Posts Tagged ‘birthday’

Poetry Friday round-up is with Amy at The Poem Farm.

I have birthing babies on my mind.  Today is my baby’s birthday.  My youngest daughter, Martha, is 28 years old.  I was recently telling her birth story to my oldest daughter who is expecting my first grandchild in December.  Since her best friend delivered on Sunday, three weeks early, Maggie is getting nervous about what her own birth story will be.

I read Barbara Crooker’s interview at Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac. 

She wrote an ekphrastic poem about a Matisse painting:

I came back to Paris free of the Louvre’s influence
and heading for color.
~Henri Matisse

“It’s like being back in the womb, isn’t it, these walls of pink,
this floor one rose shade deeper? I think about my middle
daughter, five months pregnant. Her baby‘s grown
from an orange seed to a green olive to a plum. Now
it’s the size of a boneless chicken breast. What is it
about babies that makes us think of food?” (Read full text here)

There’s an app for following the growth of a baby called The Bump.  Maggie is at 26 weeks and according to The Bump, the baby is “as big as Kale”! His eyes are forming and will soon open.  He even has eyelashes.  The miracle of pregnancy is fascinating. (And a little scary, but we won’t talk about that today.)

This morning with all this on my mind while I was walking, I thought of a poem to tell Martha’s birth story.  This is a first draft, but I like how I could capture such a big event in a poem.  What big events could you capture in a poem?  Poems are not small; they are concentrated, like the womb, holding tight to something too big to understand.

September 14, 1990

A Birth Story

You were so late
I thought I’d be pregnant forever,
the distance between the second and the fourteenth
full of expectancy.

That Friday morning, the doctor said,
“We need to induce.”
No! I cried. My babies come naturally.
But naturally was not what you had in mind.

A long day of “methods” to start a labor–
enema, cervical massage, break the water–
finally a Pitocin drip. Seven PM,
the contractions kicked in,
                     pushing you out into the world,

At my back, Gladys exclaims,
“Something is happening here.”
In the corner, the nurse cries,
“She was only 4 centimeters!”

And your father, in my face, blowing air
“Breathe with me.”
You came quickly,
sliding elegantly into the doctor’s
Wait-let-me-get-my-gloves-on hands.

Perfect and round,
a hefty eight pounds, three ounces,
Friday’s child, loving and giving,
a gift to our world and to me.


–Margaret Simon (draft) 2018

A new sister! Sept. 15, 1990

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Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

My birthday was yesterday and while birthdays can be a big deal, this one made me celebrate the little things.

Like a poem from a student:

So much depends upon the teacher,
clad in happiness
sharing with her students
the secrets to life’s success.

–Lynzee, 3rd grade

Lynzee also brought a birthday banner to hang on my desk for the day.


Erin brought me a mug for tea that was a funny play on words: “Go with the Flow” and “Manatee” tea infuser.


One of our favorite bands (Nouveau String Band) was playing at one of our favorite places in Breaux Bridge (Joie de Vivre).  Many of our dancing friends came to my “birthday party” and even brought birthday cards.  May Louise’s card was so sweet.  On the front was a cute hair clip that I put in my hair.  The message on the card: “Some people were born to stand out. Happy birthday to one of them…”

Daughter Maggie points to the hair clip in this selfie.

I certainly did stand out at Joie de Vivre last night.  The band played a waltz in my honor and sang Happy Birthday to me.  We’ve grown to be a family of friends.  I’m not usually the center of attention, but for my birthday, why not?  I soaked up all the good energy, good wishes, and love.

A show off turn in the waltz.

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Find more celebration posts at Ruth's blog.

Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

Birthdays are opportunities to show a person how much you love her. Birthdays are also opportunities to share your love with others.

Like eating popcorn with chopsticks

Lynzee popcorn

And chocolate-covered strawberries

Choc-covered strawberries

Like finding this message on Facebook:

Ms. Simon, 30 years ago, when we moved home from overseas, I struggled in the public school my parents put me in to fit in. My parents seeing how unhappy I seemed changed me to epiphany and I was blessed to have you as a teacher. My mother adored you. As a teacher myself, I know we aren’t always able to see the difference we make long term in a child’s life. You are an amazing person and teacher!

And spending hours catching up with your birthday sister. The waitress says, “Oh, you’re the kind of friends who can just pick up right where you left off.” She checked in on us occasionally as we talked on and on.

My birthday was a celebration of Love.

My backyard on Friday, Aug. 12, 2016.  The water has to cover the deck before it reaches the house.

My backyard on Friday, Aug. 12, 2016. The water has to cover the deck before it reaches the house.

My state, Louisiana, is in a state of emergency. The rain has come down for more than 28 hours and doesn’t show signs of stopping. They are calling this the Historic Flood of 2016. My family is fine. Our house is on the bayou, and the back yard is no longer visible. Please keep all of us in your thoughts and prayers. I know of one student so far who has evacuated his flooded home. I will be posting updates to my Facebook page.

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Discover. Play. Build.

Ruth Ayres invites us the celebrate each week. Click over to her site Discover. Play. Build. to read more celebrations.

Happy Birthday to me!

Happy Birthday to me!

I had a birthday this week. It was also my first school day. The secretary sang “Happy Birthday” to me over the intercom. My gifted teacher-colleagues made cupcakes for our meeting and gave me a new journal. I had a ton of Facebook messages. I love that FB tells people it’s my birthday. I even got messages from two of my favorite authors, Peter Reynolds and Sharon Creech. My friend and colleague, Sally, knows how much I love Peter Reynolds. In 2006, she won a sketch at a technology conference. She gave me this sketch. What a special gift! If you do not know Peter Reynolds’ work, you must. His books make a difference. I am planning once again to participate in International Dot Day that celebrates the publication anniversary of The Dot.

Peter Reynolds' sketch

This week my daughter was house sitting for a friend’s family. She sent me this picture to invite me out to enjoy the peacefulness and all the animals.

The Farm

I met her out at the barn. The largest horse, Jackson, is so sweet. I was petting him, then turned to walk away. He came out of his stall and nudged my back for more petting. I am not accustom to horses, so I wasn’t sure how to react. He didn’t care. He continued to be affectionate. Maggie took this picture of us.


Thanks for celebrating the week with me.

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Join the Tuesday Slice of Life

Dancing with Leon at Cafe des Amis.

Beginning with Zydeco Breakfast at Cafe des Amis, dancing and eating, to Bonne Terre Cottage in the afternoon, my birthday celebration was all about me.

My new friend (We only just connected this summer even though she’s been a friend of my husband since he was a child.) invited me to enjoy a writing retreat at her cottage inn in the country. I accepted her offer and invited some of my writing buddies to come along. For one reason or another, only one of them was able to come out to the cottage.

I had never been to my friend’s cottage before. When I walked up to the door, I immediately felt peace. Next to the steps was a huge sugar kettle goldfish pond. A large metal sign with a Louisiana scene held fast to the cottage wall. Once inside, I was greeted by a salvaged silver tray made into a chalkboard and saw “Happy Birthday Margaret!” My own book Blessen sat on the top of a stack of books on the coffee table. In a corner of the living room stood an easel with a stool, a perfect spot for my computer with a view of the yard outside. The backyard was scattered with various bird feeders and houses. Hummingbirds flew to the red liquid while cardinals perched at the bird feeder. Bluebirds are nesting in houses and sat on the fencing. Beyond in the pond surrounded by elephant ears and cattails, a great white egret flew in to a landing. What a gift this place was!

Blessen waits for me on the coffee table.

Solid cypress walls smelled like a summer camp cabin. Beautiful art intrigued and inspired me. Along with her writing journal, Kay brought some chilled Pinot Noir, and we snacked on goat cheese and crackers. We talked about the new school year, writing, and the cottage. Kay said, “I can’t believe the art here. I love it. Jen’s love of horses comes through.”

We could look out the window and see Jen’s two horses in the paddock. And inside a colorful painting of carousel horses. I told Jen her cottage was a poem, full of personal details that could be universally enjoyed. I could have stayed all day. And I did!

Kay wrote this poem about Bonne Terre Cottage:

With God’s Prayers

I see beauty
I see cypress crafted
with glass peeking out
to the porch with a red
hummingbird feeder
and a thirsty bird three feet from me.

I see Clementine Hunter dishes,
lime green fused glass,
a black rectangular record player,
a writing desk looking out to a backyard
barn of horses housed on the Bayou Teche.

I see beauty woven from life experiences.
I feel rebuilding, strength, the ground reassuring me
all will be well– I see a little boy
with curls
on a tricycle.
I feel beauty woven out of history.

Wisdom interlaced with authentic metal,
reworked stainless staircase,
and a vintage yellow telephone.

I am reminded to be
all of me, to embrace
what is
to be me.

View from the writing desk

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