Bumpers Kissing

I wanted something inspiring —

flipped through my preset radio stations,

played a track from a Spotify list,

made a phone call...

felt nothing.

The traffic crawled,

the winter sun blinded,

I could still see my breath in my car,

and through it —

The reason for the slow commute:

A car being jumped by another.

Is there anything more inspirational?

On the Ike, on a cold winter’s day,

someone’s car dies

and some stranger offers the juice

of their energy to them,

gets the cars in just the right spots —

bumpers kissing —

wires them up while their hands go numb...

There, there — they’re connected now,

it’ll be all right...

and the car comes to life.



How can I be that juice,

just when someone really needs it?

More, who have I to thank

for giving me what I needed

to make it through on a cold winter’s day?

Anne Flavin Comment
A Simple Explanation After Another Shooting

The doctors and nurses of the man

filled with a hatred so virulent

that it came out as bullets

from a gun

were Jewish.

They tended the madman’s wounds

as they were yelled at, threatened, spat upon

because of their faith.

“What does it mean to be Jewish?”

my five-year-old asks.

I don’t know for sure,

but I answer anyways.

I think it means exactly

what those doctors and nurses did:

to care for all humans,

to speak mercifully to all humans,

to tend to those no one wants to

in their time of need

even when their confusion,

their hatred,

their division is directed at you.

“What does it mean to be Christian?”

the one who never stops thinking asks.

“Same,” I answer.

“Hindu same, do you think?”

“I think yes.”

“Muslim same?”

“Same, I think.”

“Same same, same same,”

the 7-year-old says her phrase,

the one she says so often

when finding the similarities between us all,

the phrase I think about all of the time

in all of the horrible messes

we have to find our humanity in.

Anne FlavinComment
What’s Left

If you’re in a place of grief this holiday, I offer something to you I wrote for someone else. Maybe it’ll help a little; it probably won’t. But maybe for a minute it will and a minute is better than nothing.


What’s Left




The moon where he sits curled up;

it was better

when he was curled up next to you,

I know, I know —

but let me at least mention

some things from the land of light

for you right now:

still, the sun -

the way it sparks a

memory of the glint in his eye

when he smiled that way

that was never captured on film

when you look through every picture

you have of him,

ones that you never thought you’d hold onto like you are now

when you took them then.

Only in your mind now -

how does it all go so fast?

A real rip-off;

everyone’s sorry,

but no one is sorry you had him

for a little while.

Not even you.

And that’s what’s left.

The grief is the dark side

of the bright side

that is love.


A picture of sunshine from a trip we took this fall. Happy Solstice today, Friends. It’s all down hill from here, at least in terms of light — each day a barely perceptible smidge brighter. Good luck.

Anne FlavinComment

Wrote something new....



The leaves are falling;

it’s getting darker

earlier and earlier

and to top it off for a person who loves summer,

they figure out that the tooth fairy isn’t real.

They’re happy;

they like adult knowing.

I know this is only the beginning of knowing.

Actually, the beginning was before;

it keeps happening.

Every year, another step away from the womb

that grew the tooth

that was under the pillow

when they woke to our faces

in their face

sliding the dollar beneath their head

taking the tooth that was once a part of me anyways.

I told my parents I was going to my 20th year

reunion from high school.

Their faces contorted into shock and disbelief -

almost annoyance -

that the leaves keep falling

and that we are not trees

that can live for hundreds of years

and that I, their baby,

have lost all my teeth and have been out of high school for twenty years.

Every now and then these are the things

that splash the cold water in our faces

to let us know to get living

while we can

before the last leaf falls.

Until then, there is more.

There is always more,

even when their eyes lock ours

and they catch us as the tooth fairy

and they wonder what else we’ve lied to them about

and one says, “It’s ok. Don’t tell me any more for now. You can save it for yourself until I’m older.”

Which somehow makes your heart break

more than it ever would have just because

a silly old tooth you grew in your body

fell out of their head

and they know the fairy is you.

Anne FlavinComment

I used to write poems while I rocked my babies down for naps. No one naps anymore, so poems happen less.

But today I rocked my baby who is not a baby to sleep and a poem came right up to the surface. Missed this.


Someday when you are older,

you might think I care

only about the grades you earned

or the home run you hit

or the play in which you performed.

You will look over at me,

both of us beaming,

after one of your accomplishments

and you will think,

"She really loves me now."

Let's remind one another then:

I beamed just as brightly

on dreary afternoons like this one.

Thanks for this gift.

Anne FlavinComment

Never Too Late

“It is never too late,
you are never too old;

there is enough time –
I promise, there is –
if you make it,
if you find it,
if you scrape it
from the bottom of your heel
and clean it off
and call it enough,

then it is.”

the way the love goes around

I love being a mom, but I sometimes forget that during the really hard parts. I don't forget that I love them, I forget that motherhood is one of the greatest, most wonderful works of life. It does not always feel like that when you're in it, that's for sure. At 3AM, I was awakened by my little girl puking into our bed. It is hard to remember how much you love anything when you are being puked on. Before she hit our bed, though, she somehow managed to wander into our mud room where a bag with a new dress that I had just bought was sitting. She puked right into that bag, with incredible aim and precision, before she found us - a little present that sat waiting for me until I found it later.

I cleaned everything, set up a new spot for her with a bucket in our family room with my husband, and got in the shower. When I got out, the snow was falling fast outside.

Our phone rang then telling my husband that he should head over to see his mom, that it was the end.

I texted my own mom to ask her to come when she woke, to tell her I had one puker and two boys I was going to try to keep from getting the pukes. Even if it has never once worked, I have to pretend to try to limit the puke; it just makes me feel better. Of course my mom came, the way every good mother does the minute she's asked.

This dance of mothers coming and going, helping and nursing, being helped and being nursed, was such a beautiful lesson on life, all in one day. All different stages represented, all doing our best for our kids in whatever ways we are each able.

I watched in the room as everyone in my husband's family said the sweetest good-byes to his mom. It was so, so beautiful. At the very end, it was all of her children and my father-in-law cheering her on, loving her on to the finish line. Can you even imagine the beauty of that? I hope so. Can you even imagine all of your babes and all of the people you love around you cheering you on into the next space? "Go, Mom! We love you so much! We'll miss you so much, but we know it's time! Go ahead! We love you! Watch over us! We love you!" There are nine of them, plus their dad, so there was not a quiet moment as she passed on to the other side. She was literally loved right on out. What a way to go.

She was there for all of them at some point, getting puked on at 3AM. NINE TIMES OVER - sweet Jesus. And so, there they all were, each of them saying good-bye in their own magical way. Her husband, prayerful and steadfast beside her.

Nothing else mattered but the love. And that's because nothing else matters but the love. The love is the whole ballgame.

For those of us with children, our love for them and our ability to be available for them is the great work of our lives. For those of us with spouses, the love we have with them is the greatest work, too. For those of us who've chosen to be or who just are alone, still, it's all about the love you can give in the world. That's it.

If we have kids, it can feel confusing because they aren't ours per se; we can't use them to fill the cracks in ourselves. Except they do, even still. What in the world?

I don't really know what - all I know is when I leave this world, I hope my babes are all around me, cheering me on, loving me on into the next beautiful place.

I did, in fact, hug everybody more today. I did, in fact, make it count today. With red eyes and cracked voices, my husband and I loved our puking and non-puking babies the same as we always do, but also a little more. I loved my mom the same, but also a little more. And everyone loved Pat's mom the same and a lot more as she took her last breaths with us here. They loved her as she loved them, and now the love lives on forever because it gets passed and passed and passed. And that's the way the love goes around. And, the world, too.


Footnote: Sometimes people message me because they are worried for me that I am not cognizant of others' privacy when I tell a story. I am overly cognizant and overly cautious with what I share. It is super likely that I will make mistakes at times, but I continually try my best to err on the side of respectfulness always. That means, if a piece clearly references another person's private moments, I always check with the other person before publishing. That also means that I don't share everything. Further, it means that if I want to tell a story bad enough, I find a way to tell it without clearly identifying people. Lastly, sometimes people think I'm writing about them when I'm just not. You know, you probably think this song is about you -- well, guess what? It's probably not.

Anyways, you can bet that my father-in-law read this piece before I hit publish. Because he's the boss.


Pass on some love somewhere today. I know you've got some to give somehow; we all do.

Link to purchase print: http://annieflavin.com/product/the-way-the-love-goes-around-5x7/

Two Rules

You can decide to becomeany profession at all; it makes no difference to me. A ferry boat driver, a mountaineer, an ice cream maker, or just a loving Daddy to three.

I will believe in whatever you choose to be.

You can decide to fill your life with any body you wish. A man, a woman, a child, a dog, or nothing but a fish.

I will share in your happiness regardless.

So many life choices are yours, save for only these two. On these, I have decided for you, and I will pray everyday that they have been imbued.

The two rules I will never waver on include: You may not be rude or full of ingratitude.

Thank you.

When I Die

When I die,fill my church with children. Bring them with you with their snack bags, messy hair and ill-fitted sport coats.

Fill the space with their giggles, their cries, their untimely comments, and their legs that carry their tiny bodies quickly down the aisle before you have a chance to catch them. It is ok.

Let them fill the void that I have left. Let the children be children and let their light shine through any sadness. Let them be. Tell them my name, maybe a story, too. Remember me.  See me. In the children.