Oh my God, what’s your name? My name’s Lyle.

This song has been stuck in my head tonight, mostly for this line: There’s just too much living going all around. Plus, it’s Lyle. I remember seeing him at Lincoln Center in College – my friend Jessica and I got the last-minute, cheapie student-priced tickets to see his big hat and large band live.

Anyway. I feel like I’ve been on the quiet side here on the blog. There’s been a lot of living going all around. A nasty cold, pms, kids sent home with a variety of ailments and complaints, frigid weather. A lot of early mornings spent writing and one very late night spent filling out the online application for – wait, lean in close as I am only going to share this in a whisper right now – grad school. Grad school! (I’m still whispering.) Again! This time in Counseling. I’m madly trying to get out of taking the GRE (my original scores, from 1996, have been purged from the planet, where they belong). But besides for that nit-picky detail, the application is in and we shall see. I would love to share here the short essay I wrote, but I’m not sure where that falls ethically. So sufficed to say I am ready to move forward in a new way with both my training and with making the work I do more sustainable in the long-term.

I’m excited about it. I will keep you posted as I know more.

Now, to go from a whisper to more of a shout. PARENTING IS INTENSE. I’ll quote my friend Jennifer here for something more illustrative:: “Being a parent is like being on a full-time retreat, with no time off for good behavior.” Not that you didn’t know that, but geeze louise. Lyle may have been a traveling man – don’t tie me down – but lord knows motherhood is one open road he’ll never sing about.

MB’s recent post on motherhood as practice was timely and moved me to tears, reminding me to be with my kids when I’m with my kids, at least some of the time. Karen Maezen Miller echoed this sentiment here, gently turning my face to see the obvious: my girls, unfolding, showing me, asking to be seen, right before my very eyes. My very eyes which are so often looking elsewhere, or inward, or simply closed altogether. These teachers’ words come to me in the even tones I sometimes find myself at a loss for, neither shours not whispers.

Aviva, on the other hand, often seems to be yelling at me, or at Pearl, who commensurately raises the volume right back her big sister. A few days ago, I remembered that old trick of whispering as a way of getting everyone’s attention and inviting, almost conspiratorially, a quiet society into the chaos. It totally worked, for a few minutes anyway. Then I burst into tears. An hour later we were laughing at a perfectly-timed burp. And around and around we go.

Practice. Constant. And tonight, all the living going all around landed us on the couch after “train wreck” for dinner (that’s when you take all of the mystery leftovers out of the fridge and freezer and eat them). We thumbed through old pictures of Aviva and Pearl as babies and toddlers, and then, to my surprise (I hadn’t noticed which albums the girls had pulled off the shelf in my office): pictures of me. Lots of them. Me at five, eleven, thirteen, fifteen. Me at twenty-eight. All of the moments I’m writing about offline. That China doll skin, that leather jacket, that new mother.

“You looked a lot better then,” Aviva said. Gotta love that girl. And the girl her mama was once, too.

12 thoughts on “Oh my God, what’s your name? My name’s Lyle.

  1. The Other Laura says:

    It’s been very quiet over at my blog lately. Every time I sit down to write life almost literally tugs at my sleeve and pulls me away.

    A friend posted a photo on Facebook of me on the morning of my 18th birthday. When I showed it to Max he said, you look like you’re ten years old…


  2. Emme says:

    I haven’t been able to write a ding-dang thing on my blog for weeks, there is so much inner percolating going on, I just don’t know how to sort it all out. But, I’m kind of excited to see what will bubble up to the surface. Huge congrats on the grad school decision! I’m making plans to go too! Woo-hoo! Go us! (not until next year though for me)


  3. Jasmine says:

    Congrats on the grad school…I’ve been toying with the idea myself. If you DO end up having to take the GRE, I’d love to set up a trade…math lessons for coaching. :-)


  4. Renae C says:

    I’ve been quiet too – it must be in the air. Brava on grad school Jena. I am just finishing up that 3 year adventure – doing my clinical hours now and will graduate in May with a Masters in Counseling. It’s been worth every bit of struggle. Keep us posted!


  5. Lisa says:

    Hugs to you, dear Jena, in the midst of your madness.

    Your courage & perseverance are admirable :-)

    Getting my MS in Counseling (1998) was a great experience I have never regretted.

    BTW, Lyle rocks! One of our best concert surprises EVER!


  6. Jennifer says:

    Just found you thanks to meg casey’s blog… and wanted to say you touched my heart. Thanks for being here and sharing. Especially enjoyed the poem you wrote a post or two earlier… your words went deep into me. rock on and good luck with your grad school pursuit :^)


  7. Janice says:

    Grad school – YES! Remember that office you used to think you needed (a “real” office, not in your home….) I think you might have just found what you were looking for :-)

    Parenting IS intense: oy! You said a mouthful there sister. I’m on day 6 of single parenting and feeling completely drained of energy, creativity, me. Chip comes home tomorrow….

    You, me, trees, skis, let’s make a date!


  8. Beth says:

    Just catching up on your blog. Wow, maybe grad school in counseling. I’m thinking of doing the same thing.
    Hope you enjoyed your week away!
    Big hug to you.



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