“What’s your love language, Mrs G?”

That’s the question of the summer, I think.

My summer, in a way, was started with that question.  In May, a lovely young woman asked me that question at a “Theology on Tap” evening.  I kind of blinked.  I said, “I don’t know….” and then I rambled a bit, thinking out loud.  She, being young and smart and quick, said, “Oh! You’re ‘Acts of Service’!”  And I said, “Hmm…maybe….

Thus, I knew I’d better finally go and read the book.  Nothing like being stumped by a twenty-something to light a fire under me.  And so I did.

This book, it’s been around for a bit.  I knew of it, and it’s companions.  But I’d not taken the time to sit and read it through, even though it was not long.  Frankly, I kind of blew it off.  There are SO many theories and modes and ways to approach parenting stuff that it’s simply impossible to be on top of it all.  I’d been absorbed in the therapeutic parenting realm for a good while now and this seemed so simplistic that I could get a good gloss from the title; more excuses, not my mode, and so on.

But her question made me think I might need to give it another chance.  What I found was this: there is quite a bit there worth thinking about and, more, worth applying.  It’s not the be all and end all answer to everything.  But it’s another very good set of tools in the toolbox and I’m all about that! I’ll take every tool I/we can get!

So, to put it in the short gloss here: love languages are the modes that we each have, instinctively, naturally, in which we understand, give, and receive love.  It’s how we communicate love.  Sounds drippy? Maybe, but it’s got some real substance and value to consider.  We are all about communication in our  house.  We have one kid who is language impaired.  We have others who just don’t have great communication skills.  Plus, we have multiple teenagers….talk about communication snafu’s! Ok, kidding, kinda, maybe not so much…..  So, if I can find ways to their love languages, and speak to them more clearly???  What’s not to love?

The five love languages, as put forth by Chapman and Campbell, are, in no particular order: Touch, Time, Words (of affirmation), Gifts, and Acts of Service.

First, as it’s always all about me…I realized, that savvy young gal was right.  My love language IS Acts of Service.  Which explains so  much.  It’s why I DO for my family (Which works out well, as there is SO MUCH to do.  God’s no dummy).  It’s why I am tickled pink to cook favorites of returning college boys, and to give second helpings to guests.  It’s why I get so bent when I return home from the market and the kitchen has been trashed even though I asked to have it tidied.  It’s why I get my feelings hurt when no one, ever, sees the laundry bucket on the stairs and takes it up, and why the rogue shoes are no big deal until they make me come unglued.  {Why yes, I’m just all that petty, thanks for asking.}  But now I know, the temper is because I feel like no one is caring about me enough to do for me…when the reality is, they just don’t speak my love language.  All this time it’s like I was talking to them in Greek and they were just smiling and nodding because they couldn’t understand anyhow.  So I’d get bent and upset and they’d be dismayed  -wondering what was my problem and why I was so upset?  Because they didn’t/don’t understand my love language and I didn’t even realize it was mine.

That very insight made me realize I’d better figure out theirs, and quick.  Because no one likes being misunderstood and/or feeling unloved.

So, I’ve been evaluating and testing it out.  And I’ve got folks across the spectrum of love languages, no surprise.  I’m the only Acts of Service (bummer, but best to know).  I’ve got 4-6 Touch, 3-4 Time, 3 Words, 2 gifts.  If that math doesn’t seem to add up, it’s because you can have more than one love language.  And of course, there is overlap of for us all and everyone needs all of them…but the primary language is one that is WELL worth finding.  And using.

WIth this new perspective, I’ve (we, tom and I) have been trying to speak the languages of the kids, and each other.  The love languages.  Not that we didn’t before, but intentionally, more consistently.  It’s a work in progress….

But here is what we’ve noticed.  I’m not gonna go into each kid, privacy and all, but a few high points: Gabriel, who has moved into a phase of whiney and difficult over the past number of months…..is a total Touch speaker.  It explains why he has taken to careening into us and he must DIVE into a lap if it’s available and even swifter if it show signs of occupation by any other kid.  His way of getting that touch has been to bump and thump and push us around, literally, in his five year old rough and tumble way of learning a language of love.  Discovering this, we’ve ramped up the cuddles and hugs and he has been simply blossoming under it.  Not that we didn’t squeeze him and tell him we love him before, but we have stopped fussing about his careening around into us all and instead directing it toward more functional touch.  On his part, he has ramped up the affirmations and is visibly relishing the cuddles.  He crawls into my lap in the rocking chair and says “I want to rock with you forever.”  He says, “I love you you,” more and first.  His attachment needs are being met, better.  Age and stage? Maybe? Better communication in his love language? Oh yeah.

The others too, they are noticeably responding to the touches on the shoulders, the passing hugs.  They open up with the time and words, focused.  The gifts is a tricky tricky thing in a house of hypervigilant kids (with a sharp eye for equity)..but we are brainstorming on meeting that need and seeing their gifts to us when they happen.  Marking them.  The intention to speak each kid/person’s love language is a very helpful tack; it opens up paths that were narrow, makes them wider.

The defensive side of me wants to say that we’ve done all these things, the touch, the words, the time spent.  We did. We do.  But when you KNOW it’s the language that your kid receives and give love…it takes on a different depth.  And intention.  And that makes a difference.  Is our house filled with rainbows and unicorns now? Um, no.  But is there more growth in the garden of connections and is communication a bit easier to acheive? Yes, I think so. It’s all a continuum, of course.  Teens are still prickly, but might be a tad easier to soothe, to reach through the static.  Those kisses and  hugs and hand holdings are even more meaningful…what’s not to love?  The trash waiting to go out and the rogue shoes? They are still there, but now I can remind myself that it’s just that I speak greek, and not that they don’t care.  And I can switch to another language instead.

Becoming multi-lingual….it’s paramount in my big family.  Even now, I’m learning.

Eyes Open: Marking the Reading Good

So, I have done a few posts on “marking the good.” I call these posts “Eyes Open” because too often I run around with my hair on fire and I forget to open my eyes to see the goodness abounding or the small flickering glimmer.  So, now and then I luck out and it runs smack into me.  

The other day (I would’ve put this up sooner, but again, hair on fire, crazy busy w/ the freight train slow savor of summer) this bit of good literally barreled into me as I stood, per usual, folding clothes.  Marta rushed over to me from her room, carrying a book I had handed her just the day before.

This book was one where had she rolled her eyes at me.  I had been on a jag of pulling books and old homeschool materials out of the bookshelves, working up a lather on getting the kids to ‘get busy’ during summer.  The freaky slow simmering fire drill of many kids loafing around the house, bored or soon to be bored, or not nearly  bored enough because they were finding ways to maim themselves was already on my nerves.  So I had started a minor rampage through the house.  When she protested against that idea, stating firmly that there was no homework for her over the summer I just grinned a big grin and said “Oh yeah!”  And when she said her teacher only said “Read” during the summer months I said, “Okay!” and loaded her up with a few books to take.  Like, five small ones.  If I had dumped all of the books I might have in mind on her small self she would just shut down.  I got a glare and a sigh and a big eye roll.  Then she disappeared and the books with her.

I forgot all about it, went about my day or two putting out fires, folding laundry, cooking, swapping laundry, cooking, picking up towels, folding laundry and cooking.  But, as I was, um, folding laundry and thinking about what to cook for dinner, Marta came darting over to me, holding out a book with a grin and jabbering.  I had to slow her down, take the book and examine it and then grin at her.  I asked her to tell me about the book.  She did. I asked her if she read it.

She said, “Yes! Very good book! Black girl, very sad, last {page of} book very nice, so nice very happy.  Black people white people girls very friends.  Very good book!”  I dropped my laundry, I hugged her tight and told her how cool that was!!!

Now, I don’t want to make too much of this….ok, forget that, this is big.  Huge.  I know that she read more of the key words and skipped a few others. I  know that she looked at the pictures to help decode the story.  But, um, I believe that way back when I was a “Miss” that was still called ‘reading!’  That is the whole process: decoding, using cues, figuring out  meaning through context, bringing it all together to  make sense.  And, that, that is exactly what she did.  My Marta, read a book and followed a story arc.  I don’t think she was or has read this book before.  Not by me.  (Adrienne? {-her teacher} Let me know if you see this…).  So, you could quibble and say, she didn’t read every word and understand every single word.  But here’s the deal: Marta read the book, she understood the story.  She got excited about it.  She totally related to that scared little girl, which is a whole ‘nother post, I know.  Still.  Let me say that again: She got excited about it.  I mean, LIT up.  Which lit me up.  We knuckle bumped, we high fived, we hugged and grinned stupidly at each other.  And I was simply thrilled; as much as she was.  Seriously.

So, I am proud of her.  I want to go on record and mark that good. It’s SO good.  Reading is power.  No  matter who or what, thats the bottom line.  Reading opens up your world.  It empowers, excites, helps.  It’s huge.

So what’s next? I don’t know. {Yes, I do: more laundry and cooking and reading!}  But I do know I promptly got on Amazon and ordered all the copies (used, this is an old series) of the Scholastic First Biographies I could find.  I’m excited. I’m marking the good with a big shout out.  It’s an” Eyes Open to Read!”

Canary in a Coal Mine

That’s me. The mom, I mean.

I know this isn’t a groundbreaking idea. The old adage “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy” is still circulating for good reason. But as I’ve been stuck in the quicksand of diva drama lately, the image of the canary has been occurring to me repeatedly. I am a canary. And yes, sometimes in the deep dark murk of a coal mine.

The swirling moods of teen girls, the reverberations and wafting spread of the gaseous poisonous presence of those same moods on any given day can be toxic to us all. As mom it’s my job to offset those moods; yes, to redirect and reframe and temper and sooth and ignore (often all within minutes). It’s up to me to keep my equanimity (a favorite turn of phrase of the dad in the house) and to carry on and muddle through.

But, there’s more. It’s my job to be the marker. I have a hyper-vigilant daughter who gauges many of her reactions based on mine. Yeah, talk about pressure, eh? Or, on a good day: opportunity. It can really swing either way, based on my sleep deprivation, sugar levels, weather, you get the idea. And of course, sometimes, no matter my reaction or cheer or calm, she can’t maintain. But, sure as shootin’ (as they say here in the south) she will look to me first, to gauge my reaction/mood/approach to whatever is happening that has any volatile twinge to it. Sister late to be ready for school? Marta’s eyes are upon me, watching if I am cool and can smile and give an eye roll of “no big deal, all’s well” or “big sis is so busted” so Marta can be angry too. Seriously. Since Marta IS hyper vigilant and hates having anything off routine or mark (leaving at 7:10 NOT 7:11, 12 or 15….) her anxiety is just looking for a reason to overflow. She watches to see if the canary is choking or singing. Me.

The others too, however, all of them, also check the canary gauge/cage. If I’m busy and flitting around, maybe chirping about this or that or even handing out directions then life is puttering along just like it’s supposed to. But if I get sick, then the crews stop and stare, wondering what to do. Worse, if I start choking in frustration and toxic fumes of mood (mine or others) and falling with ruffled feathers….well, everyone else will, swiftly, too.

So, instead of putting pressure on myself to only sit on my perch (in the kitchen, of course) and keep a beady eye on the toxicity in my house…….I am deciding that this gives me a power of influence that I shouldn’t waste.

I want to, I choose to, sing.

…and to cook. Always. {Sunday brunch}

Epistolary

It’s an art, isn’t it?

Certainly, it’s been depicted so many countless time in art. Letter writing. Letter reading.

This year, we have gotten to enjoy learning, all over again, this art. This year, our main communication between my eldest, Brother Peter Joseph, and home has been the letter. This felt like a forced discipline in some ways, at the beginning. Maybe discipline is too harsh a word, though I think it’s actually most precise. However, certainly at the beginning, it felt like a forced…separation. And that, it was. It is. And now, after much of this year has passed, I can say that “I get it.” I do.

We live in a world of utter immediacy, but to a fault. To my fault, really. Because I, personally, LOVE LOVE LOVE the immediacy of our modern communications era. I love being able to get hold of the person I want or need right away; by texting, emailing, calling. It’s immediate gratification. The blessing and/or curse of the impatient person. Me. My father used to tease me that I wanted immediate gratification on…everything. And so I did. And still, really, do. So, for me, one of the very most difficult things of Chris entering the Novitiate was his distance. Not his distance in miles but his distance, enforced, in simple communication. No longer could we call or email or text him. No tweeting (not that we did, but still, the possibity….). No facebook, no skype. It felt like we were “going dark.” That was a daunting prospect.

That very prospect, that ‘going dark;’ by which I mean no longer communicating by the glowing light of the electronic hubub net…is precisely what the novice needs. In order to hear God’s voice well, there must be more silence. The beeps and tweets and blips of our post modern clang has to be muted. I think it must be kind of like going out into the desert to escape the glare of the city lights, so you can really, finally, see the stars.

Now that is all quite apt for him. But, of course, on my end, that change in mode led to a possible void…of connection. A fear of a loss of connection. Perhaps a minor panic attack even, but I’m not saying…. We were expected and agreed to wait for his calls to us (unless there was an emergency) and we were encouraged to write.

To write! To actually, really, write….using real pens and pencils and paper. How quaint, no? Old fashioned! Daunting even….as my hands are older and cramp, literally, with the gripping of the pens. My scrawl is…well, a scrawl: practically unreadable. But I knew, it was the way to stay connected to my son. And so, I did.

In picking up the pen for the first time I discovered a few things:

First, my hands did ache and so I quickly switched to modern techno after all, but chose a lovely script font. Call me a slacker, I don’t care. I did write a few letters in my own hand, but I wrote more and easier by typing it out and printing, with goofy notes handwritten in the margins. Second, there IS an art to the letter. Sure, there is the format taught in grade school of how to structure a ‘proper letter.” But, as you write many letters, over time, to the same person that structure lifts and disappears and an art to it does take place. It is dependent upon the mood and the day, of course, but there is a space and place for, somehow….MORE. There is more “there” there.

I don’t mean to get too esoteric in writing about this, but I must say that there is such a gift to the continued correspondence of letters. There is an intimacy and a space for jokes and references that can be savored. To send a letter to my son is to send a piece of myself, complete with my own scrawled notes and signature, by doodles in the margines, and sometime the cookie crumbs from the accompanying goodies. It is a gift of self. The art of the letter I believe is in the gift of self that is folded into that envelope. It is the gift, ever, of connection and the time and care put into it. The intimacy that chosen words and stories are read in due time by far away eyes and tucked between those mom and kid hearts..or read aloud to other loved ones as well. When we receive a letter from Peter Joseph, we all read it to each other, with a smile and a hug of happiness.

That experience, that tangible joy and that pause of expectation when the letter is found in the mailbox is something that cannot be replicated in the warp speed bling of net communication. The instantaneous satisfaction is gone. But what is left is the anticipation and the lingering smile of a letter received, as well as one sent.

Now I know why so many artists have painted about letters. It is an art unto itself, truly. We have all grown up with that old adage in our heads, on every Hallmark sign. But, I have learned over this year that it is true. And so…. will I email Peter Joseph once his email is restored, perhaps in late August? Of course. My true impatient nature will out, always. But, I hope, I continue to write my son letters. I save all of his. This discipline of the novitiate was to allow the novices to step away from the hubub, to hear and think more clearly. In so doing, it has allowed me to embrace a new mode as well. The act of writing, sending and reading letters has become a new craft. I can see a few more stars, myself.

Rickety Scaffolds: Resolutions

So, it’s the new  year! Happy goodness, right!? Well, yeah.  I had a great New Years Eve as I went out to see my dear Dad for his 80th bday and we had a whole big ol’ bash for the celebration, also joined to my sisters 55th bday; a double whammy.  So it was a big deal.  BIG fun.  Full of laughs and goodness.  Exhausting crazy pricelessness.

The birthday kids - I LOVE them!

Now of course though, I’m in re-entry.  This re-entry is doubled and magnified by the whole “new years resolution” tradition.  Now, I’m not a resolver; not usually a “New Years Resolution” kind of gal.  What kind of fool do you take me for? I know  myself well enough to know that I can go on a tear, and then sputter out.  My good intentions are like a firecracker: big show, big bang start, spit and sputter to a sad withered left behind ending.  No surprise there.  And, not so uncommon either, eh? But, I’m feeling the press.  It might not last. But, I’m feeling the press of needing to impose more order on the bedlam of life here in the coffeehouse.  So, for a few bright burning moments of this fresh new  year, I’m brainstorming a bit.  Yeah, got lots of qualifiers in this post. Hence the title, ricketly scaffolds….I know my attention will wane and wander.  But, oh, how great to build a new, cleaner, smoother stronger scaffold for our family life! So, here goes the first brainstorming:

  • I am looking at tighter budgets for groceries and sundries and such.  I’m not so great at serious coupons, but can be frugal overall and am a scratch cook on the good days. And saving/freeing up cash, what’s not to love?
  • I’m looking at time patterns and thinking of ways to cut dreck tv viewing  (none on school nights anyhow, but how to ramp up the worthwhile programs while still engaging teen girls….anyone? The little boys are a snap to nudge into better content…the teens…now there is the challenge!) and improve the quality of media in the house.
  • I’m thinking about my friend and her terrifying inspiring efforts at playful engagement…maybe another post there…still stewing.  But, maybe: game on!
  • I want to really dig in and order the house.  I mean, I was just hanging out for the weekend at my folk’s house and it was a big deep inhale of clear clutter free air.  So refreshing! Such envy!  I mean, sure, they don’t have 8 + kids and various friends and visitors crashing about and all, dropping all manner of items in their wake, but even so…it’s a worthy goal, that ordered home, isn’t it?  To open a closet without the threat of concussion? To peruse a shelf without having to bring a flashlight and crowbar to mine the depths? I think so.  Surely, somehow I must have inherited just one or two of those purposeful organization neat freak genes, right? To that end, I am dreaming thinking of going room by room and clearing, organizing, decluttering (don’t freak out Tom, I did this when you went to Haiti last time  with the schoolroom/dining room and it was fabulous…but such a big job that I sputtered out after that one room).  I want to find a way to purposefully, functionally order the things we need and use, the stuff we might want to access/use I want to neatly stow, and the stuff that we just tend to collect like weird hoarder magnets I want to give away and set free.  I think I leave the kid bedrooms to the last, because that’s their personal space.  It’s tempting to start with them, as they tend to be the worst hurricane sites, but even so, I think I need to start with either the public space or MY junk space, the art room (the catchall room that used to be a garage).  
  • And, last and maybe least, I’m thinking of moving my body more, more intentionally.  By this I mean lasting, sustainable, intentional movement.  Not back to my running days.  My body still has chronic gripes from the beating it took from those long years on and off.  But as I’m looking down the barrel at 50, this year, (I know, still shocks me too!) I am really thinking about longevity and pushing back the stiffness and soreness and tired.  So I’m thinking stretches and walking and such.  Not to sound like an old fogey…but those are where I get lazy. I’m really pretty strong from all the hefting and toting and whatnot that just IS in my daily life.  I walk fast, and zip around…but I think I might need to be better at keeping flexibility and endorphins cranking.

So, rambling finished for now.  Any of you, especially you larger families, out there have any great tips for organizing genius ideas or simplifying households or market or whatever, please leave a comment! Especially regarding the teen media issue…it just keeps getting harder and  harder to raise kids without the sludge of the culture taking too big a hold.  I told  ya, I’m brainstorming!  As I said, these are just a rickety scaffold of ideas and things I’m turning around in my head.  I might just bail on it all as life starts cranking up again, oh, this afternoon.  But, now that I’ve made it semi official by throwing the brainstorm online…I can remind myself when my energy flags!

Happy New Year to All!

Siren Calls

So, this is the danger season.  It’s the crazy season for me.

How? Well, yeah, I’m in the birthday blitz season (seven months straight of birthday-o-rama and the ensuing  exhaustion).  But, no, I’m referring to the danger zone of the holiday season…but MOST specifically the danger zone of THIS holiday.

Yeah, there’s a reason Halloween is so scary:

Candy.

It’s the candy, babeee.  If you’re a sugar addicted craving monster mama this season is nothing but danger.  Sure some folks go overboard with the sugar plums of Christmas or the laden tables and pies of Thanksgiving…but me, it’s the candy….the cheap mass produced childhood memory attached candy.  Don’t get me wrong, I can get all snooty about fantastic european chocolates or local foodie-gourmet specialties like this amazing wonderful addictive YUM of toffee (UPS passes my house every day, just saying, hint  hint…)  

Mmmm, candy.  It’s my major weakness.  Really.  (Ask my kids or coffeedoc, they’ll confirm….).

Just walking the aisles of the grocery stores this month is like a mini epic of Jason and the Argonauts sailing through that ocean passage, waiting for the Sirens to start their call. {Remember that movie?? OH wow, talk about a blast from the past, I watched that movie so many times as a kid, laying on the floor in my family room in front of the plaid sofa and being scared silly, but still, I had to watch.  An oddly formative movie, which I’m sure explains so much to you all now….}

So, yeah, nowadays my modern Sirens are named “Snickers” “Reeses” Sweet Tarts” “Baby Ruth“….the list just goes on and on.  But the queen of them all, perhaps Persephone herself, is this one:

Yeah.  “Candy Corn.”

Yup, it’s the queen of all cheap junk candy.  It’s pure sugar, sqooshed and molded into utterly unorganic form: dayglo orange and/or yellow, artificial brown anchoring the non-corn nib shape.  It’s seventies hip, and it’s pure sugar crack zing.  Which is why it so surely, so enticingly,  calls to me this month, every year.   And, as you can see, today I had no Orpheus to read me poetry and silence those sweet songs luring me at the market today.  I couldn’t be tied to a mast to prevent me from leaping overboard… I had to steer and load the darn cart.  So, yes, I fell overboard.  And yes, I have minor regulation insulin issues….ahem…..  And now, I have to hide this from myself, much less the kids.  Sigh. And yeah, I know all about the healthy bananas and fruit on the counter behind these lethal sweet nibs, it’s my kitchen, I took this shot…. but really I’m blind to them.  Because it’s the sugar calling……

Happily enough, and in an ironic twist of fate, I’m old enough that I forget, daily, where I stow things.  So, let’s hope it works before I succumb again, and again, and again……well, you get the idea……

Mama Strength

Today is a kooky day in a choppy crazy week.  I mean, today’s parenting had me looking at the clock at 6:38 a.m. and thinking, “I’m done. Uh-oh. I’ve used up all my parenting goodness already, holy mackerel.

But of course, I wasn’t.
Not by a long shot.

Not much later, I went to the school Mass and my sweet Emmy came to sit by me.  Ah, bliss.
After, I got to canoodle with the small boys and touch base after a very tough morning with a wild Little Man…and bump noses to remind him that I loved him “to the moon and back” before he went back to classes.

Minutes later my eldest called – ebullient – to tell me that he was finished with college, he had finished; all undergrad classes, work, exams, the whole shebang – done.  We whooped it up together on the phone and I told him I was proud of him for a job well done.
A bit later, my other college frosh son called to tell me he was done in another way: drained and depleted with one hard final left to go.  So, tips and encouragement and prayers for him.
Exactly as I was hanging up, an email came in from Marta’s teacher giving me a heads up about a meltdown at school and incoming home this afternoon; change just throws this girl under the bus.  Tears there, tears to be here.  Oh dear….and a little bit/lots of dread.
In between all of these were moments, of course, of other mundane mom-job stuff, tending and caring for the bodies and household stuff……and all of it seemed pretty routine.

And then I read this post of a dear girl/um, friend.   She writes of needing to go to Ethiopia soon, to court for her next child.  To do so, she has to leave her first sweet boy.  And it takes her breath away.  Oh, just reading those words I can conjure up those feelings from doing that very same thing.  I had to leave my small boys to go across the world to bring home my child.  Twice! One of those times was to get one of those small boys {the one who jumped me after Mass while I was hugging his sister}.
And I remembered back to that feeling and those panic attacks and that breathless feeling.  It’s awful.  But….I also remembered what came with that.
Mama strength.

It is the strength that we build as moms, in the doing of our everyday tending body and soul of these kids….it builds mom muscle.
That mom strength is resolute in it’s willingness to do what needs to be done for her kid.  
Even if it is gaspingly hard.
Even if it is wearisome, tedious, or….dreadful, we will do it.
If it is skittley, or tap dancing happy, or peaceful,  we will do it.
If it is sorrowful, grief-stricken, we will be there, we will do it.
If it is irritating, tiresome, frustrating, we do it.
If it is funny, or quirky or weird, we do it.
We do what needs to be done; from threading belts through pantloops to pouring juice, from listening through gulping tears to counting down a timeout.
We sit through meltdowns, we endure raging spewing and bottomless grief.
We read, we research, we get status reports by phone on classes and roommates.

We hope, we dream, we pray.
We cook, we clean, we counsel.
We drive, oh, how we drive.

We fly across the world with our hearts lurching up, unable to speak for the love that chokes our words.
We stand in the gap, or, really, next to the fridge and sink, and we are strong.

I forget that…oh many many days.
It might seem that the strength is only on the good days, but I say it’s not.
We only SEE it and feel it on the good days.
But it’s there, we’ve built it in a million uncounted exercises of our heart and body.  To use common fitness parlance; it’s our core.  It’s mama strength.  It builds on itself in a magical kind of way and draws deep.  It is as real as real is; too bad it doesn’t look like a six-pack {abs, people…ok?} or better in a bikini.  But I’d say it’s more beautiful, all the same.

“Old Mother Stitching” by Jurij Subic, 1855-1890