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Poetry June 29, 2009

Filed under: mom writer — heartwriter @ 12:05 am
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Today You Are Five

by J.G. McGlothern

Dressed in a red bandana, wearing your cowboy hat,

riding your horse on a stick

You are a five year old cowboy.

Six new horses from friends, you are an excited cowboy.

Full of hotdogs, frosting and giggles you are a stuffed cowboy.

Outfitted with new shorts and shirts you are a prepared cowboy.

Snuggled next to me on the couch watching your first Western you are a

 tired, oh, so happy cowboy and still my little boy.


Water by J.G. McGlothern June 28, 2009

Filed under: writer mom — heartwriter @ 5:19 pm
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Filling buckets with water on my trips back and forth from the Pacific Ocean to the sandy beach last week, I couldn’t help but think of the recently attended fundraiser for Charity:Water. (www.charitywater.org) We live walking distance to the Puget Sound and often vacation to the Oregon Coast.  Water surrounds us.  It calms my soul when I look at it and rejuvenates my being when I drink it.  Building a sand castle with my children is easy work that brings me much joy.

At the fundraiser, I learned about the women and young children who carry buckets of water from dirty streams in 40 gallon containers back to their villages.  The round trip journey takes hours.  I fill my children’s small buckets with ease, dumping out some water if it’s too heavy. Whatever leaks out of their containers is lost drinking water for their families, lost cooking water.  If I need more water for the castle’s mote I just take another trip, forty feet to the ocean, with my one gallon bucket.

At home I fill my dog’s dish of water numerous times throughout the day, dumping out the “dirty” water, tainted with a fleck of dirt or strand of dog hair.  The people in Ethiopia live off water far dirtier than a fleck of dirt, a dog hair or two.  Brown water is their sustenance.  They drink and cook from the same water others bathe.  They don’t get it from a faucet, from a snow fed clear running stream.  They don’t take twenty minute showers like my son.  As he sits in the tub, playing with his horses, he enjoys the feel of warm water running down his back.  We fill our glasses without a thought.  Water our garden without hesitating.  Water, often my drink of choice is within my reach.

Instead of pouring unused water down the drain I train myself to pour it in a plant.  I take a shower every other day and cut my children’s time splashing in the tub down.  So easy to take all this abundance for granted. So easy to forget that others don’t have this luxury which should really just be a basic fulfilled necessity.


Father Daughter – Father Son by J.G. McGlothern June 21, 2009

Filed under: mom writer,motherhood — heartwriter @ 2:54 pm
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One of the reasons I chose to marry my honey was that I could tell he’d be a great father.  Way before we were engaged to marry we engaged in discussions about raising a family together. We both came from divorced families, once was enough.  Our fears brought out in the open – shared from the heart.  My husband didn’t want to run away like his dad did and never return.  I feared my occasional sadness would develop into my dad’s mental illness.  Aware of our fears, filled with faith to face them we became parents to a daughter first, then a son.

When it gets tough our fears are challenged, but we are here. Neither has fled nor checked in to a mental hospital.  When I embrace my truths, listen to my husband’s truths and together live from our hearts and walk together in faith, the fears subside.  They disappear in the clouds and I am humbled, blessed and strengthened.

Nearly eight years into this parenting thing it is so clear my children are blessed with the very best father.   Together we make a great team.  Egos aside, walking humbly, standing in our beliefs.


Dad by J.G. McGlothern June 20, 2009

Filed under: mom writer — heartwriter @ 3:24 pm
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When I was 2 months old my dad was hospitalized for depression. When I was 4 years old I remember knocking on his bedroom door begging him to come out and play.  On his good days he came out and planted forget-me-nots in our front yard and strawberries and carrots in our backyard garden.  He loved rocks, blue skies, fresh baked pie, driving with his window rolled down and a good book.

He wrote down ideas, quotes or random thoughts that motivated him and gave him hope.  He used scotch tape, masking tape, the sticky side of a price tag, anything with good sticking power and attached words to his bathroom mirror, bedside lamp or when he ran out of space, his bedroom wall.  He wrote in the margins of books and highlighted entire passages, often the whole page in yellow marker.  It was as if the written word was so valuable to him he didn’t want to miss any of it.  He wanted to imprint it on his brain.

When I was 8 I prayed every night to the God hanging on the wooden crucifix above my bed to make my daddy better. In my teens I gave up briefly and told him to fuck off if he wasn’t going to change. In my 20’s I realized he wasn’t going to change so I loved him anyway. In my 30’s I helped my oldest sister find a nursing home for him to die in peace.

Now at 41, with dad gone 7 years next month I feel his love more than ever before.  He is able to father me like he couldn’t when he was alive.  He shows up in the garden, when I’m baking a pie, reading to my children, driving on the highway.  More than I miss the father he couldn’t be, I miss the father that he was.


The Countdown by J.G. McGlothern June 17, 2009

Filed under: mom writer,motherhood — heartwriter @ 11:18 pm
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The last Monday, the last field trip, the last packed lunch, the last walk to school.  All counting down to Friday, the last day of school. Then….”SCHOOL’S OUT FOR THE SUMMER…SCHOOL’S OUT FOREVER!”  Many parents think, “Oh yeah, I get my kids for the whole summer.” Other parents think, ”Oh, shit, I get my kids for the whole summer.” I’m right in between. I am genuinely excited to not have a schedule for a couple of months and quality time with my children. I am also genuinely scared about more sibling fighting and my time alone disappearing in the sand.

No more six hour daily reprieve while my daughter attends school.  No more 3 hour 45 minute reprieve 3 days a week while my son attends pre-school.  I now will grocery shop, run errands, clean the house, with children in tow. Gone are the days of taking a pee alone.

This is where boundaries come in.  Creativity needs to kick into motion.  And I thank God I know what I need to do to fill my cup. Can anyone say, play date?

I will show my kids that it is important for me to read, to write, to have me time.  I will take every moment I get for myself and honor it…not fill it with dishes and laundry. Can anyone say, chores?

September will come and I will be ready for school to start, but instead of rushing to the end of summer I will find new ways to enjoy my kids, new ways to take care of me while they are home, can anyone say, drugs? Just kidding.

I embrace the new possibilities that await. So….oh yeah and oh shit….here come the children.


Fresh Paint by J.G. McGlothern

Filed under: mom writer,motherhood — heartwriter @ 5:05 pm
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My environment can guide, direct and often create my mood.  If I see a pile of clutter I let myself be frustrated, overwhelmed and led to productivity when my body wants to just be and my mind is craving stillness.  If I see a clean counter I am happy, peaceful, relaxed and led to contentment and acceptance.

I envy my friends who can read a book in their living room when toys are scattered around them.  I have this sickness.  I can’t ignore the urge put the toys away or straighten the pillows.  A sickness I am working on by accepting it and leading it in another direction.  Gently trying new ways.  Baby steps.  Baby steps. It’s amazing how much an entire room can transform with a couple gallons of paint.  The last two weekends my husband and I have been painting.  Last weekend the hallway, this past weekend the living room. We are preparing for a piano due to arrive tomorrow.  We are all anticipating the arrival of music in our lives. Live piano music brought to you at any hour by anyone willing to sit down and plunk the keys.  Our daughter will take lessons for the first time and I will take up lessons for the third time in my life.  My four year old son doesn’t think he needs lessons. 

Our living room will be transformed.  I imagine evenings around the piano, daughter playing Chopin, my son and I singing hymns in between our game of scrabble and my husband in his smoking jacket reading Dostoevsky.  HA! Double HA. 

If I let go of my expectations and embrace this anticipated change with openness I will be surprised.  Just as surprised as I was when I discovered covering up the red walls in the living room with green, made the room bigger, brighter, more peaceful.  I loved the red. But I love the green too.  A new room.  A new outlook.


Bedtime Prayers by J.G. McGlothern June 12, 2009

Filed under: mom writer,motherhood — heartwriter @ 3:52 am

For the last few years our bedtime ritual has been the same.  Each kid picks a book.  Each kid gets a turn with mom and dad lying in their bunk.  The songs, the prayers, the words, the hugs, the kisses.  Patterns repeated with love.  For as long as I can remember now, and our daughter is 7 ½ years old, we have said our bedtime prayers in the same fashion.  When it is my turn to lay with our little girl I ask her for what she is most thankful for that day.  I am seeking out her consolation, what gave her the most joy, the bit of the day that was most special to her, gave her meaning.  For as long as I can remember her answer has been the same, “EVERTHING,” she practically shouts out in the dark of her bedroom. I always try to fish for more, wanting a specific. But that is our daughter, lover of life, lover of everything.  The second part of our prayer is honoring the desolation of the day so I ask her what gave her the least joy, for what part of the day is she least grateful. Same answer night after night. “NOTHING.”  Again, I try to prod for more, wanting her to dig deeper.  But that again is our daughter.  Content. Delighted and satisfied with it all.

 Tonight, the same questions, different answers.  The bright spot in her day was, “School.”  The dark part, the part she was least grateful for, “You yelling at brother.”  And right there in that moment, her desolation, although it broke my heart, was my consolation, for it was the moment my daughter took a risk by sharing her heart.  She dug deep.  And for that I hugged her harder, said more words, and honored her honesty with a promise.  Not a promise that I would never yell at her brother again but a promise that I would try very hard not to.