by Jennifer on April 28, 2010

I could tell you things. Hell, I’ve tried. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve tried to scoop up the words like bits of confetti. There’s so much to tell that there’s not much I can say.

Important choices and heavy-sounding words (Custody. Parenting time. But you said. No, you did. What’s best. What’s best?) sit in front of me like paperweights holding down the loose paper scraps of what was, what is, what will be. There are things to do, always. And, always, things to decide.

I am one thing right now: a mother. The other parts of me are books on shelves, ordered, quiet. I walk past sometimes and run my hand over their spines. Whisper, soon. Without sadness, though. This is how it has to be for now, this focus.

I weigh things, all the time. If this, then that. If that, then what? The back of my head, where doubt lives, is a noisy, noisy place. The bird outside my window calls out and I hear what to do? what do do?

There’s no footworn path. No You Are Here red arrow. There is only before, and now, and next. No moment that feels closer to the end than the beginning. Just each moment that is what it is.

Just this bit of ground under my feet that could be any random point between two vanishing horizons, but seems meant, somehow, for making a stand.

We’ll be all right. I know that. Worse things have happened to people. This crumpled page of life, well, I’ll spread it out and smooth it the best I can. I’ll make sense of whatever is written on it, however smudged, whether it turns out to be a lesson or a cosmic joke or a song or a map. And we’ll go on.

There are good things, there are. Cherry blossoms. Cut grass. Eight year old girls having front-lawn picnics. Evenings outside. An owl in the woods behind the house, calling.

The hope for a life that’s simpler, but that’s always been there. It just feels closer. I’m at the other end of the tunnel, at that moment when  it’s still dark but you see that the world will get big again.

For now, I don’t sleep. Not the satisfying, restful kind, anyway – only as much as my body insists on when, at last, my mind shuts down. More than not, sleep is just the scratch of a branch against the window. A ghost across the room.

Then, morning and a light that is both truth and lie, morning song and demand, apology and forgiveness.

The days are a cold, fluid stream. Most days, I feel like the water that takes forever to polish and groove the rocks that lie beneath the surface, the changes so slow as to be almost imperceptible. And other days, the best days, I become one of the rocks that alters the course of the stream. That’s what I have to be, from here.

The rest can wait. Things will happen. Choices will lead to conclusions. Life will go on. And someday, I’ll take each of those books off of the shelf, brush away the dust, open its pages.

And I’ll whisper, Now.

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Kimberly April 28, 2010 at 9:23 am

You are one amazing writer, my friend.

Hang in there. The answers will come. And you not just a mother, you are a good mother. You’ll make the right choices.


V-Grrrl @ Compost Studios April 28, 2010 at 9:57 am

What a place to be. You are THE rock for your kids, for yourself, altering the course of the stream. Wishing you a bit of peace and some sleep.


Jenn at Juggling Life April 28, 2010 at 10:05 am

These words you wrote her today make me feel like there might be something great to come out of your upheaval and pain–a memoir, a guidebook for other women? Something.

This writing is just so moving.


Tara Wermuth April 28, 2010 at 11:03 am

I am in tears. You are amazing.


slouchy April 28, 2010 at 11:30 am

you write this crossroads so well.


Kathryn April 28, 2010 at 1:15 pm

I love your words, they flow so movingly. Really, you are an excellent writer.

You’re right where you’re supposed to be, and it sounds like you know it. I agree with V-Grrrl, you are the rock.


Suzanne April 28, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Thank you for sharing these glimpses into your life right now. You know that you have many friends, seen and unseen who are thinking of you and pulling for you and hoping for all the best for you.


furiousball April 28, 2010 at 2:25 pm

you’re doing the right things sweetheart – focus on the children first, yourself second, and everything else is well, everything else.


Landon April 28, 2010 at 4:03 pm

Full of truth and beauty.
Thank you.


Indigo April 28, 2010 at 4:08 pm

This path you travel sweet friend, echoes life. At times we stumble, and barely keep upright. Your spirit won’t let you stay down, it looks up from the path searching for that thing that made you stumble. Why? Ultimately you know it’s a piece of a much larger puzzle. A piece of life even in it’s inconsistency.

I’ve always thought you were a jewel in the rough, made of something precious and beautiful. You will do what needs to be done, and that which waits patiently within your bosom will someday bloom again. (Hugs)Indigo


Coco April 28, 2010 at 6:19 pm

Oh, I have missed these lovely stretches of word you lay before me.

I’m always, always thinking of you.


anymommy April 28, 2010 at 9:17 pm

I’m thinking of you too. I wish an end to uncertainty and heartache. Your writing is gorgeous, even when your head is unsettled.


green girl in Wisconsin April 29, 2010 at 7:17 am

I admire you for being able to shelve certain parts and know they’re safely waiting. And for being able to embrace your main role right now.


Texasholly April 29, 2010 at 7:29 am

I need to go breathe now. That was absolutely beautiful.


Slow Panic April 29, 2010 at 1:30 pm

i would respond to you but i’m not talking to you. oh wait. that’s not you and me that’s other people.

yes i am still bitter.

yes i love your post. as always. i know you are going to get through this and find that simpler life.


San Diego Momma April 29, 2010 at 5:11 pm


Right now.


Jane Gassner April 30, 2010 at 1:44 pm

this is a filling up time. i can feel it in you.


flutter May 1, 2010 at 2:17 pm

I am so proud of you. So proud.


Brandt! May 2, 2010 at 10:02 am

You write so beautifully … it will all be the way it is meant to be; better than what you had.


jessica May 2, 2010 at 9:10 pm

Jennifer: what is what is and what will be will be but through it all you are strong. You’re kids are very lucky to have you


Stacie May 3, 2010 at 7:21 pm

Transition is the hardest part of labor and the hardest part of life too. Funny how that happens, huh? I hope that you will be “reborn” when all of this is through. I am thinking of you.


Gwen May 7, 2010 at 3:26 am

Of course, yes, you will be okay. But it’s all right not to be okay yet. Not to be wise and calm and peaceful in every moment. I think. What do I know? Except that your writing so often stuns me.


apathy lounge May 9, 2010 at 2:56 pm

Oh, sweetie! Would that I could bring you some comfort. All I can do is tell you that you’re doing exactly the right thing. Loving your kids and continuing to move forward.


annietiques May 13, 2010 at 7:06 pm

Oh my goodness! I have only happened upon your blog at the end of something, and the beginning of something else………….. Take heart, you are a woman of substance, a woman of worth!! I know the pain of which you speak, do not judge yourself, you are a woman of character, a woman of worth…… I pray every night………..peace and resolution………..peace and resolution…….PEACE AND RESOLUTION………


phd in yogurtry May 21, 2010 at 1:26 pm

Being the rock can be so draining, just as it is, without so much uncertainty piled on top. So I wish you continued strength and some peace of mind. And I so agree with other comments, your writing is wonderful, subtle but also powerful.


Ree May 23, 2010 at 5:32 pm


and more.


JCK June 14, 2010 at 10:05 pm

I’ve missed you. Yet, I understand how much energy you’re needing to summon in your life right now. We’ll be here when you return. Sending huge hugs & good thoughts your way, Jennifer.


jessica June 24, 2010 at 2:40 pm

you are right, smooth out the page and read what it is you are supposed to do. We are strong and capable and life can be good even as a single parent. I have been having way more good days than not and that is all due to time, patience and well, a really good therapist.

I love you lots


Michael Manning July 23, 2010 at 6:50 am

Hi! First time visitor to your site. Wonderful writing. This is also a valid commentary on how “rushed” many of us feel in life. It mirrors my own frustration in terms of not being able to get to projects, and I’m not even a parent. So, your message is a universal one of where we currently find our culture. A great and timely post!


Glenda July 28, 2010 at 5:21 am

Just wonderful wrting, great imagery. A pure pleasure to read. So real and raw, so heartfelt and honest. Amazing!


Hatchet July 31, 2010 at 9:41 pm

GOD! I love the way you write and describe a feeling. You get me every time. Strength to you.


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