To Pickle at Five

More than four, less than six

I kiss your tangy sweaty little boy head as you push me away.

There is sand in your hair clinging to your scalp.

Because you were doing somersaults in the dirt.

I should have known.

***

In early evening you sit, tired from a day spent figuring out the workings of the world, inside and out.

Your little brother crawls over you.  And over you again.

You don’t mind. You barely look away from the program on the TV.

***

You have grown so capable.

Limbs lengthening. Now all muscle and bone, and soft tight skin.

New freckles dot your nose. Your teeth used to seem so big.

***

Last week we saw the planets, and marveled at the vastness of the universe.

How this goes around that, and that goes around this.

And I marveled at you, my boy, who entered this world face up, eyes open.

***

Reflection

Happy belated birthday to my dearest Pickle, a kind and generous boy who has only just started being a little too cool for my kisses.

Close up

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After Eight: An Ode to Motherhood

After Eight: An Ode to Motherhood

*****
The cool night has arrived and day is drawing to a close.
The smell of sweet, clean babies, it still lingers in your nose.
The house is finally quiet, no more whines or yells or cries.
The kids are bedded down, and they’ve closed their heavy eyes.
No one wants more water, one more book or one more hug.
It’s time for some relaxing. Wait, what IS that on the rug?
Ignore it, step right over, don’t you worry your poor head.
Change your clothes, and wash your face and get yourself to bed.

*****
The playroom has exploded, there are dishes in the sink.
The laundry hangs from backs of chairs, the cat’s covered in ink.
Your cell phone jingles softly from its hiding spot, but where?
You rub your eyes, and scratch your head. There’s oatmeal in your hair.
The oatmeal was for breakfast, which means it’s been there all day.
Now you know why grocery clerks were looking at you that way.
Looking ‘round you wonder just how long clean-up will take.
Stop wondering, go brush your teeth, ‘twill be there when you wake.

*****
Slumping down onto the couch, a comfy little nest!
But if you went to bed right now it’d be eight hours rest.
Though Project Runway’s on, and you could sit, relax, unwind.
And have a glass of wine perhaps? To ease your harried mind?
You note your stomach’s rumbles, and you only then recall
Dinner was an orphaned nugget, dipped in ranch, that’s all.
You ponder ice cream? Toast? Or chips, piled in a heap.
Forget the snack, forget the wine and get yourself to sleep.

*****
You make a hard deal with yourself, before the day’s complete.
One load of laundry, one show, some bills and a small bite to eat.
But once you’re paying bills you note the budget needs re-doing,
And while you’re at it, darn, those kitchen chairs do need regluing.
While washing gluey hands you think you’ll just wash a few dishes.
But whoops, cupcakes forgotten for tomorrow’s birthday wishes!
Too late to bake, so to the store to find cupcakey treats?
Forget it! Buy them in the morn. Go climb between your sheets!

*****
You climb the stairs, exhausted when – oh shoot! – today’s the day!
The deadline to sign up the kids for music, swim, ballet!
While writing out the checks you find some paperwork neglected.
Tomorrow is school picture day, outfits to be collected.
But all is dirty, so one more load gets tossed into the wash,
And while you wait for it to run, might as well mop and floss.
A few more hours, chores half done, you give up the good fight.
Yes, there is still goo on the rug, but Mama, say goodnight!

Loyal and loving to one another…

I try not to forget, not even for one day, how very lucky I am.  But I love that we set aside a day for gratitude.  And family and friends. And shameful abundance.  And warmth.  And lovingly preparing traditional delicious foods for one another.  I love that it is a day about sharing, not about acquiring.  It is a reminder that we are here for each other.

The poem below is my favorite Thanksgiving blessing, though I don’t believe it was written with that in mind.  Though it is certainly more religious than I am (especially the last stanza), I think the sentiment is just perfect.

Lord, behold our family assembled here.
We thank Thee for this place 
in which we dwell;
for the love that unites us;
for the peace accorded us this day;
for the hope with which we expect the morrow;
for the health, the work, the food,
and the bright skies that 
make our lives delightful;
for our friends in all parts of the earth.

Let peace abound in our small company. 
Purge out of every heart the lurking grudge.
Give us grace and strength to forbear
and to preserve. Offenders ourselves, give us the
grace to accept and to forgive offenders.
Forgetful ourselves, helps us to bear
cheerfully the 
forgetfulness of others.

Give us courage and gaiety
and the quiet mind.
Spare to us our friends,
soften to us our enemies.
Bless us, if it may be,
in all our innocent endeavors.
If it may not, give us the strength
to encounter that which is to come,
that we may be brave in peril,
constant in tribulation, temperate in wrath
and in all changes of fortune,
and down to the gates of death, loyal and
loving one to another.

As the clay to the potter,
as the windmill to the wind,
as children of their sire,
we beseech of Thee this help
and mercy for Christ’s sake. 
Amen.

(by Robert Louis Stevenson)

 

Kiss My Kitsch!

When I think about adding another baby to the mix, I imagine the craziness, I worry about the cost, I remember the sleepless nights.  But then I stop myself and remember what it is like to be the only one awake in a dark, quiet house, rocking a sweet-smelling (usually) little human being in my arms.  Watching the eyelids flutter, looking at the little bowed mouth, hearing the soft breaths.

I’m chalking it up to the hormones, because I’m typically not a fan of anything that looks good in cross stitch, but I like this old house-wifey poem from the 1950’s.  I’m not particularly domestic, but it is a nice reminder of what is important (baby) and what is not (dusting).  And it reminds me of the hours and hours I spent rocking my little one, when I had 4 million other things I could/should have been doing.

Song for a Fifth Child by Ruth Hulbert Hamilton

Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
Sew on a button and make up a bed.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking!

Oh, I’ve grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).

The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren’t her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
But children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep…

(Printed in Lady’s Home Journal, 1958)