Mama Bear’s Center – A Double Nonet

Your mouth downturned, sadly hiccuping,

Then wailing, your big tears trailing

Down your cheeks, onto your lips

Your body caves inward

Shoulders tight, arms limp

Knees bent and tucked

Rejection

Centered

Hurt

My

Center

Bellows, stomps

Expands to crush

Those who dare to hurt

My Baby Girl weeping

I gather you up and tuck

You under my chin and hold tight

Willing your pain to become my own

My Baby Girl with her Baby Dolls. Picture above ©️ 2020 iido

This double nonet was written for Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #247 – Center or in Canadian, “Centre”. 😁 I am all caught up with Patrick’s challenge – YAY!

But not-Yay for the “inspiration” for this poem. It’s been a very hard week for “virtual learning” aka “learning from home,” especially for my younger daughter. She misses her friends and dislikes feeling that she is missing out on all the fun stuff of school. Yes, tweens can experience serious FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). Our Montessori school has been playing “catch up” with technology since they were not a high tech school to begin with. Coupled with some internal dysfunction that often arises during times of crisis, her school wasn’t meeting her needs academically or otherwise.

This made my sensitive girl very upset – she excels in school and the feeling of disconnect was very destabilizing for her. Despite her attempts at communicating with the teachers, nothing was done to address these problems. While I certainly sympathize with the stress and pressure that teachers are currently under, no one – NO ONE – has the right to disregard and disrespect my child.

Mama Bear drank some coffee and readied for battle.

If you are a parent, you know the pain of witnessing your child be in pain, whether physical, emotional or mental. Sometimes they have to endure it – sometimes they should endure it (especially if it is an outcome of a bad decision on their part). But as a parent, if I can protect my child from pain or take it away from them, I do – I have – and I always will.

Maybe this makes me one of those entitled parents. I feel that parents of color (as well as parents of kids with different abilities), when we are advocating for our kids, we are often seen as entitled, demanding, troublemakers. Unsurprisingly, another child (white, female) who was experiencing the same issue as my daughter, had her concerns addressed compassionately and immediately. You don’t want to think about what other factors might come into play, but that is always in the back of my mind. I wanted to make sure my girl knew that even if racism was in play, that she shouldn’t settle for something less than what she deserved.

In the end, we did reach a resolution and hopefully these improvements will be implemented next week.

Mama Bear will be watching…..

****

I could not post this on September 11, 2020 and not pay tribute to the lives lost on this date, 19 years ago. Like most people, I can remember where I was when I heard the news about the first plan crashing into the Twin Towers. I remember everything about that day.

Growing up in New York, I have very fond memories of the Twin Towers. I’ve lain down on the pavement between the towers and watched the sky turn behind the towers, making for a dizzying and awe-inspiring experience (this is what nerdy high schoolers did back in the day). I’ve been to the top and marveled at the busy beauty that is New York City. The news reports, the pictures of the horrors of that day are now also etched in my mind.

9-11-01 Never Forget….

©️ 2020 iido

Radiance Reviewed – A Poem

My radiance suffers

when I don’t sleep

and the bags under my eyes

carry tears and worries.

.

My radiance suffers

when I eat sour cream pringles

and bagels with cream cheese

then bemoan the cheese on my thighs.

.

My radiance suffers

when I have three kids on my one lap

and I don’t have enough

eyes and ears to share.

.

My radiance suffers

when I am googling and scrolling

and shoveling crap into my brain and soul

thinking it’s fertilizer instead of just shit.

.

My radiance suffers

when I don’t talk to an adult

besides with my thumbs

that can’t differentiate between sarcasm and snark.

.

My radiance suffers

My light gets dimmer

My flame flickers

But maybe

It is not my time to shine….

Playing catch up as the school year starts! There won’t be any “alone time” this year since my kids will all be learning from home so I’m trying to “find time” when I can. Right now, time is waiting in line for take out.

This poem was written for Patrick’s Pic and A Word Challenge #244 – Radiance. I’m a week or two behind but I’m committed to this streak!

Life is anything but radiant right now, so like reading and writing and running, I’m trying to find the glimmers when I can. My friend calls this “find grace” – for myself and others – during this time. It really does help find the “shine” in the heavy dullness of living during a pandemic. It’s the hope that I’m clinging to. It’s the priorities that I am mindfully choosing. It’s the gratitude for blessings that I am counting.

So while I may not yet be back to regular posts…I’m still here… and I appreciate your time in reading this….

©️ 2020 iido

To Mothers Making Tough Decisions – A Cinquain

Mother

With broken heart

Your knowing eyes loving

Despite fearing unknown chaos

Hero

Image credit; Lucas Pezeta at Pexels
( For the visually challenged reader, the image shows face of a woman. It is painted with luminous glitter paint and the features are highlighted with bright yellow lines, ending in a question mark on the forehead)

Joining Sadje’s “What do you see?” picture prompt #42 this week with the beautiful picture above. I would have loved to know where this picture was taken, if it was for a special ceremony or celebration. The colors are so vibrant against the black background – they seem illuminated even on my computer screen. And the design – does it allude to the “third eye” or does it have some other symbolic meaning?

It’s the person’s gaze in the picture that drew me in. I made the assumption that it was a feminine face, but I could be totally wrong since there are no other indicators of gender. As with any picture, our interpretation really reflects more of who we are and our point of views/filters/biases than on what the artist’s intent is.

The gaze in this picture speaks to resignation – knowing something and accepting it. I am hoping it is a compassionate resignation – knowing the decision made is done with the best intentions and understanding of the current data.

I would like to imagine that this is the look that I have right now. I would like to imagine that it’s the same look mothers/caregivers all over the United States have, after making the difficult decision of whether to send their kids to in-person school or attempt learning from home. I would like to imagine that we are looking at each other with this compassionate resignation and also with the unspoken promise of support no matter the outcome.

The first word of this poem could also be replaced with “Teachers” and the last word would remain the same, “Heroes”. I know our teachers are also struggling with the difficult decision of return to school – for themselves and their children. Again – I bestow the look of compassionate resignation and the promise of support for the following school year.

As this pandemic continues and many of us are feeling the fatigue of continuing with safety measures, let’s practice this compassionate look above our masks. Our eyes can convey hope as easily as contempt.

©️ 2020 iido

Winging It – A Cinquain

Winding

Down – time for sleep

Whining soothed – breathing deep

Tomorrow – promises to keep

Winning

A beautiful sunset –
The reward for surviving the day

It is 1 AM where I am and I’ve been thinking all week about Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #239 – Winding. I was just about to give up when this little cinquain popped into my head. I love playing with words and sounds and the “W” sound in winding, whining, winning and winging, made me happy. Also – all those W words have all the same letters except for one! I’m sure there’s a lesson somewhere in there about perspective and mindset (how changing one thing can change the whole meaning, etc.) but we won’t get into that today.

If you haven’t noticed from my previous posts, being a parent in the middle of a pandemic is HARD! However, there are days that feel less hard and there are also days that feel incredible.

Today was a less hard day.

As I look at my “To Do” list for this coming week (reading blog posts and responding to comments are on there!), I was reminded by my Papa, that I’m doing the best I can. My kids are doing the best they can. We all are doing the best we can with the resources and information that we have.

I am adding being kind to myself and my family on to my “To Do” list for this week. You should too! If you need another reason why, check out Kate’s thoroughly convincing open letter post!

Sometimes you have to start with small goals…

©️ 2020 iido

Transition – A Poem

My daughter is growing hair

You know, “down there”

So we sat and talked about

Transitions

We talked about breasts and deodorant

About mood swings and not smelling rank

We even read a book about

Transitions

My bittersweet thoughts of my girl growing up

Interrupted by her saying that it needs to stop

Because she’s really a boy in

Transition

The feelings she had, now identified

A revelation that she could no longer hide

And so she wanted to

Transition

My bittersweet thoughts turned to fear

This went against beliefs I hold dear

What did I do wrong to warrant

Transition

But this wasn’t about me and my happiness

It was about my sweet child and their completeness

So I took a deep breath and researched

Transition

We went to the doctor and talked to the priest

We went to the mall, to try on clothes, at least

My love for my child would get us though

Transition

Acceptance is hard, some days I’m not there

Bittersweet thoughts in my head still flare

But my child’s on a journey, how can I not care

We can adjust to change, no need to despair

So proud of my child as we begin to prepare for

Transition

Image obtained from WordPress Free Photo Library (first time I’ve used an image from there – there wasn’t any attribution info so I hope this reference is ok).

This poem was written for Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #237 – Transition. It is a work of fiction – my children haven’t expressed any gender or sexual preferences so far. I hope that if they do, I would be able to live up to the open acceptance I have characterized in this poem.

I want to believe that human love is unconditional, but I know that isn’t true. Even our love for our children isn’t unconditional – we expect something back, whether it’s obedience or taking care of us in our old age. Still, I hope to show my children that love can transcend and transform any difficult situation.

With the pandemic and calls for racial justice continuing, let’s not forget that this is also Pride Month. Love is love! Intersectionality should be a part of any process seeking true justice and equity.

EDITED 6/22/20 4 PM – I forgot to link this post to Kate’s Friday Fun request for our favorite sayings (this is what happens when inspiration wakes you up at 3 AM!). I don’t actually have a favorite saying, but I do collect sayings that I resonate with me. This saying, I think, was an unconscious inspiration for the poem above:

“Love can change a person the way a parent can change a baby- awkwardly, and often with a great deal of mess.” 
― Lemony Snicket, Horseradish

This saying has also made a home in my mind lately. I’m not sure if it’s leasing the space or if it’s there to stay…

“I have accepted fear as part of life – specifically the fear of change... I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart that says: turn back....” 
― Erica Jong

I hope it’s here to stay….

©️ 2020 iido

Gesundheit – A Kyoka

The empty bench sighed

Emergent greens cried

Spring’s promise implied

Whisper-soft steps hide

Tissues beside

image
Image credit- Pixabay– Majaranda
(For the visually challenged reader, the image shows a young girl standing next to an old sprawling tree in a park. There is an empty bench in front of her)

This is the first kyoka that I have written, in fact, I hadn’t heard of a kyoka until reading Frank’s Meet the Bar post on dVerse about 5 line Japanese poetry. Frank (not to be confused with this Frank Tassone), who is an expert in English-language, Japanese style poetry, writes that a kyoka like a tanka except the focus is on human nature. He also explains that in order to follow more closely, the Japanese linguistic unit called “mora”, that the syllable count should be between 20-24 and not 31. Challenge accepted!

Did I succeed in taking a lovely picture offered by Sadje’s What do you see Picture Prompt #30 and turning it into a satirical take on human nature? My allergies say, YES! Especially since I was also able to include Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #232 – Emergent into this piece. (I’m still on a streak and it was Patrick’s birthday last weekend!) Do I get bonus points for the unintentional rhyming? The kyoka doesn’t have that requirement but this poem seemed to think it was the “elbow nudge, nudge” it needed.

Spring is definitely here and summer is fast on her heels. School has ended for my kids so we are taking a break from academics and focusing on….nothing for now. This has been hard for me as it seems we “devolve” when we don’t have some sort of structure…however, my kids are not big fans of schedules or “being told what to do”. Of course, they’re not….they are big fans of video games, eating brownies for breakfast, eating breakfast food for any meal other than breakfast, talking to friends on the latest app for hours and seeing how many days can they not shower or brush their teeth before they’re able to smell themselves.

With shelter in place is still in effect, there no summer camps available, the play grounds are still off-limits and our usual summer activities (pool, museums, travel) are all still closed. I worry about how the next two months will go, as I don’t think being in front of electronic screens while eating sugar in all it’s forms is the best idea.

So, I’m giving them through the weekend, then, we’re going to start having suggestions for things to do during the day that needs to be done by a certain time.

A schedule by any other name…is still structure that is needed by children and welcome by mothers!

©️ 2020 iido

Moon Phases – A Poem

Moonbeams shine through the window

Highlighting hands in circular motion

Scccrrruuuubbb, sccccrrruuuuubbb,

The sound elongating on each orbital pass

Along the Corelle plane

Muffling the hopeful crinkle of suds

 

She looks out the window

Her eyes following the moon path

Russsstling, russssssstling

Wrestling with her mind to focus on the task

She looks down at the wet line along her shirt waist

Pointing to the needy stack of temporary satiation

 

Slowly, her hands stop their motion

And she lifts up her right hand to

Capture the moonlight upon her palm

She watches the shadows play hide and seek 

And feels the pull of Artemis to abandon her post

An arrow pierces her heart 

And she holds her breath in realization

 

Quickly, she presses her face to the window

Her breath now fogs up the glass

HAAAAAAAAAA, haaaaaaaa…….Aaaaaaaahhhhhhh

The cooling pressure reminding her

The moon is cold and lonely like a clean plate 

She notices the front of her shirt is wet

IMG_5918

This poem was inspired by Patrick’s Pic and a Word Prompt #230 – Moon. I took this photo of the moon on a cloudy night this week. It looks so far away….

When I was thinking about this poem, I actually was washing dishes and looking out the window – this was after dinner, when the kids were still up and about and not at all tired enough for bed. The noise was daytime loud. There was nothing in particular that happened to make the day “bad” and even their after dinner/before bedtime squabbling wasn’t particularly bothersome. I was just waiting for the day to be over, so I could have some time for myself (sorry, Hubby).

It was only after all the kids (and Hubby) were in bed and the house was silent that I was able to formulate into words and phrases what that moment was like – a moment that I’m sure many mothers (and maybe some fathers) have experienced. It’s these moments that people always tell you to be grateful for because they will be gone soon enough.  It’s these moments that you try your hardest to accept as just a phase of life. 

I was reminded about a quote from St. Teresa of Calcutta, Mother Teresa, who said, “Wash the plate not because it is dirty nor because you are told to wash it, but because you love the person who will use it next.” Yet what if you’re having a hard time loving any of the potential people who will use the dish next because they are arguing about who’s turn it is to pick a show to watch while getting sticky ice cream and cake crumbs all over the couch? (It was supposed to be a nice treat….)  Maybe it takes a saint to not answer Artemis’ call….

 

© 2020 iido

 

Playtime – Four Connected Senryu

Being, Doing – BOING!

Keep up with life’s rhythmic bounce

Now the ball has dropped

 

Pushed and pulled now – PUFF!

In a cough, the order’s gone

Chaos! Tag, you’re it!

 

Now we sit, stay – RUFF!

Yet still, there’s a need to fetch

Wait for it – steady 

 

Being, staying, here

My eyes reflect what’s in yours

Let’s go build a fort

IMG_5689

I originally wrote this connected senryu just to get down some thoughts I’ve had this week. Serendipitously,  Laura at dVerse asked for poems about our relationship with “order” and with a few word changes, this poem fit right in.  I do like using a poetry form  – it helps me to not be too wordy and makes me focus on showing not telling (I hope you can see that in my poetry!).  I also do love order – not to be confused with a love of cleaning, though! I love the order of knowing what to expect, which is why I don’t love our current coronavirus situation.

The poem starts with this inspiration:

IMG_5660

Yes, that is a basketball and a foam tennis ball in the branches of a tree. I don’t know what the kids were doing outside but they swear it was not intentional…

The middle part (I’m pretty sure) came from my subconscious acceptance that my kids really, really, really want a dog  (yes, “Ruff” = “Rough” in the poem). They are doing everything in their power to show how responsible they will be if we got one (including daily vacuuming). My older daughter even made a powerpoint presentation about why we should get a dog.   My conscious answer is still, “We’ll see…” (meaning “no”) but the fact that a dog made it into a poem….

It ends with the first picture – my kids building with these large lego blocks and other materials (chairs, picnic blankets, boxes, bikes, cones). Obviously, this was a week where minimum school work was accomplished yet there was still lots of learning and problem solving opportunities.

I go back and forth between how much to enforce schoolwork and our daily schedule versus allowing the kids to do what they want. Some days (OK, most days), I am pretty strict with staying on schedule and making sure the kids are productive in an academic way. Prior to the coronavirus shut down, our lives were full with activities and things to do. We had a schedule, an order, a rhythm to our day and week that didn’t waver and was usually pretty consistent once it was set. (Yes, I have read the articles about how kids thrive in consistent environments.)  And I thought the kids liked doing all these activities.

I think they still do, but I think they also enjoy this slower pace of life that allows them the freedom to be more spontaneous with their time. Despite the inevitable chaos of having some days with less structure, having more time together to just be with each other to play, talk, connect – it really is a positive outcome of having to “shelter-in-place” to “flatten the curve” of this pandemic. Kids really don’t need all that much – well, besides a dog….

 

 

(c) 2020 iido

 

Nomad No More – A Chaucerian Stanza +1

Between 9 and 3, I used to wander

Down lonely paths and quiet streets in town

This nomad time allowed me to ponder

All my life’s ins and outs and ups and downs

But now I’m kept hostage by this virus crown

Physically restricted, no place to be alone

My nomad gifts this suffering, for sins I must atone

24 hours a day, 7 days a week

wk-152-nomad

This is my first time writing for Sammi Scribbles’ Weekend Writing Prompt – this weekend is #152 – Nomad, 68 words. I found her site courtesy of Sadje’s site. I love how inspiration and connection is a hallmark of the WordPress blogosphere!

I also tried to connect it to Frank’s dVerse Meeting the Bar request to write a Chaucerian Stanza of 7 iambic pentameter lines with the rhyme scheme of ABABBCC. I missed the Mr. Linky deadline for that prompt, but it’s probably for the best since I went over the 7 line maximum by 1 line so I could fulfill Sammi’s 68 word request. I will attempt Frank’s challenge again though!

This theme of “competing demands” reflect more of my “current coronavirus conundrums”. While I might seem extroverted, on the deep inside is an introverted soul who needs alone time to recharge and refresh.  I used to be able to find this alone time when my children were in school (hence the reference to “9 AM to 3 AM” in the poem) and I could wander and wonder in a pseudo-nomadic state.

I don’t think my children knew this about me. When I pick them up from school, I am refreshed and ready for our afternoon and evening interactions. On the weekends, my husband is there to cover the times I would step away to recharge.

Being with them 24/7 for the past three weeks (has it only been that long that we’ve had the shelter in place order?), they have found out my secret the hard way. Now, they know that I need an hour at least by myself in the morning. They know that they need to occupy themselves with school work or playing or even (gasp!) TV or video games for that time. They know what the consequences are when I don’t get that recharge time, and how vastly more pleasurable it is at the home when I do.

In return, I have also learned more about my children’s needs at their current ages (versus when they were babies and toddlers, how they have changed!). After lunch is when my older daughter needs her alone time. My younger son needs cuddles and snacks around 3:30 (which is when we usually get home from school). My older son needs to have outside time in the middle of the day no matter what the weather is. My younger daughter needs to do something creative every day to stay happy.

Having this time with my children when they would usually be in school has been an unexpected gift from this otherwise greedy coronavirus. I read the stories about how COVID-19 has taken lives, taken jobs, taken people’s sense of a “normal life”. I wonder how many stories there are out there about what this period of time has given to people. I wonder if people would even realize that they’ve also been given a gift.

 

(c) 2020 iido