On the Trampoline Under a Pink Moon

Did you know that the full moon in April has an ancient name in Native American culture? It’s called the “Pink Moon”. Last month was the “Worm Moon”. Next month is the “Flower Moon.”

I didn’t know this. It’s 4:25 am. I’m outside. Staring into space. Smushed in between my family. It’s getting chilly. The back of my phone case was damp with dew when I awoke and picked it up thirty minutes ago to google Full Moon facts.

To my left, Kevin snores. To my right, Maggie, Caleb, and Jack dream, snuggled deep in sleeping bags. And we are on our backyard trampoline. Well, except for Klaus. He’s asleep under the trampoline. On his back. Like all good dogs.

Around 9 pm, after tucking Juli in her crib, we headed out back with creature comforts and crawled in the trampoline, zipping the net closed, blocking out the world and its troubles. The kids have been begging to camp out here for weeks.

We jumped around. Flipped. Ticked. Giggled. Told ghost stories. And happy stories. We sang with crickets. And listened to an owl. Daddy and Caleb even had a burping contest.

As we settled down, I pulled out the Skyview augmented reality app to search for constellations. The kids were entranced as we spied Virgo, Ursa Major, The Big Dipper and Leo the Lion so high above us. We even found Jupiter. No moon though. It hadn’t risen yet.

“Mommy, you know you can never count all the stars in the universe?” said eight year old Jack.

“I’m gonna try!” said six year old Maggie.

Their birthdays will be here again in a couple weeks. Another year gone. Both childhoods, halfway complete.

We all finally dozed off, one by one.

My children’s faces are now bathed in a pale translucent glow, as if melted platinum spills from heaven onto them. A passing train nearby sings us a mournful lullaby. I even hear it’s wheels clacking in time.

But I’m wide awake. Of course.

Perhaps it’s my lifelong insomnia.

Maybe it’s just a mom thing.

Or it could very well be the lonely Pink Moon calling to me from an inky sky above.

What do you do with your time?

How do you pass the moments of your life?

Moments shape our destiny.
Our future.
Our children’s future.

We speak of inheritance as a monetary substance. It’s not.

Inheritance is the air around us.
The looks between us.
The love we share.

The memories that embed themselves into our brain on a random Tuesday as we lug in overpriced groceries with a barefoot child on us piggy back during a torrential downpour. 

We craft this inheritance day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute. 

Our time is the currency of inheritance.

It bankrolls itself, developing and flowing from the words we speak, the way we react, and the choices we make.

It doesn’t fall haphazardly from the sky. 

It’s not something we can wish into existence. We have to grab it.
Craft it. Mold it.

Minute by minute.
Hour by hour.
Day by day. 

What do you do with your time?

Two Words to Define Your Parenting Legacy

What two words describe the legacy you hope to pass on to your children? 

In other words, if someone asked your children years from now “What were your parents were like?” or “How did they make you feel?”, what would you want them to say?

MINE: “Supported. Exposed.”

I want my four to remember the laughter. 

The floor under their feet. 

The hand in their hand. 

The person behind them. 

The experiences. 

The smiles. 

The sense of wonder. 

Car rides. 

Conversations. 

I want them to remember that no matter what we did, we were there for them. 

Together, as a family. 

When they tick back through their childhood memories of activities and events, I want them to remember their parents’ faces glancing back at them. Their siblings cheering them on from the side line. 

The roughness. The tiredness. The fullness. The variety of experiences. 

Because to me, support empowers children to become better adults. A solid foundation of support, alongside a legacy of exposure to different ideas, customs, and experiences provides a wealth of tools to make it through adulthood. 

Or at least, I hope it will. 

Of Vienna Sausages, Cuties and Waffles

I hear Jack and Maggie whispering in the hallway. 

It’s just the five of us at home. Me and the four kiddos. Severe thunderstorms over the past couple days have my lineman husband pulling eighteen hour shifts with the power company. It’s hard when he’s gone. We rely on him. I rely on him! 

And, today is my third child Caleb’s fifth birthday. He hasn’t seen his Dad in forty eight hours. 

Caleb asked all day when Daddy will be home. And when will have cake at Papa and Grammy’s house. “Sorry, K-Cat, Daddy is working late. And we aren’t going to Grammy’s until tomorrow night, remember?” I explained. My mother was sick again this week so we put off our family birthday dinner until the weekend. 

Throughout the day I tried creating special moments for him. Dozens of balloons were scattered all over the room. We played games. And he got to watch anything he wanted on TV – which meant a full day of YouTubers cracking open egg surprises, beating minion apps, and talking over Angry Birds Go. 

“When will Daddy be home?” he asked again during school carline. As Maggie and Jack scrambled into the car, bookbags falling to the floor, Caleb, seated in the third row, shared his excitement about family birthday dinner tomorrow night at Grammy and Papa’s house.  

“But I wished it was tonight,” he said sadly. 

And now here it is 5:15 pm. 

Caleb picked dinner so I’m making waffles with hot fudge and nut topping for everyone. Oh, and buttered popcorn. I may him drink from the two liter Cherry Pepsi bottle too. He always laughs so hard when he gets to do that. 

And now I hear Maggie and Jack whispering in the hall. They’ve disappeared together five minutes ago. I wonder what they’re up to?

Silence. And then….

They both yelled excitedly, in sync, “Caleb come here!!”

Caleb hopped off the couch where he had been stationed in front of another Egg Surprise YouTube video, ran through the living room, down the long hall, and found them in den. 

“Surprise!” I heard them cheer. 

And then they sang Happy Birthday to Caleb. 

I peeped in the den just in time to see them present him with a plate full of Vienna Sausages and Cuties oranges. 

“It’s your favorite treats ever!” Maggie said in her animated six year old way. “It’s not as good as Papa’s house but we can pretend!”

And then he smiled at them. And grabbed them both in a group hug. They were giggling as I snuck away unnoticed. After all, I had waffles and hot fudge to tend. 

The most important things are the hardest to say…

The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them — words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out.

But it’s more than that, isn’t it?

The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it.

That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear.

~ Stephen King

The Light Keepers

9:23 pm. Tuesday night. Before the storm.
The streets are dark. Clear. No traffic.
Silence is disturbed only by an occasional dog barking at a stranger on her bike.

I spy Orion.
Regal. Radiant. Reliable.
Three dots for a belt.
The entire sky is full of stars tonight but I hone in immediately on him. As a child he was the only constellation I could ever pick out. My penchant for “forgetting” my thick-framed 1980s grey plastic old lady glasses Mama picked out at the eye doctor may be to blame. The world surrounding me before LASIK was often blurred by the severe astigmatism I was born with.

A friendly constant for decades now, Orion winks down at me. I salute him, and almost crash. (Did I ever mention I’m not sporty?)
These late evening starry bike rides through the Avenues are calming. Invigorating. Mature azaleas, crepe myrtle, palmetto, oak and pine thrive in this mid-century neighborhood landscape known for its gridded alphabetical and numerical streets. Such intentional beauty designed by generations long ago! And the southern Spring season (save for an occasional two hour snowstorm and random tornado) makes for perfect bike riding weather.

The GPS app yells out that my average speed is only six miles per hour. I tell her to hush. It’s ok. Marathons aren’t my goal. This two mile slow route offers time to think. And as long as I keep both hands wrapped tightly around the handlebars my clumsy self can think just fine!

The houses with lamps lighting the windows fascinate me. So much so that I almost crash again as my eyes drift side to side, away from the road ahead of me. Each of these homes hold a story. A life. Multiple lives. Rich, intricate woven tales as complicated and in-depth as the one I live. The one you live. Full of passion, regret, hope, and plans for tomorrow night’s dinner. A mere thirty feet away.

Yet we may never cross paths… the unseen keepers of the window light and I.

Perhaps one day we will.

But for now I have to get back to my own lighted window. And the people inside.

Life is a Story

When I awoke this morning, six year old Maggie was already dressed and had helped Juli out of her crib. In the living room, she brushed her sister’s hair. “Mommy, isn’t she soooo beautiful!” she gushed. Two year old Juli beamed so hard at her big sister and clapped her hands.

Now Maggie is reading a book to her and Jack.
And Caleb is asleep on the couch.