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

Hot Air Rises – A Nonet

Their fire exhaling passionate hope

Their dreams hidden in wickered hearts

No thorns to cause them to pop

Captured in weightless bulbs

Cloudless promises

Reaching higher

So many

So close

Rise

Ian Dooley- Unsplash
( For the visually challenged reader, the image shows a sky full of hot air balloons in various colors. The nearest one shows a couple in the basket with an operator)

This nonet was written for Sadje’s What do you see? photo prompt #45 (hopefully not too late!). I also was able to incorporate Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #246 – Thorns.

I loved this image of hot air balloons rising. We have a hot air balloon company near us who take off from the local airport. My kids have loved seeing them float over our house. One time they got close enough that when we waved, the people in the basket waved back.

Hot air ballooning has always intrigued me. But it has also terrified me – flying high in the sky in a small basket, subject to the whims of wind. There are only two choices – sit at the bottom of the basket and try not to hyperventilate with fear, or stand up, turn your face to the wind and enjoy the scenery.

With the pandemic still going strong and the upcoming election, I’ve struggled with this choice. But the blue skies have been beckoning me…enjoy the ride and let my hope ride….

©️2020 iido

Steps for Change – A Poem and Runfession #13, August 2020

The symmetry of my steps

Echo on the pavement

Right. . . . . . .Left

Right. . . . . . . Left

Right. . . . . . .Left

Right. . . . . . .Left

Echo the beat of my heart

Thump. . . . . .Thump

Thump. . . . . .Thump

Thump. . . . . .Thump

Thump. . . . .Thump

Echo the tears that fall

Drip. . . . . . .Drop

Drip. . . . . . .Drop

Drip. . . . . . .Drop

Drip. . . . . . .Drop

When I see the signs

Left. . . . . . .Rights

Left. . . . . . .Rights

Left. . . . . . .Rights

Left. . . . . . .Rights

Of the dismantling 

Thump. . . . . Trump

Thump. . . . . Trump

Thump. . . . . Trump

Thump. . . . . Trump

Of our democratic society

Go. . . . . . .Vote

Go. . . . . . .Vote

Go. . . . . . .Vote

Go. . . . . . .Vote

Hello! Hello! I’m catching up with Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge prompts (because you know – STREAK!!). This one is #245 – Symmetry. If you need some breathtaking visual inspiration, Patrick’s website is the place to check out!

I am also catching up with my running this week. Thank goodness for Marcia’s Healthy Slice Runfessions! I’m late for the the link-up, but please check out her site if you need some running motivation! Here’s my runfession for August.

Forgive me, Nike, for I have sinned….

I runfess….I am taking Nike’s timeless motto, “Just Do It,” as my mantra this month. I’ve been heading to the basement and running/walking on the treadmill for at least 30 minutes this week. Even if I can only manage a slow walk, I’m getting on the treadmill. Even if I still have laundry to fold and dishes to wash, I’m getting on the treadmill. Even if I really just want to sit on the couch and watch TV, I’m going on the treadmill. I’m just doing it!! Because….

I runfess…I didn’t get my 100 miles in August so I’m trying again in September. The stress of deciding about school and getting ready for virtual learning really depleted my energy in August. I wasn’t sleeping well (I’m still not) and I wasn’t eating healthy (I’m still not) and I wasn’t working out (at least I’m doing that now!). So, if at first you don’t succeed….

I runfess…I haven’t been running outside for two reasons: one – doing virtual learning with the kids means that I am house bound with them. This feels somewhat worse than during the pandemic shelter-in-place earlier this year. We’re doing the same thing, but it just feels wrong – this isn’t how September should be! It’s back to school time and leaf peeping time and fall races time – not sit in front of a computer and see your friends through a small screen time. It makes me angry and sad at the same time which makes being at home difficult…..

Reason number two…..

I runfess…between the pandemic and the upcoming election in the USA, I am glad that I’m doing most of my running on the treadmill. There are numerous political signs up in my neighborhood – the biggest ones support the current administration. It is disheartening that despite everything that has happened – the lies, the lack of science based leadership addressing the pandemic, the inciting of violence, the continued marginalizing of people (whether by skin color, ethnic background, religion, sexual orientation, gender, ability) – people still support the 45th president of the USA. I feel fearful and tearful when I see those signs. It wouldn’t be a good thing for my mental health to keep passing those signs when I’m running by myself. Which brings me to…..

I runfess…it was hard to keep positive this past month. It’s like that point in running a marathon when you think you’ve been running forever and that the finish line is almost there and then you see the mile marker and realize you’re still so far away….

This is why I haven’t signed up for a 50K……yet….. But….

September RESET is in full swing!!! My feet and fingers are moving!! The rest of my body will get there….I’m also going to make sure to catch up on some of your lovely words here on the WordPress blogosphere. That’s going to be much better for my mental health!

And if you live in the USA – please be sure you’re signed up to VOTE this November!!

©️ 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

Run Time – A Haibun and Runfession #12, July 2020

I press the button right before our feet step off the driveway – Run Time! This has become our nightly ritual – our mother/daughter walks becoming mother/daughter runs over the span of this summer. I wanted our time together to give me a portal into your world – my own TARDIS into teenager-hood. 

Instead, we went from walking to running then sprinting – at least for me. Your time went from a 20 minute mile to a 17 minute mile and then a 12 minute mile. This is my regular middle of the pack pace, a pace I love and can do forever even while talking. But you, my dear daughter, pushed the pace and me – faster and faster. Your current time is a 10 minute mile – too fast for your old mum to catch you and ask about the two hour talk you had with your friend who’s a boy. 

Today, you almost broke into a 9 minute mile, but instead, you slowed down and waited for me to catch up, noting how much slower I am running. “Is this what happens when you get older?” you ask. Does she glimpse her future through the portal of my sweat stained face?  We walk the rest of the mile, time unknown, the portal propped open.

Summer sun fading

Time passes through the portal 

The sunflower weeps

In the spirit of Renard’s post, I am not going to apologizing for not posting at all in the past week. To be honest, I didn’t even realize it had been over a week since my last post. It was only when I realized that I had missed two prompts from Patrick and Sadje that I looked at my calendar – oh, how time files when you’re feeling stressed!

This haibun and runfession incorporates Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #242 – Time and #243 – Portal (I’m still on the streak!!). It’s not a traditional haibun, but it does capture a new tradition for my daughter and I which I will gladly runfess! Thanks to Marcia for the Runfession forum – I didn’t get a chance to link up this month, but I’ll catch up for next!

Forgive me Brooks for I have sinned….

I runfess….my daughter is now running faster than me and has logged more miles than I have in the past month. I am proud of her yet frustrated at myself for not being as consistent as she has. On the days when we can’t run outside, she runs on the treadmill downstairs or runs around the house (literally, she is running up and down the stairs, doing laps around the kitchen island, running in circles around her siblings) while I’m making dinner or doing laundry or doing some other mom-ming duty. These are the things that I put aside when I run with her outside. While I do cherish the one on one time I can spend with her, this usually means dinner is later or I’m folding laundry until midnight. Still, I love seeing her persistence and pride in getting her mile in and getting faster.

I runfess….I’ve set a goal of hitting 100 miles in August. It’s sinking in that we are already a week in and I haven’t meet my weekly mileage for this past week. I know this is due to stressing out about whether to send my kids to school or not. I have been doing research on the computer, talking to local friends who are doctors or teachers about what they’re doing, reaching out to people for their take on the situation. It’s a lot of information and I have not yet made peace with our decision which is due tomorrow. This week though, I am getting back on track! I’ll report back at the end of August!

I runfess…I really miss races! Let me clarify, I really miss the EXPO before big races! I loved getting the free stuff and trying out new gels and drinks, getting great discounts for signing up for races. I loved meeting up with other MRTT/SRTT members and “carb loading” after getting our swag. I even loved getting the race shirt that never seemed to fit right. There was always that buzzing excitement of all these people coming together for one purpose. There is really nothing like it! I miss that.

There are so many things I miss about “pre-pandemic running.” There are so many things I miss about “pre-pandemic life”!! Still, this time has brought about some positive changes (as well as some negative). This coming month, I’m choosing to focus on these positives. Like the sunflower that re-orients itself to the east at night so it can catch the first rays of the sunrise, I am re-orienting my mindset after making this stressful school decision. Here’s to the sunrise!

©️ 2020 iido

Mortar – 144 Word Prosery

Peter looked at the crumbling foundation of his house. Just yesterday he had completed all four walls. He had left the worksite proud of his accomplishment. This morning, his house was a mass of rocks. He sat down on what was once the front steps and picked up a stone. He laid his forehead on the jagged surface feeling the pricks on his skin and his pride. He breathed in and out and emitted a moan like an autumn wind high in the lonesome treetops. He continued to wail, not noticing the liquid splattering on the stone. “Why did you chose me?” his lament rose to the sky, as the September sun shone gently on his face, the wind now ruffling his hair. The sound of a jazz band slid into his ears. Peter felt the moan rise again, like he wanted somebody terrible

My son’s rock collection. He washed them and had put them out to dry.

This bit of prose was inspired by Lillian at dVerse, Prosery Monday, and a line from her favorite poem by Carl Sandburg, “Jazz Fantasia” (links in the poem) as well as Patrick’s Pic and a Word #241 – Stone.

I had listened to a talk about Simon Peter, the apostle who denied Jesus three times, yet was chosen to be the “rock on which He will build his church” this week. This talk focused on how Jesus often chose people, who were not perfect, to be leaders. It was only through the love of Jesus that these imperfect people were still able to lead. These leaders were humble, self-less, and motivated by a Higher Power and not by their own self-interest, greed, or pride. When they faltered, or when things went wrong, they turned to God for help, inviting God into their lives to fill the parts that are broken.

There are many theories about what makes a good leader, especially in the business world.These qualities include being a good listener, being compassionate, being a good communicator, being able to see the big picture. Unfortunately in our current political world, our leaders seem to be severely lacking. What about in our personal world?

©️ 2020 iido

What’s on the Line? – A Cinquain

Line up

Six feet apart

Mask over mouth and nose

March together or die alone

Freedom

From Ascension Facebook Page – Posted on July 4, 2020

Another cinquain! This one was prompted by Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #240 – Line.

I thought of the many ways that “line” has been used in various phrases: toeing the line, lineup, on the line, line by line, hook, line and sinker. In Montessori, children are taught to “walk on the line” as part of their practical life teaching. This is a way for them to practice how to control their bodies and develops their sense of balance and concentration.

I think about this as the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage in the United States of America, especially in states that haven’t mandated the use of masks. This past week, Robert Redfield, director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, stated, “I think if we could get everybody to wear a mask right now, I think in four, six, eight weeks we could bring this epidemic under control.” So why aren’t people doing it? Why are there numerous videos of adults (yes, grown ups! People over 25!!) having tantrums in public places when asked to wear a mask?

I won’t go into the pros and cons of mask wearing here. It shouldn’t even be a matter of political beliefs. I will just point out that comic book superheroes wear masks to protect their loved ones. And our health care heroes definitely wear masks.

There’s no need to read between the lines – right now, when you’re leaving your house, everyone should just wear a mask!

©️ 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