oh September

time to bid you farewell
though it seems that you just walked across the grass wet with dew
a few short mornings ago
knocked on the door
satchel in tow, announcing your arrival

there you stood
dressed in your blue jumper
pants rolled up and barefooted from summer,
pockets filled with this and that
trinkets of days gone by
and as each day came you insisted
on sitting together, pulling them out
one by one,
rubbing each one over and over
in your weathered hands
with recognition and remembrance
until the sheen was nearly blinding

you have brought me some of my greatest treasures
and you have been the beginning of my saddest stories
you are like the evenings that come with you–
the impending darkness coming sooner and sooner
and the clouds above more ominous than before

the songs you sing make me smile
and fill my eyes with tears–
the little ones and old,
whose hands I held for the first time
and the last
will always come to mind when I see you
and I thank you for that

still I’m not entirely sad to see you go
what good would it do anyway?
time presses on, unbearably weighty
like the humid air you claim as your own,
sometimes making it hard to breathe,
and I have no choice to but to rise and welcome you,
sitting with you as you remember and remind me
and then just as we reach a companionable silence,
you leave

me alone

to face all the other days that follow,
days that insist on festivities, joy, and cheer

thank you for the grace you bring
this reprieve after the light, airy days of summer
demanding so little,
merely that I listen
and hear our stories
once again

tuck away your treasures
and mind you take care now,
mend that pocket so you don’t lose any of our precious memories

and don’t catch cold as you head out into the dark, damp night
there’s so much that can happen in a year
and I don’t think I can bear it all again without you

Little Bits of Green

This afternoon between piano recital and our time at Evening Prayer, I took Miss Sophie for her afternoon constitutional.  We went a little further than we normally do, as there were a lot of children playing near our house, and Miss Sophie is, well, easily distracted from the task at hand.

In the quiet as she sniffed all the things, I took the time to look around and appreciate the fact that I wasn’t freezing standing there.  The blue of the sky was classically beautiful, and the sun shone brightly.  But it was when I looked down that I saw something that surprised me.

Georgia or not, it’s still winter here.  We’ve had a few days that have me crocheting warmer colors on my temperature blanket, but lately we’ve been back into the “my toes are cold and want to go home” kind of weather.  There are hardly any trees other than evergreens with leaves on them, my bulbs aren’t growing yet, and the grass is brown–and dead.

But as I stood there looking and thinking while Miss Sophie did her dog thing, I noticed that the grass wasn’t all brown.

I saw bits–if ever so few and tiny–of green.

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Wow.

It really surprised me.  I stood there, chiding myself, Well, what did you think, Tara?  That the brown grass just one day, blade by blade, would turn green and spring would officially be here?

I suppose not, but I don’t think I’ve ever paid that much attention to the process.  It’s just been brown and dead and then one day, the grass is green, it’s warm, and my flip flops are back where they belong.

On my feet.

But today I realized something.  In the midst of that brown and dying grass, well below what the eye can detect, there is life.  The green is there.  Waiting.  Even when we don’t see it.  Waiting for the right situation, and the right season.

And then I heard my Mama: Ecclesiastes 3.  (her favorite)  To everything there is a season.

The new life is there.  And one day, when the time and season is right, it will choke out all of that death, and all around us there will be rebirth and life and growth.

One day…..

what has been in the works all along will be apparent and shine through the brown grass and darkness.

Wishing you all a glimpse of green grass today and everyday.

Love to all.

The Boy Who Loved the Stars

A few days ago I was waiting to meet Aub, so I walked over to the GW Boutique for a few minutes.  I was basically window shopping and admiring the way all the blazers were put together and noticing how the styles of coats over the past thirty years were all hanging in one spot on the outerwear rack.

I was walking by the rack with jackets and vests when I spied a grey hoodie. A grey NON-zip up hoodie.  Y’all know how I love me some hoodies, so it won’t surprise you that I was drawn in, and I pulled it out to look at it.  When I saw the horse on there in a rag quilt style (which impresses me all kinds of ways), I figured someone had put a lot of time and love into making such a unique creation.

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And then I thought about that horse.

I was once a little girl who loved horses.  Everything horses.  For my birthday, I had a carousel cake and Mama made me a book bag with an appliqued horse in it and a book about the rodeo was tucked inside.  Every time the Scholastic book order form came home with me I scoured it for horse stories and equine books.  When one was the 95 cent special that month, I was the first to turn in my order form.  I asked for Breyer horses for Christmas and birthdays; they sat on my bookshelf in a particular order when I didn’t have them down naming and appreciating the qualities of each one.  I loved shirts with horses and when I was in the third grade, my dream came true.  My Daddy got me a horse.

Her name was Betsy given by me, because it was close to Bess, and Good Queen Bess had been Daddy’s horse he had loved so much.  I also loved Betsy Ross, so it was a tribute to her too.  I learned to take care of our horse and I rode bareback and I talked to her about all kinds of things.

I was a little girl who loved horses.

The little girl who loved horses had a friend who loved science fiction and books by Tolkien.  He spoke of worlds not yet seen except in the imagination of great people, and he was funny and kind.  He even loaned her one of his science fiction books, and she tried to read it.  She really did.  He was a good friend, and never once did the girl I once was question her love of horses or the friendship she had with the one who talked of hobbits and adventures and a future that was beyond comprehension.

Somewhere along the way that little girl forgot she loved horses so much.  She grew up to real life responsibilities and adventures and hard and beautiful things.  She forgot a lot of things from way back then, but she didn’t forget the boy who was funny and imaginative and smart and kind.

Who grew to be a kind man.

The other day at the GW I took the horse hoodie to the counter and I paid for it and brought it home.  After I tossed it in the washer I drove to the hospital to see my friend whom I haven’t seen in a long, long time.  I didn’t know until I got there that I was really there to say goodbye.

Today the boy who loved the planets and thinking about all the what if’s left us to soar among the stars he loved and to hug folks he loves whom he hasn’t seen in a long, long time.  Today the boy who was so kind and whose story was intertwined in mine for all of our school years left the pain and brokenness and is finally home.

I am sad.  But as I sat here thinking and taking all of this in, I came upon the girl who loved horses, sitting by herself, weeping into her hands, unable to contain the grief she feels at stories that have ended way too soon.  The horses forgotten, the hopes and dreams that used to lull her to sleep at night, and the friend whom she will never see again in this life.  Who I am now is very sad, feeling this in my own “I suppose I have to get used to grief and losing people I love” way.  She, however, is 9 again, and the empty shelf where the horses once sat and the empty place where her friend lived is baffling and breaking her heart.

Tonight I’m thankful for a reminder of who I used to be.  How the joys of good and long friendships and horses’ tails flying in the wind used to give me peace and comfort and make me smile and so happy.  I’m thankful for the reminder, as hard as it is, that life is short so we need to grab hold of who and what matters to us and let them know that.

Tell someone you love them today.  If that’s too much, tell them they matter.  Thank them for being a part of your story.  Sit down and ask them what they dreamed about when they were 9.  Or last night.  Share a book with them, or let them borrow your pencil.  Toss out a thread to intertwine your life to another’s, because in the end, that’s where beauty comes from–the reflection of our hearts in the eyes of someone who cares.

RIP, BBC.  You will be missed.  Thanks for helping me see the stars way back then.  And today.

Love to all.

 

 

If It’s Broke ‘Round Here…..

I was puttering around in Cooter’s room with only the intention of being able to vacuum his floor.

I wound up doing so much more.  It turned out to be a pretty momentous project, as we packed up quite a bit of his “baby stuff,” as he called it.  He didn’t want me to get rid of all of it–some we are storing away for “whenever.”  But the fact that he was ready was a big deal.  A Very. Big. Deal.

He’s my baby, you see.

But he’s also 8 and a half. And he’s put up with some things (like the so very precious itty bitty baby pictures on his wall) for far too long.

At one point a couple of years ago we put horses that I collected growing up (some, not all, were the Breyer horses that were quite the thing with me and my best friend) on the shelves in his room.  I asked him, considering he has a few Star Wars things he might like to display, if he’d like for me to put the horses away for now.

After hemming and hawing and me reassuring him all would be okay and my feelings would not be hurt, he said yes, he was ready to change things.

I pulled out the box with my Daddy’s name and mailing address on it–the one he and Mama first packed my horses up in, wrapping them gently in old t-shirts and dust rags.  And I, just as they once did though probably not as well, carefully wrapped each little horse and tucked it away, only after looking and remembering the Christmas or birthday I got each one and the names I’d given them.

The last two I packed up were the ones on the very top shelf.  The ones I’ve had the longest.

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I don’t remember how old I was when I got them, but I think maybe five?  Actually the big one (which has wheels on her feet) was mine.  The other one was Sister’s, but it turns out birds were more her thing.  We got them one Christmas.  My horse came with a wagon and we had a driver and rider dolls.  They had “real” bridles and saddles too.

Then came the time that each had a tail to break off.  Daddy used some kind of substance to stick my horse’s tail back on.  I’m not sure what happened to Sister’s horse, but Daddy went another route in fixing her tail.  Frayed twine of sorts.

And here it is, all these many, many years later and that tail is still on.

My horse’s tail did not fare as well, but it’s still with me.  Wrapped up in a bit of one of Daddy’s old t-shirts, waiting for me to try to figure out how Daddy fixed it the first time and make that happen myself.

That’s the thing I learned from my parents that tends to stand out the most, I guess.

To be a good steward.

Take care of what we have.

And those we have.

And if it’s broken–

we fix it.

Sometimes we have to get creative, think outside of the box, or have a whole lot of patience as we wait for paint or glue to dry, but before we throw it away, we try to fix it.

Tonight I’m thankful for remembering and breathing in my Mama and Daddy’s presence as I worked to pack the horses away.  I wonder if, as they were packing up my things, their hearts hurt as much as mine did as I packed up Cooter’s.  It’s bittersweet really–sad that the years are passing so quickly, but filled with joy that he is growing and learning and figuring out who he is becoming.  That’s an amazing thing to have front row seats to for sure.    Most of all, I’m thankful for the lessons my parents taught me about taking care of all we see and know and love.  About not throwing things–or relationships–away just because there’s something broken in them.

May we all find a way to fix something that’s broken.  Because we at least have to try, don’t we?

Love to all.

Turn That Music Down!

This morning Cooter took his math and headed to his room.

Where he started playing one of his CD’s.

At full volume.

And, for the first time with this boy child, I heard myself hollering, “Turn that music down!”

For the love.

He’s eight, y’all.

He really needs to rein it in.  What do I have to look forward to when he’s fifteen if he peaks now?

He says the music helps him do his math quicker.  As I walked in to make sure he heard me over the music, he looked at me and said, “See I’m already done with one page.  It does make me work quicker.  My brain works better with music.”

Oh me.

It’s been one of those kinds of days.  The ones where time is passing by so quickly I feel as though I am on a Merry Go Round, watching the world continuing to go on around me.  And in some respects, without me.

When did the little guy whom I cuddled his first night on this earth and promised all the good things to turn into this music loving, dancing, singing, Star Wars expert, silly joke loving, mischievous, passionate little man?

I don’t even know, y’all.

But I’m going need for time and my children to slow down.

Wishing you all a moment to step off the Merry Go Round or roller coaster or log flumes and just be.  Still.  In the moment.  Stay there for as long as you can.  Because I’m learning we can’t stop it from passing–but maybe in appreciating each moment a little more, we can slow time’s passing down.

Love to all.

pink tutus and passing years

This afternoon I sat waiting, while first one and then another of my littles attended their gymnastics classes. I was struck not for the first time by the enthusiasm of one particular little girl. These few weeks of the summer session have been her very first ballet classes, and all signs point to her future as a ballerina and someone who loves to dance. It has been a joy watching her. And that big smile on her face always melts my heart.

jumping up and down in your very first tutu
Mama stands beside you as you “perform”
for those who wait for class to begin

she reaches out and brushes a strand of hair from your forehead
smiling her tired smile that says it’s been a long day

you twirl around and around joyfully
watching makes my head spin
just as the quickly passing years do

I sit next to my girl
who is years beyond her first sweet ballet shoes
and I smile too
the weariness I feel as well
but it’s from the knowing

that the years go by too quickly
from the tiny little shoes
that can be held in one hand
to walking through the women’s section
to find the right size for the girl
almost as tall as I am

I miss the pink tutus and feet that can’t be still
and as you bounce down the hall to your classroom
I whisper to the air “dance, baby, dance”

and may you be filled with joy

always

pack up the moon

when you were very small

and the world seemed so big

I held your tiny hand with the perfect pink fingernails

no bigger than a pencil top

and whispered in your sweet little ear,

“I love you to the moon and back”

when you started dreaming 

of who and what you wanted to be,

big dreams and small about 

your name in lights

or with letters behind it

I sat you down, looked you in the eyes,

told you I believed in you and said, 

“Shoot for the moon baby girl, you’ve got this”

when a smile turned your heart

and you dreamed of what might be,

could be

I wished for one who would

never hurt you or betray your trust,

for the one who would love you

as you should be loved

and send you over the moon

and now as the time is passing

more quickly, as it picks up the pace

and the days and the years speed by–

because of all you have put into 

your life and your story, 

you are not far off from those hopes 

and dreams coming true

I watch as you begin to pack your bags

for the next leg of your journey,

the next chapter in your story

which is not so far away anymore

and I remember so many of the joys and sorrows

and tender moments

in the quiet of the night as you lay sleeping

worn out from all there is to do

I pack up the moon and tuck it into a corner 

of your bag

carefully wrapped in the fabric of my love 

and my hopes and dreams for you

so that you will always have light in the darkness

and no matter how far apart this life takes us

I will always love you to the 

moon

and 

back

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