Monday, December 25, 2006

on Christmas day

Erma Bombeck once wrote a piece about Christmas, about looking back with fondness on the homemade gifts of cotton balls and toothpicks with glue.

This year I received a felt stuffed angel with only slightly tilted wings, one that I had spent much of my own time "helping" to sew (along with other family homemade presents). She is beautiful. I also received a homemade heart with the words "I Love You" sew into it, a set of my OWN sharpie markers (gasp!), and a new note book to write it, (I've filled another). The last two items were purchased with money saved and budgeted between three other family members, money clutched in Christmas lines carrying small baskets of gifts while I was to stand "away". The gifts then hidden in rooms and carefully wrapped in secret and carried down and placed under our tree.

They are more precious to me than anything else I could ever receive.

Below are my "homemade" gifts to my children, they seemed to like them, although right now they are watching Monty Python's Flying Circus (what WAS I thinking!) and have completely forgotten them.... :-)

a letter about Catherine

Catherine, sometimes
seems to be more spirit than she is flesh,
or, perhaps
she has more felicity than
the instrument that is her body
will contain.
for it may appear
she is akin to sunshine,
refusing to be restrained,
streaming out and through
all afforded spaces
brilliantly expanding
reflecting over
everything within her grasp.

resonating from just under
her brave skin is
joy, exuberance, dance and laughter
together, and all at once.

she swallows the earth
in a fierce embrace, and
steps boldly out into its
and, its brightness
arms open
mouth spilling laughter
to mingle and weave
within the world’s voice.

she is liquid speed and
profound stillness
side by side.
kaleidoscopically dancing
to music she composes
with handfuls of willow leaves and
brightly woven yarn
tossed into the air.

I hear her between the
soft rasping of a page turned,
and the persistent rasp of
pencils across paper.

she is my teacher,
my guide,
my joy,
my daughter.


a letter about Graham

he cannot step lightly.

Graham’s heartbeats and footsteps thunder.
the world, left without choice, expands
in the presence of absolute life,
resting, only when he does.

his eyes regard you with utter openness,
his soul, laid bare upon his pale and bandaged skin.
is free to look upon,
to touch, to embrace, and sometimes, even kiss;
if you can bare its raw beauty.
for he has not yet learned how to guard it,
to shield it from this worlds blows, or joys.

his sorrows wrap themselves around the moon
and the oceans feel their pull.

in ecstasy, he his flings brightness to the stars,
and they twinkle back their gratitude;
on earth branches arch from leaves’ laughter
a mere home may not contain such elation.

his heart, he sometimes carries
cupped, in his still small hands;
these are the times I glimpse the man,
he will become.


a letter about Elizabeth

she carries
my heart, in a bucket of sand, she
uses to make sandcastles,
collects water from the ocean
with seashells for its walls.
she regards me with eyes
older, more profound than
her oceans;
questions the universe,
in the voice of a child,
tapes letters to God
to her window.

Elizabeth walks barefoot, climbs
trees on an earth
she has tread long before;
senses its pulse, breathes its skies,
and later, paints them in

she dances, (barefoot) and giggles,
with raindrops and snowflakes,
cradles earthworms and spiders
as precious treasures, before
returning them home;
and helps me bury small birds
in our yard.

she carries my heart
in a fierce little body,
born with more wisdom,
more compassion,
more love,
than I may comprehend.


and so there they are. presently engrossed in the Flying Circus, and I must have more coffee. no snappy graphics with this one, its Christmas and I shouldn't be near this box anyway.

Happy Christmas all.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Dear Santa .....

Dear Santa,

I've been a good mom all year. I've fed, cleaned and cuddled my children on
demand, visited the doctor's office more than my doctor, sold sixty-two
cases of candy bars to raise money to plant a shade tree on the school
playground. I was hoping you could spread my list out over several
Christmases, since I had to write this letter with my son's red crayon, on
the back of a receipt in the laundry room between cycles, and who knows when
I'll find anymore free time in the next 18 years.

Here are my Christmas wishes:

I'd like a pair of legs that don't ache (in any color, except purple, which
I already have) and arms that don't hurt or flap in the breeze; but are
strong enough to pull my screaming child out of the candy aisle in the
grocery store.

I'd also like a waist, since I lost mine somewhere in the seventh month of
my last pregnancy.

If you're hauling big ticket items this year I'd like fingerprint resistant
windows and a radio that only plays adult music; a television that doesn't
broadcast any programs containing talking animals; and a refrigerator with a
secret compartment behind the crisper where I can hide to talk on the phone.

On the practical side, I could use a talking doll that says, "Yes, Mommy" to
boost my parental confidence, along with two kids who don't fight and three
pairs of jeans that will zip all the way up without the use of power tools.

I could also use a recording of Tibetan monks chanting "Don't eat in the
living room" and "Take your hands off your brother," because my voice seems
to be just out of my children's hearing range and can only be heard by the

If it's too late to find any of these products, I'd settle for enough time
to brush my teeth and comb my hair in the same morning, or the luxury of
eating food warmer than room temperature without it being served in a
Styrofoam container.

If you don't mind, I could also use a few Christmas miracles to brighten
the holiday season. Would it be too much trouble to declare ketchup a
vegetable? It will clear my conscience immensely. It would be helpful if you
could coerce my children to help around the house without demanding payment
as if they were the bosses of an organized crime family.

Well, Santa, the buzzer on the dryer is ringing and my son saw my feet under
the laundry room door. I think he wants his crayon back.
Have a safe trip and remember to leave your wet boots by the door and come
in and dry off so you don't catch cold.

Help yourself to cookies on the table but don't eat too many or leave crumbs
on the carpet.

Yours Always, MOM...!

P.S. One more can cancel all my requests if you can keep my
children young enough to believe in Santa.