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One on Diving

Starting Blocks

I was a swimmer
Diving only from the blocks
Never the high dive

Which turned the water
An illusion
That might not break your fall

I was a swimmer
Who won by finishing
Without touching the lane line

Persistently, quickly
Churning out laps
Fly, back, breast, free

A tiny girl then
Before puberty conspired
To give me curves

Interfering with my aerodynamics
Aquadynamics?
Slowing me down

I was a teammate
Walking the length of the pool
Shouting encouragement loud

Before puberty conspired
To make me self-conscious
Afraid of what people might think

I have relearned fearlessness
In encouragement
Shouting loud celebration

Of hard work
Of effort
Of overcoming obstacles

But I never regained
My speed off the blocks
Though I can still swim far

And I still won’t
Dive off the high dive
But I will jump

Cheering them on

One for 2013

Simplify
one word for 2013
wherein I have – to start
too many things
taking up too much
precious time
and attention
that could otherwise
belong to my tiny girl
or her big brother
or her daddy, my love
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Simplify
where can we live
with less
what takes up
too much space
in my house
in my mind
in my heart
how can I reduce
slow down
notice
where can I be
more intentional
present
uncluttered

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Simplify
hold on
only to what matters
set free
the things that do not
things least of all
people most of all
resources
carefully allocated

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Simplify
so in the end
we have
just enough
and no more

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The gentle reminders
That I am known
And loved
Knowing not only
Are my very hairs numbered
But the desires of my heart
Are affirmed and treasured
By the One who made and called me

Two words –
One old from a prayer meeting
Years ago
Spoken directly to my heart
Almost forgotten
Bouncing yet another
Not-my-baby
Quietly to sleep
Gently the words:
I will give you your own

And now she grows so quickly
Coming very soon
A fulfilled promise

The second just this morning
A blessing that spoke
Directly to the heart of me:
Grace and motherlove
Giving birth to hope
Gathering in
Holding close
Not only those who are mine
Not only those who are His
But those unloved
Those unwelcome
The motherless in need
Of encouragement
Of being held close
Of hearing even the hard things
Delivered in love

Part of my deepest heart
Gone a bit dormant lately
Ready to reach out again

Saving my life right now
Are two communities:
The echoes
Of the one that grew me up
And the realities
Of the one embracing me now
(Mostly) grown
Places of knowing and being known
Thin places
Where the kingdom comes
Where Love breaks through
To save

Synchroblogging: http://sarahbessey.com/in-which-we-are-saved-synchroblog/

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As I sit and type
Her tiny body moves within mine
More distinctly every day
She runs a hand across my middle
Just above my belly button
She kicks high
One tiny foot
Up near my rib cage
And I know she is running out of room
That her feet will soon find my bones
And all this movement will be far less comfortable
My tiny daughter
Her body
Long promised
Moving within me
Instills deep calm
Even as she stretches out my skin
And tiny red marks streak out
Along my belly
Her daddy and I run our hands
Over this ever-more-prominent curve
Her brother leans in close
To whisper good morning
And I love you
We seek out her movement
Finding unending delight
In this small engagement
And I know I will never
See this body
These curves
Ever less than perfect
In the same way again
Appreciation newly born
Paving her pathway
Her body teaches me
To love my body
A favor I hope I can return
Long before she carries
A tiny life inside her own

Linking up:

Dear Brandon

You are six and a half
And one of these days
You won’t use all the same expressions
That make your little boy speech
So very charming and perfectly you
So I thought a list might be in order
Of some of the best things you say
Everyday lately
And the ways in which
You are very much yourself
At six and a half
You say “thee” when you mean “they”
Quaint mispronunciation, Quaker-like
You use one hundred to mean a whole lot
As in “I love you one hundred”
And you put very in front of verbs
As in “I very love you”
Sometimes you call me Bridget
And sometimes you call me EmMa
Which is short for Extra Mommy
I don’t know whether that will stick
But I like that you are working to figure out
Who you and I are are to each other
And that you seem to get why
I don’t really want to be called Stepmom
You pronounce Rapunzel like this:
Re-punzel
You also like to dress up like that
Fair haired maiden, in my purple dress
And wield a frying pan against
Imaginary foes
You like to put random letters together
And ask us what they spell
Even though you can read well enough
To be pretty sure they don’t spell anything
You love to be asked questions
And sometimes your answers are so funny
It’s hard to find another question
The other day, you told me your friend Antonio
Was the most successful person you know
And then you explained that successful
Means “Having the most red days at school”
But you followed that up with telling me
That I am the kindest person you know
I didn’t dare ask what you think kind means
I love you at six-and-a-half, little man
And I can’t wait to see what seven looks like

“She couldn’t understand it. Was she simply too shallow to suffer indefinitely, or was she too wise to become attached to her suffering, too feisty to permit it to rule her life? She voted for wise and feisty, and walked on, kicking leaves.” Tom Robbins, Skinny Legs and All

Someday, he really will become
Someone you once knew
A familiar, happy memory
Even a source of mild amusement
At how poorly he matched up
With all you want in your life
And more, with what you really need
Despite his charming smile
And the way he seemed to understand you

Someday, you will look back gratefully
At the girl you are today
At how she squared her shoulders
And dried her eyes
At how she decided to keep going
To keep becoming
Her very best self
Despite his failure to understand
How beautiful that best self would be

Someday, you will know
Deep down in the most real parts of you
Exactly why it was
He moved on from your life
And what his absence made room for
As you grow and change
As you find new friends
As you make new memories
And learn who you are without him

Someday, sooner than you think
When you least expect it
And from a place you wouldn’t have thought to look
There will be another, truer love
One who does understand
How valuable you are
How beautiful you are
How you should be treasured
And this he, the cause of your current suffering

Will have finally become
Someone you once knew

This really should rhyme
And trip rhythmically on in
Tetrameter like your most beloved
Books did
But your talent so far outshines
Anything I could write
I won’t even try
I have always loved your stories
For their clever word play
And their beautiful whimsical images
But most of all
For their magnetic ability
To draw a child onto my lap
To gather small humans around me on the couch
Snuggled in tight
To hear Horton and Yertle
And Bartholomew
And Gertrude and Mayzie
And the Lorax
For their magical power to persuade those same kids
To read out loud to me
One Fish, Two Fish
And the Cat in the Hat
(Twice – he always comes back)
and Hop on Pop
I love that my family name appears in
Two books – Oh Say Can You Say
And You’re Only Old Once
Blinn, after all, is easy to read
And rhymes with all sorts of things
Your books gave me some of my very first bonding moments
With my small stepson
I think you would have liked knowing that
And so to honor your memory
And our family fondness for all things Seuss
We instituted a family tradition
On your 108th birthday
We ate green eggs and ham for dinner
We baked cupcakes with Cat Hats on them
We had blue jello cups with red fish jumping out
We played games based on your books
And then we took turns reading our favorite ones
Happy 108th Dr Seuss!

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