Saturday, March 26, 2016


Last week marked the beginning of a 10-week writing program.

Surrounded by other like-minded individuals enamored by the selection and connection of words, our first assignment was to craft a poem.

Twenty some years ago, I participated in a poetry writing workshop in undergrad; drank beers at a variety of poetry slams in my 'pre-kid' 20's and have maintained a journal throughout my 30's as a full-fledged mother...but a legitimate line of poetry has not leapt from my pen in more years than I care to own.

So, you can imagine my fear when I discovered that I would be one of four students workshopping my piece in front of the mass.

The last to do so, I prefaced my collection by saying, "I've given birth.  Three times.  And I'd rather give birth now, than get up in front of you."

Much to my chagrin, they encouraged me.  And this, is what I read:


She offered, as I hobbled into the yellowed kitchen, well before I

deserved them.  Dark and weathered, spidered and wavering, her

outstretched arms claimed, it is enough. 

All of it.  These fields.  Those folks. That wash. Our bodies. 

You and me.  Here in this room.  We will be

okay.  When moments earlier, purple, lip cracked, unknown spaces in between,

we did not know if we would see the sun underneath the door.

But that’s the thing about the heart and its beat.  No matter the dried crimson or the

tender, fractured places, it is bound to cry out when there is good

left over.

Come now, she whispered.  We shall greet the world with banners and bells and

hope.  We still have something left

to offer.  I can bake with my good hand and you can tend to the mistress’ baby

and no one need worry about all of this. 

Go on, wipe it away.  Clean your face and


Let go of what you think

you know and grab a hold of me.  I will never let you go.

And that is how it happened, the day I believed.

Trembling, with the piece of paper in hand, after multiple cups of coffee, I read it.  Much like lacing my first pair of running shoes and reaching the end of the block or the first mile marker, I survived.  And, it is was good.  Really good.  They were generous and constructive and helpful and well, exactly what I needed as I journey on this creative process.

Our next assignment is to craft a piece of fictional prose, which of course, I am petrified about...but thankfully, not nearly as heart splayed as I was with the first.

As it rains and I suck down an Americano tucked away from the world, I'm mindful that it all begins with one keystroke, word after word, draft upon draft, a choice to keep trying even when it falls flat on its face, time after time.

It feels good to put something into the world.  A start is a start, which is something.

Friday, March 18, 2016

A Serious Anything?

Sometimes, you just have to laugh and then have a little cry, a guttural scream, a prayer and finally, a "what will be, will be" surrender moment...this for me can transpire all in the same breath and began my Friday morning.

I should know by now that with three children, the world can blow up at any time.  I'm also aware that in the realm of blowing up, we have no idea of the kind of real trauma that can affect families and children and so I'm mindful that all of this is relative.

But sometimes, particularly in the moment, it feels insurmountable, exhausting and relentless...two steps ahead and always four backwards.

My five-year old daughter, Claire woke up on day two with high fever and a smoker's hack.  For certain, no school and lots of ibuprofen, popsicles and couch time.  Moments after my eight-year old daughter, Kate arrived at school, we returned to retrieve her and take her to an emergency dental appointment.  An x-ray later, we were contacting a specialist to find the quickest time for an evaluation and possible root canal. 

This crazy morning on the heels of communication with my 11-year old son's teacher about a missing assignment, an upcoming project and an impending test.  Most of this dialogue was a result of his choice to not be more diligent in writing down assignments and staying on top of his work load.

Somewhere between spilling the only half cup of caffeine I had on my jeans and reassuring my eight-year old that a root canal isn't so bad (what the fuck do I know, I've never had one), I just wanted to keep driving the car to Mexico.

And then, I thought about my life.  It's this weirdo juxtaposition of scheduling Kindergarten physicals, reciting the Preamble for my fifth-grader's social studies test, buying groceries, changing bed sheets, referreeing disagreements, chauffeuring kids to piano, football and ballet lessons all the while trying to run as many miles as I can and find outlets for my creative writing pursuits.

Last night, I joined a writer's program that I'm giddy and over-the-moon excited about.  It's a 10-week experience that I think is going to catapult me in the right direction and at the very least, keep me accountable and focused in my writing practice.

But as my world shifted this morning and the tide changed more abruptly than I'd expected, I thought...what the fuck?  There's no time for this silliness.  I mean really, when am I ever going to be a serious anything other than a mom?  And at that rate, as a mother, I often feel like I'm just barely floating above the surface.

While I was waiting in the pediatric dentist's lobby, another mom was scarfing down Starbucks, shifting in her seat, checking her phone, holding onto a toddler who had no desire to be confined to the space and she and I both looked at each other with understanding.  I said to her, "It's Friday, right?"  She smiled and said, "That's what my phone says, but really, is Friday any different than Monday?"  And I said, "Not when you're a mom."  We weren't angry, we were just truth tellers.

And then it occurred to me, all of it is a mess.  The quicker that I can sift through the minutia of daily living; deal with the curve balls of raising unpredictable, beautiful, needy, beyond adorable beings and recognize that I am both a serious and a laughable, imperfect, good enough mess of a woman...the faster that I'll get to the "good enough" place of living...mothering, running, writing and ultimately, just being.

That said, here's to Fridays that just work out.  I'm happy today to just be good enough.

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Stories I Tell

This past weekend, my husband and son left for a camping trip.

My daughters and I enjoyed every minute.

Two and a half days largely looked, bookstore, glitter art, toe nail painting, hair brush dancing, sushi, gelato, tulips, pancakes, mass and sea salt caramels.  The only thing that kept us from a bike ride was the Sunday "New York Times" and the rain.

After saying prayers, singing songs and lavishing kisses, I closed the door and headed to the kitchen to pour a generous glass of wine, excited to go upstairs and write or read or peruse Netflix...and breathe...alone.

While gulping the red, I heard my Kate's (8) feet on the stairs and slid my journal to the side of the bed in anticipation of an extra cuddle or story.  "Mama...why are you always writing?  I guess...what are you writing?  I mean, can I read that?" 

"Well, I guess I write because I can't help myself.  I've always written.  You know how you love to play the piano and make all kinds of art?  Even when you're not trying, you're putting something together with twine or buttons or twigs or canvas...everything is art for you...that's how words and stories are for me."

"Yes...that's right.  But I let you see it, my art and music, I mean," retorts Kate still resolute on reading my chicken scratch.

"I know what you mean, but sometimes, there are pieces of us that we're not entirely ready to share with the world and so, we respect that in each other.  I know that you have a diary and that you choose to keep it private.  I think that's important.  And well, soon enough, I suppose, you can read the stories that I've been composing and sharing on my blog over the last years.  You may get a kick out of them or you may, well, I guess you can be the judge of that."

After a seemingly satisfied look and a big hug and kiss, her question got me thinking about the sharing of my stories.  When I began my blog, Sam, our oldest was he is 11.  Kate was 3 and now she is 8.  And Claire, well she wasn't yet a year old.  They're growing and so too is their desire to know more about the inner workings of me.  What stories do I tell and why?  I'm sure that some of the blog entries will make them laugh, others will probably cause them to blush, some may even elicit a "What the hell were you thinking, mom" response.  But regardless, I hope that they can feel a level of honesty and authenticity that better helps them to get a window into the woman I am especially when I can't be as frank as I'd like to be.

With regard to my journals, well, they'll have to pry them from my cold, dead hands.  I'm sure they'll be buried in some random moth ball filled boxes in the cellar, half written, the ravings of a mad woman.  But maybe, just maybe, they'll read and think, "Right on...our mom was a bad ass who happened to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches...we just didn't know all of these sides of her."  Or, maybe they'll be horrified.  Who knows?  For now, the stories stay with me.  And I think, that's okay.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

18 miles of Monkey Mind Release

This week provided both a trial run and a treat for my 5-year old daughter, Claire and me.

All preschool year long, she's been begging to join friends for an afternoon enrichment program.  From 9:00am-2:30pm, students get the opportunity to mimic a school day by bringing their lunch and learning in-depthly about a specific topic...this week is the Rain Forest.

The program is held Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and so for 5.5 hours each day, I was a free woman while my littliest experienced a small dose of what next year will look like.

Resolute to make the time productive, I diligently made lists and Holy Fuck did I stick to them.  Somewhere on those lists, I treated myself to a 6-mile run each day...logging 18-miles in the books.

And this is what I learned.

The magic for me as a runner is in the long, grueling, slower, endurance-filled mileage. I like it when it hurts.  And in a strange way, it doesn't start to feel good until about mile three....because this is the sort of ridiculous monkey mind that I have to get through:

Why the fuck can't he remember to bring his Social Studies book home?

What am I going to make for dinner?  What will they eat?  I don't care what they'll eat.  Let them starve.

Why am I on my period again?  Why doesn't he have to be on a period and carry tampons for the rest of his life?

Oh shit!  I forgot to remind him to schedule that thing.  Damn it...I never got back to her.  Ugh...she probably thinks I'm an incompetent flake.

Oh my God...the sun is shining.  It's gorgeous outside.  An early spring, indeed.  Praise God!

Jesus...I just made it up the bitch hill.  I'm gettin my mojo back.  Not bad.

Argh...I left the whites in the washer again.

I have to cycle through all of the good, the bad, the ridiculously mundane, the seemingly never going to be different stuff to get to the really good adrenaline, endorphin boosts that remind me that I am alive and that today is a new day and eventually, in time, all be well.

This is why for me, running is a natural anti-depressant, a chance to keep my homicidal tendencies at bay and a way for me to release stress, frustration, exhaustion, martyrdom and overall, meanness...because underneath it, especially when I'm experiencing a visit from Aunt Flo, I can be a good old fashioned bee-yatch.

I run home.  Jump in a hot shower listening to my favorite podcast or Voice blind auditions and look forward to having a few hours alone before my sweet Claire Bear jumps in the car telling me all about pythons, rain, humidity, playing outside and how excited she is to go back tomorrow.

I think next year is going to be really, really good for everyone.  Be forewarned, if you're a reader, I'm probably going to be writing and running a shit ton.. it's the only way I've found to work out the kinks....18 miles of freedom.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Youer than You

This week in classrooms all over the land, children were celebrating the life and legacy of Theodor Seuss Geisel or the beloved, Dr. Seuss, that we all know.

On March 2nd, he would have turned 112 years old.

It's hard for me to imagine that gazads of years ago, he had the foresight, creativity and courage to write and illustrate stories of inclusivity, acceptance and individuality long before it was acceptable to honor those who are different from us.

My 5-year old daughter, Claire's preschool classroom took the entire week to celebrate reading a different Seuss masterpiece each day.  The inspiration of stories, prompted us to read one of our favorites at home..."Happy Birthday to You!"  As the bird of the story celebrates who he is, the narrator proclaims...

To which, my Claire inquired, "What does it mean to be youer than you?"  A bit tongue tied, I tried my best to describe that God only made one of each of us and that there are no other Claires on the earth even remotely resembling who she is.  And then I asked, "What does it mean to be Claire...the Claire that you are?"  She sat and thought for what felt like a really long time.  Resisting the urge to describe her, I waited.  Finally, she leaned into me and said, "I am a singer.  That's my gift.  I'm yellow.  I mean my skin and my hair are kinda yellow brown.  I am fun.  Like, I like to do this (she wiggled her eye brows up and down with a 'How you doin?' expression).  And, I'm a really kind sister and I love God."

This is exactly what it means to be youer than you, I encouraged.  You don't have to try to be something you're not.  You can be exactly who you fact, be more of it in the world...sing more, grow more yellow, be kind to all you meet and keep loving your siblings and God.  In a nutshell, let the world get the best of you.

In the midst of the insanity that was Super Tuesday and another ridiculous round of the Republican debates...I resisted the urge to share my favorite Dr. Seuss quote with my sweet daughter...even if it is a tad modified from the original version.

But all the same, it's exactly how I feel about the youness of certain candidates...nonetheless, I suppose we're all entitled to be youer than you.