When I Grow Up

The question
We always ask
Our children
What do you
Want to be
When you
Grow up?

It’s funny
I seem to be
Answering
That question
For myself
These days-
When I grow up
I want to hold
Your tiny hand
Watch your breath
Rise and fall
In the smallest
Of motions
Hear your cries
Comfort your fears
Feel the complete joy
Only found
In the heaviness
Of rocking
Back and forth
In our favorite chair
Reading our favorite stories
Singing our favorite songs
My heart younger
As yours grows stronger

Missing the Quiet

Morning whispers
From a cool
Breeze as it
Wakens the trees
Mid-day melodies
Sweetly strung
Across the sky
Celebrating blue
Evening laughter
From familiar voices
Around the table
Listening…no need to speak
Middle-of-the-night
Soft breaths
From the rise
And fall of
A newborn’s chest
Resting against mine
As we gently rock-
I can still hear them
As I crawl back into bed
Place my hand on your chest
And wait for sleep to come

A New Voice

Sweet little girl
About to cry
Every morning
Quietly, not a fit
Simply hesitant
I walk her
To the door
You are going
To have
The best day
I love you

Slight head nod
She goes inside
Afternoon, time for music
Quietly enters the room
And then I hear
Her voice
Not recognizing
At first…
Mrs. Morris, I love you
Sweet little girl

Simply Sunday

Morning Streets

On our way
To a coffee shop
Little girl
Laughing
Running
Down the sidewalk
Her little dog
Running alongside
Dad and brother
Close behind
Their destination
An interactive
Statue standing
On the corner
An airplane
With a propellor
Inviting them to spin
Pick us up, Daddy!
Each had their turn
That was so much fun!
They kept walking
I noticed dad’s shirt
It was torn and tattered
They were smiling
I wonder what will be
Their next destination

Driving past
A group of people
Who have no home-
Only make-shift
Shelters made
From cardboard
And blankets
All their belongings
Carefully placed
In large trash bags
Or worn out
Duffle bags
A few smiled
Most looked tired
A kind of tired
I do not know
One crawled
Helplessly
Along the sidewalk-
What are their stories?
I can only guess
And guessing
Is not sufficient-
Who will share their narratives?

I wrote these two poems during our summer trip to Colorado. Our overnight stop was in a typical city, like many other cities in this country. Good restaurants and coffee shops, local charm. Also, like in other cities, many individuals are homeless.

I do not pretend to understand or have answers, but I could not look away. Nor keep from sharing.

Simply Sunday

Baby Steps

Your tiny forehead
Tilted to one side
Quizzically
Looking my way

I think I like you?

Tiny strategic moves
On my part
Required
To bring us closer

Do you want to play?

Magic of sunglasses
Tiny red flowers
Silly iridescent mirrors
Yours vs. mine

I see your eyes quietly smiling…

Your tiny forehead
Leaning toward mine
Briefly touching
Before leaning back

Oh yes, I think I like you!

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? by Fred Rogers Kelley Morris, piano

Moving Day

Moving is a multi-faceted project that takes on a life of its own. Packing all your belongings in boxes, bags, and tubs. Strategically placing said containers, along with furniture, in the moving truck. Like playing a championship game of Tetris, according to my husband.

And then, after driving to your new abode, you work backward. Unloading all your belongings from the moving truck. Not wasting any time making the new place feel like home.

For most, if not all, of our many moves, our parents were there to help. College dorms, apartments, houses. Each new stage of life took us blocks or states away and back. Moving was a family affair.

Today was another moving day. But this time, I was the proud parent, listening and helping. Though my helping was more moral support than heavy lifting. Cold drink runs and a dryer plug from Home Depot.

Our son and daughter-in-law were moving to a new apartment. A different town, more space, a new home. As they loaded the truck, I overheard several neighbors.

You guys were great neighbors!
We will miss you guys around here.
I was planning to ask your husband if he could mount my tv on the wall.

After the truck was unloaded, we had a nice lunch out. And once the washer and dryer were hooked up, my husband announced it was time to go. I sighed. Not before documenting. A snapshot of the three sweaty guys-dad and his two boys. And a picture of the happy couple standing by the fireplace.

Another moving day in the books. A hot, sweaty, full of laughter, family moving day. Not the last in our family, I’m sure. Just need a little rest before the next one. 😉

Hold Hands…Follow Me

Walking through an airport can be a tad overwhelming. Where is my next gate? The restroom? Starbucks? Ok, so maybe not Starbucks. But the level of activity and the sheer number of other people…can feel a bit frantic.

Today while walking through Chicago O’Hare airport, I heard the sweetest phrase.

Hold hands and follow me.

When I glanced across the walkway, I saw a mom standing with a baby on her hip and two other littles standing close by. The words I heard were her message to the kids. They listened, grabbed each other’s hands, and followed her.

What a precious picture. Yes, mom looked travel-worn. Her responsibilities were many. I don’t know where they were headed, but they were going together.

This scene caused me to question. Is that how God talks to me? Does he say, Look! Here are your family and friends. Just grab a hand and follow me.

Or perhaps, if unable to reach out, pick me up. Carries me like the baby on the mom’s hip. Leaving the hand-holding and following part to family and friends. Either way, I am never alone.

Side note: I really was traveling today. 😊 Spending a few days in beautiful Vermont. More to come…

Morning Drive

The deluge
Was instantaneous
No drops of rain
Marking dry pavement
In individual circles
With their warning-
Here we come!
No, a flood
Soaking me
From head to toe
Leaving me
Floating
On my back
Waiting for the sun
To dry my skin
As it teaches my heart-
Emotions may arrive in a flood
But the memories
They are drawn from
Remain in the warmth
Of the sunshine
On my face

Why is it always during morning drives? It happened just yesterday. Suddenly overwhelmed with emotion. One single thought-Boy, I’m missing the kids.

The missing quickly changed to remembering. Remembering followed by looking forward to upcoming visits.

I know I’ve said it before. But that’s how it goes when you’re the parent of adult children. Today, I’m thankful for texts and phone calls. ❤️

Deep and Wide

So simple
So completely
Disarming
We celebrate
Its appearance
On babies faces
Then proceed
Doing everything
Possible to
Encourage
Its return-
A sweet smile
Lighting up
Faces
Lighting up
Rooms
Lighting up
Hearts
When noticed
By a friend
Mine somehow
Grows wider
Reaches deeper
Prompting
Inward
Reflection
Inspiring
Outward
Awareness-
Are the faces
Drifting by
Genuinely
Beaming?
Or are they
Searching
For a reason
To smile?

These five drove four-and-a-half hours to celebrate Christmas with my parents. The visit may have been short, but its sweetness will last a long time. ❤️

Three Little Words

No, not I love you. I am sorry.

Taking responsibility for our actions is not always easy. A lesson that often needs repeating. A reminder from someone else’s example, perhaps.

The week before Christmas break at school is challenging. Emotions flowing between teachers, staff, and students cover the whole spectrum. No matter how many times we experience this phenomenon, it manages to sneak upon us.

Such was my experience with kindergarten this week…

My classroom management skills are good. But this day, the combination of tired, grumpy, and excited (me and the students 😉) took over. Class ended on a frustrating note.

The next day, one of my little friends saw me at lunch.

Mrs. Morris, I made you something. It’s in my classroom. Something to make you happy!

That afternoon, I received five apology notes. ❤️

May we all remember to say those three little words whenever necessary. And may we receive them with grace and understanding whenever offered.