Hers Starts Kindergarten; Mine Starts His Senior Year

by Kari

stevensokulski / Pixabay

My oldest child starts his senior year of high school this week. He is an amazing human being! So, to my firstborn son: you provided me with so many firsts and I am more than honored to walk this life with you. You are going to do great things because you are a great person who loves God and is serious about living out your passion.

It feels like
yesterday – kindergarten.
Mrs. Troxel told me:
“it’s better if you leave”
when I was at your first day
unsure of leaving you alone
with complete strangers.

Welcome Adventure…
You Can Do This…

It feels like
today – senior year.
You told me:
“it’s my senior year, not yours!”
when I hesitated to get a job
because I didn’t want to miss
any part of your senior year.

Take Risks in Being Seen and Known…
Listen to Your Passion…
Hug People Often…

It feels like
tomorrow – ?
God told me:
“His future is safe in My Big Hands”
when I get tempted to fret and worry
so instead I focus on the joy of
being your mom and your forever friend.

Be a Lifelong Learner…
Develop Your Skills Wisely…
Be Transformed and Used by God…
Your Life is Poetry…

Letter to My Kindergartner

By Holly

Ben_Kerckx / Pixabay

My Dear Kindergartner,

Just last month, Daddy and I took turns running next to you, our fingers tucked under your pink princess bicycle seat as we yelled, “Look where you want to go!” You leaned too far left.  You overcorrected.  You took your eyes off your path and fearfully veered toward the overgrown rhododendrons. You found your sweet spot.  And between our cheers and shallow, panting breaths, you kept hearing us say, “Look where you want to go!”

Today, the same sidewalk crunches golden heart leaves as your pink bike anticipates your return from a long day of kindergarten.   Summer has vanished like your preschool years; time rolls on holding hopeful promises in one hand and sweet memories in the other.

Remember earlier this summer when you and I stopped to admire the magenta hydrangea by the town center fountain?  I told you not to pick the flowers.  Never one to resist beautiful things, you plucked one anyways.  Tried to hide it too.  We walked all the way home mad at each other.  I wanted you to follow directions and listen to me.  You wanted to listen to your heart, to carry delight in your hand.

Baby girl, holding beauty close is always worth a consequence.  And, sometimes, your heart must trump the rules.

I want to keep walking next to you, holding your hand, whispering:  Look where your heart is, it’s where your art lives, it’s where you want to go.

the3cats / Pixabay

You colored a picture a few weeks ago – a puppy made of rainbows.  It turned out different on paper than it had looked in your mind.  You wanted to give up, start over, believe the lie that there is one right way.  But, together, we made a beautiful oops out of it.  You smiled, folded it into a pocket-sized imperfect square, and gave it away as a gift.

I want to keep coloring next to you, cheering:  Ride into the beautiful oopses, little one.  When you work with your mistakes, instead of against them, you’ll turn them into gifts.  You’ll go where you want to go.

I heard you laugh in your sleep just days ago.  The next morning, I asked you about it.  You said you were dreaming funny things.  Something about a banana dancing in a dress.

I want to keep laughing next to you, holding your beautiful smile, repeating over and over again:  Pay attention to your dreams that are crazy enough to make you laugh out loud. Hold on tight and believe they will come true.  This, baby girl, is the stuff of life-giving joy.  Hold on tight and look there.

 Today, I stopped my tears as I watched you fearfully let go of my hand, turn around and breathe in brave to walk through your classroom door.  You wanted to stay – on the sidewalk, with me.

I wanted to hold you longer.  I wanted to stay too.  Right there in the rain with you.

But I pointed away from me, to a new place that holds the promise of art and dreams and beautiful oopses and said, “Look where you want to go, big girl.”

Holeysocksart / Pixabay

My Letter to President Obama

By Kari

Last April I wrote a letter to President Obama. Tired of the political rhetoric on both sides of the aisle I decided to take a different approach: encouragement. I was deeply convicted to show my support and prayers for our Commander in Chief no matter what my opinions happen to be. I also learned that President Obama has a similar hobby of mine; penning letters. It was very exciting for me to open my mailbox in August and see the White House seal and read his letter to me. I realize it is a form letter, but I still believe the words hold true. (Plus it was fun to show my kids.)

Will I write a letter of encouragement and thanks to our next President? It may be more challenging to do so, but I will!

You awake, a new weight
You rise, a new uprising
You build, another collapses
You comfort, another alarm

Day after day
Year after year
Your job no one can fathom
Those at your side support
Though you alone are just one
And you open your eyes each morn
On your own accord

The depth of your concern
The width of your influence
Your service and sacrifice
To hold vision of hope and unity
Can never be taken away
Though mockers will try and try again

May peace be yours, Mr. President
Granted by God
As 8 years come to a close

Blessings of peace
Of joy, of hope
For your marriage, family

For you
When you awake, rise
Build and comfort

My Stay-At-Home-Mom Mantra Has Ended

by Kari

Unsplash / Pixabay

For the past 17 years I have been primarily a stay-at-home mom, but this week I enter a different kind of work…employment! I am humbled and blessed to have the opportunity to work with disabled and senior adults as an activity coordinator. Am I nervous? Yeah! Am I pumped? You bet! I actually get to put to work my passion and my master’s degree I earned years ago. This new adventure is causing a shift in our family dynamics and I think that’s good. I’ve grieved and said “thank you” to the past 17 years of staying home and we have all held hands and faced the future with a big “hello” together.

Bite my nails! Twitch my head!
Can this really be?
I got a job! I’m excited!
Thankful extremely.

17 years, I turn around
take a look and sigh
my kids are 8, 10, high school
and oh it’s flying by!

My “stay-at-home-mom” mantra
is no longer my claim
I’ve loved it, owned it, grieved it
and now it’s time for change

My kids won’t just be ok
they will thrive as well
I can model passion
and pray their desires swell

I know I’ll grow as a person
“hello” sacred availability
thankful to my Father
in this opportunity!

The Silence of Mothers, 3 Ways

By Holly

nese / Pixabay


Washing the beachy grit off of our feet together, my mom and I continued in our usual flow of chatter.  Just as my clean skin reemerged, I spewed some unpleasant feelings about someone we both knew.  The kind of thing you say to feel out if the other person feels the same way, a test of sorts.  As I awkwardly rose from crouched position, my eyes rested on my mom’s tight lips.  The slow drip of her silence was loud and clear.

Simultaneously, a temptation to interpret her lack of words as agreement and a deep sense of knowing washed over me. Mom knew better than to speak.

I pray for my mom’s silent integrity.


“Your shoes are still on the bottom step your dance bag from 2 days ago is in the middle of the floor why is your Shrek script on the bathroom counter and didn’t I ask you to put your clean clothes away last night?”  I hear the sound of my own voice, untamed.  My words layer so thickly on top of each other that they are incomprehensible to my daughter’s young, sensitive ears.

That heart-sink feeling – the one that knows less would have said more – returns.

I pray for silence the next time.


It’s been 6 years and 16 days since a mother and son have spoken, the mother’s perplexing choice.  If silence leaves a trail, hers tracks long and lonely, from hospital to nursing home to hospice.  I wonder if 6 years and 16 days feels short now.  They say we die like we live.  They say our hearing is the last sense to go:  Can she still hear the sound of her son’s voice?  I know my husband can’t remember hers.

Tick, tock, tick, tock taunts audibly.  Creeps.  But silence sweeps round like a second hand, continuous and sure.  When does a heart solidify?

I pray for freedom from the silence.

The silence of mothers: writer of stories, carrier of prayers, leaver of legacies.

*When I wrote this, the mother in part III, my mother-in-law, lay dying in hospice care.  Last week, she took her final breath.  Even death did not break this mother’s silence, but I believe that it will lift its power.