Thursday, August 20

Two Poems on a Theme

1. At the Window

Light-bedazzled little girl
perched before the window sill
mimicking the ritual.

Helping hands as time stands still,
in spite
of how quickly she'll be gone ~
and there will be many more windows
to look out upon.

Frozen so, in the white light:
That little girl
(forever mine),
growing up
at the window.

2. Windows

Brilliant white light
streaming in ~
The world outside,
the world

We are all reaching
standing still,
some may backwards tread.

But I am one
who prefers to reach
and believe in

* Inspired by a friend's daughter: Hazel, age 4 ~ cheerfully helping her mommy clean house

Saturday, August 1

Final Answer

"Be Prepared" is the Scout motto. They have a systematic way to do just that - lots of camping, knot-tying, outdoor survival skills, responsible citizenship and practical leadership training that really is the ticket for boys to be prepared for almost anything.

I have pondered what a parenting motto should be. How about, "Forget About It", "Ignore It", or "Be Perpetually Surprised" ~ ?

Tonight, two of the five progeny posed a question over pork and funeral potatoes that I was not prepared for. It wasn't the 'where are babies from?' question. I was prepared for that! All the kids roll their eyes and tell their friends how their crazy mom drew them pictures and used correct terminology to answer that one. The brand new 20 year old said, "Mom, which is your favorite?"

I said, "horses." After the spasmodic laughter and the high-fives died down, she rephrased the question: "No, I mean which kid is your favorite?"

"Oh," I said, embarrassed. "Well, I honestly don't have a 'favorite'..."

This was unsatisfactory to both girls, who obviously seemed to know something I didn't.

"I think most parents really do have a favorite, but just say that they don't to spare hurt feelings," observed the highly confident 20 year old. The 15 year old stopped texting just long enough to raise her face and say, "Yeah."

"No," I continued, "really, I love all of you for your own selves, for who you are." This totally set them off. In unison they cried, "you like Robin the best!" Then, gaining steam, they looked at each other and fired away again. "And Leiland! Robin and Leiland!" There was fire in their eyes.

"Look," I said in a measured way, emphasizing my superior maturity and life-experience with lowered vocal tone and a meaningful pause; they were listening. "Are you trying to tell me how I feel? Because if you are, why did you bother asking?" They agreed maybe they had not perfected mind-reading just yet.

"O.K.," I began, feeling very philosophical, "It's like me asking you, who do you love more - Jack, or Bitsy?" (The two grandchildren, who are the stars and the moon of our world)!

"JACK." They both said again, in unison.
I was shocked. This wasn't working out so well. Quickly they explained the only reason they like fantastic 3 year old Jack more than adorable 8 month old MaKenna is because Jack can talk and do things with them.

"Y'know," big sister said matter-of-factly, "it's always easier to relate to kids when you don't have to carry them around anymore." Hmm. Interesting. I hadn't thought about this myself. "When MaKenna is older, we will like her a lot more, too." Now that we had the relationship thing established, I finally answered their very serious question.

"I absolutely do not have a favorite. I love Bi for how she can tell a story with all the character's voices and even the sound effects, like when Spongebob's eyelids close - 'doink!' (Yes, they agreed, she's really super at that), I love James for when he tells me about a book he's read, or a story he's written, or an idea he has - I love to listen to his brain! I love Leiland for his musical creativity - well, all of you are creative, but I also enjoy how he seems to be careful about my feelings. I used to stand in the kitchen and listen to you (Asia) play the piano, when you didn't know I was listening, and I love how you come up with such deep thoughts sometimes, like you're 30 instead of 20. I don't know where you get the sudden insight. And Rachel- wow! Who wouldn't want to hear her sing full blast to the radio? You make my day."

"That's right," she said, happy to be noticed for an awesome talent. Silence at the table. I assumed this was an invitation to explore more about how much I enjoy my children.

"I always thought all of you were so fun to be with," I began. "Like when we went on walks. I never had a kid whining, 'oh, my feet hurt, why do we have to do this? When can we go home?' If I saw something curious, I'd point it out to you, and everyone would appreciate it and we would talk about it as we went along..." I noticed I didn't seem to have the same rapt attention as a moment previous. They were looking at me again with suspicion.

"Robin, right?"

"No favorites!" I said. "And another thing. I really love their spouses. It's great to be at this time in life, when your children marry, and it's like you have more children to love and admire for who they are..."

"Ug." said the older sister. "Whatever you do, please don't start crying again."

Oh. I guess we had the "in-law" discussion before.

"So, mom, whose laugh do you like the best?" Aw! This was easy. No explanations necessary. I was prepared.

"That would be Robin and you (Asia), hands-down." Having pleased the rabble with this
response, I realized I had a weird visual in my head of Regis Philbin on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" asking, "Is that your final answer?"

Yes, yes it is.