It’s a gorgeous spring day on our 22 acres outside Fulton, a brocade of rolling green set against a periwinkle sky. It’s where I come to breathe. Today all four kids, their families, plus my dad and sister visiting from out of state are here to celebrate. Four generations together, a rare treat. I’m relishing Read More
And when she shall die, take her and cut her out in little stars, and she will make the face of heaven so fine that all the world will be in love with night, and pay no worship to the garish sun. William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet And now it’s happened: I’ve lost my mother. Read More
The blue planet with her mountains Now as always be my territory. The blue planet with her rivers Now and always be my hunting ground. The blue planet with her cities Now and always be my home ground. The blue planet with all my goals Now and always be my victory! The Grandmother of Time, Read More
Every birth has a story, ripe for the telling, though the tale varies with the perspective of the teller. The closest view belongs to the mother; it is her body, after all, that houses the new life, she who evicts her burgeoning occupant. Spin the lens 180º and it is the father’s story. Once removed Read More
I’m washing up in a restroom at the Oklahoma City airport and for a moment I can’t place my location: hospital? hotel? restaurant? Elegant water faucets and gleaming granite countertops add to my sense of disorientation. I don’t even recognize my own hands. Looking down at the palms rubbing together, the lather foaming, I watch Read More
“Are you going to Colorado tomorrow, Mom?” Sydney stands in front of the refrigerator and asks the question for the third time this morning. “No, honey. Two weeks, remember? In two weeks.” I gently nudge her out of the way to open the door and place the milk jug on the top shelf. “Two weeks. Read More
After Grief lives in our house. Among the furniture, between the windows and the walls, it sits; thick and unmoving. Grief rides, heavy, on my chest. I can’t get a good, deep breath these days. It weighs down my husband’s shoulders and molds his features. Grief seeps into our nights of restless sleep and dreams Read More
She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies . . .
Lord Byron (George Gordon)
When I was 13 I sketched my mother’s profile in church. Regal, she sat with her chin tilted upward, receiving enlightenment from the pulpit, her features arranged serenely. Thick, auburn hair hung past her shoulders. The long feathered bangs of 1976 framed her face. To me she was breathtaking. She was the sum of her parts and more; soft hands that soothed, full lips that pressed to a fevered forehead, arms that embraced, a gentle voice that lulled away hurt.
Today the pencil drawing, its edges burnt and the pulp decoupaged onto wood, hangs in her apartment, my adoration for her captured; a living thing. From floor to ceiling, photographs of her children line the walls. She wraps us around her like armor to do battle with her longtime companion, multiple sclerosis. From 2,000 miles away I resonate her pain. I mourn her loss, little by little. Attacking itself, her body betrays; her mind, too, keeping its secrets and misplacing her memories. Read More
Any fool can do it; there ain’t nothing to it.
Nobody knows how we got to the top of the hill.
But since we’re on our way down,
We might as well enjoy the ride.
Sliding down, gliding down, try not to try too hard.
It’s just a lovely ride.
James Taylor—The Secret ‘O Life
I don’t always recognize I’m headed for collapse until, speeding down the freeway at 100 mph, dashboard warnings flashing, I veer off the road to make an emergency stop. I’ve gotten so good at disregarding my maintenance lights, by the time I realize I’m in trouble, I’m already sputtering and careening; out of gas, overheated, or worse, out of control, crashing and taking out everyone around me.
When we moved from Missouri back to Austin, Texas in 2003, circumstances combined to create a fusion of indescribable stress that will go down in Kent family history as The-Time-Which-Must-Not-Be-Named. Every member of our family was a hot mess; Haley, 5 weeks old, a textbook example of a colicky infant, emitted a type of banshee wailing that could literally wake the dead, and was silenced only when nursing (constantly) or sleeping (rarely). Sydney, 4 years old, with modulating sensory integration issues, experienced overstimulation, auditorily and otherwise. She was confused and jealous. Her ‘elopement’ was at an all-time high and, thanks to a very ambitious preschool teacher, potty training had begun in earnest (it took two years to fully train our sweetie and it wasn’t the potty that was so much the problem). Let that image crystallize for a moment: Clingy, wailing infant on the boob and pooping-in-her-britches toddler on the run. Read More
The way I walk I see my mother walking, the feet secure and firm upon the ground. The way I talk I hear my daughter talking, and hear my mother’s echo in the sound. The way she thought I find myself now thinking, the generations linking in a firm continuum of mind. The bridge of immortality I’m walking, the voice before me echoing behind. by Dorothy Hilliard Moffatt
The hostas are coming up; tiny shoots penetrating the soil and unfurling, the coils of their leaves break the earth in a luscious green array. The newness of each eruption symbolizes advent, a beginning. Winter’s end yields to a yawning genesis of pure potentiality; at its origin, the verdant metamorphosis of a living thing is simply breath-taking. And sensual. It is the caress of a gossamer breeze across the face; the warmth of sunshine on skin; the lyric birdsong of nest-makers in flight. It is, too, the delicate scent of a newborn’s hair inhaled, the soft curve of a cheek traced, the exquisite beauty of a child’s form realized. Senses awaken. Life, lying dormant, regenerates. From nothing, something. This is how it starts—the dawning of spring. The cycle of a human life.
My Grammy died a few months before Sydney, with a full head of copper hair, was born. My fiery Irish matriarch of a grandmother called me ‘love,’ drank Olympia beer from the little cans and quoted A.A. Milne. She was the first person I loved to die (“Don’t say ‘pass away’ when I’m gone, FOR GOD’S SAKE. I’ll be DEAD! Say, ‘She died.’”). I was bereft she wasn’t there to hold her great-granddaughter, but the significance of one life ending and another beginning wasn’t lost on me. Ancestral generations come full circle and begin again. I must fade so my children can blossom.