DIY Projects · Parenting · Writing and Teaching English

Oliver: National Poetry Month, Day 4

I always keep kleenexes in my car. If not Kleenexes, I have a dash-full of fastfood restaurant napkins. This setup is perfect for allergy season, a bad day, and all those sappy songs country music stations play. My husband, on the other hand, didn’t have a stash of crying aids when we started dating, so I have made it my mission to keep some sort of paper product in his car. Each time I feel the need to blow my nose in his car, I opened the dash, and like magic, find half a roll of toilet paper or some paper towels, and he laughs when I exclaim, “God, I love me.”

Being a mother must always be a challenge, but being the mother of twins during the first six weeks was the most difficult thing I have ever survived.  Many midnights and two a.m.’s and four a.m.’s, I would sit in the glider in the nursery feeding a baby (or two) and sobbing in wonder how I was going to live through such sleep deprivation and hunger and exhaustion and pain and outpouring of love for two creatures who could not do a single thing for themselves and for whom I was responsible.

Sometime during that stint, when my parents-in-law sent Mr. G. B. Reed and I on a date night, we wound up at Walmart, and I decided I was going to do a small thing to help myself as I had done with the tissues in his car. I bought a cork board and some pushpins and hung the board beside the glider. I have been jotting down encouraging quotes for myself and posting them there.

One of those quotes was from Mary Oliver’s “In Blackwater Woods.” I can’t cite this one, because I have no idea where I found it. You can Google it and find plenty sources for the whole poem, but this part is what I kept.

To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes
to let it go,
to let it go.

(Simply knowing that Disney has no monopoly on those last words encourages me.)

Though I hope and pray my children’s lives outlast mine, how shocking to be reminded that they are also mortal, fragile, temporary. We hold things dearest when we are afraid to lose them. Metals and gems are most valuable when the supply is low. Our ability to die makes us precious.

So, when we have days like yesterday when I had no time to think much less post a blog because the boys had shots and are clinging to me and anytime I rock the boys in the glider and think about how much I love them, I also look at the encouragement board and think “God, I love me.”

What makes you say that? How have you encouraged you lately?

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