This is the Day the Lord has Made

May 18, 2012 | 27 comments

It’s piano lesson night. Anna sits on the polished wooden rectangle in front of those 88 keys, with her feet dangling. My baby girl — now almost eight — is learning about treble clef and time signatures.

I’m waiting outside, with my chin resting on my fist, while staring out the open window of my car. The engine’s turned off, and a cool spring breeze waltzes with my hair. I daydream.

“Mom?”

“Mom.”

I turn to my oldest daughter, sitting beside me. “What are you thinking about?”

“Oh … I’m waiting. Not sure what to blog about tomorrow, and sometimes I don’t know until it just … comes. Ya know?”

She nods a knowing nod. She likes when we talk writing. She tells me she  remembers that feeling when the teacher asked her to write a color poem.

We both know it’s true — We have to pay attention not only to write life, but to really live it. The best stories are right under our noses, just outside the car window, under the kitchen table, or tucked in beside you.

It’s true — God’s grandeur has tended to favor ordinary places like barns and bushes.

And writing makes us pay attention.

“I have an idea,” Lydia tells me, pointing a single finger into the air. “You should write about how you just can’t belieeeeeve how time flies, and you’re kids are growing up sooooo fast.”

She rolls her eyes, and giggles.

I ask her, “Where would you get an idea like that?”

“Oh, moms say that all the time.”

“That’s because it’s true. You’re growing up fast. I feel like I just put you on the school bus for the first time.”

“Yeah, well, that was, like, really long ago. There’s 365 days in a year, Mom. And they last for-e-verrrrr.”

Except they don’t.

They don’t last forever.

And someday she’ll know. Maybe it will happen when she’s sitting in a parking lot, listening to her own child expound on life, and wondering when exactly Tinkerbell got traded in for Taylor Swift. On Facebook, I read a friend‘s wife’s status, Her son asked the question “Who’s Elvis?” Another friend reported that one of her younger co-workers asked who Donna Summer was. Time goes by like that. We’re here for a vapor of time, and even the icons are soon forgotten.

We drive home, and later, I tuck Lydia into bed — as much as a 10-year-old girl will let her mother “tuck” her in. Her voice wobbles with emotion.

“Mom,” she says. “I’m happy that summer’s coming and everything, but I already feel kind of sad. Because summers always go by so fast.”

I hug her tight, without a word. I just grab hold of her. And hold her. I grab hold of this one day that goes so slow, in this one life that goes so fast, because we know when we look back, that we’ll regret it if we let these moments — soaked with the grandeur of God — slip through our fingers.

***
Pink is:
first beanie on a newborn’s head
velvety edge of baby-girl blankie
single clenched fist around a mama’s forefinger
midnight cry
chubby hand waving bye
front step together, watching morning sky
half-eaten dinner, beets untouched
cotton candy that Daddy gave you anyway
frosting, licked off birthday candles

tucked-in girls, with fluttering lashes
summer breeze at dusk, and sweat on the Mason jar
Pink is
love-you-more-than-all-the-stars-in-the-sky-times-infinity!
and remembering that days are long but life is short,
and this is the day the Lord has made.

{This day. Right here.}

***

Make your own “color poem” here.  Then come back and drop it in the comment box, or over on your blog.

Photo: Last day of school. The morning walk down the lane.

by | May 18, 2012 | 27 comments

27 Comments

  1. Megan Willome

    A poem! And in invitation to poetry! Next thing you know, you’ll be sucked into Tweetspeak.

    That photo of the trees swishing down the lane–how did you do that?

    I am like your daughter. I think time drags its feet.

    And I had to ask my husband who Donna Summer was (don’t tell Deidra!). In the ’70s, we only listened to country.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      What? You didn’t know Donna Summer? 🙂

      I took the photo this morning, just before the girls got on the bus. Then, I uploaded it to picmonkey.com, where I used something called “focal soften.” (Or something like that.) Anyway, you can use that particular function to focus on one area of the photograph, and “fuzz out” some of the rest of it. I tried to do that with the camera itself for this shot, but it just didn’t turn out this time.

      Regarding poetry: I am so not a poet. (Clearly.) I think they’d kick me out of Tweetspeak, except that they’re really nice people. I’m just too literal about everything. I like to blame all those years of reporting. 🙂 … So I’m counting on people like you to offer something a bit more poetic here in the comment box. 🙂

      I love this about blogs, though … a safe place to step out and try new things with our writing and our photography. 🙂

      Reply
  2. Gabrielle Meyer

    One of my favorite sayings is: the days are long, but the years are short. How true. My oldest will be eight in July and I was with her last night at her piano lesson, as well. I’m amazed at how mature and thoughtful she has become. She’s so like me and like my husband, all wrapped up into one little person. My second will soon be six and she has a servant’s heart. She never meets a stranger twice and she has one of those beautiful, infectious smiles. The youngest are two year old twin boys – *sigh* – they are incredible and very much, well, boys. 🙂

    I’ve found that life goes by much faster when you’re a parent because you have so many milestones you mark life with. First smiles, first steps, first day of school, first everything – all of a sudden, times has slipped by and you wonder where it went – then you look back and remember all the firsts.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Beautifully stated, Gabrielle. Parenting feels like a perpetual series of firsts.

      It’s amazing to watch our children turn into the people God intended them to be … and to see that they are composites of two different people. Crazy cool.

      Have a blessed weekend.

      Reply
  3. Megan Willome

    CHAMPAGNE

    is not a color
    unless you’re a car salesman or a bride-to-be
    pale yellow-y orange
    “it’s light brown, ain’t it?”
    the color of hose, when we still wore pantyhose
    topaz
    white tea
    if a horse has a champagne gene, then
    it will truly be a horse of a different color
    bubbles flee the flute
    like that supernova exploding into song

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      I love you, Megan Willome! Just.love.you.

      Way to rock the comment box. 🙂

      Reply
    • ~ linda

      This is really good, Megan. Now I am not sure I will “publish” mine??? : )I am NOT a poet!
      ~ linda

      Reply
    • Helen

      CHAMPAGNE-great color! Lovely poem! Great word pictures!

      Reply
  4. Deborah

    Aaaaaw! *sigh* I had to come right over after reading your Facebook post.
    Wish I had the guts to do a little poem – I need to work up to that, I think.
    My oldest is 14, taller than me, with HUGE hands and feet (he trips over a lot) – how did he get to be so big? He might be welded to his iThing and devoted to Facebook but he still likes a hug, though it’s more likely to be a high 5 these days. I love him to infinity times 2 🙂

    Reply
  5. nance davis

    what a sweet and wonderful daughter…you are so blessed in that way.

    Reply
  6. Brandee Shafer

    I love your color poem! Curious: did you ever feel overdosed on pink, with your girls? It didn’t take long for me to feel that way; in fact (funny story), I gave away nearly all of Clementine’s pink b/c I didn’t like it, and I ended up regretting it b/c Charleigh looks so good in it. I wrote a kind of color poem, once, but I didn’t follow any rules. I’m not very good w/ rules. 🙁 Here is is, though! http://brandeeshafer.blogspot.com/2011/11/red.html

    Reply
  7. Alyssa Santos

    Ah, I love this post. It brightened my already sunny Friday! I so relate to your conversation with your kids…

    here’s my poem:

    Observed from my window

    Cerulean Green
    inchworm on your silk sparkling in the morning sun.
    Climbing high above the garden bed to your waiting silver deck-
    A three-ring-circus all in one
    tiny speck of transparent green:
    Trapeze artist swaying, swirling, defying gravity and swooping birds alike.
    Contortionist writhing, bending, twisting, pulling the centimetric weight of your body on miniature toes.
    Sky-dancer grace and poise flying across blue sky on a spring wind.
    You dazzle.
    I hold my breath through the performance and watch you climb, tiny green thing, to safety…for now.

    Reply
    • ~ linda

      Creative and real, all in one. Poetry in motion!
      Thanks, ~ linda

      Reply
    • Helen

      Wow, Alyssa! I would love to have “Sky-dancer grace” …great phrasing! These are so fun to read!

      Reply
  8. ~ linda

    Blue ~
    God’s sky wide open,
    Pacific Ocean deep,
    Hydrangea flowers’ pale.
    Some songs, some music without words,
    Sound of a quiet night
    and a gentle stream flowing.
    Purple blueberries, a taste of mild summer blues,
    Seedy sweet blackberries,
    High mountain cold flowing waters.
    Snow falling,
    Icicles hanging from the roof,
    a mountain lake’s first stab jumpin’ in!
    Blue can turn my blues into joy!

    Reply
    • Megan Willome

      Now you’re talking! Love that last line.

      Reply
    • Helen

      Linda~your poem is so lyrical…connecting Hydrangeas and song lyrics…yes!
      🙂

      Reply
  9. Christine

    Love the writer and the mommy in you! They blend so beautifully in this space. Have a blessed weekend!

    Reply
  10. Alecia

    I never understood the concept of time flying until I had children. I wish I could bottle it up. They are growing up before my eyes, that verse you used is the same one God laid on my heart the day my baby started Kindergarten last year. I thought my heart would explode from growing pains. But he gently reminded me, that This is the Day the Lord has Made, so I WILL Rejoice and be GLAD 🙂

    Reply
  11. Linda

    Oh this business of trying to get time to slow just a wee bit. From where I stand it is spinning out of control. And so we hang on tight to the moments.
    Have I told you lately that you are one of my very favorite writers?
    And Megan – you are a wonder!

    Reply
  12. S. Etole

    Enjoying the poems here …

    Reply
  13. Marsha

    Love today’s blog and your last day of school photo. Oh my, does time fly! My children are 32 and 37… it seems like only yesterday that they were climbing trees with skinned knees, and playing pretend with princess gowns. What I’d give for one more messy room litered with toy trucks and mismatched socks, or talks about boys and puppy love. It’s gone all too quickly young mothers. Enjoy every moment you can… even the not so happy ones. Before long you’ll see them waving goodbye, and all that’s left are memories and a quiet empty nest. Sad, yes, but don’t shed a tear, for the most beautiful children you’ve ever met are right around the corner. Ahhh, grandchildren… the chance to hold a part of your children one more time.
    Blessings to you and yours.

    Brown
    grandchildren’s warm eyes
    inviting storybook wingback chair
    freckles across her nose
    roar of a scared lion cub
    beat of horses galloping
    melodic strings of a violin
    warm chocolate fudge
    hot coffee with vanilla cream
    southern pecan pie
    fur of a loyal pet
    bark of a mighty oak
    cozy comfortable throw
    Brown keeps me warm and makes me smile

    Reply
  14. Dea

    White is: 

    cream slurping up sugar and air
    
becoming a cloud on top of berries
    
turned blue from Spring’s white blossoms.
    
Noise of fans churning air through windows
    and 
buttons slapping around in the dryer while
    
steam hisses around the value on the pressure cooker.
    
Sea water salty,
    
sweet tangy lime-ade,

    and mayo with a touch of tart
.
    Soft cloud beds with well-worn sheets,
    
skin squeaking from the floating Ivory.
    
Porch swings rocking gently in the late afternoon.
    
White is so complimentary.

    I am clueless when it comes to punctuating poetry. Megan set the bar so very high for those commenting 🙂 It was fun to give it a whirl despite her clever thoughts on “Champangne.”

    Reply
    • Dea

      Oh, and I can’t spell or edit either!! LOL

      Reply
  15. Dawn

    Not sure why I’m crying. . .but I am. Girl, the things I’d bottle, if I could.

    Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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  2. Red is . . . (a color poem) « Sandra Heska King - [...] to Jennifer’s challenge to write a color poem. Make your own here. Drop it in the comments here, at Jennifer’s…

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