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Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

 

 

I know that things just don’t grow if you don’t bless them with your patience.

            —Emmylou, First Aid Kit

 

 

watering the sunflowers

it will be months before

even a bud appears—

watering the sunflowers

watering the sunflowers

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Today it slipped into my daughter,

the seed that all is not right in the world.

 

In a matter of hours, already

the tap roots had grown beyond

 

my ability to pull them out.

I wonder if I have been wrong

 

to keep her garden so tidy.

I wonder how to best teach her

 

to tend her own rows.

It will be endless now,

 

the onslaught, as every gardener knows.

And there is some pleasure in tending.

 

I think of how I would rather

be aware of all that grows.

 

I think of how sometimes

we change our minds

 

about what is wanted

and what is a weed.

 

Some part of me longs

to swing the sun back to yesterday.

 

Some part of me rejoices

that now all the world

 

is her garden.

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for parents of teenagers everywhere

 

 

planting flowers

all along the fence—

the fence is no less sturdy

 

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First, she built a tower of blocks.

It fell down. She cried. She built

it again. It fell. You could have told

her then, Honey, it all falls down,

but no, you told her, Rebuild it.

She did. And it fell. Again.

It is hard to not want to rebuild things.

Towers. Marriages. Egos.

Careers. It is hard to stand

in the crumble of life

and not ache for repair.

Until it’s not hard anymore. Until

you feel the freedom

that comes from the mess.

She’ll go off to college,

get a mortgage, a job,

building it all like you told her.

Meanwhile, you’ll get out

your wrecking ball,

the sun hitting you

where that tower

used to stand.

 

 

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There are many kinds of love, and I have lived some of them.

—Katherine Gallagher, Distances

 

 

You’re too restrictive,

he shouts at you,

and the fist of his voice

connects with your most tender parts.

There was a time

when loving him looked

like holding him, letting

the small question of his body

soften into yours. There

was a time when loving him

looked like kissing a knee

or playing Monopoly

a third time or singing

to him in the dark. How

easy it was to love then.

Now, love is a war

with no winners,

ammo without a gun,

a wall you wish you could

tear down. That’s right,

you say. I’m restrictive.

That’s my job.

He stomps away

and slams his bedroom door,

leaving you standing

alone with your horrible,

fierce love.

 

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She looks so happy with her new baby, all coo

and smile and jiggle and swing.

 

I smile at her, and think of everything

I do not tell her. How the child will grow up

 

to break her heart over and over. How

she will give him more love

 

than she knew she had, and it will not

be enough. How he will hate her

 

for holding a line. How she must hold it,

still. How she will come to doubt herself.

 

How all of us are broken, no

matter how hard we’ve worked to be

 

whole, and how none of us can

carry the other, no matter how

 

much we long to. How she will

beg her own heart, Stay open,

 

stay open. And how some wise friend

may someday say to her,

 

Shut down your big heart

at many a time. It needs to rest

 

while you are awake.

And she will know perhaps by then

 

the truth of love, how it is never

what we imagined. How

 

big a risk it is to love. How

everything depends on this. And how

 

she will weep, someday, watching

another young mother in the park,

 

cooing at her baby, remembering

how simple it seemed, and how

 

perhaps it is still that simple,

a mother, a child, a big world to explore.

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Out the kitchen window, my daughter

scales the cottonwood tree, winds

her way up the inner branches.

 

Feeling my eyes, she turns to smile at me,

her gaze entered by light.

The tree is bare, the buds in gray hoods,

 

though soon there will be a riot of quivering green.

So much in us still waits to arrive,

though in moments such as this,

 

there are no other moments, only this one

fluttering wild in our breast, not even trying

to balance the emptiness, with our hearts so full.

 

 

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My son and I lean together over the thin resistor,

the nine volt battery, the LEDs in blue and red.

 

We fuss with the copper tape as it twists and sticks

where we don’t want it to stick. But eventually,

 

there is light, a small blue light. He can’t stop looking

at the glow on the table. I can’t stop looking

 

at the glow in him. I remember so little

about how electricity works. Something

 

about electrons being pushed through the circuit.

Ours is simple, a series circuit, with only one way

 

for the electrons to go. But I know that no matter

how complex a circuit, the same laws of physics apply.

 

It’s like love. No matter how intricate the scenario,

the laws themselves are always the same.

 

There are two laws of love, I tell myself.

One: you can’t predict anything. And two,

 

it will change you. For good. I swear

as I stare at him now, I can feel the electrons

 

moving in my own body. Or are those tears,

twin currents following familiar paths.

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wanting to be your lifeboat

when what you really need

is someone to let you swim

 

 

 

 

and if you live nearby, you may want to consider this public speaking class I will be teaching for the next six Thursdays through Ah Haa … http://www.ahhaa.org/calendarize/public-speaking-rosemerry-wahtola-trommer/

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Fencing 101

 

 

 

It starts as tag. The instructor

tapes off a strip in the room—

the piste—and my son and I,

confined by the long bounds,

chase and reach for each other.

But the person who’s it

keeps changing. “Left,”

says the teacher, and I am it.

I lunge for my son’s arm, and

“Right,” says the teacher, and

I retreat as fast as I can,

my son now charging for me.

“Left.” “Right.” “Left.” “Right.”

We learn quickly to hold

our weight low, to keep

one foot forward, to allow

distance enough to tag

and not enough that we might

be tagged back.

The game is familiar. I flush

with young joy. Later

we learn to extend

our arms before we lunge,

to advance, to retreat,

to allow just the right distance

to strike, to not be struck.

The instructor gives us

a string to hold between us—

our goal is to keep the curve in it,

not to let it go too slack, too taught.

My son and I dance

forward and back, keeping

step with each other.

both of us smiling, both of us

serious as steel. When it’s done,

we shake what would be

our ungloved hands.

We have learned just enough

to know there’s so much more

to learn. As we leave, I feel

it still between us,

an invisible string, linking us

in this odd game of love,

the world our piste,

one hand always ready to battle,

the other hand, ever vulnerable,

ready to open, to reach,

to meet the other

with devastatingly effective

tenderness.

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