Nothing Gold Can Stay: Colors of Motherhood


Unremarkable cards to express unending thanks.

Shopping for birthday party supplies, I pick up thank you notes, fairly confident my silly choices will be appreciated. Nope. “Mama, I can’t use these. People judge you on your birthday party, Mama. Please. I just can’t.” I know better than to buy my kiddo clothes without his input. I now know this applies to stationery, as well. Both his mortification and his apology are heartfelt. So with receipt, embarrassing cards, and his chosen, unremarkable, replacement cards in hand, we approach the store’s customer service counter together. I point out the opportunity to learn the exchange process. Along with it, I hope he also learns he can trust me to help him navigate the social obstacle course of adolescence.

Yup, the awkward years are upon us. Almost. As my hubby quips, our kiddo hasn’t left the Garden of Eden yet, but he’s looking over the fence. He’s sprouting hairs and self-consciousness in places where neither existed previously. Outwardly at least, I’m becoming the embodiment of embarrassment rather than the very definition of comfort and safety. Gone are the days of dramatically drawn out drop-offs at birthday parties or camp. Now, if he turns back at all, it’s to scowl and point, body language bellowing, “leave. Don’t watch me!” Read the rest of this entry »

Mother’s Day: Honoring Traditions, Honoring Ourselves

This May, yoga instructor Ginny Hamilton is spending time out of town with her teacher and with her students, away from the responsibilities of motherhood. In this issue of “Off the Mat: Reflections on the Practice of Parenting,” she contemplates outer and inner peace, Mother’s Day traditions, and handwritten letters.

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Off the Mat: Spring Fever

Spring Fever

“Earth laughs in flowers, to see her boastful boys/Earth-proud, proud of the earth which is not theirs.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

The previous owner of our house loved lawn. Over the years, we’ve added trees, flower beds, berry bushes, a modest veggie patch which fed a woodchuck family quite well for a season.  An even more modest kitchen garden followed, gifting us a few fresh tomatoes, herbs and greens. Each landscaping mission involved a vigorous effort to remove grass.

Lawn grass is dense. Difficult to penetrate. It’s necessary to disentangle a tough, tight knit system of roots and stems. But once you succeed in making a literal break through, it’s almost like peeling a banana. Large sections of inches thick turf lift away, revealing rich topsoil below, damp and wormy and ready to welcome new roots. New seeds. Spring provides wonderful metaphors. Read the rest of this entry »

Off the Mat: Caught Stealing

Off the Mat: Caught Stealing

Been caught stealing
Once when I was 5
I enjoy stealing
It’s just as simple as that.

-Jane’s Addiction

My son went through a sticky fingers phase a few years back. Office supplies went missing from my desk. Quarters vanished from my dashboard bin, too often stranding me at a meter. His actions included a bit of Robin Hood-esque passing on quarters to friends. In exchange for what? I still don’t know. Perhaps simply to curry favor. Perhaps out of genuine generosity. I imposed natural consequences when possible; no you can’t have a quarter for the gumball machine because you’ve taken all of the ones I keep in the car.  Read the rest of this entry »

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