Tuesday, May 28, 2013

There is great beauty in simple things

I love tucking my daughter in at night. There is an intimacy in the dark that invites secrets. Tonight she asked me about Reiki - an overheard conversation that she was curious about. We talked about energy work, and I explained how all of us have energy within us that can be felt. I took her hands and spaced them a few inches from mine –palm to palm. I asked if she could feel the heat and tingling. She felt a warmth, but no tingling. She was disappointed that it wasn’t more tangible. 

I adore her. There are times when my heart literally feels like it will burst – so great is the love that pours out of me. We talk of so many things. And, her questions are always well thought out – her natural curiosity, and hunger for knowledge, a gift I don’t take lightly. She is my amazing little girl who will soon be leaving 2nd grade behind.

 She is an old soul, my girl, and I am incredibly blessed with this daughter I call my own. This daughter, who is her own person, her spirit full and strong and fierce.
There is great beauty in simple things. Spending this time with my daughter is one of them.
She still sleeps with her cozy blanket. It must be tucked up under her chin, just so, flatly laid across the sheet – or, she cannot go to sleep. I imagine someday that this same blanket will be folded neatly at the end of the bed, or put away in the closet, and my fingers will reach out...touching the soft fabric, and I will remember how we used to whisper in the dark...

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Passage of time

As summer nears, my children walk around with flood pants - revelations of tender, exposed ankles and lengthening limbs. Last week I was transferring photographs, and as their baby pictures flew across the screen...I wept. I wanted to be back in our rocking chair, holding their sweet bodies in my lap, fat bellies full, and taking in that delicious scent of baby. Those days are gone forever.

A poem from a few years ago...  

  Will I remember it,
this life we have now
moments in a day
long passed.

When I measured them
against a doorjamb
with pencil, a ruler
and pink measuring tape.

Each rushing to be
the first one
Me First! No, Me!
But, it's MY turn.

When I said it was not quite
time for me to say good-bye and
she said she wanted to hug me
just because she wanted to.

When I overheard their battle
he shouting, I'm leaving
and she said, filled with hope
To Africa!?

The many nights of losing sleep
because he came into our room
yet once, after a night out
gasping, Mom, you're home!

The push and pull of asking
for help or NOT
Mommy, will you tie this in a bow
...I can do it MYSELF!

Seeing the metamorphosis from
tentative to self-confident
painstakingly slow...and
then like quicksilver.

Stepping on train tracks
strewn carelessly
across the floor, out the door
and to his imagined beyond.

Her small hand tucked in mine
so soft, so very soft
the tiny fingers growing
bigger every day.

The way he threw his arms
around his swimming teacher
topped off with a kiss
upon her shoulder.

Pretending to fly with them
running and flinging ourselves
upon the couch, tummy first
muscles screaming, yet worth it.

The cadence of her voice
filling the room
as she "reads" aloud
for her own pleasure.

His blessing at dinner
thanking God for us
for his grandparents
and the homeless woman.

The hours they spent
in make-believe lives
playing together and
needing no one else.

Will I remember sitting here
on the edge of his bed
small, overturned shoes
cradling my tired feet.

A boy not yet ready
for me to leave
him alone, eyes closed
to his unknown dreams.

A girl attuned to his every sound
lying in her bed, across from his
deep breaths stirring in the dark.

They are my children, these two
one a boy, on his way to five
and a girl almost four
two of them, ten months apart...

Will I remember it,
this life we have now
Oh Yes! in every fiber,
every cell, of my being. 

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Friday, May 17, 2013

JCK and the almost Cataclysmic Kinky Kindle Calamity...

Prologue: Last fall, upon her birthday, JCK received a book from her husband. A book that we shall call ...steamy. Whether well written or not, is still up for debate, but clearly JCK scored in husbandry if not literature. This novel is known in some circles as the book that launched 12,987,008 orgasms.

JCK's son, who attends a local public school, likes to surprise his teachers and his parents with the items he both brings to school, and brings home. Yes, this BOY has his own pockets of resistance.  Emptying his backpack is like attending a carnival, but not the one leading up to Lent. JCK has retrieved such hoarded wealth as LEGO men, stuffed animals, coins, rocks, and crumbled energy bar wrappers, as well as a recent objet d'art...a milk carton, buried in a side pocket, that had soured and caused palpable havoc amongst the Minivan passengers, and the surrounding countryside. Cheese makers in France would have been proud.

JCK, when she is not working, worrying about her children, attending committee meetings, doing mundane household tasks, pulling out her hair over the use of delicate bon mots within her blog posts, or having wild sex with her husband...reads. She reads lots of books. Some books, understandably, she does not display for her children to peruse. N'est-ce pas? One example would be THAT BOOK she received from her husband on her birthday, and the subsequent sequels she downloaded on her Kindle Fire. Yes, she is a glutton for decadence, our JCK.

Surprisingly, JCK is not what you would call a computer geek. She can roll with the average computer literati, but that's about as far as she'll take it. Therefore, when JCK downloads books on her device, she just lets them pop into her "book shelf". Leave them on the Cloud? What cloud? JCK is sure you get the point.

So, it was that one morning, unbeknownst to JCK, her son went to school with JCK's device, which contained her most recent downloads....otherwise known as The Postmodernism Deconstruction Pornographic Trilogy for Mommies, e.g.,. lots of talk about Moby Dick without the Moby.

You can imagine JCK's surprise when she received a text from the BOY's teacher stating that BOY had absconded to secondary school with JCK's Kindle Fire in tow, and was found using it on the playground surrounded by other children. Now, when JCK first received the text, she did not realize the full implications of what this could mean. Noooo... what transpired in JCK's fertile brain was anger and Mama Righteousness ...because, BOY had taken her device without asking.

It would be much later in the day, hours later, when the full import of what had happened would strike JCK's consciousness like a visceral blow. BOY's talent with electronic devices, and the knowledge of his facile ability to manipulate the Kindle Fire would send JCK into paraoxyms of High Anxiety and Deep Shame. Is THIS how her son would learn about...the birds and the bees?!

JCK considered attending the school aftercare pick-up incognito. If her hot flashes didn't kick in, she might be able to get away with one of her husband's old jackets? And she still had her Ginger wig from that Halloween a few years back..

JCK chose the path of least resistance, deciding to forgo the disguise in favor of being cooler. If all and sundry or even sundry were going to look at JCK with severity of expression, she didn't want to be misinterpreted by throwing her clothes off during a hot flash, and see heads bobbing up and down thinking she was still throbbing from 50 Shades of Shame Parenting.

Epitaph: Hark! Is there a happy ending to this tale? Mayhap a... summation as follows... It turned out that BOY was more interested in video games than in exploring the writings of a particular subject. No book was opened. No pages turned. However, JCK did fly through the school gate, pick up her children, all while managing to wrench the Kindle Fire out of her son's deadly grip. When she arrived home, JCK sent her Fifty Shades of Bondage & Fifty Shades of Scandal soaring back to the...CLOUD... with no one the wiser. You BET your Cayman Islands dollar JCK feels that she won the absolution lottery; hereafter known as JCK and the almost Cataclysmic Kinky Kindle Calamity...or why JCK's hair turned ....50 Shades Whiter.

Photo credits: fishnets, cheesewhoop ass, LEGO figure

JCK wishes to dedicate this post to her friend, S.

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Monday, May 13, 2013

How BOY petitioned GOD for GIRL and other Mothering tales

I will never forget my first Mother's Day as a mother, nor the many years of painful Mother's Days in which I was not a mother. If an amazing young woman hadn't come into our lives, and chosen myself and my husband to be the adoptive parents to her baby, I would not be a Mother. My son came to us by the blessing of adoption. I have no doubt that our daughter came to us only because our son had a pow-wow with God.  I imagine it going something like this:

BOY: Hey God! Hey you, God man?!
GOD: Yep. I'm here.
BOY: I'm having a pretty good life, but it's missing something. Do you think you could help me out? I'm a bit...bored.
GOD: mmm...another ADHD kid, eh? 
BOY: You KNOW IT, God.
GOD: Well, what would you like me to do?
BOY: I'd like a sister, and NOW, if you don't mind.
GOD: Well, you know you'd be pretty close in age. Like...9 months and 27 days.
BOY: It's OK. I can handle it.
GOD: Maybe you could, but I'm not too sure about your parents.
BOY: Oh, no worries! I got that covered.
GOD: Well, I do see that you are rather an active and social fellow.
BOY: Oh, you saw me crawling over all those moms at play group? And, keening for 6 weeks every night with colic?
GOD: Yes. I also saw your parents drinking a lot of Jack Daniels.
BOY: So, you see! I need a sister, right?
GOD: Seriously?
BOY: Yes, GOD, I really do. My parents would LOVE it. Oh, OH... and my mom could carry us under each arm like footballs! She'd have awesome, pumped-up, arms.
GOD: You've got a point.
BOY: I thought you would get that.
GOD: Yes...well, I think this calls for a very special GIRL. 
BOY: A sister who will adore me?
GOD: Yes. And, whom you will adore.
BOY: Great! I am ready.
GOD: But, remember...to be kind to your Mama. She might get a little nutty.
BOY: That's OK. Nutty moms ROCK!

And, with that...GIRL was conceived. And, love overfloweth...
A few of my favorite Mothering Posts that describe the journey:

Photo of JCK holding her BOY and pregnant with GIRL- May 2004

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

So, I do it, because I have to, because I need to...

In May of 2007, when I was an exhausted stay-at-home mother with two children aged 3 and 2, I read an article about blogging and decided to try it. I'm not sure what I imagined, but it was certainly not that I would still be here today, six years later...putting words on blank pages and tossing them out into the world.

I find the act of writing both freeing and incredibly painful. The gift of getting rid of words that weigh inside me and letting them float and land where they will is indescribable. The process of writing when I feel I have absolutely nothing to say, that it has all been said before, and wondering if I can still do it is torturous.  But, I do it, because I have to, because I need to...and somehow my world which seems banal and off kilter before I sit down to write, has righted itself and my breathing is less shallow. 

I have struggled as a parent, as a wife, and most of all as a woman trying to find herself. I am so grateful for the blogging community that welcomed me into the fold, and for all the many friends I've met along the way. Six years and 8,893 comments later, I feel blessed for all of you who take the time to read, and to share your thoughts and wisdom with me.

A writer writes. It is a solitary process. If she is lucky,  her words will resonate with another human being somewhere in a space where the world is wide-open. Thank you for opening up your hearts to me and for reading...

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Monday, May 6, 2013

Hallelujah, Monday has risen! Our children have gone back to school today!

Last night, my husband and I sat down for five minutes on the couch together, our eyes mirroring the shared despair of a family night gone awry.  Actually it was probably more of a... falling down on the couch, both of us ill equipped to move limb or brain any further along the path of Parental Responsibility. Let's just say it wasn't a shining moment for the family history books.

Aiming for some quality time together, we had attempted a game of Parcheesi with our two children. It felt like a coup when we were finally able to lure our 9 year old son to a game that didn't have a screen. Our 8 year old daughter, who loves games, jumped in, and the potential for "fun had by all" was looking pretty darn good. Unfortunately, our best intentions quickly flew by the wayside when the game erupted into a battleground of carelessly tossed dice knocking over pawns, bickering, and mixed-up turns, ultimately becoming an exercise in frustration.

Today my husband rated our family game night as the second nastiest in his life...er, right up there under an ill fated Monopoly game from his past, in which he said everyone nearly came to blows. And, that was with um...grown-up people. What IS it about games that often brings out the worst in families?

We all have bad days as a parent, and as a family. When those days fall on the weekend, our children's return to school on Monday morning can be a real cause for celebration. Sometimes, you just have to shout from the mountain top: Hallelujah, Monday has risen! Our children have gone back to school today! Praise secondary education!  Amen, brothers and sisters... Amen...indeed.

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

We all take life for granted, until we can't...

2013 has been the year of the C-WORD. That word. Yes. Cancer. So many friends diagnosed that it feels like being bludgeoned. And, then...my father was diagnosed  with Stage 2 Hodgkins Lymphoma in January. He has survived the poison of chemo and radiation, and appears to be coming out the other side. I am in awe of his courage, determination and ability to recognize that ...it could have been so much worse. His words. Not mine. I have never been prouder of my father, and felt so helpless at the same time.

Mortality. The state or condition of being subject to Death. Transience, impermanence, ephemerality. The state of being mortal...

Death will come for all of us. Yet, somehow ...at 51, I still cling to the childish notion that my parents will be here forever. Until I'm ready for them to go, which I'll never be. Ready. Of course it is their journey, not mine, but I still keep grabbing for the steering wheel in their car, thinking I can control where we are going.

They think they got it all. The cancer. No promises, but things look good. The doctors are optimistic, and I ...cling to this, digging my nails, like talons, into each piece of good news. So, I sound calm on the phone and do my best to be Jenny. That daughter who is sweet and loving and there for him. And, I am that daughter. But, I am also that child, and I need my daddy to be around for a lot longer.

Deep breath. If I'm honest, I have to acknowledge that bearing witness to my father's journey is a stepping stone to facing the reality that someday I will no longer be here. And, that scares the shit out of me.  That I will be taken before I am ready. That I won't get to sit in a rocking chair on the porch with my husband next to me, and grandchildren tumbling about my feet.

Death will come to all of us. We can't escape it. So, we keep pedaling uphill, and hope that on the downhill ride we can coast and forget the brakes.  Because, we all take life for granted, until we can't...

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