Four down toward forever

On this occasion of our fourth anniversary

we’ve much to celebrate

despite obstacles and adversity

our calendars share several new, significant dates

each day marked in memories

you can bet our girl’s birth is among the greats

have you counted the times you’ve had to “cheese?”

photos collected of our daily lives

until each child said,  “No more, mom. Please.”

in sickness we’ve dwellt, for health we’ve strived

laughter marks the moments

together, we’ve promised, keeping faith alive

even as we now wade through uncertain currents

our children growing up, and unfortunately, distance

someday they’ll return to appreciate parents

remembering they

re always loved, that’s an insistence

you and I, we’re blessed

soulmates returned, taking forever, we chance.

{written 3/14, as a Terza Rima example}

The rift

I stand at the shoreline
You sit, discontent in that rickety little boat
It rocks, dangerously, at your shifting weight
Rippling water currents draw you slowly out
Swiftly, you drift further into unknown waters
Receding from my vantage point
There’s no goodbye, no salutations at all
Just a distance increasing
I wade in, willing myself to swim to you
But I cannot
So I stand waste deep in the sludge
Silently willing you to paddle back
Oblivious to my mental pleading, still further the rift grows

Atlantic City – Part One

Date nights for Hubs and I are far and few between. We rarely get away – are rarely alone.  With five children, including our 2.75 year old gem, it’s not easy to break away.  But I determined that we had to celebrate my birthday as a couple.

I combed the Internet for deals and happened upon a 3 day, 2 night stay at a resort property on the Atlantic City Boardwalk. All that was required, it said, was $99 and a 2 hour tour. And really, what’s 2 hours?

Turns out, it’s everything.  We arrived early (anticipation of quality time alone sped us along the highway, as did the ride through several dilapidated streets with overpopulated liquor stores leading to the hotel’s front door).  Children scurried around cars, swim things clutched in their arms, suitcases piled high on luggage carts. Security guards helped guests label their belongings with destination locations.

I went in with excitement. Room 2804, ready for us already. But no one helped us unload. Instead, we carried our luggage down four flights of the ill-lit parking garage. Then, we waited with several impatient guests for an elevator. It stopped many times before we got to the 28th floor – including once for a tour group, once for a vacuum lugging hotel maid. There was no shortage of disgruntled guests ready to share their “whoa’s.”

Our room’s entrance was blocked by maid carts, but once they parted and we went inside, it looked like we could like it. A modest queen sized bed sat before us. A window overlooking the Boardwalk and beach stretched across the room. A kitchenette was equipped with a 2 burner stove, microwave and fridge. A leather convertible couch sat nearby a small table and chair set. And the bathroom featured a jet spa tub.  It appeared to be one nice studio.

Unfortunately, the TV flickered. It refused to stay on. It seemed cable and video options were unavailable. Considering that we live our lives now with glowing screens as constant companions, maybe this was freeing us from temptation? Frustrated, and not ready to venture into the windy outdoors, hubs powered down the fickle machine.

Below us, the casinos illuminated the wooden walkway. The waves – a white froth on otherwise green brown sea – crashed up on the shore, where lifeguard stands and rescue boats lay askew to dissuade unauthorized use.

The tub beckoned. It was an oasis of massage bubbles. And together, we sat immersed, our legs entwined and we faced one another. In the silence, save the humming jets, the stresses slipped away. The water – a bit too hot for me, but just like he likes it – relaxed. This was bliss.

As the water grew uncomfortably tepid, we reluctantly withdrew. Habit found my husband again fiddling with the television. It flickered. It turned static. And then, suddenly, there was clarity.

Something about that white bedding – pristine and perfectly dressed – called me. I slid under cover and relished in the soft sheets. I stretched out. And I realized that without little miss, we might actually sleep without the interruptions of legs extending into our backs, head pushed into the crook of neck, and fingers finding eyes and nose to invade. We could be lovers again.

Love me when it hurts

“If we really want this thing to work we gotta go to war….” Avant, ‘When It Hurts

I better start asking “will you love me when it hurts,” because it’s hurting more and more. This blended family thing is an experiment in futility ; or at least it seems so sometimes. Inevitably,  no matter how much we profess to be all about “ours,” the “mine mentality ” seems to be underlying every decision.

If I thought children were unwilling pawns in relationship chess before, I’m certain of it now. Except I forgot to figure in the other pieces playing the board. The castle, or career and financial dealings . The Knights, our siblings. The bishops, in-laws and family elders. And though there’s only one king and one queen on this board, they often play on opposing sides instead of as a ruling, supporting pair.

Frankly,  I’m not sure I want to spend life in a game of strategic action. I’ve got apps for that. But honestly,  if the extended family is constantly invited in to cause strife and further divide, there’s no winning.  It’s one thing to confide in someone – to seek a listening ear that doesn’t connect to a wagging tongue. It’s another to entertain intrusion,  confusion and, ultimately isolation.

I’m ready to lay my piece down and declare game over. I can’t see putting children through an endless, destructive game.

livestock

‘As well for the coowe as for the bull’ – John Heywood

Bull out to pasture, collecting fill
Calves frolic lightly, suckling at will
Cow stands at ready, awaiting desire
Long hours repass motherhood thus transpires
He surveys his claim, proudly content
But little further exertions are expend’
She looks to the horizon forlornly
When calves grow, she may free
He is praised for little more
Than donating his gene, herd ensure-d
But she works endlessly without cease
No respite, less praised, no release

Rewind and return

Yesterday,  he walked into our room.
He settled his small frame against the foot of my side of the bed.
Hubs said “hi,” acknowledging his entry. 
He did not reply.
“Hi, mom,” he said, emphasizing my name far more than I think he intended.
I could feel hubs tense. He slumped a bit where he was seated to my right. He drew in a slow breathe.
Something in me tightened.
Again, the line between “us” and “them” had been drawn.
I snapped a response – not the “Hi, baby!” he expected.
“Whoa! There are other people in this room besides me. Dad said hello. You need to step out and try this again.”
He backed out quickly, surprised and stunned.
“Hi, Rob. Hi, RiAnne,” He said timidly from the hallway, no doubt knowing that using hub’s first name was further emphasizing his day’s distain for him. Something must’ve occurred in the hours between my heading off to work and Ya being walked to the bus stop. Something always happens. Some snub, some lethargic slowness, some defiance that I’d likely overlook were it against me.
It never ceases.
My two Virgos, duking it out regularly. They should know my heart is big enough for both. Neither one has a standing that is threatened by the other.
When does the peace begin?

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