Sometimes, more rarely than I want to, I get alone and quiet. Often, during these inimitable moments, a poem comes to me in almost full form. I have come to think of them as my soul's expression of all that's lying under the surface as I busy myself around the house; teaching my children, "making" my home, growing as a wife, daughter, friend and sister. I'm slowly developing the habit of bringing everything to God's attention, which results in worship or conversation-with-God themes in a lot of my poetry. When I go back and read them, I learn something about myself. I like poetry for a few reasons. I've found that when I talk too much, I almost always put my foot in my mouth. Poems cut to the emotional chase, and often leave room for multiple applications. Most of all though, I love how words, put together in beautiful and unexpected ways, open new understandings.
Down Wexford Green we’ll drive,
I’ll turn a measure slow
See? The second story?
I counted out those hours of glory
In sways, a pendulum’s measure of
A triumph, then!
A trophy now of memory
So fleeting, how –
It can’t be bought
Or kept, or kept
The pillow-soft rug
That sped me swift
Your cries, so priceless,
Now, no less –
But just a spell, here
In this house.
You’d wrap your fingers round my hair
You pulled sometimes
I didn’t care
You grew up in my arms
How can it be already gone?
Once, I cleared the gate in a bound
A second time, pushed through
Next time, though
Defeating gates is overrated
I felt a song wave through my hair
Looked about, sniffed the air
Seeing there was work to do
Spring was fresh, and summer gone
Fall too short
I carried on
Rounding a corner once again
That old wood gate was beckoning,
But now I saw its hinges gone
From days so long
So clasping hands with you, my dear
I stepped on through a path made clear
Bore a window in the snow
So the world outside would know
I am here
Imagining fields of paintbrush flowers
Ticking frigid go the hours
A cold wind shuts out nearly
every dreamy thought.
But I’ve this window
In an igloo
Where the sky’s blue
And it must do
(Simply must do)
Till I see you,
Till the spring dew
On the flowers
The past two weeks have been a happy, surreal, heaven-on-earth blur. Every time I stop to remember the day Elise was born I am overwhelmed with emotion all over again -truly overwhelmed, I mean. It’s a moment I don’t have words to describe, a moment among few for this writer. So today I thought the best I can do is share three “snapshots” from the last moments leading up to her birth; three candid shots of my heart that day…
September 16th, 3:43 a.m. I woke before Joe’s alarm and looked out the window at my parents’ car next to ours, both “saddled up” for the day’s activities, covered with drops of water. This little poem, tidy rhyming couplets that belied the chaotic fear and excitement inside me spilled quickly out of my mind and into the handiest “pen & paper” – an email to myself; a poem for Elise:
I lay back in bed a few minutes, reading my creation, contemplating the day. Then, when I was officially getting up, I took this screenshot of the time & date as a momento:
Finally, as Joe and I headed out the door I stopped him for a picture, knowing full well I looked tired, bloated from pregnancy, and utterly terrified. But I smiled, because I was also overjoyed to be finally heading in to meet my daughter!
I’ve been flooded with a strange mixture of bittersweet nostalgia and excitement this week as classes begin in our area public schools. Seeing friends from Oakwood post their first day of school pictures and comments has taken me back to this time last year, when we were new to this stunningly picturesque, close-knit Dayton community full of hope for Luke’s first year in public school. We dressed him in new clothes for his first day of Kindergarten, helped him into a stiff, new backpack, walked the tree-lined streets with dozens of other parents and marveled at how the whole town comes out for the start of school. The excitement in the air was palpable. I remember standing in the schoolyard, my heart swelling with pride as Luke emerged with his class from the building, having completed roll call, walking single file to board the yellow school bus. In Oakwood, only Kindergarteners ride the bus. It is a walking community beyond that, and we were so hopeful about our role as a family in this new place that day.
Fast forward one year, one move to Columbus, and one prettttty long story…
Pouring my second cup of coffee at 7:36 this morning, I glanced out my kitchen window to admire the way the sun makes the grass positively glow this time of morning. Just that detail cues my mind that it’s school time. I would be walking the boys to school now. I might even be dressed for work in the schools, myself. Instead, I feel a solid kick in my swollen belly and smile, imagining Elise doing her morning karate moves. I grab two slices of wheat bread and begin to make Joe’s sandwich for work. He’s in the shower. Luke is playing “My Singing Monsters” on the iPad upstairs, Seth is still sleeping. He’s always been our “later gator.” We don’t start homeschooling until the first of September. On the corner out front a mother stands with her son.
Waiting for the bus.
Sure enough, I hear the familiar roar of that old yellow behemoth as I spread almond butter on the bread, and by the time I look up, mom’s walking away and a single boy sits in the back row of the bus as it roars off. There would have been two boys on the bus today. This is where, and when, I would say goodbye to Luke for the day. I thought about our homeschool notification letter, still circulating in the mail as we just sent it out yesterday. Since we’re new, the school district probably doesn’t even realize we exist in the first place, but I felt a nervous twinge that we’re bucking the system or doing something we shouldn’t by not putting Luke on the bus, but I reminded myself that we had a choice, we made a choice, and we were allowed to do that. I don’t have to rush around this morning. I only have to pack one lunch – not two- and the mixed feelings I’m having, full of memory and duty and choice and bittersweetness and sadness and ecstatic joy just have to be normal for someone like me on a day like today.