Sixteen

Sixteen

Shattered

Gritty

Wedged in corners

*

I will

You didn’t

But neither did I

*

Songs revive, unearth that soil

Do you think it’s enough?

Is it ever enough?

*

Skis crash on desert sand

Lacey points drown in monsoons

Sparkle flops on blueprints

*

Where do we go?

We keep rewinding

A barrel of promises smashed in the weeds

*** In response to the daily prompt ***

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Shel Said the Sidewalk Ends; I Wish the Anxiety Would Jet

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“Only bike where there are sidewalks. Not on the road.”

I’m alert even when I’m not on duty.

Are they in the streets? 

Are they listening?

Is Gil paying attention?

I remember my first trip away from my baby shortly after becoming a mother. A mile into the short trip across town, and I had to pull over to catch my breath.

Breathe. He’s okay. You’re okay.

Add that to the list of lies I’ve told myself. I was not okay. Some days I’m still not okay.

In the waiting room for my annual eye screening, the world was moving around me, bustling.

This feels too busy. It’s all too much. 

“Ms. Jennings, are you sleeping less? Your eyes are dry and a bit red.”

Lady, I may never sleep again.

“I have a new baby,” I managed to say instead.

“Oh…well then you look great. I’ll throw in some drops that are good for dry eyes. That should help. And do your best to take out your contacts at night. I know that’s not always possible, but it will help your eyes feel less irritated.”

When will this get easier?

Nine years later, I suppose it has, but then not really.

I still can’t get away from the worry and the fear and knowledge that it’s not just me in this world. I am responsible for another human. Two humans now.

Who thought this was a good idea? Have they met me?

My head met the sidewalk when I was a young eighteen-month-older. The story was that I sprung from my stroller one fall afternoon while Mom and her friend, Mitzi, were taking a leisurely stroll.

The ER doctor said I was fine. I often wonder. Maybe I should have Dr. Amen examine my brain. I’m afraid to know the truth.

Information is power so says my therapist.

She obviously does not have anxiety.

***In response to the daily prompt***

 

 

My Steadfast Companion

You’ve been my sole companion the past three nights, providing unwavering light and comfort, guiding me as I trek through the neighborhood.

I round the curve and there you are, peeping through the trees waiting to greet me in full at the stop sign.

You know.

You’re the steadiness to my life in flux, more so now than ever thus far.

The reality is that you’ve always been there; I’ve been too preoccupied to notice.

Thank you; I’m sorry.

Spending time with you is another form of therapy, a much-needed one I’m discovering.

Creepy? A bit, perhaps, but only if I allow my angsty mind to go there.

I want to know you better.

I’ll continue showing up for these dates, deriving comfort now, reminded that you’ve been there all along.

*** Daily Post prompt ***

 

 

Enough With the Requests, Children!

Enough With the Requests, Children!

I wanted to have a yes summer.

I want to be a yes mother — Mary Poppinesque, eager and willing to provide fun and fulfilling experiences for my little lovables.

I suppose in many ways, I am doing that. At the same time, I want to raise functional adults. I also want my children to understand that we are responsible for our own happiness even when we’re doing the less glamorous parts of life.

And let’s be real — it ain’t all roses and unicorns.

Chores can be fun, and taking care of the things we’re fortunate to have is a worthy lesson, and frankly, while I’m at it, I also think a little boredom is good for everybody and fosters creative thinking.

So children, for the love, PLEASE stop inundating me with the never-ending requests. It’s wearing this mama out.

“Can I play the iPad?”

“Can I  please just watch this one YouTube video on how to do that thing on Minecraft?”

“Can I show Wallace this ONE little thing on Minecraft?”

“Can I get those remote control cars out of your car? I know I got in trouble, but I PROMISE I’m sorry and I’ll do what you say for the rest of the summer. Please, Mom, I promise, I just need to play with them for like, five minutes. That’s all…can I…please??????”

“Can we get a snow cone?”

“Can we go to a restaurant for lunch?”

“Can we  get an ice cream?”

“Can we have a playdate with Ava?”

“Can I go to Carter’s?”

“Can Everett come over to our house?”

“Can I, Can I, Can I, Can I, Can I, Can I?!” 

…on and on and on and on and on. Sweet Lord make it stop.

I’m feeling a little edgy this summer with the discontentedness.

I say yes a lot. We are beyond blessed and live in paradise on a beautiful island about five minutes from the beach where we go at least twice a week.

We have a pool in our neighborhood within walking distance where we swim most days.

They’ve been to several camps this summer and are participating on a swim team — all activities they’ve chosen, and they appear to be having a glorious time.

So forgive me, children, if I take issue with you always seeming to need more more more.

NO!!!!!!!!!

I’m not anti-technology by any means, but no, you may not sit in front of a screen from dawn to dusk. And no, you may not eat your way through a lazy afternoon. And no, I will not and can not play host to every kid in the neighborhood day in and day out.

I think I would have made a good 1980’s mom.

My mother was a teacher, and when she was on summer break after wrangling youngsters all school year long, she was done.

My younger brother and I got locked out of the house on the regular — If you’re thirsty, go to the hose pipe!

I’m showing my deep-south roots with that line.

And we did, and it was fine.

She also dropped our little asses off at the city pool when I was no more than seven, with just enough cash for a single-serving bag of chips and a drink each, and that was that.

No one drowned.

No one starved.

Last week was particularly rough in our household, so I pulled out the big guns and announced that we’re having a reset week — no TV time and no video games.

When Piers, my eight-year-old, starts on something he can not stop. I think Minecraft is an amazing game with loads of positives, but when it’s time to turn it off he has a complete come-apart. He’s also hyperactive, and the more he sits in front of a screen, the wilder he gets, and even though the games he plays and the shows he watches are age appropriate and relatively tame, he becomes volatile and argumentative in a way that doesn’t happen when he’s screen free.

I know there are a million schools of thought on how much TV time is best, and if Piers were of the more laid-back variety, I’d be less rigid, but if there’s a screen, he’s glued to it. Needless to say, we’re figuring it out as we go.

My seven-year-old is different and can take it or leave it, and overall seems better able to self-regulate, which is ultimately what I want for them. Those well-meaning folks at the baby shower weren’t lying. Parenting is no joke.

This tech-free week might send me right on off the rails.

So tonight we were at a swim meet and I overhead a conversation between Piers and one of the moms who was helping his age group line up for events. Some kid had brought a Kindle Fire and the mom was trying to figure out who it belonged to.

“Piers, is this your Kindle?”

He got this overly-embellished, starry-eyed look on his face and said, “I can only dream…”

The woman was taken aback, but she grinned, and said, “Calm yourself, Hon. It’s a Kindle. We’re not talking fine diamonds here.”

He’s rather quick-witted and nothing is ever lost on him. He quickly retorted, “You obviously have no understanding of how deprived I am when it comes to technology.”

She threw her head back and cackled out loud. Good thing he was blessed with ample charm and that she was blessed with a healthy sense of humor.

I held my tongue and silently rolled my eyes.

Child please, you haven’t the faintest idea about deprivation, but I’m a little concerned we’ve got a serious case of affluenza on our hands.

Happy Summer!

***Daily Post/Daily Prompt – Deprive***

Don’t Cage Rosie

Don’t Cage Rosie

“Ma’am…your dog’s out again.”

It was the same neighbor, same annoyed demeanor, same judgement, same clench in my gut reflecting my own frustration with Rosie.

“Fucking dog…” I muttered under my breath as I quickly located a leash and some kibble treats to bribe her back to our yard.

A perfectly pleasant backyard where our milder tempered canine can hang out all day, content as…well, a retriever in mud.

Why can’t Rosie be content?

Today I was further miffed because we had all been making more of an effort to take her out for walks and rather than appreciate it, she thanked us by breaking out AGAIN.

I quickly recognized that my human logic was not Rosie’s, and even though expecting gratitude from her was about as ridiculous as expecting an elegantly wrapped birthday gift from my lemon tree, I couldn’t help entertaining the idea that she actually grasped the fact that we were attempting to accommodate her wanderlust.

My mind went to all the hard places.

Our neighbors hate us. 

We’re gonna get thrown out of the ‘hood.

She’s gonna get spooked, kill a cat, knock over someone too feeble to recover and boom, we get hauled in for manslaughter and our kids won’t have parents.

I hate my inlaws. They should be dealing with this instead of us. We have enough shit in our salad.

I hate Gil. He’s allowed his mom to think we love dealing with Rosie and her antics.

I hate life.

In case you haven’t noticed, I can spiral with the best of them.

I spent the next forty-five minutes trekking through the drizzly rain and humidity, akin to a hot jog in a ziplock bag, until I exhausted all reasonable places she might be exploring.

I took a seat on the front stoop, defeated, all because of this damn dog who causes more grief than we have room for these days.

I was also worried and only wanted to feel her wet nose on my arm and hear her musical bark letting me know her food was dwindling and that she could see the bottom of her dish.

My love/hate relationship with Rosie is going on six years now. As her temporary keepers, we were helping out with her care after my father-in-law died unexpectedly…and then, all of a sudden, without much discussion, she was our dog.

My father-in-law was drawn to Rosie because she was different, a bit wild with unconventional wolfish looks. He lived his life as a voice for the underdog. He adored her and defended her relentlessly when she tested everyone’s patience with her refusal to be tamed.

Rosie has never met a fence she can’t escape.

I relate to Rosie in more ways than I care to admit.

I hate feeling caged and need my freedom.

Like Rosie, I struggle a bit with neighborhood life.

I find myself rolling my eyes at the Homeowner Association rules, and if circumstances were different, Rosie and I would  both be living with a broad radius from others.

Prior to our move a year ago, we didn’t have to keep Rosie fenced in. It was an option, but she quickly showed us that if we’d let her roam free, she’d come back happily.

She simply wanted to explore, without constraints.

I get that.

I also have no doubt that if Rosie were allowed to roam the neighborhood, she’d be its most upstanding canine citizen.

But just as I have to live amongst others, Rosie can’t gallivant as she pleases.

We dogs and humans have to compromise.

We have to make the best of less-than-ideal circumstances, and Rosie’s and mine could certainly be worse.

As I turned to go inside and passively wait for Rosie’s return, a black streak darted in my peripheral right.

I instinctively knew who it was.

I also know that standard tactics don’t work with Rosie.

She spotted me from the neighbor’s yard and stared me down. I used my best actor skills and glanced over nonchalantly, as if I hadn’t spent my entire morning searching for her.

“What’s up, Ro?”

I went inside and waited.

Less than ten minutes later I opened the front door to find her lounging on the porch. I casually invited her in — her choice, naturally.

Like so many, Rosie wants just enough freedom to feel that she can do as she pleases. As long as she’s granted that…she’s more than willing to abide by the rules.

Response to today’s Daily Prompt