interior ruckus—part one
i had no idea at twenty-nine
an unfamiliar inner voice
so bossy, persuasive
now, right now
baby, baby, baby
OR so i assumed...
in my 20s, i knew so little about my biology
youth doesn't ask many questions
baby, baby, baby
oh, to possess that blissful ignorance again
i understand now…
my ancient biology didn’t take over,
my private sociology did
interior ruckus of
age & expectations
my societal & familial programming
interior ruckus—part two
hopeful & cautious
baby, baby, baby
a September birthday?
NOPE, not this month
my body sighed
my body whispered, YES
a winter birthday?
baby, baby, baby
my son arrived
late in February
all giant and squirmy
three years later
that familiar drumbeat
my personal sociology
our son needs a sibling
my body whispered again
babies,in my wife?
baby A & baby B
gritty little homesteaders
inhabitants of my territory
our complex symbiosis
my daughters arrived
in the middle of May
all tiny and squirmy
interior ruckus—part three
mothering through menopause
& not just mine
age and expectations
a lifetime spent studying the waves
push and pull
motherhood's seismic shift
less vigilance now required
when monitoring underground movement
tremors are expected
Yesterday in my South End Studio NIA class, my friend and instructor Sabrina talked about lingering. She spoke about savoring moments…quiet, personal awareness, and being intentional about not letting those moments fade from memory (or sensation) too soon.
linger: to be slow in parting or in quitting something
This had resonance for me. I’ve thought a lot about lingering over the last 24 hours.
I find beauty and inspiration in so many realms all day, every day. I generally see this part of me as a gift. Sometimes, however, the frequency can feel more like a curse…perhaps lingering is the solution.
I want to linger in the face of…
Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers, and I linger on the shore, And the individual withers and the world is more and more. —Tennyson
My twin girls are graduating from high school in a few weeks.
We noted when they were born that they would be the Class of 2018.
Lucy is on the left & Willa on the right—one hour old.
1: to rear until ready for flight or independent activity
This definition of fledge, makes the process sound so simple, so animal. I’m finding that this process is not so simple and requires some emotional skills far beyond natural animal instincts. A few questions keep coming up for me.
What do I need to let go of now?
What’s at stake by holding on to my girls too tightly? Too loosely?
What relationships do I desire moving forward?
Who am I when I no longer have kids at home?
I’m allowing myself to grieve the end of this stage of family life.
I know I won’t hang out in this emotional space forever.
If I stuff these feelings, they’ll leak out in remarkably weird ways.
On this Mother’s Day, I really wanted to be honest with myself about it all. Mothering my kids has been heart-shatteringly beautiful and sometimes just plain heart-shattering, without the beauty part to soften the daily blows.
I can’t change anything and regret is a waste of energy anyway. If I try to tamp the regrets down, I know they will leak out in uncomfortable ways at inconvenient times.
Recently I noticed the TOP RACK ONLY button on the dishwasher. “Jeff and I will be a top rack only couple probably a few nights a week when the girls leave for college.” When I said this to myself, it made me cry inconsolably. Damn, that’s bleak.
These episodes are getting more frequent now as our nest nears it’s emptying…clearly a time for a little extra grace.
When Ellis, Lucy and Willa were growing up, I often did a quick review at the end of the day, asking myself one simple question: Did I love them more than I was pissed off at them? I don’t remember ever answering, NO. It was all the encouragement I needed to wake up and mother them another day.
Since I’m not a twin, I can’t imagine what it’s going to feel like for my girls to split up and go to different colleges. I have a hunch they can’t quite imagine what it’s going to feel like either. Please note the title of the article in the first beach picture. I believe it’s about the Kardashians, however, with high school graduation looming, it’s a funny photo to unearth at this time. Oh, the irony of life, isn’t it grand?
Cape Cod beach day.
Coming from or going to Mirabelles bakery in Burlington, Vermont.
New York City for their 9th birthday to see “Wicked”.
Lucy’s hair flying on the shuttle to the Martha’s Vineyard ferry.
Getting ready for the Justin Bieber concert, Quebec City.
My twin daughters are graduating from high school on Thursday, June 14th at 10am and nostalgia along with a handful of other complex and occasionally irrational emotions are settling into my midlife psyche. For so long photographing my girls was my muse, something creative I could do all the time. However, as they got older (and had cameras in their pockets) I photographed them less frequently together. I have plenty of travel and birthday photos, but I can see now as the years progressed, they increasingly grew into their individuality, less of a unit and I followed their lead. Now, every photo has to be “approved” which I can understand for a 17-year-old coming-of-age in this era and about to graduate from high school.
Here’s to honoring nostalgia however it surfaces in your life. I know for me, it’s helping the transition to an empty nest to take a look back. I’m less anxious that I could’ve been a better mother and prepared them more by seeing these photographs through a slightly different lens. A pleasant byproduct of middle age wisdom, I suppose.
When my three kids were young, to offer a little grace at the end of those seriously ass-kicking days, I would ask myself:
“Did you love them more than you were pissed off at them today?”
The answer was always the same. I can live with that.
There are so many photographs to sort through, here are a few of my favorite black & white shots of Lucy and Willa.
“I propose to fight it out on this line if it takes all summer.“
—Ulysses S. Grant
I wish I was one of those moms who just can’t wait for her kids to get out of school.
I am not.
For my 15 year old twin daughters:
—I will try to not be angry when you’re watching reruns of the Kardashians at noon.
(This will last until the 5th of July and then all bets are off on my tolerance level.)
—I will pay you to read classic novels and you will thank me, refuse payment and we’ll have dense philosophical conversations about the book late into the night. Hey, a mom can dream, right?
—When in doubt, picking up trash is a time honored pastime from my childhood.
—If you make a list of fun things you want do with me, I’ll try to make them happen.
—I want to love you more than I’m angry every single day. Please just pick up your room and do the dishes and don’t leave wet towels everywhere. My needs are simple. Your life will be much easier if you do these three things. Have you heard the term, “choosing the path of least resistance”? Learn it. Live it.
Today felt scattered and not very productive in the studio. However, 13 years ago today I was in labor with my twin girls, Lucy and Willa so my mind is elsewhere and I won’t be too hard on myself about my lack of focus. The copper flower pieces I’ve been working on in my jewelry class to use for the center of the pendants. I am also experimenting with some leather paints to see what kind of effects I can create.