from summer to fall with a pocketful of prayer

From the outside, I may have wavy hair but on the inside, I’m sporting the Rosanne-Roseannadanna look: frizzled bushy hair standing straight out. The back-to-school factory went into full production at 6:00 this morning. Two different breakfasts, three different lunches, two fully-equipped backpacks. One bowl drawer filled only with lids. One snack drawer overflowing to the point of not shutting. Two different school uniforms all tried on -- except for one belt.

One last-minute realization that Liam had never operated a belt before left one worst-case scenario screaming through this one mother's head.

Bill left for school with Will at 7:15. I completed drop-off and flag ceremony at Liam’s school at 8:30.

One 30-minute lull before the library opened meant a cup of coffee and a heated-up omelet. In peace. That wasn’t easy, for there were two of me prattling on this morning: one wondered what I could clean-up in 30 minutes and the other told me to be still for 30 minutes.

My coffee mug has a chip out of the rim, just to the right of where I drink from it. I put up with the chip because I love the mug. Black tree branches radiate from the bottom of the handle. The branches are sparsely populated with bright red maple leaves.

We have been out on the thin end of that branch called summer. It started with a strong surge of freedom and ended with a push to the end of the branch where we splintered precariously. To get the most out of summer. Before it retreated.

With the boys both at new schools, the underlying edge is only somewhat smoothed with the first days of drop-off being behind us. The urge to swoop and rescue them from uncertainty started in my gut, raged through my heart, and stopped short of my tongue. For the last two days, at two different schools, this urge landed mysteriously as a supportive smile on my lips as they walked away. That's how motherhood flows.

As I drink my coffee, I take a walk down that branch of summer back to the stability of thicker branches at the base of the handle. And, I make a tight turn to that solid branch called fall. But my legs are still shaking from summer. Or caffeine.

I think of days when I have been strong, full of courage, and solidly grounded. Five years ago, I was moving through life with a pocketful of prayer. Today, I get that tool, use it, and put it in my pocket. Most of that prayer is still apt today. But I’ve added just a couple bits:

“Every day, may our minds grow and our hearts stay full.

And, please, let the bowl drawer, the lunch bags, and the uniforms be organized, full, and complete.”

I think He understands little things like this.

(This was inspired by Power & Prayer, written during chemo treatment for breast cancer in 2009.)