Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Summer reflections

I am participating in the
 Slice of Life.  
All participants are writing about one moment, one part of their day, 
on Tuesdays.

                                                        Thank you, Two Writing Teachers!

Once again, I woke with a jumbled mix of emotions. This is my new normal. I expect this criss-cross, up and down, swirl of feelings now, what with the larger world in painful disarray and my personal world filled with lots of unknowns due to my surprise retirement from classroom teaching. I am trying to find peace with all the uncertainty. I am trying to breathe into the pause that is all about. Yes, I have a settling feeling of unsettled. 

Today, my youngest, my baby boy, turns 25 years old, and that adds to my mood...I am delighted with him and bursting with love, stunned at the passage of time, frustrated for the ways in which he might feel that his life is more or less on hold due to this pandemic, happy that he will be making a socially-distant visit for our traditional family birthday cake, "The Ingram Family Mess Cake" (we cook a rich chocolate syrup of a frosting, then cut it and pour it into the warm yellow cake in all sorts of jumbled ways, creating more of a pudding texture and definitely a mess), and then laughing that our traditional cake matches the current state of affairs of my mind...and I realize I'll be okay.

After a few early morning minutes of no clear thinking, I got up to write, assured that my twenty-month old granddaughter ("Frog") had another hour to sleep. 

Frog spent the night with us...it is wonderful to live close enough to see her regularly. Our two households are keeping wise and respectful about COVID, allowing us to be sort of a 'pod' or a 'bubble' together, and see one another regularly. We love the sleepovers! We've decided to try these once a week through the summer, to allow Frog's parents a little special time alone each week (and to allow us, the grandparents, the opportunity to immerse ourselves in this dear little one). She'll be headed home before her uncle's birthday festivities later this evening, due to this darn COVID. We find that we can't keep Frog socially distant, she is full of physical love and connection at her age. 

Well, as life will have it, I had no sooner grabbed my journal and pen, when Frog let out a piercing cry from her crib...I rushed into the room, only to find she had somehow flipped up a section of the portacrib's 'mattress' revealing a section of hard surface and this was obviously not comfortable to sleep on and very troubling. The good news - her cry was probably of surprise, not of pain. All the same, she was not to be convinced to lay down again, even though I was able to fix the problem and soothe her. No, she was up, up, up.

So, lucky me! I scooped her into my arms, prepped her morning bottle, and we went out to the porch. Frog drank her morning bottle, cuddled beside me, and we listened to the early morning sounds, felt the soft air, and smelled summer all around us. 

Just being with her is to live in poetry:

We see the soft, white, puffy clouds

dotting the early morning pale blue sky.

We hear the birds, 

we search for the birds,

Frog points up high, towards the tree,

we watch

one solitary bird,

two, then three, now five birds together,

darting across the sky.

Frog grabs my thumb with her free hand,

caressing and squeezing,

lets go,

grabs her big toe, then

all her toes,

raising, stretching her leg in the air.

We see the tree branches, 

wiggling with the wind.

Frog sees one bird sweep down,

sitting on the lawn,

darting back up to the telephone wire.

There's a bird on the wire,

I sing to her,

in my best Leonard Cohen.

She smiles at me, 

humming along,

mmm mmm mmmmmm.

One tiny feather floats down 

from the sky,

softly, gently, slowly.

Frog is a salve for me during this time of transition.


  1. Reading this felt like a looking at a photograph or a set of photographs. From the moment of waking to a feeling of uncertainty, to your baby boy turning 25, the family "The Ingram Family Mess Cake," and then finally ending with that poem inspired by Frog. How beautiful you have described a day of living, even though it may have felt a bit more like pause.

  2. Your post is so sincere and heartfelt. I love this sentence: "Our two households are keeping wise and respectful about COVID, allowing us to be sort of a 'pod' or a 'bubble' together, and see one another regularly." We also are being careful and respectful, sharing few social moments with one or two other families (not at the same time). My oldest son is 25, youngest is 18, with a 20 year old in between. They are all "in places" they did not expect to be when 2020 started, We are settled into uncertainty, as you are, too. I enjoyed your post! Carol @ The Apples in My Orchard!

  3. I wish all adults shared your love of children as expressed in the line “Just being with her is to live in poetry.” Wouldn’t the world be a lovely place then. And that cake sounds so good. I think it’s important to have a family pod. At some point we must find a way to be with and without people in ways that don’t involve technology. People need people.

  4. Oh, Maureen, what a great slice of your life today. I was sitting right with you and Frog during the sweet poem of your bird watching.

    By the way, I had not seen your post about your surprise retirement yet. I'm sorry about that. I'm glad you filled up your car twice, as there are certainly some exciting DAP activities in your future!

  5. "Just being with her is to live in poetry"--that line gave me the goosies! This post captures so much of what life is like for all of us right now. So much unsettling and so much uncertainty, and the small pleasures of life feel even more important.

  6. Your words let me live in your world for many special moments. Thank you