Tuesday, December 20, 2016


I am good at piling on, but not at unpacking. I give myself things to do: chores, school, work, parenting. It accumulates on top of me, the pack mule who is never unpacked.

But last week I read the word, "buoyancy" and I thought, that's what I'm missing. I am always treading water, never lying on my back and floating. So I decided to unpack a little. I started with a bath bomb and a book. Then I scheduled a massage.

The masseuse said, "you sure are tight" when working my shoulders and I thought, work it out. All of 2016. All of the work I did and the stress I had. All of the worry and the anxiety. Knead it out of me. 

In 2017, I will not begin to sink. I can not do that again: gasp for air and struggle to breathe. I can not feel the heavy darkness washing over me, into me, through me again. I will swim toward the light and when I find it, I will stay there.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

pain and cookies

When I dropped Brandon off at preschool, he clung to my leg, tears in his eyes like it was his first day again. He loves preschool and always says, "bye mom!" with something like enthusiasm. But today was different.

"Sit here, next to Ryan," I said. But then a redheaded boy sat next to Brandon's friend Ryan instead. "Sit by him," I said, as if one person was as good as another.
"But he's mean to me!" Brandon wailed.
I wanted to demand to know what this redhead did to my sensitive boy. I wanted to track down the mother and have a word or two. But I acted calm and Brandon's teacher helped wrench Brandon off of me.

"I'll be back soon," I promised. Then I came home with Holden, to stew over what could have happened to my boy. Because when something happens to your child, you feel it just as intensely, maybe more so.

Once preschool ended, I picked up Brandon and got the story. On Friday, the redhead and Brandon were in the bathroom and the redhead punched Brandon in the belly and didn't say he was sorry. Brandon said this boy isn't mean to anyone else, only to Brandon.

And I felt a pang like pain in knowing that Brandon has learned that the world is not always kind. That he will have to fight, even though he doesn't want to. That right and wrong are always at war. That people punch each other and say awful things and purposefully hurt one another.

But I brought him home, where he is sheltered from all of that and we made Christmas cookies and despite what he went through this morning, he said, "this is the best day of the year!"

Although I can't keep them from the evil, I can remind them of the good.

Friday, December 9, 2016

small efforts

So much in the habit of sewing something I stitch up a bunch of scraps, try to see what I can make. 
~from "The Color Purple" by Alice Walker

I don't watch a lot of TV, but one of the few shows I do watch is Project Runway. I watch it while I run on the treadmill, constantly marveling at the parallels between designing clothes and writing. We are each being creative, using our imaginations to create something for someone else to enjoy.

I am getting in the habit now of writing, thanks to grad school forcing it upon me. When I'm about to fall asleep, I think about what I am going to write next and when I wake up, I plan when I will sit down to write. It is becoming the habit that running was before. It could be a journal entry or a blog or revising something I wrote this semester or working on my novel, but I am writing and I am feeling good.

My sister sent me a "writer's box" last month which was full of writing inspiration: blank books to be filled and pencils and books. I cried while I marveled at each object she had included, knowing me and what I would like; spending so much time and effort to make it personal. She hand lettered on every page of a journal a quote to inspire me.

One is: "Success is the sum of small efforts - repeated day in and day out" (Robert Collier). Right now, Steve and I are cleansing again and I am shedding weight quickly because day in and day out I am disciplined. Small efforts, whether walking for ten minutes or not eating a cookie or writing until I'm proud of something or avoiding my phone at bed time are accumulating to make me feel purposeful.