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Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

On Point

 

 

 

Sewing the ribbons

onto point shoes for the first time

I again feel clumsy

 

in this art of parenting.

Angle the ribbons,

or stitch them on straight?

 

How far from the back seam

does the elastic go?

How snug the fit?

 

How secure the stitch?

It was not so long ago

I didn’t know how warm

 

the bath. How tight

the swaddle. How

to soothe when the babe

 

was unable to say

what was wrong.

So little has changed,

 

me in the late hours

puzzling over lack

of instructions,

 

wanting so badly

to do it right, wishing

for some elusive grace,

 

astonished by how enormous

the love, the ribbon

running through my fingers.

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One Parenting

 

 

in the same hand

I hold the rope to bind you,

the scissors to cut you free

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Mom, just relax. Let me take you to a place where there are no bunions, no bruises, no violence, no Donald Trumps, no unhappy thoughts.

            —Vivian Trommer, 10

 

 

Start with the scent of chanterelle cream sauce

still lingering from dinner. Throw in a few stars—

you can’t see them, but you know they are there.

 

Add a tickle. A giggle. A kitten-ish squeal.

Rub tenderly. Then hard. Then forget for a while

to rub. Add a hum, and the dark that can’t enter

 

the room. Add moon. And cocoon. An impending

soon. And the sound of the river never ending.

An inkling of joy. A hunch of perfect. A hint

 

of this can’t last. Choose that. Distill to precisely

this moment. Any sorrow or pain

that might wish to rise, it is only a background

 

flavor that shows up how sweet this magic,

how sometimes the best recipe is the one

that uses exactly what we have on hand.

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Like every other day, today

it is apparent that only love

will save us. Not in the grandiose

abstract way, but in the alarming

specific way. As in forgiveness, now.

As in choosing to hug instead

of fighting back. As in taking

three deep breaths before saying

something we regret. It saves us

from thirsting in the desert of our lives,

but only if we save it first by

choosing it, now in this moment

of angry words, now in this moment

of clenched thoughts, now in

this moment when we’d rather

taste venom but instead, we

pour love into our cup and

bring it to our lips and drink

and drink until once again

it is only love that makes sense,

only love that refills the cup.

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as if sweet talk

or threats might make

the rain fall up

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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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