Monsters under the Bed

The monsters under my bedlook differently than those you see under yours.

But the fear, the insecurity, and the imagination that each of our monsters incite is the very same.

The only way I’ve found to get away from them is to cling to you as tightly as you cling to me.


While he practices climbing up the stairsand going down again for the tenth time today.

While I stand beside her as she misses the connection on the buckles of her car seat over and over before she finally gets it right.

While I listen as he tells a never-ending, seemingly plotless story.

While she takes ten minutes to pick out a pair of shoes, even though we are running five minutes late.

While he sounds out a word letter by letter from our last book of the night.

I want to step in, to do it for them myself, to be done with it, to move on already.

I also want to have patience, to be loving, to be dispensable one day – as much as a mother can be – because they are able to problem solve on their own.

I stop myself from interrupting their process. I breathe in and out. This is God’s time, I say. This is their time, I say. One and the same, I remember.

These Pie Charts Are A Poem


                                                                                                                                                                      ~Annie Flavin

                                                                                                                                                                      ~Annie Flavin


  My church happens at home in the middle of the night with a fevering baby in my arms.

I pray for strength.

My church happens on the beach when I see through them for the first time what has been right in front of me for a lifetime.

I pray for depth.

Their eyes are my eyes. Their soul from mine; their heart, my own.

I pray in gratitude.

My god is small enough and big enough to find me, to live in them, to allow church to be everywhere we love.

In the night, as I wrap my arms around them, I pray that some god and God and some energy and Energy is behind me, wrapping its arms around me. We are spoons upon spoons upon spoons. All of us.

I pray right back into those little bodies I hold, for it is through them I am most certain I see god everyday.


Today they beat medown to a pulp. They whined and poked and bickered with each other all the livelong day. In other words, they acted like children. The nerve.

When they did come together, it was to unite against me. They plotted and gamed me, and they won.

I lost my cool, my mind, and my desire to do any of it well by 4 pm.

They worked against me and it felt personal. Because it is the most personal: they  are the most personal to me. My cooking was wrong, my suggestions were wrong: our connection was off. I whined and poked and bickered right back.

Our ages are such that I just never know who’s going to wake up and come down the stairs on any given day. Did we get enough sleep? The right food? The hell if I know.

Sometimes, despite my best efforts and intentions, we wake up as jerks and no amount of love can bring the people I want to call my own back to me.

Once we’ve given up for the night, we talk together and fall asleep together laughing about the jerks we can be and the ones we’ve made and love together.

We sleep and wait for tomorrow’s sunrise and we pray to live to fight another day.

Silence's Gift

If you could sitalone in silence for just a little while, you’d have the time to remember how much fun they are, how much you wanted them, how much love and life you want to give to them. And how much they give to you.

If you could sit and hear the thoughts in your mind that are usually drowned out by the incessant calls of “Mommy,” “Mama,” “Mom” for just a few minutes, I promise you, you’d run to be with them again.

I know this because today I sat in silence and wrote this piece. And then, I ran home to scoop them up and into my arms. The silence ended. The love continued.

A Gift Idea for Mother’s Day for Mothers of Young Kids

No need for flowersor breakfast in bed; a handmade card will do.

What I want most of all is for this day to be different than tomorrow.

I want the children dressed, listened to, fed, and entertained by someone other than me.

I want the house tidied, the toys put away, the dishes done, the food prepared, the groceries shopped, the linens changed, the crumbs wiped – and the butts, too – by someone other than me.

I don’t want to buckle a car seat and to rush someplace that no one cares to be.

This Mother’s Day I’d like to remember that I am a mother, but more, that I am a person. Will you help me with that?

I know that we have mothers to celebrate and thank: my mother, your mother, dead mothers, grandmothers, godmothers, mothers who aren’t biologically our mothers, but who are mothers to us, nonetheless. Could we plan for them on a different day? Or, if it’s being with our kids that they’d like, tell them that our kids will be here with shoes and coats at the ready waiting to be taken for a walk or to the park or for a bike ride. They don’t sit long enough for church and brunch and a play, which means I wouldn’t be sitting for any of that either.

Let me go to the bookstore or the coffee shop alone. Let me look for a pair of pants that fit without having to chase a child back into the dressing room. Let me take a bath and wash my hair without playing peek-a-boo with a dripping wet shower curtain.

I love all that being a mother has given me, but what I’d like most of all for today is to be a person.

If I could have that today, then tomorrow – or tonight, in the middle of the night – I can come back refreshed as a mother.


Foreplay, After Having Kids

He kissed me when he left this morning.And said, “Thanks for all that you do around here,” while nodding his head toward the sink, the kids, the laundry room.

He put those kids to bed when he got home. He cleaned the bathtub so I could take a bath while he straightened up. He did the dishes and the laundry, vacuumed even.

He never mentioned sex. After all of that, he didn’t need to.


I hold him tightly while I rock him.I exhale slowly and release all of the tension in me, all of the love in me; it filters through him.

I hold him and he tucks into me, into the place from which he grew.

He will call me one Thanksgiving and tell me that he is going to her house instead. I will force myself to be happy for him. I will force myself to say, “Wonderful, Dear. Have a happy Thanksgiving.”

I will hang up the phone.Remove featured image I will rock myself. I will tuck my knees tightly into his spot.

I will remember how I exhaled all of my love into him so that he could love her.




I take a picture of her in my mind. I record her words in my heart. If I can, I snap a picture. If I can, I write it down.

I do this for the day she yells at me, or mumbles under her breath if she’s learned anything at all, “I hate you” or “You don’t understand me” or “It’s not fair” in ten years.

Please, let it be ten years before that is here.

It will still feel like it is tomorrow.

I do this for tomorrow when she melts down into a puddle of a child before nap time.

I do this for myself so that I can calmly scoop her up and into my arms because I remember her.

She, in her pink tutu and ruby red slippers, frolics down the street brushing the blond wisps of hair out of her blue moon eyes.

“Mama, I love you like a rainbow loves. Big and colorful, and so big.”

Hop, skip, twirl. Light, free, joy.

The sun shines brightly on what’s left of her blond pig tails.

I use these snapshots to pad my heart. For all of the tomorrows to come.