Category Archives: mama words

Because if you don’t laugh . . .


Two conversations, in which my tone was terse and bedtime ready. I had been dodging their idonwannnagetreadyforbed volleys for going on an hour — Robotically getting them cleaned, and dressed, and attending to their oral hygiene — I tucked them in – Gave them appropriate cover, and handed over perfunctory kisses.  When all seemed settled, I started turning lights off  around the apartment and discovered — Read the rest of this entry

Keegan Jay, or how to beat writer’s block seventeen syllables at a time


I haven’t been writing — because shit is hard. There’s too much to write down, to get out, and unless I become a fiction writer soon — that is just start making things up… I’m going to have to get past this writer’s block.  I’ve written a whole lot of haiku in the last few years, like, a whole a lot, a lot.  And really, if I can’t manage seventeen syllables a day — well I might as well start tossing the writer’s notebooks.
So for my baby, on his birthday —

Five years past, and you,
were just an idea, But now,
always my sweet Keegs.

Kai and Mama’s list of 100 things to do this summer (and Keegan too)

Kai and Mama’s list of 100 things to do this summer (and Keegan too)

1. Catch fireflies
2. Roast marshmallows
3. Go tubing
4. Watch a movie outside, at home
5. Go to the DriveIn
6. Go to the ocean
7. Go to the Brattleboro Toy Museum
8. Pick strawberries
9. Pick blueberries
10. Pick raspberries
11. Camp in the yard
12. Camp at a campground
13. Rainbow tag the bike trail
14. Go see the Sox
15. Go see a Cape league game
16. Watch some Hopkins summer soccer
17. Take swim lessons
18. Watch The Goonies
19. Start reading Harry Potter
20. Finish the tepee
21. Learn to skip rocks
22. Tie dye
23. Go fishing
24. Go to Boston
25. Watch clouds
26. Watch planes take off and land at the airport
27. Read Charolette’s Web
28. Watch a meteor shower
29. Go on hike
30. Watch fireworks
31. Play hop scotch
32. Have a water balloon fight
33. Plan a nature walk
34. Build a fairy garden
35. Plan a pajama party on a rainy day
36. Go to the Highland Games
37. Make homemade bubble wands and homemade bubble solution
38. Make ice cream
39. Ride a carousel
40. Go to a church carnival
41. Play in the rain
42. Build an indoor fort
43. Make popsicles
44. Find a four leaf clover
45. Make homemade pizza
46. Go to the farmer’s market
47. Go to the movies in the middle of the day
48. Play croquet
49. Read James and the Giant Peach
50. Fly kites
51. Make a sundial
52. Make and fly paper airplanes
53. Track the moon
54. Plant flowers
55. Keep the bird feeders full
56. Keep a log of all the birds we see
57. Go on a picnic
58. Have a midsummer celebration just for fun
59. Have a lemonade stand
60. Make a summer music CD
61. Go to the flea market
62. Learn to fold oragami
63. Make tin can stilts
64. Go to a concert in the park
65. Watch a parade
66. Make puppets and put on a puppet show
67. Plant a terrarium
68. Build a flower press and press flowers
69. Go bowling
70. Make root beer
71. Go mini golfing
72. Go to Friday Arts Night Out
73. Make a time capsule
74. Go to the zoo
75. Do a treasure hunt
76. Make dilly beans
77. Go to a farm
78. Make pinwheels
79. Eat breakfast outside for a week
80. Watch a sunrise
81. Go to Puffers pond
82. Take a day trip to Mass MOCA
82. Paint rocks
83. Go to the spray park
84. Bike the rail trail
85. See a hot air balloon launch
86. Go to the upper valley music fest
87. Go at least a day without screen time (mama too)
88. Go to Yankee doodle Days
89. Find a new waterfall
90. Walk through a cave
91. Go to the Hartford Science Center
92. Find a bridge to play Pooh sticks on
93. Read Danny Champion of the World
94. Check out the Trolley Museum in Shelburne Falls
95. Go to the West Stockbridge Zucchini fest
96. Check out as many soft serve stands as possible. Decide which one is best
97. Bake a pie with local fruit.
98. Bake cookies
99. Play in the sprinkler
100. Learn how spot constellations
101. Launch wish lanterns
102. Make hula hoops

30×30-Day Four-Sometimes You Have to Walk Away


I can hear you both,
when you talk about my son.
Eyes lowered, whispering under your breath.
You don’t think I know the context of the conversation?
How does she do it?
She doesn’t do enough.
I would do it different.
I wouldn’t let him get away with that.
Thank goodness he isn’t mine.

I only hope his hearing isn’t
as good as his mother’s.
How do I love such a creature as him?
You mean the most witty six-year-old you have ever met?
The one with the vocabulary that rivals my own,
I do it by asking him to tell me a story.
When he finishes he jumps up, grabs on to me
as if a Koala, tells this mama he loves her so.

I don’t do enough – you say this
because you have seen
just five minutes of us.
You are not there, as I scoop him off the floor
after the fifth tantrum of the day-
The one where at just six years old
he shouted,
“I hate my life,
you can’t control me”.
You are not there as I pull him into my arms
hold the boy still,
calm the nerves,
of the one who never grows that fast,
so that at six he still fits in my lap
assure him,
that his life isn’t so bad.

You would do it different?
Really, tell me how? Yell at him in public,
beat him till he was blue,
be less stern with him,
negotiate longer,
medicate him less,
or more?
Would you schedule more meetings with his teacher,
set up more med checks with his pediatrician,
would you change the whole diet of this family,
lock him in his room till he was eighteen?
Quit your job, school him at home?
Please tell me – what-
would you do?

Let him get away with what?
Having feelings,
noticing every last thing in the world,
stopping for every flower that looks different?
Punish him for his frustration,
tell him to bottle it away?
His energy, you would contain it?
His synapses-You would stop them for firing how?
Would you punish his frontal lobe cortex?
Tell it next time, it better shape up?

Thank goodness he isn’t yours?
Well yes,
Thank goodness he isn’t yours.
They say you get the children
you are supposed to,
and he was supposed to be mine.
As if you would even know
where to begin,
with someone as special as him.
But this time,
this time,
I am just going to have to walk away.

In my own house.


Dinner –

-Mom, beer is really bad for your body, maybe you shouldn’t drink it.
I don’t know Kai, It was invented by Monks – and it’s been around a long time, and mama usually just has a beer with dinner.
-Nope, I heard it – and it’s true. No beer is good for you, You shouldn’t drink it.

Cue the moment, I realized – that my son will rebel by being straight-edge.

For my Kai, who will be six on Thursday


He is motion
His is no breath between words
He is no pause for your answers to your questions
He runs as if by motor
He is endless knock knock jokes and one liners-
When I told him one Halloween when he was three
No I want to be the princess, you are making me sad
He said-
Don’t be sad, be a dragon. Read the rest of this entry

Counting blessings. . ongoing. .


Two boys. Crazy, and wild, and over the top- side-way smiles – knock knock jokes – fiends for stickers and Nano bugs and Legos and screen-time – lovers of snacks, sneakers of chocolate, delivers of hugs and snuggles- one with dimples- one who likes to run- sensitive and smart – story tellers- eyebrow raisers- comedians at five and three- believers in magic and wonder. Two boys.

A day-care provider for five years, who tended them, loved them, taught them their letters and colors, fed them, did not ban them from her day care when they bit other children, did not have a heart attack when they insisted on climbing higher, who tended me- didn’t give me a thing to worry about, because I knew my children, my babies, my infants were safe and loved.

A preschool teacher who has had both my sons now- who helped one to stop hitting his classmates, who is helping one to appreciate the potty – a teacher who has structure and love, and a play loft – she who created a preschool for Hadley, who is just about to retire, who has been the teacher to even my senior students who are about to graduate – she who has taught my sons songs, and numbers, and to to cut paper, and write their names, she who transcribes stories and helps them to share.



Things to do after a long day of work. . . .


. . .  Find this. . .Laugh. How they grow.  So quickly. . .

Then listen to more music, because, well it’s dark, and the kids aren’t here, and it’s quiet. And well,  I gotta say December playlist is pretty chill.  My favorites are either The Christmas Song by the Raveonettes or Valley Winter Song by Fountains of Wayne – because, well it’s about my Valley.

Huh. My Valley. Not the Valley or The Happy Valley . . . My Valley.  Only took, nine years, four months, and four days to say that.

Give me my ‘A’ in Scarlet.


Yeah, thank-you for that blank stare,
that one you gave, when you realized
what you let-go from your mouth.

Oh yes, that was ignorance defined.
You ask, “how do you do it,
don’t you miss them when they’re away
from you? I couldn’t do it.”

Miss my sons? But it’s only been two hours
since I’ve seen them last.
Who is taking care of them?
Their father.

“Oh but daddies just don’t
do it like mommies do.” Read the rest of this entry