Monday, June 22, 2009

Alone time for Mama Duck

We managed it quite well this time-that holiday. This year we called it; "The Day of Fatherly Love" when we honor and celebrate all the people who love us in a fatherly way.

We made them pancakes, and gave them gifts we made at
preschool. We called some,and joined others at a baseball game.

We reminded each other that we do just fine the way we are--in this family that doesn't have one.

We listed all the people who love us, and who we love, and forgot for the most part that we were any different then anyone else. We asked if Uncle was our dad. We asked if our birth father was our dad. We asked about little brother's who don't have a birth father, and what does a donor do? We went to the park when we had asked enough questions.

Then it was time to do the hair. Sunday is hair night. Sunday is tangles, owees, combs, buzzers and popsicles.

Sunday was late to bed, and long, deep sleeps. In my dream I was evacuated from a plane in a lake on a dark cold summer's night. A giant loon appeared, and guided our raft to shore. Lakes and loons are harbingers of creative activity. The plane crash that wasn't a crash? Need a few more days to work through that one...

Monday is rainy listening to snoring children as I drink my instant coffee and imagine all the possibility of a safe landing... Monday is me almost kicking my heels in the air as I leave the kids at school for a day all to myself. Monday is a reminder to do nothing, as hard as that can be for me. Monday is for not making plans.

Monday is playing in the dirt, gardening in the rain.

I am off work for the summer.

I have two healthy, communicative, loving, whimsical, crazy, adamant, beautiful children to enjoy, nurture, rediscover, adore.

I have a nearly complete memoir and several pieces of published and soon to be published pieces out there in the world. I have so much more to say.

Of course it was a giant loon.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


On the edge of summer time.
A watering can in one hand,
a bathing suit in the other.
The park concert schedule soaking under
the watermelon rinds on the counter.
After dinner park romps
in search of an ice cream truck and
a baseball game.

Poised on the edge of summer
when the wading pool, the playground
and picnics at the beach
tangled up in kite strings
are the closest thing we have to a plan-
a destination.

A foyer filled
with bike helmets,
baseball bats, and
boasts from boys
with dirt under their nails
and heroic intentions
to catch the ball and
dive my head under the water
this time.

Poised for summer with
seedlings to encourage
under the windows
to open
inviting in the soundtrack of
the season: from bees
and boom boxes
to come on in and make it official:

summertime and the living
is easy.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Look what the Yes brought in

When the raindrops hit the little pond in the park, they leave giant bubbles in their wake. Tossing cheerios to the ducks in the rain with Sam and Marcel, I noticed those bubbles, hundreds upon hundred of them with a childlike awe. Then the mama duck with the couldn't-be- much -older-than-a-day-brood rounded the corner and I felt this crazy empathy with her. (I try not to count how many babies are there--so I don't have to grieve her loss when I come down the next day or so, and see that she has less.) I always shout out my congrats to her, for her success in the hatching department. I still can't believe I ever birthed one, and welcomed another-and here she is with seven or eight..

Uncle is here. He lives here. He shares meals here. He is right downstairs. He says "sure" when I ask if I can pop out to the store. I went grocery shopping alone. I took my time. I carefully considered which fruit would ripen sooner, but not too soon. I did not get irritated when the check out line was slow. I rather enjoyed looking at all the magazines that I would never ever read.

Uncle is here. He installs things, and removes others. He says things like an "antenna is a passive device.." and then he explains what that means. He lets the boys climb on him, and each play the recorder really loud at the same time downstairs while I cook dinner. I cook dinners that require things that are fresh to be cut up, baked, stirred, dressed and steamed. I set the table for four and notice that the t.v. has not been on all day. This is the fifth meal that has not come out of the freezer.

Uncle is here. He notices when Marcel speaks in more and more complex sentences, and grins when Sam turns a new phrase. When Sam eats all of the fish on his plate without being coaxed , I am not the first to say something. Uncle is gone for hours with the boys at the diner, and the park helping them burn off the chocolate chips in the pancakes, and the jam packages consumed for fun. I come back from kick boxing, and walk around my empty house imaging all the things I would ask Uncle to help me with if he were around. And he is.

How long is Uncle going to be here? Is Uncle living here now? Will Uncle be here tomorrow? Sam had a couple of very rough days at school last week--right about when Uncle's arrival became a reality. I am imaging that all of this could be pretty confusing to a four and a half year old in search of order, control, and mastery of all things related. You know where the ball is when you throw it against the wall and it comes back. Uncle living downstairs is far less predictable.

And finally a note about no. Or should I say, and on a positive note, a word about yes. I am noticing how often a no, need not necessarily be. Inviting the yes back into the morning, the afternoon, and the night. Yes we can stop at the playground, and yes you can have a piece of gum. Yes we can read another chapter, and yes you can wear your pajamas all day. Yes you can run in that puddle, and yes doesn't mean I am losing control of the world.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Foghorns and Gongs

uncle's boat is miles from the coast
he's been three weeks
at sea.
his boxes are down stairs
where we'd like him to be
when is uncle going to live here mom?
and now

sitting across from the therapist
i describe sam:
social, active and athletically gifted
sensitive, stubborn and dramatic
he knows what he wants
and that is that

(god he sounds like me)

sitting across from the therapist
i answer the question
what brings you here?

a parenting check up.
an imbalance
a feeling at the end of the day
that Marcel gets all praise and kisses
as Sam gets NO NO NO
and perma-frowns for

when a parent walks in the door
of a therapist's office as a
preventative measure
it must be like walking into the garage-asking
the mechanic what I can do to care for the car better,
in a way to avoid any
unnecessary wear and tear
to steer clear of a collision

walking home the words
sophisticated parenting
continue to ring sweetly

while the possibility that he is a lot like me
was more like a gong

Friday, June 5, 2009


The countdown began
last weekend
on a visit to the beach
in Mattapoisett.

Grammy, Grampy, Uncle, Cellie and Sam
and I together for Memorial Day
felt an awful lot like that time
of year when Saturdays
turn into more Saturdays...
When ice cream is a legitimate
dinner food
When sand from the beach
replaces sand from the salt truck
on the foyer floor
When taking the bike out for a ride
is just a part of the day
not a planned event.
When a baseball game
is easily
and yesterday's picnic sack
is unpacked to make room for today's...

We're not there quite yet
as the 5:00 am cupcake cooking
for today's Civil Rights's Extravaganza and Bake Sale

But close enough
that we are meeting
friends for frogging this afternoon
and signing Sam up for soccer camp
and strategizing on all the ways
to normalize father's day
when you don't have

Close enough
when your 20 month old utters
Catch the ball, in his sleep
and your four and a half year old
reminds you that there
is never a reason to wear anything other than shorts
as he plays his guitar on the stoop
waiting for you to get your shorts on
to go to the sprinkler park
and don't forget your wallet mom
in case the ice cream/dinner truck
should magically

Summer's very very near.