A tug of the zipper,
stretch of the button.
My favorite pants,
apparently mauled
by the dryer.
Puzzled, I open the closet,
wipe away the dust,
and step on the scale.
There it is;
The numbers do not lie.

A cookie here,
a pastry there,
many chocolates in between.
The baking craze long over,
my hips now hang
as wide as my shoulders,
begging my pants
for forgiveness.
It is a definite ‘no.’

is a new day.
A new start.
Another beginning.
Retraining my palate and
resetting bad habits,
to reclaim
my wardrobe,
and eat
like a rabbit.

via Daily Prompt: Puzzled

Smile… You’re on Candid Everything

Had this been the 1950’s and the days of June Cleaver, all would be fine and jolly because I wouldn’t have said “shit” if it was on my upper lip. Even if I had, no one would have been the wiser. No one would have heard about it. No one would have read it. No one would have watched it. No one would have known. Life would carry on, blissfully unaware.

But June Cleaver hasn’t crossed generations, much less lips, out here in the middle of the cornfields, down at the end of Crass Lane.

I’m known to say things not intended for folks outside of these four walls, and especially not to be featured in today’s viral Vine. I make obscene gestures meant not for the latest Snapchat story, but instead for the back of the head of the driver of the van that just cut me off, speeding to get junior to soccer practice – one eye on the road while the other scrolls her Pinterest feed. The glare I just gave the moron who was loudly vomiting rude and humiliating vitriol at his family at the local restaurant wasn’t practiced for Instagram. And I hadn’t imagined that my snarky comment to the obnoxious telemarketer would be today’s trending Tweet.

In our increasingly technology-reliant world, it’s easy, and practically expected, to have everything at our fingertips – from news and sports coverage to shopping, how-to videos, work e-mails – and basically work – to up-to-the-minute coverage of what your friends and family are doing at any given moment of any given day. In my opinion, this information overload has become just that: information overload.

In 2014 I came across this blog post by Jarrid Wilson, someone I’d never heard of. His proclamation to divorce his phone went viral and many jumped on the bandwagon. And then the wheels fell off, the notion died, the wagon got stuck in the mud, and everyone went back into their blue LED hypnotic trance.

Two years ago, when I was going through heavy metal detox (a long story for another time), I could barely be in the same room with a cell phone, much less use one. I turned it off often and used it infrequently. When my relationship with portable technology changed, my eyes, ears, and perspective opened. I had time. Time to read a real book, take a walk, or lollygag on the porch swing without a care. I had time to write, to have an actual conversation with real-live family and friends, and I had time to sleep. Deep, restful sleep. Sometimes I even cleaned my house.

A cell phone is a handy and useful gadget. It’s a critical connection to those we love and care about. It allows help and rescue to be mere minutes away. But it can also be a source for mass destruction. Destruction of relationships, peace, another’s emotional well-being, and of course time. Cell phones destroy time with loved ones, time for self, time to live, and time to simply be.

I dare you to give pause as your finger hovers over “upload,” “retweet,” or even “follow.” It’s all fun and games until someone loses their kindness and their awareness. You may find yourself to be the next subject of the latest candid capture. And you may or may not be smiling.

via Daily Prompt: Candid

Damn that clock

In my rented house, sitting on borrowed furniture, I holed myself up one cold winter night, reading. “It’s a girl,” said the little voice in my head. I stopped mid-sentence and laid the book against my chest, gazing ahead of me, as if I expected to find someone sitting at the opposite end of the couch. But no one was there. It was perfectly quiet. Patiently, I waited for more. I was delivered more silence.

The next morning, I made an appointment to see a doctor. A doctor. Because I didn’t have one. I never got sick. And since my current living arrangement may or may not be temporary, I never bothered to plant roots by selecting a “primary care” physician. There was no need. Until now. Apparently, there was a need. I had no idea.

A pregnancy test was run. I sat in the room, for what seemed like an eternity, waiting for the nurse to return. “Yes, you’re pregnant,” she said with just a hint of a smile. She couldn’t decipher my expression to determine whether this was good news. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Pregnant? I had battled endometriosis for years and had decided that I wouldn’t be able to get pregnant even if I tried. I hadn’t tried. But I hadn’t not tried.

A man I once dated asked me if I wanted to have kids some day. I said I hadn’t really made a deliberate decision about it. If I was meant to have kids, it would just happen. And if I wasn’t, then it wouldn’t. I was okay with it, either way.

Well, now was the moment of truth. Was I okay?

“Because of your age, we’ll want to do an ultrasound.” “Oh, right. 35 is pushing the envelope,” I quipped in my head. She handed me a gown and opened the door to usher me down the hall. “You mean right now?” I asked. She looked back at me as if to say, “What, you have something better to do with your time right now?” She kept walking, her unspoken order for me to follow her.

Lying on the table, my mind raced. A kid. A baby. Me, a mother. A mom. Was I prepared? Could I do it? How did I really feel about this? I was unsure. The technician squirted the glob of cold goo on my belly and began her search, slowly and methodically moving the wand, eyes fixed on the monitor. My eyes followed hers. Her hand stopped and she smiled. “There. Right there. See it? That’s the heart beating.” She adjusted a knob, turning on the volume. The quick rhythm, beating in time to the pulse on the screen, was loud and clear. A Top 10 hit. A one-hit wonder. My heart melted and I was reduced to a puddle of tears.

Yes. Yes indeed, this was good news. I was more than just okay. I was overwhelmed. In the very best possible way.

I chose a boy’s name, you know, just in case. Just in case my intuition was wrong this time. But I knew that it wasn’t. It never is. It is always there, and it is always right. Seven months later, in the middle of one of the most horrific lightning storms I could remember, as promised, the Universe delivered. Laid on my chest was a perfect, beautiful bundle of warm flesh. She was full of life, love, and lessons.

She was a baby for about 10 years, during which time I got about four hours of sleep in total. And then, the day she went to kindergarten, everything changed. She began to grow and learn and ask all kinds of life questions. The following week, when she started her senior year of high school, she was still asking questions about life. What was my life like in college? What did I like least about living in an apartment when I moved to Chicago? What exactly happens when the government shuts down?

I swear, it was just this morning that I was sitting in our rocking recliner for a few minutes of peace when she crept oh-so-quietly halfway down the stairs at 5:30 a.m. Peering at me through the banisters, wearing that mischievous little grin, she was bright-eyed and bushy tailed, even at o’dark thirty. It was yesterday, I believe, that she was running through the sprinkler wearing her hot pink bikini, squealing with pure, innocent glee at the icy cold water blasting her little belly. A few weeks ago, she was admonishing me for not being with her at the dining room table, supervising her finger-painting. Last month when she was in middle school and we were talking about how kids can be so thoughtless and hurtful, I was struck by her wisdom. As I watched her back out of the driveway for the very first time all by herself last week, I’m sure I caught a glimpse of her clutching her favorite stuffed animal, the pink elephant whose little velour tail served as a pacifier.

The clock tick-tocks in the background as I sit waiting. Waiting for her to get up. Waiting for her to get ready. Waiting for her to finish eating. Waiting for her to come home.

For right now, just for today, I will appreciate every minute. I will take an internal snapshot of every smile, every laugh, every missed assignment, dirty dish, wet towel on the floor, unmade bed, eye roll, and every long hair wiped on the shower wall. I will secretly record for my memory to play back at will every giggle as she watches the latest viral video and each gasp as clips of her friends jump at her from her phone screen. I’ll admire her tenacity when she argues her curfew with me, and smile at her taking a nap rather than unloading the dishwasher. I’ll savor every half-finished meal, silently step over every pair of shoes in the middle of the floor, and ignore every room that remains unkempt after numerous requests to clean it. I’ll be grateful for every request for takeout, the late night chats on my bed, and each time she begs to have her feet rubbed after getting home at 10:30 p.m. from a long shift at the restaurant, even though I’m exhausted from my own long day at the office. I’ll wrap my warm fingers around those smelly little toes and massage them, enjoying every minute.

Because in eight months, which is tomorrow, I’ll be holed up in our house, gazing at the opposite end of the couch over the top of a book, half-expecting to find someone there. But she’ll be sitting on borrowed furniture in a rented room, hundreds of miles away at college.

And although it will not be perfect, it will be perfectly quiet.

via Daily Prompt: Blink

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