proud of the poem. It ends in a really cutting and - I think - beautiful way that would never come out of my actual mouth. It is sharp and it isn't kind and it isn't the normal Leslie, but it must be some version of me. Reading it out loud to Joshua was therapeutic in a way. I didn't need to read it with all of the caveats of, "I know there was more to the story" (which there are, and I know know them) or "I could see their point of view in that scenario." (I can) He knows all sides of it, the explanations weren't necessary, and they weren't the reason for the poem. The poem was for the pain, and in a way, it healed a piece of it.