he ate the soup
you made for him
a few weeks
before you died. it was
sitting in the freezer
with a strip of masking tape
over the lid, his father’s name
written in your hand.
before october last year,
he used to call it
grandma rocket soup
because he thought she made it
when the whole time,
it was you. but when she died,
he replaced grandma’s name
with yours and now
he eats it quietly,
taking his time, as if
savoring every bite.
he thanked you, too, you know,
as soon as he finished
the bowl. he ate the entire thing,
the last bowl of soup
Did you know it’s okay to be different?
my son said to me today
when I told him he needed to fit in,
that way things will be okay.
I like being myself, he said,
I like being me.
And in his eyes, I saw my fear
for a world that he cannot yet see
A world that may have lost kindness
and understanding so long ago
a world that won’t have any patience
for things they no longer have time to know
that not everyone is going to fit in
some people just like being the way they are
unique and smart, beautiful and kind
different like every shining star
but if there’s one thing i know
as we journey together through all this
i’ll raise him to be strong for himself and others
and to always stand up for those easily dismissed
“Let’s look at the ocean, mom,”
my little one says
as he takes a seat on the pavement
and looks up ahead
where I see more than just the ocean
but the harbor I call home,
“It’s beautiful, mom. Isn’t it?”
And I smile and say, “yes, my love,”
my dear heart now all grown.
I have two witnesses when I write at my writing desk – my 6-year-old son, when he’s home from school, and my little 8-year-old dog, who sits by me every time I write. My dog stays with me from the moment I sit in the morning and start writing, hoping I’ll take a break and walk her, till late at night when she finally decides around midnight, that’s enough, mom, let’s go to bed.
When I’m not at my writing desk, my son will tell me to sit and write. It’s his way of having his own bit of privacy in our little house, where he can play with his toys in the living room while I write in the dining room, and he still gets to see me there. Just like my dog, my son likes to have me close by as I write – I’ve got to be within eyesight the entire time. Sometimes, when his dad goes to bed early, my son tells me he’ll keep me company as I write, though it’s tough for him to be quiet, and I end up losing my patience, frustrated that I can’t write a word with his iPad blaring and him singing – the entire time.
Lately I’m trying out dictation, especially when I’m walking the dog. Unfortunately, I end up just ranting away and forgetting to transcribe what I just dictated. Not that I want to transcribe my rants anyway, which are mostly about my writing frustrations more than the book I’m writing. I often wonder if my dog could talk, the things he’ll say. There’ll be a lot, I’m sure.
As for my son, I’m sure that when he’ll grow up, he’ll probably tell someone about how his mother would sit for hours in front of her laptop and write – or pretend to write – because deep inside, she really was wishing she wasn’t cursed with the need to write. Instead, she wished they’d have spent more time outside, exploring the world together.
The Daily Post
Though I live about 2 miles away from a family-friendly lagoon, and four miles from the main beach, I’m not such a fan of the water. But this morning, after discovering that there’s a spot of sand for dogs to run at the beach, I took our little chihuahua mix there for the first time. She loved it and I’ll be taking her again tomorrow. This time I’ll pack water, too, and maybe a beach chair so I can sit and read a book like I saw other dog owners do today.
In the afternoon, after the little guy came home from summer school, we went to the lagoon. I brought along the sand castle paraphernalia and even wore a swim suit underneath my tank top and shorts. For someone who does not like being in the water (cue Jaws music here and the latest news that a local man got bitten by a shark close to the Manhattan Beach pier), being in a lagoon is still a big thing for me. I just don’t like the water.
But the little guy does.
And today, he was thrilled to bits that his mommy finally took him to the beach and actually stayed long enough to acquire some unwanted shorts tan lines. He actually smiled…and so did I.
Tomorrow, I’ll be more well-prepared. Water (and water dish) for the dog when we go to dog beach, and in the afternoon, an umbrella to hide from the sun and any more unplanned tan lines. Oh, and knowing where the showers are to wash all that sand off instead of trekking it all in the car and then realize, too, that we were both still wet from being in the water.
That’s okay though. One day, I’ll get it right.
My little boy had his first hair cut today
after his father cut his bangs too short
So I told him we had to get his hair fixed
before someone was going to get hurt
So off we went to the nearby coffee shop
to get the treats to distract the poor boy
Cake pops, popcorn, even juice and a box of milk
he didn’t even think of getting a toy
My little boy surprised me with how well-behaved he was
as he admired his cute mischievous reflection
sitting still as she trimmed his hair
except for hating the shears, he was perfection
And now I can’t get over the change
for my little baby has turned into a little boy
with hair cut short, no more scraggly strands
but he’ll always be my bundle of joy
I can’t remember when I first heard those words
spoken again and again, at the end of a blurb
about a book I couldn’t wait to read
for just as Mister Burton said,
I shouldn’t take his word for it,
And so I read and read and read some more
I read till the lights went out and the candles
wore, till the lace curtains caught fire
from one left lit, I read and read
that’s all there was to it
And then one day the words began to flow –
all my own, my own little world,
like flower after flower,
for the words that I’d read sprang seeds to create more
though this time, I wanted the words inside me
to soar, from the tips of my fingers to the ends of the earth
I read and I wrote, for all I was worth
I would have kept on reading even when there was no one
to tell me so, but for a man on the telly sharing new books
and stories I had yet to know,
he awoke the scribe that lived deep within
and now every child everywhere will have the same chance
I’d been given.
what do little boys dream of? I ponder
as they lie in bed fast asleep
in their slumber do they ever wonder
of life’s questions, so stark and so deep?
do they see the things we now see
as we watch our lives pass us by?
do they feel the feelings we’ve put asunder
beneath the smiles and the sighs?
or do their dreams tell us of a time
when we, too, dreamed dreams of hope
before life as we know it now tore and plundered
and all we do now is cope
with the realities of loss, the pain of despair?
do their dreams teach us that once upon a time
we clawed not for air?
no, dream your dreams, my love,
and let them bathe you in all that is good
dream your dreams of love and laughter,
of all the good things, always renewed
and let me love you, forever love you –
and feel the love I once felt in my dreams
just dream your dreams and do not worry
loving you, having you – how it all redeems
“Unmade Bed” – painting by Judy McLaren