The Colors of the Wind

My son's art lesson this week was on the use of colors in poetry. I was thrilled, and the song from Disney's Pocahontas kept playing in my mind (an environmentally/socially conscious poet's anthem*). I don't want my child to see the world in black and white. I want him to see all the colors in the wind and all the shades of grey in the rainbow.

In the poem he wrote, there are typical 6yo silliness, but there are also truths far beyond his years. I couldn't have been more proud. He loves playing with words and colors almost as much as his mommy does.

So, here is his color poem. I will leave spelling errors in tact, to preserve poetic (and 6yo) integrity.

Red on my bed,
Blue on my shoe,
Pink is the link,
Brown on my crown,
Green behind my lean,
White is the spite,
Yellow is the color of my jell-o,
Clear of my tear,
Black of my slack,
Tan in the pan,


* Side note: His science lesson was on recycling, pollution, and taking care of the planet. WIN!


Flash Fiction Friday: "Who's There?"

"Knock, knock."

"Who's there?"

"Interrupting cow."

"Interrupting --"


The triumphant crow of my two-year-old in the back seat of the van would be adorable if I hadn't heard this joke a thousand times. ~ in the past hour alone.

"Knock, knock." She starts again. I sigh and glance at the dashboard clock. Just ten more minutes and we'll be home.

"Who's there?" Her brother, nowhere near as bored with this joke or his sister, answers with a grin.

"Interrupting --"

"MOOOO!!! Gotcha!" He beats her to the punch and they both giggle raucously. My head is pounding. Again.

"Knock, knock." I should really just be happy they're not picking on each other.

"Who's there?"

"Interrupting MOM!" I shout in annoyance and growl, "Knock it off. Both of you! No more knock, knock jokes!"

As I glance in the rearview mirror at them to see if they plan to obey me, I experience a twinge of guilt at the shock and hurt I see on their faces.

"I'm sorry," I backpedal. "Mommy has a headache. Can you please try to be quiet for the rest of the trip home?"

The excuse is worn out to them. Mommy always has a headache. It's a permanent part of my personality, just like the angry outbursts. Still, they try to comply.

I want so badly to tell them I'm wrong ~ and I do ~ often. But it changes nothing. Tomorrow will be the same. More pounding head and noisy children being yelled at.

I don't mean to. It comes out before I know what I'm saying, and I'm helpless to stop it. People think I'm awful.

I think I'm awful.

I pull into the driveway and unload my children. It's time for naps.

Finally, after minutes which seem like hours of screaming and crying ~ both them and me, we're snuggled in bed. Together. Because that's what we need.

And just as I'm drifting off to sleep, feeling like maybe the nap might stop the knocking in my skull for just a little, I hear it downstairs.

Knock, knock.

"Interrupting cow!" I mutter as I extricate myself from between my two snoring children.

And, just to taunt me, it's as repetitive as the banter in the car.

Knock, knock.


This is Where

I come from...

the flowers on the mountain
the sunset in his eyes
the first snowfall of winter
the rain trapped in the sky
the crunch of autumn stillness
the moonbeam's starry cry
the piper's race with sea surf
and the dusk where shadows die


Flash Fiction Friday: "Shards"

"I would have said something, but I knew it wouldn't matter."

He looked at her, studied her face slowly, trying to figure out whether he agreed or disagreed. He raised his coffee to his lips, staring over the edge at her, buying time he knew they didn't have.

"Why?" It was a simple word, punctuated in frustration by the cup clunking on the counter.

"Because... I..." she shrugged and even her shoulders frowned. He understood that she didn't know why.

"We can find a way..." he tried to figure out if his voice even realized he wasn't coming along for the ride.

"You don't know how."

"No. I suppose I really don't." He stood, his eyes still searching for some reason.

"Shall I get your coat?"

"I guess." He watched her go, knowing that he should follow, not sure of exactly why.

He glanced around the kitchen, where the tea cups lined the top of the cupboards. He counted slowly.




He didn't need to count, but it was what he did in times like this. He already knew there were seventeen... and a half. The broken one at the end was the last he'd given her.

She returned then, interrupting his count, holding his coat toward him limply. He couldn't read her expression. It seemed to be a mixture of resignation, frustration, and... sympathy? Did she really feel bad for this?

Shrugging into his jacket, he sighed.

"Can I have it?"

"Have what?" she asked and he gazed up behind her, waiting for her to turn around. "You want that?"


"Why? It's broken. I was going to throw it away."

"I know. I still want to fix it."

"Pieces are missing you know."


"What will you do with it?"

"I don't know, but I want to fix it somehow."

She nodded slowly and he knew that he wasn't the only one who had no idea what he was doing. Pulling a chair from the kitchen table, he climbed carefully up to the cupboard and reverently picked up the half of the cup that was there on the saucer. There were a few shards still there as well and he gathered them too.

"Do you have a paper bag?"

He looked down to see she was already holding one up to him. She always had known what he needed before he did. Packaging the pieces slowly, deliberately, and almost sacredly, he glanced yet again at the line along the shelves. Regardless what happened, he knew they would stay there. She wouldn't be able to part with them.

Neither of them said a word as he climbed back down carefully and returned the chair to its place at the table. It belonged, even if he didn't. There should always be five chairs at the table.

Turning at the door, he took one last look into her face. He felt he needed to say something.

"Make them butterscotch pancakes for breakfast. They deserve at least that much." It was hollow and they both knew it.

The door thudded softly and he shuffled through the leaves on the walk on his way to his car. The porch light went out as he slid behind the steering wheel and he realized he had nowhere to go.

He opened the bag and peered inside. Even if there were parts missing, she'd loved this once.

Even if she didn't think it mattered, he'd find a way to fix this.


It's a Purple Thing... You Wouldn't Understand

"If you judge people, you have no time to love them. " ~ Mother Theresa

Today there are thousands (millions?) of people wearing purple. And there are probably far more people who are upset about it for one reason or another. And that makes me angry.

It truly doesn't matter how you feel about who should sleep with who or whatever (and this is not a statement of my opinion on that in any way ~ I will discuss that only in private because it's not the point). The point is that people have a right to decide that for themselves.

People also have the right to be able to walk in public ~ full members of society, knowing that they matter just as much as everyone else and not having to be afraid of how people will treat them.

People also have the right to see more options in their lives than to have to kill themselves out of despair and escape from the hatred and violence resulting from intolerance.

People also have the right to express these opinions without other people being inconsiderate assholes about it by downplaying the issue, making jokes about the situation, or using this issue as a platform for their own political or religious agenda. That's right, I went there.

People need to realize that hiding their hatred behind their "Christianity" (or any other religion) makes God CRY!
"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." ~ Matt 22:36-40 (NIV)
"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." ~ 1 Cor 13:13 (NIV)
16 years of Christian education and I cannot find in the bible where hatred in any form is okay.

Don't mess with me. Especially NOT today.

Not gonna lie... This rant was well-warranted (and a long-time coming). I'm not apologizing for the anger inherent in it. It's holy anger ~ anger over injustice and lack of compassion.

I'm not sorry for saying these things.

Not now.

Not ever.

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.


Are You Pregnant?

Top three questions I don't want to answer, so please stop asking:
  1. "Do I look fat/ugly?"
  2. "What do you think of my new boyfriend?"
  3. "Are you pregnant?"
For the record, here are the answers (and yes, I have never met a single person for whom these answers are exempt):
  1. "You look fat/ugly only when you think you look fat/ugly. You are truly beautiful just the way you are."
  2. "You already know what I think of your new boyfriend, or you wouldn't ask me that question."
  3. "Hell no, and that's one of the most annoying and offensive questions ever."
The first question frustrates me because I don't believe that society has any right to dictate whether or not you are fat or beautiful. I, myself, struggle with how other people see me, but we're all exactly the way we're meant to be. And the sooner we wake up and realize that, the more beautiful we all become.

The second question is one that people only ask when there is something they are concerned about in their relationship. If there isn't an issue or concern, my opinion doesn't matter because flaws have been overshadowed by the attraction. This is why we date, yes?

Now, the question "Are you pregnant?" should NEVER be asked of any woman unless you are almost 100% certain already that the answer is yes. And even then, tread lightly. Most men are smart enough to know this. They're taught this their whole lives. Some boys still need some assistance in this area, though, and I hope they're reading.

You know who else needs to read this though? The three women who've asked me this in the past year (and any other women who asks this question) and don't know how to mind their own business.

Here's why it's a problem (in no particular order ~ aside from the fact that I am rambling and these things pop into my head as they do). It is important to note that, in most cases, these points also apply to the equally obnoxious questions of "do you think you'll have kids?" or "are you working/planning on having kids?":
  • Just ask what you really want to ask: "Have you put on weight?" And just so you know, backpedaling with "I'm sorry; you just had that 'glow' about you" or "Huh, I'm usually right about things like that," will not win your forgiveness or brownie points of any kind.
  • The question implies that couples who choose not to have children are somehow lesser citizens, are weird or strange, or are somehow "too selfish to have children and put their careers at risk." None of these are true nor are they your judgments to make.
  • I know, when you ask this question, you're thinking about me getting down and dirty. A large percentage of pregnancy is the direct result of said activity, after all. Frankly, it's an invasion of my privacy on several levels when you ask this. First off, this is none of your business AND secondly, it's none of your business. If I wanted to tell you, I would. And it really is that simple.
  • It's downright hurtful to a lot of women: painful reminders of children lost to miscarriage or infertility, and of being abnormal, marred, or worthless as a woman.
For years, I was grateful for any excuse to avoid baby showers. I would ask close friends (usually ones who understood the pain as well) to help me think up or plan somewhere ~ anywhere ~ I needed to be that day. I went to a few showers during those years ~ my closest friends or relatives. You know, the ones where it was less painful to endure the torture of hope and adorable futures I'd "never have" than to deal with being "the one that had better things to do than support a friend."

I screamed at the woman in the billing office of my OB-Gyn because I found out I was labeled "infertile" when a bill for an allegedly "diagnostic" procedure was billed as an "infertility treatment" and therefore not covered by my insurance. Yes, that really is how I found out. The poor woman was mortified that she'd been the one to tell me. Come to think of it, she didn't deserve my verbal abuse. She had no idea that I didn't know.

My husband and I have since been blessed by two incredible children, one through a miracle birth (I refused fertility treatments) and one through adoption (I would have chosen to do this regardless). Even so, it still hurts ~ a lot ~ when people ask. And I'm not the only one who hurts.

I respect you enough to help you understand. Please, respect me ~ and others ~ enough to think before you ask stupid questions.


Morality Play

Don't judge me because I finally understand all
the things I swore were wrong, all
the awful things that make you cringe
and wonder
why and how

Don't judge me like
I judged you

Forgive me because I don't
know what I’m

This time I get it and I know what
will make a person
or snap
or fall

I swore I'd never do that
never say those things to you
but I have
and now I know

what it feels like to become
the very thing you hate


Why Bother?

I feel alienated and isolated.

There's so much going on right now in my life and with people that I care about very deeply and I want to fix it all. I can't. And I know that my own limitations are only contributing to my feelings of isolation. I feel like I just can't quite grasp something very important ~ or even come close to reaching it ~ and I don't even know what it is.

My loneliness has nothing to do with a lack of people around me, or even any inadequacy of their depth of concern. There are lots of people who care about me. And they're coming out of the woodwork in droves. I'm so blessed with love, understanding, and support on all levels right now. And I know this logically and am INCREDIBLY GRATEFUL that they are here.

I have physical evidence to prove it. People ~ actual people ~ who are here helping where I need them to or just sitting and being with me if that's what I need. People who call, text, instant message, email, tweet, facebook, and even stop by to visit at random. Even people on standby if I just need to chat. I know they are there. And I know I can reach for them. And sometimes I do. But a lot of times I don't.


Because I don't want to be a bother to them. Because they all have their own issues they're dealing with and I don't want to add to those issues. And because I want to be there for them and I don't know how. Because I don't have the strength, energy, or know-how right now. Because I still WANT to be there for them ~ even if only to listen ~ but I feel like people don't want to bother me either.

Because I have an innate sense of paranoia at this point. Because I don't want to be accused in any way of taking advantage of anyone or using them just for what I need. Because I don't want the scales to be imbalanced. Because I feel I need so much more than anyone can give me, and so much more than I can give back. Because I don't know how to articulate properly what those needs are.

And so I feel alienated. Completely surrounded by people I love and who I logically KNOW love me. And I'm scared to reach out to them. I'm afraid of being needy or clingy or attention-seeking.

But I'm also terrified of being left alone.