Generations of Mothers

Generations of Mothers

In my maternal great-grandmother Lillian’s dining room, next to the buffet that held her special-occasion silverware, was a lovely little writing desk with a feather quill, according to my mom.

To the right of the desk was a full-length closet door mirror. If you turned to look into the mirror while sitting at the desk, you’d almost think there were more and more rooms tunneling deeper inside it.

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When Pieces of Us Get Swooped Away by Motherhood

When Pieces of Us Get Swooped Away by Motherhood

Leaning up against our piano, across from my little white desk where I’m sitting right now, is an old steel-string guitar in a case that won’t snap shut anymore. I used to play it a little.

I bought it when I was in my early 20s on a whim at Homestead Pickin’ Parlor, a quirky little music shop next door to where I worked for an adult literacy program in the basement of a used furniture store. My first “real job” out of college.
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If I Were a Tree

If I Were a Tree

I’ll never be a tree, of course. But if I were one, I’ve been thinking lately I’d want to be a Poplar.

There’s such beauty and poise in her pointedness that directs our eyes to the sky and God’s miracles. But her true beauty is mostly unseen in her fortitude even in the most unforgiving conditions and in her roots that unfold and extend beneath the soil like a motherly octopus.

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Roll Call

Roll Call

I’ll never forget roll call on that first day of 9th grade English class.

Immediately after my balding, bearded, charismatic teacher in rounded spectacles—whom I’ll refer to as Mr. G—read my name from the roster, and I meekly said, “here,” he looked up at me, walked toward my desk located five rows back along the wall, and announced, “Class, I’d like you all to meet the younger sister of one of my favorite students.”

Yep, that was my debut into English class that first year of high school.

Mr. G was one of those teachers you wanted to please. His big, Carpe Diem personality towered over his petite physical stature. If he saw something special in you, a kernel of greatness—well, that was really something.

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After the Snowflakes Settle

After the Snowflakes Settle

Some of our children’s memories will sparkle and glisten while others fade. I like to imagine the sparkling ones as scenes in a snow globe that come into clear view after it’s shaken and the snowflakes settle.

This morning, a scene of me as a young girl in long pigtails sitting on the front doorstep of a red brick house playing jacks appeared. As long as I had my little cloth pouch with ten six-pronged jacks and a rubber bouncy ball in my pocket, I never had reason to be bored.

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The Magical Mirror

The Magical Mirror

When I look in the mirror today, I see a woman’s face crossing over into midlife. The changes in the delicate skin around and within the arcs beneath her eyes, in particular, are a little unnerving.

In my mind, I’m not quite there yet. I want to tilt the mirror to a different angle, modify the light, or wipe away the years with my sleeve like fog from a steamy shower.

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“Stay True” Little Chalky, Corn-syrupy Affirmations

“Stay True” Little Chalky, Corn-syrupy Affirmations

A lot of us are feeling the winter doldrums in full force right now.

Part of it is the cold weather and lack of sun. The other part, for me anyway, a girl who made her debut into this crazy world during the stark of a Minnesota winter, is the realization I’m a year older again. If I stand on my tippy toes, I can see through the other side of the half-century mark.

For the past few years, between my late January birthday and Valentine’s Day (which, coincidentally, is my lovely mom’s birthday), my moods swing back and forth as though I’m in the front seat of Steel Venom, that U-shaped inverted roller coaster at Valleyfair my kids coaxed me into riding on a couple years ago.

All I can say when I feel this way is . . .  thank goodness for conversation hearts.

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Hmmmmmm

Hmmmmmm

“Mommy, look, the sky is all blue and white,” my first-born says a decade ago while buckled in her booster seat in the back of the car on the way to preschool.

I glance in the rear-view mirror and see her stretching her neck to see more sky, the sun splashing on her little brunette bob haircut that frames her face like Dora the Explorer, her favorite back then.

“Yeah, those clouds sure are fluffy aren’t they? I wish I could have one as my pillow,” I say.

“Me, too,” she says.

“How do you think we might get one?” I ask.

“Hmmmmmm. I think I might need my stool,” she says.

“Hmmmmmm. I think so, too. I say.

Apparently the latest New Year’s trend is to choose a word of the year instead of resolutions that set us up for failure. So I’ve decided—in  honor of that inquisitive little moment of infinite possibilities lodged in my memories and recorded in my journal—that my word of the year is going to be Hmmmmmm.

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Charles Schulz and I Might’ve Drunk from the Same Water Fountain

Charles Schulz and I Might’ve Drunk from the Same Water Fountain

Well, it’s that time of year again.

I’m dreaming about white water rafting through a river of mashed potatoes.

Soon, it’ll be snowing on Snoopy’s french toast, causing the World War I Flying Ace to get a little grumpy, especially now that he’s a box office hit in a major motion picture.

And Good Ol’ Charlie Brown, after he returns from over the river and through the woods, will be scrubbing gravy stains off his zigzag shirt as he prepares for his quest to find the perfect tree and true meaning of Christmas.

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