Telling Time, Tough and Tender

Time is tender. That’s what my mother heart is learning so rapidly. Today I’m writing on the word TIME with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday community. We write for 5 minutes unedited “fast and fierce,” for a beautiful creative challenge. (The break indicates when the five minutes ended.)

I tried to teach you to tell time

With paper-handed clock bound with gold brads.

We turned those hands together, your small fingers under mine,

Frustrated and outstretched for a second.

Then clenched fist.Telling Time

I worried you would never know how to read the great face of time.

You kept your will a secret at seven.

Tomorrow you and I fly to Clearwater

Where clocks and lessons don’t matter.

We will care only for beaches, shells, and sun

Swimming and soaking up moments, 

Not to be counted in hours or minutes

But memoried post cards,

Scrawled with sandy hands,

Stamped and sent to ourselves

So we remember every second.



This mother-daughter thing stretches tenuously some days

Like the yarn you strung across kitchen chairs

As a toddler.

I scissored my way through your web so I could set the table.

The time I chased you down stairs so fast…

But time was really chasing me.hubbardfamily!_0077

I see forward now:

You and I have seven-ish more years together.


Give or take.

“Mom, I love you,” you say as we drive to school today.

I gaze at your brown unbraided hair bound up loosely.



Time is paper

Telling me every day is a two-handed adventure

Because that is where our ends connect:

In the running across fields with the labrador

In the swinging,

Stories of Snow Treasure,

Sketching birds

Making playdoh,


Banging beer bottles with wooden spoons,

Painting on papered walls,

Planting tulips,

Funneling tornadoes in Coke bottles,

Peering into canyons,


For the trip, I gather coloring book, bathing suits, and gummie bears,

And I remember how you have always smelled of earth, conditioner, and Bubbalicious, each a scented marker.

Telling time is toughest on a mama, tenderest Heart.

Need some more poetry to cozy up today? Savor a winter memory in a snow echo.

I invite you to follow our little mother-daughter adventure this week on Instagram

Ever grateful,



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January 15, 2016