Driving and Biking in the Big City

Archive for May 2013

My Daughter, My Mother

with 3 comments

Three generations

Three generations

On a recent workday, I was asked what job I would have if money didn’t matter. I said I would be a poet. And, in fact, I write poetry all the time and now, occasionally, can print it in this blog. This is  a circle of life poem, written after my daughter was born. I read this poem as part of my mom’s eulogy, about 12 years ago. My only memory of my experience at the pulpit was to look at my 18-year-old daughter and realize she was hearing it for the first time at her grandmother’s funeral. It was written as much for Laura as it was for my mom on this Mother’s Day.

My Daughter, My Mother

My mother, my daughter
the future and past
cuddled together in the same warm bed.

Everything I ran from;
Everything I ran to.
The link seemed sweet and strong
in the quiet dark of my late night homecoming.

Mother stirred,
saw me standing beside the bed
and glanced at the clock.

But she didn’t complain at the hour.
No lectures at 2 a.m. this night, just smiles.

No, I can’t leave her there, I said.
I’ll be gentle and won’t disturb her sleep.

Then I took the softest blanket
and wrapped the warmest, smallest body in love.

After a thank you and a kiss to the past,
I walked away with the future in my arms.

Denise Bray Hensley


Written by commuterchroniclesdbh

May 12, 2013 at 8:53 am

Dreaded phone call: In honor of commuting mothers

leave a comment »

When I first decided to take a job in the big city and start making the daily drive from the ‘burbs, I was concerned about the welfare of my two children who would be faced with the lag time of a commuting mom. Like most moms, I had fielded many calls to bring lunch money, forgotten homework, PE clothes, choir clothes, etc. Typically and because I worked closer to home, I would have it to the kids before they even knew they missed it. At the very least, I would high tail it to school before they could get points off.

So, after my first few weeks of commuting the one hour each way, I was not surprised when I received the dreaded phone call from my son who maybe was 13 years old at the time. Lunch money? Homework? A visit to the office?


Instead, he whispered into the phone from inside the school office, “Mom, I forgot my jock strap.”

What could be more classic? It was the day of the big game, and my son was out there without his usual support.

I knew the drive itself would have taken me too long. I didn’t even have Vinnie to drive yet, much less Clarence. I was still driving my mom-mobile van that was the size of a living room and perfect for hauling carpools and tennis teams. Plus, I was still new enough on the job that I didn’t want to take a mini-break from the day-to-day grind for a jock strap run.

I calculated that I had only a couple of hours to solve this dilemma. After several tries, I did not reach his dad. And, frankly, I knew John would have the same problem. Could his son’s athletic support compete with a big lunch with customers? Maybe, but more likely, not.

My thoughts then went to my loyal friends. Those who said they would be available to my children and myself through this new phase in our lives. I started calling.

A commuting mom's first line of defense -- her tennis teammates.

A commuting mom’s first line of defense — her tennis teammates.

The hero of the week was my tennis buddy Jan. No one could have been more perfect. Not only is she the mom of a son but she also has her own big, rowdy dogs. To get into my home and to my son’s jock strap, she would first have to make her way past my two spoiled dogs in the backyard.

The only issue still holding me back was my own personal humiliation. By Thursday morning, the dogs were the least of my worries about the condition of my home. As a matter of fact, I even suggested my friend look for said item on the couch where laundry had been located most of the week.

It was much like a “Mission Impossible” episode when she called back. “I’m in,” she said, announcing her arrival passed the dogs and inside my home while I whispered back from my office phone.

Then, she proceeded to walk around my house, cell phone in hand, while we tried to find support for my son’s future in athletics. She rummaged through laundry on the couch and — of all places — the laundry room.

I felt certain I would have to guide her to (YIKES) upstairs — an area of the house I seldom see except on weekends. Should she have to face the stairs, she also would have been facing (DOUBLE YIKES) my son’s room where I know there are no clean jockey straps. As a matter of fact, there also could be some items in his room that are even more unspeakable than unwashed under clothes.

However, we were both saved from further embarrassment. She found the item — and I would like to mention that it was brand new and not quite as disgusting as this sounds. It was found, however, on the dining room table. (READER’S NOTE TO SELF: Accept no formal invitations for dining at Denise’s house.)

My friend put the necessary item in the proverbial brown paper bag and brought it to the middle school office.

Meanwhile, my son had become concerned and called me again. While he may have forgotten a few thousand items in his school days, he is quite aware of distances and the time it takes to cover distances.

“Mom,” he said in his loudest whisper, “I got to have it!”  He said, worrying that I was still at my office desk an hour away.

“It’ll be there in about 20 minutes,” I responded.

And, after a pause where I could hear his mind whirring, he screeched, “WHO’S BRINGING IT?”

However, no names were mentioned so that my friend can continue to greet my son in public places without any awkward pauses.

With that I bid a happy Mother’s Day to all you commuting moms.

Written by commuterchroniclesdbh

May 10, 2013 at 8:12 am