My Mother’s Steps

I remember
I heard
And the sound
Echoes still in my soul.

I lay alone then
In a big tall bed
With visions of a surgeon’s shiny knife
Twisting through my head.

I was a big girl
Too big to cry
Too small to fight that fear
Within those clean white walls.

And then I heard
And though I did no see
I knew beyond a doubt
Those footsteps were coming for me.

No one else had such purpose
And I knew by the prideful clips
And the powerful clops
This walker’s destiny was me.

I no longer trembled
My fear went away.
I shall always remember my mother’s footsteps
And the sweet, sweet comfort they gave.

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O Brother of Mine

Andy, Me, Peggy, George (4 of 12 sibs)

Hey brother did you know?  I have all these memories of us growing up together? Do you have these memories tucked away too? How magical we were together, o brother of mine.

“Hello little baby, I see you through that old white wrought iron baby crib.” Do you remember that old four post bed with the brass knobs? Maybe I climbed in with you, I’m sure that would be fitting. Maybe I was just impatient for you to hurry up and be big enough to come play. Maybe I already knew the magic we would create.

You see little brother; I don’t have memories of mom bringing you from the hospital or changing your diapers and helping you to walk. Just memories of you and me and the fun we had. Remember that sandbox in your third year? My goodness we spent so many hours there building our bridges and sifting sand! It was there we first met the little boy, Jeffy, our blood brother and constant childhood companion.

I feel the sun of our summers together and see us running everywhere we went, the bikes we rode, ramping everything we could. The old barrels we would stand and balance on, walking them carefully across the yard. Everyone in our town knew of our wonderful bag swing and often would join us. The huge old walnut tree Y’d in the middle allowing us to swing from three levels.  We were acrobats in a circus and we owned the wind that blew passed our ears. The laughter, the arguments and the challenges I still can hear.

The trails, the swamp, the Indian village and the year the Quatman family bought our wilderness and began to build their lumber yard. We climbed and lay in wait on that dirt pile, aimed our toy guns and planned their ambush.  How dare they take over our land! We were too small to understand we didn’t own the trails and the swamp and everything on the land neighboring our yard! We hated them for stealing our world, for tearing down the tree with the grand two story tree house built by our older brothers. We refused to let them stop us. We played around them and knew to hide when we saw them coming.

Our brothers and sisters played beside us, sometimes present, sometimes not. Still, we reaped the benefits. Do you remember those clubhouses they created and the old store Peggy put up in the old chicken barn? Remember that nice old witch, Broom Hilda? Remember the night Jeff and George created the wind sail and we ran along beside that little red wagon as it sailed that windy night?

 Tell me dear brother of mine, where have the days gone, where is that creek we called “Sandy Beach”, the large tubes we lazed on as it took us along? So many memories we created without even knowing.  These memories seep from me and yet no one but you understands the places I have been, the adventures we created.

Body and Spirit

See me now
I am young.
My heart does beat.
My spirit, wild with a passionate fear
Fights to remain fierce and strong.

Hear you now
With your carelessly gallant charm.
Oh, the delicious whispers.
My body yearns to become yours
Strains to be set free of binding garments.

And so, they do battle.
Body and spirit
Each for it's own driving desire
For power
For an ultimate escape.

Feel us now
Body merging with body
Softness yielding to hardness
Building pressure
Tumbling into sweet, sweet pleasure.

Ah, but my spirit does scorn
My body's weakness.
For you shall not conquer
Quite so easily
The very essence of my being.

Yet, hold for me
Perhaps, only a few spellbound moons.
Romance my youthfulness
Be gentle to my dreams
Do not cower before me.

If you prove real to my soul
Rich in honesty, strong in truth
Then too, my spirit may have
At long last, it's own lover and mate
And sigh and tremble.

As fierceness slips away
Dark lashes fall gently
Resting adoring eyes
In this secure haven
Strong arms, gentle love.

~Sara Jane~

Love You Still

James on left, Levi in middle, Allison on right

I gave them roots and then they were all gone. Sprouted their wings and took off.  I glance up at the wall in my living room. I silently mouth these words,” loved you yesterday, love you still, always have, always will”. The large photos of my three children hang in a staggered row.  My children are all grown now and have moved so far away.  I love their silly, sweet, playful, vibes surrounding me every day. I rejected the usual poses that so many photographers create. Instead I chose to frame each of them the way I will always see them.

James, my first born, the silly boy with the twinkling laughter in his blue green eyes, always forgetful and procrastinating, yet a joke and a tease for those he loves. This one grew up with his 17 year old mama, even as a teen I loved him fiercely. I still see him as a six year old boy, tending carefully to his two year old sister on the playground. How he would make sure she stayed away from the road and kept the bullies at bay with a big stick. Now a man, I see his care and respect for another wonderful single mama beginning to bloom.  I love them both and the little girl, she brings to our family.

Allison, a sweet little being from the very beginning, always so sentimental and caring and thoughtful, so imaginative and creative, an old soul in a vibrant young creation. My second born loves her mama and calls to chat almost daily. I consider her my best friend and confidante. Sometimes it seems the roles have turned and I find her being my role model.  I gaze at her photo and feel happy to know she now has a sweet dreamer’s shoulder to rest her head upon. She is in good hands with the man she met at 15. Now married and expecting his child at 26, I feel my love for them become abundant and my cup overflows.

Levi, my baby, how to explain my little caboose, so complicated and serious, little chip on his shoulder, frustrated with his disabilities and yet delightful when he wants to be, full of energy and always in search of new friends. Levi who searches for his place in life, at 20, has taken flight to go live with his father in another state. To learn what he can of the man who left his life when he was just a tender boy of 11, to catch up and hopefully heal the soul and begin to melt the chip. This strong young man I love with my whole heart, I hope he finally finds the peace and understanding he needs to lay his burdens down and be happy.

My children, my babies, my life in the blink of an eye time has flown by. I looked again and they are all still there locked securely in my heart. I see the beautiful eyes of my children and suddenly I feel like I am awaking from a dream. When did that happen? When did I create and raise these people, these people who are creating their own memories and lives. I don’t know  but my heart fills and I know for once, for certain, I have done something good and right. No matter what. But WOW! I’m blown away. Rock on kids!

Angel Among Us

I like to think she was a mother to the very end.

Her essence went away to be with our father long ago.

But her shell held on until she knew we no longer needed it.

We never knew we had an angel living among us,

In our life,

Everyday.

We never knew until she flew away.

Her shoes, so soft and leathery,

Comfortable and perfect,

Not one of us ever will ever fill.

But we will take comfort many a time,

When we are weary, when we are sad,

When we are happy, when we are glad.

For we had lived with an angel,

In our lives every day.

We never really knew until she flew away.

Firm and sure, in our hearts,

The images and intuitions,

Planted there graciously by a woman, small in stature,

Enormous in wonderful wisdom and kindness.

And the angel that lived among us

Has kissed our lives, gently.

She’s earned her wings now.

She has flown away.

~Sara Jane~

I Heard the Church Bells Toll

I hear the church bells toll just down the street. The tolling causes an ache and melancholy rings from my soul. The lonely sound marks the hour and I feel a pull, the church, or maybe it is God, calling to me. Where are you, where have you been, I miss you. The feelings and memories of the little girl inside begin to stir. As a member of a huge Catholic family, I was made to go to church very regularly.

Everyone in our small town was Catholic. Our school was a public one but even it was owned by the church.  We had nuns to teach us in their long dark garbs and funny headpieces that reminded me of the mouth piece of a whistle. They took us to church every morning and taught our religion classes too.  Each day started at school with the Pledge of Allegiance and was followed with the Lord’s Prayer.

We spent our time in church trying to pay attention. Somehow our minds would wander.  One of us would begin playing with our hands daring the next to twist one finger across the other and stack all five if possible. Soon giggles and whisper would be heard and then quickly silenced with a swat on the shoulder and a very stern look from whichever nun was in charge of us that day.  There are really only so many mind games and finger games and distractions a child can invent when made to sit unnaturally still and quiet for so much of their lives. Yet, the giggles and the games rush back echoingly clear when those church bells ring.

Some of the priests were so ancient and so boring. Some we couldn’t follow due to the monotone credence of their voice. Yet, there were a few, just a few, who had a twinkle in their eye and a gift of engaging even us small children. These few would come down from behind the alter or podium, walk up and down the aisle, calling on us by name,  gently talking to us like we were real people. Kids sat up straighter, craned their necks and ears to see and listen. We would actually pay attention and want to participate. Yes, I recall those gentle priests with fondness when I hear those old church bells.

Oh and those sweet, slow Sundays, our whole family would go to church together. Dad would go sit in the car and patiently wait until each kid eventually tumbled from the house. Quietly he would remain until mom appeared to take her place beside him. Away we would go in that old station wagon tucked so full with all his love.  I remember the feelings that ran through me as we took up two whole pews in that old church. The older kids, some sullenly, some motherly, some still trying to wake up, filled the spaces of those benches. Ahh, but they never knew they also filled the corners of a little girl’s soul. I felt so safe and secure and yet a part of something huger then my little mind could even begin to imagine. My dad would sing bass and my mom would harmonize right there with him and I thought I heard angels chiming in. I still feel these things whenever I hear those beautiful church bells ring.

Safe and secure and loved and a sense of always knowing what was expected of me. My family and my church laid the map of my life. I may have strayed and taken paths not approved of but my love of both of them has always managed to pull me back. I love God and I love the Catholic faith even if I rarely attend anymore. God, my family and my church were good to me through my childhood. When those church bells ring I remember I have been blessed.

My childhood church: http://www.stfrancischurch.com/newsite/wordpress/?page_id=68

Broked

I limp along in my stupid broken life.

This stupid broken place I created before I was old enough

To even know what the hell I was doing.

I try to repair the things that I’ve broke.

I tear them down and start from scratch

But still the cracks show.

The rips return time after time.

I tape them up and pray they’ll stick this time.

I’m real.

I’m for sure.

I pay for my mistakes every day.

The dues are astronomical.

I’m not a real grandma.

I’m not a real wife.

I’ve never even been a real fiancé’

I’m just this person who’s broke everything she’s ever dreamed of.

Who is sad about her broken things

Who doesn’t know how it got so messed up

Who’s wondering why.

And how.

Tired of halves and shareds and could’ve would’ve and should’ves

And how do I start anew?

I don’t even know.

~Sara Jane~

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