Ode to Tentative

cautiosly determined OsnatHalperinBarlev

Photo: Osnat Halperin-Barlev


When faced with rough terrain ahead

Or uneven steps that may

Hold the potential

For plunging

Into pain

Or disruption:

Proceed with care.

Caution does not mean


Bluster and bold moves do not denote

Good reason.

Determination often means

Holding on

To what railing is available

And bending down

To circumstance

So one may reach

Desired heights

Without the disservice

Of overzealous








For The Daily Post

Thorny Matters

Sabres AmitaiAsif

Photo: Amitai Asif


Sometimes spikes

May well mean

You best keep your



If you take the time

To understand

That prickly often means


You may find

Some thorny people

Can with kind acceptance

And a bit of patience

Come to share

Sweet fruit.



For The Daily Post

It is Time!

Time is Now


It is time to be a listener.

It is time to look

And see.

It is time to know the difference

Between opinion

Fact or


Yet it’s also time to tell some stories.

Time to let the mind roam free.

Time to open hearts

To conversation

To let imagination


And it is past all time

To hold compassion.

It is time for patience, too.

Time for kindness

For remembering

The essentiality

Of holding


As well as




For The Daily Post




Craggy Garden on Blue Ridge Pkwy NC July04Girl

Blue Ridge Parkway NC; Photo: July04Girl

I don’t know if I can

I don’t know if I can’t

My life flows in the spaces

Between heart and mind

As I wait to unfold

Into what will evolve

Around corners

Behind bumps

Where possibility


Can Someday be Today?


“Can we go to the candy store?”

“Not today. Maybe another day.”

“Can we go to the park?”

“Later, Sweetie. It is raining now.”

Fidget, fidget, scan the room.

“Can I have a phone?”

“Maybe one day.”

“Can we go to Disney Land?”

“Maybe someday.”


Another one.

“Can someday be today?”




For The Daily Post

Daily Prompt: Someday

You going to have to wait…

photo: pinterest.com/pin/339810734368459869/


She didn’t want to wait.

She wanted a treat NOW. Not later. Not after she finished her work. Not after session. Not after dinner.

No waiting.


She was NOT going to move, or sit, or come, or go, or climb the stairs, or listen, or ANYTHING until she got her treat.

Which she wanted NOW.

No waiting.

Making her wait was “mean.” It was “not fair” and “not nice.”

She wasn’t having any of it.

None of her mom’s cajoling. None of her mom’s reasoning. None of her mom’s threats of consequence or punishment or loss of playdate or no TV or no iPad or no … something … unless …

I heard them argue. They were still at the bottom of the stairs. Two frustrated voices. Volume rising.

I could visualize the little girl. Arms crossed and foot stamping and lips pursed out in a pout, jaw forward in clear dismay and stubborn determination. I’d seen her do the ‘you’re not gonna make me’ before.

“Upstairs!” The mom ordered, fed up. “Now!”

“You not waiting EITHER,” the child accused, sounding vindicated. “You say go upstairs NOW. I saying go to the store NOW. I want my treat NOW!”

“Don’t be cheeky!” Mom’s voice went up an octave.

“YOU not be cheeky!”

This was devolving. I walked downstairs toward them.

Red faces, one large, one smaller, looked up at me. One in exasperation, one in challenge and a touch of “yeah … so what are you gonna do about it?”

I smiled. “Seems like I’m the one whose waiting…”

The child frowned. This didn’t quite fit her script.

“I’m not going!” she huffed.

“She won’t come up,” the mom accused.

“I want a treat NOW!” the little one dug her heels.

“Oh boy,” I lowered myself onto one of the stairs. “Mind if I sit down? Seems like you’re a little stuck. Can you tell me what’s going on?”

“She won’t get me my treat/She won’t cooperate” They spoke together.

“Are you hungry?” I asked the girl.

She regarded me suspiciously. She knew me well enough .

I raised an eyebrow in question.

“Yeah!” she raised her chin accusingly. “And mommy said we can go to the store and get a treat and now she say go up NOW. I’m not!”

“Hmm …”

“There was lots of traffic,” the mom’s chin was only slightly less raised… “I told her if there’s a lot of traffic we may not have time to stop at the store.” She turned to the girl, “maybe next time you get your stuff faster so we won’t leave so late …”

The child’s face grew angrier. Couldn’t totally blame her … this was a bit low …

“Traffic can be tough in the city,” I intervened. “We can think together about some better planning for next time but now … we have a hungry child and no snack. Good thing I have some snacks upstairs. Shall we?” I got up and offered a hand to the child, eyed the mother meaningfully.

She understood. Stayed silent.

The child narrowed her eyes at me. “What treats you have?”

Bargaining. We’re making progress.

“I don’t know. I’ll have to check upstairs. Let’s go see.”

Eyes still narrow. “What if I don’t like them?”

“I guess we’ll have to see.” (I get really boring when I’m not going to say much more…)

“But I still get a treat after.” This was demand, not query.

“This is between mommy and you, but for now, lets get something into your belly so it isn’t hungry.” I moved my arm closer and she took it. We began climbing, mom trailing a few steps behind.

“Na’ama says I can still have my treat later,” the child swiveled her head back and declared to her mother. A little victoriously.

“This is between you and mommy,” I repeated, not quite able to keep the amusement out of my voice.

“Mommy promised me a treat,” she insisted, but her legs were still climbing so I knew she was only half-combative now, making conversation.

“Yes, you told me. Too bad there was so much traffic.”

“Yeah …”

“I don’t like traffic much.”

“Me too,” she sighed.

“Me three…” Mom piped up from behind.

The child stopped, turned, giggled. “That’s not how you say it!”

“I guess Na’ama will have to help me say things better?” Mom smiled back.

“Yeah!” she liked that. She climbed energetically up a few more stairs. “But …,” she paused again. “You going to have to wait …”




What do you do with a grieving child?

You listen. You hold. You listen some more.

You offer tissues, you offer a hug. You answer lots of questions.

You nod. You tell stories. You honor the small memories told.

You come up with suggestions–or rather, embellish on those that the little one has.

You produce boxes (“too little”, “too big”, “too not-good”, “I don’t like it”, “okay, this one …”), find padding and ribbons and stickers, along with a few extra hugs.

You write what’s requested. Erase the letter that did not look perfect. Write it again. Erase. Write once more. You understand that it has to be just-so.

You provide blank paper and crayons, markers, highlighters, scissors. Play dough.

You oblige to search Google for questions your answers were not good enough, and come across five hundred other interesting things that lead to more questions. Distraction is good medicine, too.

You write down a protocol for ceremony, number the steps, change the order.

You make a headstone from tongue depressors and card stock. Give another hug.

You write the name of the departed. Erase it because it did not come out perfectly. Write. Erase. Write once more.

You draw a picture and told it “doesn’t even look like him.”

You are saved by a photo from the bowels of phone memory–a snapshot of happier times.

You give more hugs. Another tissue.

You stay with. You listen. You know that no small loss is small. That no one is truly replaceable, that loss is confusing and brings along with it the worry of losses far bigger and questions too scary for words. You don’t go where the child does not take you. You comfort, you understand.

What do you do with a grieving child?

You listen. You hug.

You promise not to forget.

You tuck the drawing in the folder (“but be careful”) to keep it safe.

And you use a tissue yourself, when the child wonders aloud if dead fish get to have wings and continues to answer himself:  “Yeah, because they have fins, so Benny was already half-angel.”

beta fish