This morning I woke to a poem in my dream, fully formed, as though I were reading it from Writer’s Almanac, but it was there, waiting for me, full of images that were all mine, created to a level of complexity I hadn’t believed I possessed, when it comes to poems. I wanted to remember it, to write it in the slim, smooth brown journal with the image of the silhoeutted girl, blindfolded with a bird flying out of her head, but the only words I could recall were Stevie Nicks, whose song Landslide, took me out of one life and into another four and a half years ago.

I’ve been waiting for this moment, wondering what it would take for me to write a poem, had considered taking classes, studying more poetry, joining a writers’ group, studiously teaching myself to write a poem, had bought books of poems, read Writer’s Almanac these last four and a half years, planned my new year’s work schedule with time off in hopes that poems, or something, might come into the space. I had not anticipated the poem would come to me in a dream. Nor had I anticipated the pleasure I would feel in caring for the littlest baby we have cared for in years, who was with me through the licensing visit yesterday, in my arms or in a baby carrier strapped to my chest, a small warm body to comfort and feed and love come back after many years of raising my own, oldest now in his second year of college, youngest on her way to being a teen.

The poem isn’t written. It was only in my head, did not come fully formed from the dream as I had hoped when I emerged into consciousness this morning. The existence of it there, though, fully formed in my dream, gave me hope. The licensing visit I had anticipated so long now past, the new baby we’ve been wondering about now arrived, the house full of toddlers now fully present, one even biting as expected, others pushing and trashing the house and creating general chaos, all of us learning and smiling through it, my first Monday off to drive the carpool and spend time with my new guy, the long walk in Callahan State Park I had dreamed when sending my first son to Sudbury Valley five years ago this fall, finally walked with my beau, the passing of all those milestones, and the waking up alone in the house, no children, no beau, has left me with the hope of a poem.

This, I have to remind myself, is how life happens, part struggle, part everyday, part grand scheme, part unknown, part dream. We busted our butts to get this day care ready for the new children arriving this fall, for the licensing visit which marks the end of a very tumultuous three year period, divorce, charter school, SVS, college visits and freshman year, dating, the building of our tree house. My training hours were out of whack, my cpr certificate hid between Alice’s CPR and First Aid ones, we could do a few small things differently, the rules on indoor climbers have changed, but overall, we did just fine, all will be well. Now I’m hoping for poems, for what next, for love, for peace, for longterm happiness. We can all hope.

To my surprise, I’m feeling a little bereft already that today is not a baby day. I hadn’t expected the sweetness to be so lovely. I had known I would love the smell and feel of a small head in a carrier on my chest just below my chin, so I could dip down and give the small thing  kiss. I had forgotten about cradling the small bum and the bounce a baby wishes for that my own body then provides, the resonance and security that connecting in this basic physical way engenders, the deep satisfaction that connection provides.

My daughter told me the other day that she finds herself using the word satisfying a lot these days. I do, too, but hadn’t expected my twelve-year-old girl to share the experience and to point it out to me. These small people we raise and love give back so quickly. As Danny Greenberg reminded me in a meeting we had which helped me decide to leave SVS, not only to focus more on the day care and my personal life and kids, but also to follow a spiritual path, possibly involving poetry and writing, the little people are evidence of the divine. Work with them brings us closer to those moments of heaven that let us know life matters, that allow us to experience grace, transcendence, belonging, in ways so pure we sometimes wonder if we are allowed.

Now to shower and start the day, chores from the end of day yesterday left for today, alarm gone off at 7 reminding me to get on task. This evening my children will return after two evenings with their dad. Friday night I’m off to spend the weekend with my beau. Tuesday nights and many Monday nights look like my nights on my own this year. I can only hope some Tuesday or Wednesday morning soon I’ll wake up to another poem fully formed, catch it, and write it down. We’ll see. The allure of the unknown is what keeps us going, as the woman who inspired me with her term “possibilist”, Frances Lappe, reminded me several years ago. Off I go into the world of possibility, me, Liana, and a whole crowd of ones and twos, with a four and five thrown in for fun this morning, another four, an eight and a nine this afternoon, then my twelve and sixteen in time for dinner. Life is rich and good and tough and hard. All those are real. Holding them at once is what makes midlife such a ride.

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