Posts Tagged ‘kids’

Thank you for the pep talk.
When your teacher asked you
to record messages in the phone,
you could not have known
one day your innocent words
would reach this woman in Colorado
and I would sit in my car
and stare at a mountain and press 4
to listen to children laughing
and press 3 to hear a room full of kindergarteners
shouting YOU CAN DO IT,
and it would make me weep.
I imagine you do not yet understand
how something so beautiful
could make a person sob—
a complex, but very real emotion
we don’t have a word for in English.
But perhaps you are already learning
of the ripple effect: How kindness
brings hope. How hope opens us.
How being open can make people cry.
My friend Paula explained it to me this way.
That’s what friends do—
they share the truth with you.
Oh, young friends I have never met,
I thank you for the ripple,
for the way it has recharged in me a tide
so deep that currents leak out.
Thank you for restoring the great inner ocean
that sometimes turns desert, goes dry.
Thank you for reminding me,
pwease, do something you wike,
something that inspiwes you.
I remember now. Oh bless these salty tears.
I remember.


If you, too, could use a pep talk, or even if you don’t need one, call anyway: 707-873-7862

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Sticks and stones may break my bones
but words plant thousands of tiny malicious seeds
that remain viable for a hundred years,
seeds that spring up in any season,
pushing their basal rosettes
through the rocky soil of self-doubt.
I suspect you don’t even remember casting
the seeds, but I have weeded them
from me for decades, tugged at them,
cursed when the tap roots snap
and the thorned stems of those old words
come back twice as strong.

Sometimes now, there are seasons
when none of your seeds come up.
Sometimes, on purpose, I let them grow and bloom,
surprised that out of something cruel
something beautiful still manages to thrive.
Sometimes those prickly bouquets
help me remember who I’m not, who I am.

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I no longer remember much of etiquette

from reading White Gloves and Party Manners,

so when Obama doesn’t come to our house

for Thanksgiving dinner, I needn’t worry

that I’ve forgotten how to address a former president

in an informal setting. I do, however, remind my kids

that if Obama were sitting with us,

they would want to remember to put their napkins

in their laps. They do.

And you probably don’t want to lick the serving spoon,

I add, as it goes from the cranberry sauce

into an eager mouth. And we don’t talk about farting.

The whole time Obama isn’t eating mashed potatoes with us,

we wonder what he is eating with his family

and what they are talking about,

and if he might not just accept an invitation

to our home for dinner. If he did,

we agree we would refrain from using the knife

with the butter dish to butter our own bread.

And, uncertain how to address him,

we’d just ask him personally how he’d like be called.

I’d like to believe that Obama might actually show up.

He’d knock at the door in his elegant and humble way,

no fanfare, holding a side dish of roasted brussels sprouts,

and we’d listen as he told us what he’s up to these days.

As it is, it’s kinda fun when he doesn’t show up

and we act like ourselves. I eat my green beans

with my fingers—they taste better that way.

My daughter plays with the candlewax.

Sometimes, I lick my plate.

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long after we arrive
still the question
are we there yet?

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