The Fifth

Me-age10mos-story telling

Me, telling stories at 10 months

 

Fifth of seven, all girls, I was born

Telling tales.

Far enough to duck rules

For first, middle, or last,

I grabbed place

To be me

And held on

Talking fast.

 

As what shouldn’t be

Grew

And real life wove

Impossible,

Words remained

Nonetheless

In my soul

In my brain,

To be clasped

And sustain

Life and joy

Times again.

 

 

For Terri’s Sunday Stills Challenge: Fifth

 

It’s Pretty To ME!

She wanted three pig tails. One in a braid. On that side.

She chose a pink and burgundy polka dot ankle sock for one foot; a striped brown and green crew sock for the other.

She pulled on sparkly silver leggings and an oversized, over-loved tan shirt from her brother’s cast offs. Cracked number 4 on the back. Dinosaur eating a basketball on the front.

Added several rows of plastic New Orleans beads, a pasta necklace, an Elsa pendant, and an ivory fuzzy crop shrug “to not be cold.”

Blue loafers.

A bracelet.

Unfolded that crew sock.

Twirled in front of the mirror.

Caught her mother’s horrified look in the reflection. Mom in solid pastels and tidy gold necklace, pressed slacks blending into same-colored oxfords.

“What!?” She placed one hand in protestation on an expertly side-jutted hip. “It’s pretty to ME!”

 

beautiful1

Image from: Lovethispic.com

 

For The Daily Post

 

Let your hopes bud free

budding tree

Now that sunny days sneak up

Behind cold rainy mornings

And layers get peeled open outdoors;

There’s a quickening of breath, action, planning:

Verdant peaks poke out of  brown branches,

Sturdy shoots plow up from empty hard ground,

Tenacious flowers unfurl spunky petals–

Nature showing the way

To not hold back, not delay

Your own hesitant budding of hopes …

 

Find your path, gently plow your spirit to waken,

Stir your earth

Stow your fears,

Sow even your most tentative knowledge–

It, too, has potential for growing.

Give your dreams a good shake

Unclog plans from despair or stagnation

Stretch your soul

Clear your heart from worry, anger, dissuasion.

Plant your words in this world

Air your prayers to welcome the sun

Seek expression.

Sprinkle showers of hope upon your budding self

You will not be mistaken–

There is a world reawakened

With much worthy growth to be taken.

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/333055334913490394/

Will she calm down when she grows up?

She always comes in style. 

Her own, that is: purple tutu over jeans and boots, flowered shirt under star-splattered sweater and deliberately mismatched socks, frilly short-sleeve shirts over chunky turtlenecks, her satiny pajamas with princesses on them, or a sheer dress under a sweatshirt along with leggings with holes in the knee.

Added to her ensembles are usually clues to the day she’d had: color splatter from finger painting at school, well placed smudges from lunch (shirts are so much more convenient than napkins!), crusted bits around her mouth that she refuses to wash off, unidentified grime, tears in filmy clothes that were not sewn with monkey-bars in mind.

It drives her mama nuts. Always impeccably put together herself, the mother is forever trying to wipe this or straighten that or offer alternate dressing solutions (that are summarily declined), and cannot contain her sighs and growing despair at her daughter’s flighty attitude toward cleanliness and matched-everything.

The girl? She could not care less. Or rather, she cares plenty, in her own way. Her language delay does not allow much expression of verbal subtlety (yet), but she certainly shows affinity to collating varied fabrics and textures and to weaving together combinations that feel artistically deliberate in an offhanded sort of way. She likes the way she looks. To me, this is more than good enough.

“Let her be,” I tell the mom one day when the little gal excuses herself to the bathroom and the mother follows her daughter’s mismatched wear with agonized eyes. I am admittedly somewhat amused at the perceived gulf between them, which in fact says a lot more about their similarities than differences. They are both acutely interested in how they look. It is just the “how” that may seem different … One immaculately coordinated harmoniously to appease the eye; the other explosively expressive in riotous combinations that cannot go unnoticed for their mishmash.

“It may not be how you’d choose to dress her,” I press, knowing that this little gal’s fashion-sense is pushing her mother well outside her comfort zone, “but there’s beauty in her freedom. She’s four, and she’s got a keen sense of her own being. I think it’s brilliant.”

The mother looks pained but nods in resignation. She understands, even if she does not quite love knowing it. After all, she does let her only daughter leave the house “all messy” and “in awful combinations,” and she generally suffers the seemingly incongruous pairing of the pretty clothes she buys for her not-so-cooperative princess. Ever hopeful, she fills the child’s closet with beautifully matching outfits that the girl turns into wild-combos in a blink of an eye: chunky socks with her patent leather or frilly tights under short jeans.

“I want her to be her own little person,” the mom whispers. “I just wish she was a bit less … how shall I say it … visible about it …”  She blushes then, fussing with the satin hem of her tailored dress with carefully manicured fingers. “Do you think she’ll calm down when she grows up?” she adds, hesitating, vulnerable.

I smile. “I don’t know,” I answer gently. “What would ‘calming down’ mean to you? Or for her? Who would she ‘calm down’ for?”

The water flushes in the bathroom and the little girl can be heard singing “fly me to the moon” at the top of her lungs as she washes her hands (splashing all around the sink, I am quite sure–she finds special pleasure in the way water droplets spatter and in how soap foam squirts between fingers). The mother looks up and we both grin. Such effervescent joy is contagious.

“She’s a free spirit,” she sighs. “I think I was a bit like her, at her age. Then I got too concerned with what others thought … and maybe lost the spark.”

As the little girl prances back to us, she swirls the edges of the tutu peeking under the shirttails of her button-down flannel over holey jeans. She has one brown sock, one purple with blue polka dots. Her tennis shoes have stickers and possibly some grape jelly on them. She’s radiating ease and unfettered delight.

“Maybe there’s nothing to calm down,” I offer. The girl’s a sight, for sure. A balm for sore eyes and achy hearts, too.

Mom takes a deep breath. Nods. She’s working on it. It is all one can truly ask …

beyou