this is the first summer i have been able to let them go. oh, they’ve been swimming, in lessons and otherwise, for years, but letting them go has always sent me into an almost anxiety attack. the paranoia started after clyde, then about three and a half, had “the incident” while i was pregnant with leo. he jumped in the pool right after his older cousin, and i had NO IDEA he would even think to do something like that. always a cautious kid, one we joke could not even open a door until he was at least four years old, it hadn’t even occurred to me to worry about him jumping right in when we headed out back to swim. of course, we were all right there, but it took several long seconds for my brain to register that it was clyde sinking beneath the water. i bloodied both my knees getting down to pull him out.
now they both seem so free in the water. or maybe it’s me who’s finally free. to let them. always cautious but letting them go and learn and be. and it feels so good. like summer should.
dug up this poem i wrote when the boys were small; makes me wistful and weepy for my babies:
I use the end of my pen to push
Your brother’s baby hair to the side
In his stroller, he wriggles, turns left,
then right, hates sitting still
So much older now, you are swimming
in a big, big soft blue pool
Long torso, hair covering your brown eyes
That still rise to mine across the water
Bare, wet feet pitter past
Like the moments of your youth
Running away from me
Your brother can suddenly
Hold and tip his bottle
“Dada!” he belts and you plunge
once again into the water.
I have a bit of a time problem. xoxo
of time. Of there not being
enough of it.
My girl came to the study
and said Help me;
I told her I had a time problem
I would die for you but I don’t have ten minutes.
— from “Time Problem” by Brenda Hillman
is there a point in your life when you stop having any kind of real thoughts and your mind just spins on to-do lists? cause it’s boring me to tears. i can even see all the check boxes next to the list, which goes on seemingly forever, and none of them are checked.
strangely, at the same time, i feel like i don’t really have that much to do. not really. nothing earth shattering. but my brain has been reprogrammed into a list churner that makes me feel like i have a million things to do. or keep done.
i think i want my old brain back. it was much better at thinking about less boring things. or at least things i didn’t have to check off (chik-chik) when i was done thinking about them. kids fed and kept alive (chik-chik), husband somewhere in the house (chik-chik), getting sleepy (chik-chik), prepared to dream (chik-chik) — ack! preparing to dream has got to be saddest part yet…
- zipping him up and tucking him in this winter bed, my baby
- reading him to sleep, my first baby, his new, already-t00-short jam pants halfway up his calves
- a poem: “new year’s day” by kim addonizio
- ohhh, jo handbags (via ss)
i’d rather be writing poetry, but this photo (a poem of its very own) will have to do. and soon, poetry!
by Diana O’Hehir
The exact taste of happiness, tangy, somewhere between loquat
and pear, why don’t
We ever know it when we meet it?
No one says, Here’s happiness’ weather,
Planes overhead like white paint.
Three years from now or seven years we’ll
Look at a photograph, the people small, communal as gnats, the
In sunshine, no ghost yet
Over anyone’s shoulder, no stranger riding up with a message
from the Tribunal,
Knocking all the ice plant off the slope
In his climb to our living room.
And we’ll say: happiness
Wasn’t round or square.
It never named itself, was a series of negatives:
You were not inconstant, not sleepless;
I was not
via Persimmon Tree
From Spells for Not Dying Again
Eastern Washington University Press
Copyright © 1996
All rights reserved.