August 5, 2011

bending to hold
intertwined and tight

with empty oval spaces

for hands
and lifting

I’m a wicker basket, I said to myself. I was sitting on the bed, staring down at a storage chest made from wicker. I doubt I can remember the analogy all that well right now, but I’m going to try. It’s 5:30 in the morning in San Diego. Elsie is sleeping soundly for the first time all night…or morning. My lovely friend, co-host to the Serenity Suite and constant helper with all things baby, Ellie, is up with me. We laughed at ourselves because this sweet baby is finally at rest and now we cannot. Our time zones betray us.

This trip and conference and hosting of the suite is all so much. It is so much good while it is so exhausting, especially while my head is buzzing with a high-speed need to think only of Elsie while I also make room to think of doing this job well.

The thing about me being a wicker basket is that I feel so tightly wound but I guess that serves its purpose. The intertwining of all the things that are me, they take shape so I can hold what matters most. Then there are even those spaces in me, things that I just can’t get together and really, they aren’t so bad because they make those ovals for handles so I can be lifted and carried sometimes. All of the time.

The thing about being this kind of a basket is that so much of life is fluid, ever-changing, impossible for me to master, slipping through mycracks. All the tiny holes between woven criss-crossed strength, they allow so much out no matter how often I hunch my shoulders or tie my stomach in knots. It’s for nothing because there’s so much that’s like water, pouring out, never meant to stay even if I think I should try harder to keep it all.  I want to keep the knowledge of every single little thing I’m trying to get right. I want to have the knowledge in the first place but instead it’s all washing through so fast and it feels like I’m spending too much time constricting, begging it all to slow down.  I so easily forget that allowing myself to be exactly how I’m made, strong and bound, holes and all, is the path to peace.

I forget because I so badly want to fix it all. I want my creative work to always be just a certain way when maybe I just always need to remember that it all works just as it should with all of its good and bad parts.  And as a mother, I’ll probably always wish for that, the unattainable maternal fantasy–no colic, no fear of school, no bed-wetting, no broken hearts, no car accidents, no fear of faith, no sibling rivalry, no sugar, no bullies, no loss, no pain.

I wrap myself up in all those thoughts, the guilt and the fear and all this futile fighting to grasp all of the fluid things like rapids rushing through me.

I sat on the bed and I thought about me as a wicker basket and then I knew that it all can’t be controlled or my children would become something other than these beautiful woven works of art themselves. Without all the things I want to fix, they’d go around without ovals for handles, and I don’t want that. I need to be able to carry them sometimes. Not to fix, but to help.

My back is aching from hours of wallking and bouncing Elsie last night. My head hurts from thinking about so many things and getting so little rest. I need some people to grasp my handles, you know? And I’m so glad they’re here with me. My friends from around the country who have come to know me, both the weak and the strong in me, and then they help. Not to fix, but to help.

Ellie and Elsie


Jenn August 5, 2011 at 9:40 am

This post. It’s beautiful, thanks.
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Becky (Princess Mikkimoto) August 5, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Everyone needs a Ellie for their Elsie.
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TheKitchenWitch August 6, 2011 at 8:06 am

Here’s the secret about holes: they just don’t let stuff leak out. They also let stuff seep in. Beauty, light, room to breathe. xo
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Heather August 6, 2011 at 8:22 am

I love that, Kitch. And I needed that. Xoxo

Christine @ Coffees & Commutes August 7, 2011 at 11:30 am

Oh my goodness, yes Kitch. They do let things seep in!

And this part: I want to keep the knowledge of every single little thing I’m trying to get right. I want to have the knowledge in the first place but instead it’s all washing through so fast and it feels like I’m spending too much time constricting, begging it all to slow down.

It hit so close to home I almost sobbed. I get this Heather, we’re in it together, so many of us. I’m just so glad to have people like you to share it with.

Love the picture of Ellie & Elsie, and wishing so badly that I got to see everyone in San Diego.
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Cynthia August 7, 2011 at 12:55 am

I really love that analogy. You always come up with the most interesting comparisons. Elsie is gorgeous! I’m so thankful for all the blessings coming your way- faster than you can hold them in it seems. What an amazing thing life is.
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tracy August 7, 2011 at 8:23 pm

Beautiful. I loved sharing time with you both today. xoxo
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Ellie August 7, 2011 at 9:27 pm

I miss you.

I had to come read this again, So beautiful. So true.

And I had to get a peek at little Elsie again. MAN. I miss her.


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monica August 8, 2011 at 6:40 am

oh, how I thank you for this post. my heart heard every word.

Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting August 9, 2011 at 11:06 am

Gorgeous post. And heartbroken I missed you the entire conference (how’d that happen!?)
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heidi August 9, 2011 at 11:23 am

How’s Elsie doing? I’ve been praying for her and for you. My little boy (a couple weeks older than Elsie, I think), a formerly chill baby, has suddenly developed quite a bit of fussiness and in those moments when I can’t quiet him, I think of you…I don’t know how you do it. I’ve shed many tears alongside Tristan’s these last couple weeks. Seems the only thing that always works (so far…knock on wood) is climbing in a hot bath with him. Sometimes we take multiple baths together in the evenings. :-P
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