linger“To linger.”  Like “hanging out,” it’s an activity we often hesitate to engage in as working parents.  A verb around which our muscles have atrophied in a world of go-go-go.

Tomorrow, Mother’s Day in the United States, I invite you – no, urge you – to linger.

If you’re a mom, can you linger with your pillow a bit longer in the morning?  Or yes, even in the afternoon?  Can you linger in watching the home – including all the movement and chaos – that surrounds you?  Linger in not just what you’ve done, oh creator of worlds, but in the solid beauty of who you are?

If you’re a dad living with a partner who’s a mom, can you linger in her eyes tomorrow?  Linger in her chores?  Linger in whatever small or large thing brings her joy on this day?

And if your own mom is no longer with us, can you take the time to linger with her memory?  With her spirit that perhaps still guides you?  With the beauty of a lineage she’s part of, no matter what type of connection you had?

A few weeks ago, I made good on a 2023 holiday gift to my own mom.  A few-day getaway for the two of us, and time just to linger.  I wrote this poem afterward, inspired by Mary Oliver’s “The Invitation.”




“Oh, do you have time
to linger
for just a little while?”

Not often, but this time, yes.
I booked the AirBNB,
a little cottage
on a horse farm in Charlottesville
and just went.

We roamed the fields,
you, me, and Lucy made three,
and I giggled,
learning that Golden Doodles
love to eat long grasses.

Lucy was born to linger, I think,
to thrust her butt in the air
to my face for a scratch
or to open her pink belly
for a rub.

True, she stops lingering
when her mind is made
to go home
or at 4:51 when her tummy rumbles.
But those are aberrations
from her normal state.

The more non-humans
we invite to the party,
the more magic arrives
at our little-while linger.

May this year’s Mother’s Day bring you both the permission to linger, and deep joy in doing so.  I’ll be celebrating both of us tomorrow – you and me, and all the mamas in this community.  Lingering in the light we bring to this world.


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