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Samantha’s Daily Poem

January 21, 2016

Kindergarten teacher



I bet she didn’t expect
that part of the job

you have to respect
their space


she tells him
but he is only five

and I can see the teacher
wish it could last
a little longer for him

the innocence
of hugging anyone
the moment
he feels like it

but she cannot
allow it

and I understand
but I still wonder
if it ever makes her cry a little
in private

the confusion
on their faces
as she erases
their belief
that their love
is always wanted.

January 20, 2016

Raisins in my wallet



There is a rocket ship
made of toilet paper rolls
on our mantelpiece
and crayons lined up
like soldiers
that I’m forbidden to move
inside my favourite shoes

there are raisins
in my wallet
and you used my lipgloss
this morning as glue

our car is a compost
and I haven’t slept
through the night
in years

but I am not thinking about this
over coffee with a friend
I haven’t seen since before
you colonized
my life

I am remembering how casual
time was back then
how easy it was
to waste an hour
how rich I was
in minutes

and then suddenly
as if an alarm went off
I realize I should wrap up
our chat
but he does it first

a quick hug
and then we head back
to conducting the orchestras
of our busy lives

I get home
and you both
climb onto my lap

you show me
a paper scribbled in blue
and you say
with a happy confidence

I drew you
five cats, mama


and your brother
who is sick
tries to make me laugh
because we decided
last month
that laughing
was a family value

Jabba the Hutt’s
daughter-in-law
is Fatty the Hutt


which really does
make me laugh

and I haven’t even taken
off my coat
when I realize
with a knot of gratitude
that my heart
will never
be tidy
again.

Posted In: Parenthood | no comments
January 19, 2016

Five hours in a row



I wouldn’t have traded it
for money
or a day at the spa

five hours
in a row
in daylight
in my house
in silence

not puttering
or cleaning up

not even reading
a novel

but the glorious
adultness
of thinking
about big things
that need a steady gaze

about important things
that need a tunnel
dug out
to reach them

not my marriage
or my kids
or a new plan
to exercise

just the marvelous
puzzle of my work
all mapped out
on big pieces
of paper
that felt to me
like art

and when she woke up
from her nap
I wasn’t done
but my mind
was tired
in a good way
like a dog
that had finally
been let out
to run

I couldn’t have guessed
before kids
how good that would feel

and I’m always happy to see her
but I swear
this time
there was more
of me there.

Posted In: Parenthood | 2 comments
January 17, 2016

Buy more money



I try to wash her face
but there are no wash cloths

and when I find one
she shrieks
because she’s using them all
as blankets
for her bath toys

I ask politely
and she responds
with an order

buy more washcloths

I explain that
we don’t just
buy more stuff
and that things cost money

she thinks about this
for a moment
and then orders me to

buy more money

which makes me
feel like I have ruined
her character

and I try to recall
that funny author
who writes wise books
for parents

but all I remember
is something about being
responsible to our kids
not for them
which makes me
feel worse

I look despairingly
at my two-year-old
as I solemnly plan
our next month
of austerities

and then she yells happily
wake up ev-ee-body

and swipes all the toys
into the bath
that had been “sleeping”
in a row
under our washcloths
on the side of the tub

she hands me the washcloths
and says proudly

I buy them
for you, mama


and I suddenly remember
the part in that book
where she says
don’t give them everything
they ask for but
also remember
fruit spoils when you
forget about it
not when you love it
too much.

Posted In: Parenthood | no comments
January 16, 2016

First date



Across from us
a first date

the safe questions
and then
the awfulness
of silence

the way they use their menus
as safety nets
looking but not reading

he likes her
it’s obvious
but she’s been hurt
before

and then he makes
her laugh

she spills her drink
he mops it up

I can smell
the hope

my husband pays our bill
and as we drive away
in our comfy clothes
I don’t wish for that newness
that electric place of potential
not knowing if we will be
misery or sweet

it’s them I can’t stop thinking about
a story with no end

does he get funnier
does she open up

I flip a coin

and I am surprised
at how happy I am
when it shows up heads

yes
they marry
.

Posted In: Relationships | no comments
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