A few weeks ago I stood waiting on my coffee at the counter of my neighborhood Starbucks. Making small talk, the young male barista smiled and asked, “You headed to work?”
My mind went into overdrive. [Read More…]
Today, I waved to my daughter riding away on the bus. The silly kind of wave – two arms, as if flagging down a passing ship. We both continued waving until the bus was out of sight. Walking back to my house, I had a lump in my throat. I am sad.
I’m sad for the time which is passing so quickly; sad, too, that I see that my parenting must be working well – my own daughter still longs for me. I did not have that with my own mother. I will continue to try my hardest to fulfill that need, until her hands stop reaching for mine, the arm waves stop and I see her waving to her friends, not me. That time is coming. In fact, it’s just around the corner.
\Writer Kelly Salasin blogged, “There are so many deaths in mothering, beginning at the beginning, and arriving every day after. But equally matched with these deaths are the blessings of a new life – new growth – new possibility.” These words resonate with me. [Read More…]
Devi Sri, the flying Balinese
Goddess of Fertility, with her gold crown,
deep green carved wings unfurled
and reaching upwards,
pale white arms wrapped round
orange and red baby bunting.
She is suspended serenely
like a star in the sky of my bedroom,
as I hang in the space between
forsakenness and motherhood.
I worship her, but do not offer her
jasmine, lotus and incense,
though perhaps I should.
I treasure the fortune from my fortune cookie
“Your fondest dream will come true.”
I savor my mother’s dream of me:
Wearing a red dress, walking,
holding the hand of a little girl.
And then Dana arrives.
Bursting through the gates of impossibility
whooshing through the halls of the unexpected,
from the heavens into my arms.
Judith Lee Herbert has returned to poetry after a successful career in another field. She graduated Cum Laude in English Literature from Columbia University. She has a daughter who is a sophomore in college, and she lives in New York City, with her husband, who writes plays. She had her daughter when she was in her 40s.
When I was in my thirties, I remember some of the forty-year-olds at work talking about getting older. They would talk about how their metabolism had slowed, how their hair was thinning, how youth was wasted on the young. And they would sort of give each other those knowing looks that seemed to say “Hang in there” or “It’ll be alright.” I chalked up this overheard confiding to a kind of bonding over Prufrockian misery.
I’m exhausted. I am sitting here surrounded by birthday presents, picking pieces of Gigglebellies carrot cake out of my hair, feet aching from an afternoon of running around, stomach rumbling because I forgot to eat and two 1 year olds safely tucked away in their cribs. All in all, the first year birthday party was a complete success. The guests enjoyed themselves and we survived. The day wasn’t without its hiccups, but much like this first year, it has ended beautifully.
I honestly think part of my exhaustion this day is the emotional roller coaster I’ve been on these past several weeks remembering the journey that began one year and nine months ago. It was then we learned our surrogate, Jess, was pregnant with our twins. The absolute profoundness of our experiences, since we found out, makes me heady; weepy and excited, melancholy and cheerful – but totally intoxicated in awe and wonder! [Read More…]
I love Shutterfly.com.
I live in a very rural community and therefore both really love and really rely upon online ordering for just about everything. When I found out that you could order groceries online, it was miraculous.
I am not a huge fan of shopping to begin with and once I found myself living in a rural part of the country as a result of my job, managing my life online, the anonymity and rapidity of service seemed the logical solution and immensely appealing.
So, it was a bit of a surprise when last week Shutterfly sent me an apology – a personal apology. Not because I had an erroneous order of photographs, note cards or address labels. Not because I had a missing set of personalized gifts or family calendar unsent. Not because a gift didn’t arrive in time for the Mother’s Day holiday that was on the horizon.
Shutterfly sent me an apology because the week prior they had congratulated me on becoming a mother! Great news, one might expect! How thoughtful! It was exciting! Except for the fact that I don’t have (but am working extremely hard to have) my own child/ren. [Read More…]
It’s summer time! YAY!
I used to say, when I was growing up, that things were very different. Not only were we friendly with our neighbors, with all day play and sleep overs to boot, but if I disappeared for hours to explore the woods in our backyard and play with the inchworms or hang out in my favorite tree, there were no worries or concerns.
Now, our reality is so very different. Even sending my kids to school all day, I have to go into faith when I kiss them goodbye, praying that these school shootings don’t reveal themselves in our town. [Read More…]
My fatherhood style runs a strange range between Robert Young of Father Knows Best and Ozzy Osbourne, bat biter, so it’s always good for me to bounce ideas off other dads… even if I get back a twisted triangulation on my parental reality. I invited my friend Vern to join me for a pre-Father’s Day drink at my favorite watering hole.
While I repeated my order of a non-fat, no foam, decaf latte to the bustling barista, Vern grumbled, “I thought you invited me for a drink? That generally indicates alcohol. This place reminds me of a library.” [Read More…]
When I got married 10 years ago, I moved from New York City to a rural little upstate village where a livestock feed store is the main attraction. I brought with me my nearly life-long fashion sensibility and tried, in vain, to keep rocking my 3-inch stilettos, wedge heels and tight jeans. I hobbled along, even in the grocery store, where I ignored the sidelong glances from women dressed in (what looked like to me) pajama bottoms and shoes I’d wear as slippers.
And then I got pregnant. And for the first time in as long as I could remember, I stopped holding in my stomach and discovered the mind-blowing comfort of elastic-waist pants. Part of the reason I loved being pregnant, besides the absolute joy of growing my daughter, was being able to wear whatever I wanted and not caring one single bit about my protruding belly. I put away my high-heeled shoes and strutted around in slides and flip flops. I wore my husband’s old button-down shirts and t-shirts and happily tossed on grandpa cardigans when I was chilly. I never felt freer or more comfortable in my life – it was glorious. [Read More…]
It’s that time of year again. Time to recognize our mothers. To make them breakfast in bed, buy them expensive cards, mold clay into indiscernible lumpish presents at preschool, take them to tea or brunch or dinner, to kiss them, hug them, honor them.
But in my Momma heart it is time to fully consider them. To not only parade around and polish the shiny head’s side of the motherhood coin, but to turn it and look at its tail side too. To ask, and answer, something that perhaps we don’t consider enough – when is a woman a mother? [Read More…]