Morning Routine

Too early for the sun

Your lips sprinkle my cheek and jaw

Whispered word penetrates sleep —

“I look upon you with great favor.”

A groggy mental eye roll, yet

my heart lifts, reaching toward

but my grasp is frail.

Grace slips away as you slip out the door.

I turn over, curling up

under blankets,

searching my darkness.

Your words play hide-and-seek,

until I fully awaken and remember,

my whole self wraps tightly around

your benediction, holding me together.

See, I do hear you sometimes.

Even when you don’t make sense.

Even when I find you hard to believe.

I get up, wondering what I will

say today.




Almost, not yet

My eldest son

16 years and 9 months old

you ask if I have my cell phone as I

rush to the door

“Of course.  I would not leave my children home alone with

no way to reach me”

My hand secretly searches my bag and finds my deVICE.

You smile smug.

“Or maybe, mom, you have a responsible son who charges your phone and puts it in your pocketbook”

You lean your cheek down, down into my kiss-giving range.


Yesterday, you inspected my truck before a trip,

testing the engine light — thoughtful.

I have raised you and trained you

Perhaps you are ready for release.


Then I remember opening a kitchen drawer

and finding a block of cheddar cheese

beside the potato masher and ice cream scoop

while you stand at the counter,

a rectangle of cheese on its way to your mouth.


And I remember last week,

your little sister met me at the door,

serious face, big eyes, head tipped to side

revealing a bruise under her jaw

marked by your big clumsy foot.

It was a fun wrestling match until

it was not fun anymore.


Maybe you are not quite ready after all.

I sigh

In Relief.

Conversation snatches

Centering myself in the present moment and feeling gratitude does not come naturally to me.  Too often, my mind is replaying past conversations or planning future obligations.  Pen and paper help me fight my way back to the present.  Purposely listening to conversations in this house with the object of writing them down grounds me in the here and now.

I often find these scraps of conversation I have penned  laying around the kitchen counter, my bedside table, the foyer dresser.

Just today, I found some hoarded words, saved and then forgotten from FOUR years ago.

11 yo Sidney —– “Dad, do you remember that night I got sick and threw up on the floor?  And you wiped the floor with your socked foot?”

6 yo Rachel — “Mama, the potty is eating.  It eats  . . . . . . . “

11 yo Sidney  — “Mom, the icons on your computer have been moved around, but it isn’t my fault.  It is Bill Gates’ fault.”

And upon hearing me brag about how I fit all the garden produce in the freezer, 9 yo Lincoln — “Mom, you are ORGANISM woman.”


Four years — a breath, a lifetime.

The 11 yo boy who ratted on his Dad’s cleaning methods and messed with his Mama’s computer icons is today a 15 yo boy who sits at my kitchen table taking apart a nonfunctioning LED light bulb and talking to himself, “MAN, it is nice to have a voltmeter in the house.”

A walk to the mailbox

I had forgotten

how good it felt to walk

outside, breathing in the November sun.

I had forgotten

the sound of contentment

until it reached my ears

and delved into my heart

with laughter

as two teenage boys raced backward

down the driveway slope,

their sisters doing the same

at a slower pace.

I had forgotten

how happy I am to trade

the stale space in front of the computer,

the research and hard decisions tensing my shoulders

for the space between you and me that lets me breathe.


We used to make this walk together often

when you were all little and held my hands and skirts,

little chicks huddled around mother hen.

I had forgotten.

But I remembered when I saw how far ahead of me you run now.



**** A few days later, I revised this poem and posted the revision on this link, Even Mama Needs to Revise.

She is almost 6 and I have failed . . . . .

to teach this child NOT to pick up food thrown down in a Goodwill parking lot and eat it!!!   (I just felt my stomach heave as I typed that.)

She said it looked like a doughnut.  (another heave)

That was several hours ago. She is not acting sick . . . . . .yet.

I am not a super-clean freak. I don’t particularly care if the kids pick up food off the floor in our house and eat it, and I can guarantee that the feet of all 4 of my offspring are dirty at this very moment . . . . . . . . . . . .but strange food in parking lots is beneath even MY standards.

Sid will think this is funny and sleep peacefully tonight.  I, on the other hand, will probably have a nightmare or two.

Something I thought I would never do

It is funny how we plan our lives, how we think we know ourselves and are arrogantly confident of the decisions we make today and the decisions we *think* we will make tomorrow.

I didn’t have all the details mapped out for our parenting and homeschooling, but I made the decision early on that organized team sports would not play a role in our lives.  Organized team sports are not inherently wrong, of course.  Time with my children just felt precious.  And short.  And there are so many, many things we want to experience with them before they grow to adulthood and leave our home.  Regular team practice seemed like an interruption and a vacuum of our family time.

However, on this Saturday morning, when I am usually baking bread and catching up my To Do List,  I went to soccer practice.

I sat in the morning sun and watched my 3 guys on the field  —– Sid, Sidney, and Lincoln.  Sid has discovered that coaching soccer is fun and relaxing to him.  Sidney and Lincoln are slowly learning their power.  These untrained-in-sports boys are figuring out that they actually matter on the field, that what they do and don’t do influences outcomes.  I, the completely sports-disinterested woman, am discovering the joy of watching the metamorphosis of my boys on the soccer field.

While I watched Sidney learn that he is a force to be reckoned with, my Prairie runs up to me, “I have been on an adventure!” she says.  “And I brought you presents.”  I hold out my hand and receive the gifts of a rock, moss and a tiny pear.

She runs off again to “climb mountains” with her sister, Rachel.  I watch the girls run up and down the steep hill, wishing I had my camera to capture the image of  these fleet-footed fairies.  One graceful, red-haired fairy girl ran down the hill and across the field, leaping and jumping, chasing a dragonfly.

I turn my head and see Lincoln block the ball, sending it down the field in the opposite direction —- and I remember that his scoliosis has dramatically improved since starting soccer.  The chiropractor said the best thing Lincoln could do is exercise, exercise, exercise.

The sky is blue.  The grass is green.  The air is warm.  My boys are playing hard with their coach Dad, while my girls have their own “adventures” on the sidelines.  And I sit here doing absolutely nothing except breathing, watching  . . . . . . .and delighting in my children.   The manly coach is delightful in a different way.

This is the best Saturday morning I have had in a long time. 

I never thought I would become a soccer mom.  It isn’t at all what I thought it would be.