Monthly Archives: November 2010

as light fades, the lights begin…

During out “Story of the Day” this evening, during which we re-tell the story of our day while wrapped in darkness, Little Boy responded to the question, “We woke up this morning and what day was it today?!”  with, “Dark Friday!”

Close.  I hadn’t thought about the origins behind “Black Friday” for a long time until this evening.  Trying to explain stores being in the “red” or in the “black” proved intriguing, but we went around with it until he was satisfied.

Today too was spent beginning preparations for the upcoming season of light and warmth.  What better way to begin than by decorating the Christmas Tree and decorating the buffet in some wintry extravagance?

The boys were enamored with lights turning on, sparkly balls to hang, pulling out little ornaments from the past few years and telling the stories, and patiently explaining over, and over, and over again to the Littlest that the tree was for touching gently, the ornaments could be touched with “one finger touch”, and trying not to repeat, “No!  Oh….OH!  Stop!  Ohhh.” but rather patiently explain that the shiny and sparkly ornaments up top were there because they were so delicate.  The operant word here is “try”.  I had a run for my money today.

But we still need THAT ONE to play with!  “ehh.  Ehhh!!   EHHHH!”   Ahh…that one.   Yes, that one needs to stay up top.  Look at all the interesting ornaments down here!  Cloth, wood, pinecones…no?  You need the delicate and breakable one at the top?  Ahh.  Hey look!  A toy deer!”  Hooray for distraction.  If only it worked all the time.  In defense of the Littlest though, this is the most exciting thing since the sandbox that he’s ever discovered and could touch.

But finally it sunk in a little, for the moment, and kids crawled down off of tables to resume important play.

And when we came home this evening, we were greeted with a little wonder, filling our hearts with excitement and anticipation.

Even the buffet, reworked with twinkly lights and soft white fleece, offering an intrigue of something unknown but magical.  Something warm and undiscovered.  Something safe and wondrous.  Something coming…different celebrations for many traditions…but right now we are at the twilight of the season.

Our celebration of light.

turkey day reverie

All around I see the generous outpouring of thankful reminders and wishes.  How worthwhile to have a holiday with this focus in mind!

Many days I ponder what my children will remember of the holiday traditions we try to create.  I question others on what they recall from childhood…what was special, meaningful, magical.  While trying to strategize how to bring a reverence and appreciation and purpose to the holidays, I can’t help but see that the day itself is not what it is solely about.  Like a rhythm to their days, our children attach themselves to what we see and do, absorbing surroundings and nuances with a precision they are unconscious of.   Our body language, our moods, our excitement, our recollections…these are their foundations, their own guide to how to operate in the world, their own guide to “normal” until they work out a path unique to them, their own guide to what is worthy of their attention and excitement on the holidays.

I’m learning.  Watching the heart-palpitating excitement play out before THE big feast gave me pause.  Listening to wriggles and giggles of glee on the way to THE big dinner made me smile.  I smiled knowing that neither child was likely to spend longer than five minutes at the table for dinner before they’d be off and running: driving cars across carpets, running the hall or peacefully absorbing themselves in emptying the contents of the salt and pepper shakers under the radar.

It’s likely not about the actual moment of dinner for them.  It’s something more pervasive and ubiquitous.  It seems instead to be about the rising swell of anticipation built over weeks, the synergy as those around them begin to speak of their own excitement and preparations, the library books filling in a little more detail as to what this is all about, the community reference that something bigger than themselves is happening: mom insists on special clothes, combed hair, and the knowledge that their friends are doing the same thing right now too.  And it’s about stories…about them, about past holidays, about “that one time” on a Thanksgiving years ago, about thrills and mishaps and fond recollections…we tell our stories.  To little ears, it is captivating.

While busy preparing the green beans, two little boys took a moment together to practice telling their own story.  You could almost touch the buzz in energy from the balancing act they were performing.  Wordlessly, haltingly, they communicate who will hold the book, how close it is permissible to get: touching and pointing is okay but wiggling and moving the book is not.  Turning the page causes nearly frantic hysteria as the book must be closed in order to turn the page simply because a three-year-old’s hands aren’t big enough to do otherwise.  Slowly the Littlest realizes the book is not being taken away, just a page turned, and he is captivated by stories of diggers and dumpers.  This is the beginning.  Patiently they fill the pregnant space created while waiting with anticipation for the Thanksgiving dinner, practicing their stories.

Stories are at the heart of us.  Magic and memories are kept alive by our narratives with our own wonder and detail.  Stories connect us to the past.  They connect us to each other.  They give us points of reference, encouragement or guidance, reassurance or conundrums.

As we begin the swing into the holiday season, the stories are rich and varied.   Not just our own but the many holiday stories.  I have many aspirations for future tales, but for now I’ll remember the story of this year.  Of this Thanksgiving.

This Thanksgiving is the year I parked in my garage for the first time on Thanksgiving Day and had the sweet satisfaction of unloading sleepy boys right into the house while listening to the patter of rain outside (thank you Dad and Mom!).  This is the year we had a peaceful and beautiful potluck Thanksgiving.  This is the year Little Boy keeps asking me if Daddy is coming home when we put the Christmas Tree up tomorrow and my heart skips a beat hoping that the answer “not yet, we’re getting ready for him!” won’t crush him (almost…three more weeks!).  The year I learned how to make a rue for a green bean casserole.  The year my heart overflows with gratefulness for the support and love of my family.  This is the year Little Boy will remember Thanksgiving.  This is the year my brother came with his family (wonderful Lisa) and added the best dynamic.

But, this is not the year I made mashed potatoes so stretchy they’d have been put to better use rolling them into balls to see if they would bounce.  This is not the year I forgot to turn the oven on somehow and dinner was delayed until after 9 pm and I was mortified but our friends were so generous and understanding that I didn’t feel like crawling under a rock and we had a great time.  This was not the year I ate cold turkey because I was caring for a sweet baby.

Those too are my stories though.  And my boys do love to hear a good story.  It seems to keep the charm and wonder alive.  😉

Happy Turkey Day all!  Hope you added to your story collection this year!

 

the berlin wall of emotion

Any parent of children knows that there are many emotions involved with the gig.  Not only processing the emotions we have ourselves while navigating this world, but also being the souls responsible to guide our children into their own emotional intelligence.  Moments and expressions the rest of the world would scorn or prickle at are given to us from our children to help through, ready or not.

It is ironic to me though.  When amidst company and a baby begins to cry, we pass the babe back to mom (or dad) with a look of both compassion and relief.  Compassion for the parent who is the final go-to during the moments of not-happiness as they guess to figure out how to address the dissatisfaction, and the relief that you are not that person for that baby.  It is accepted socially as “normal.”

As a child grows, we less and less feel the compulsion to “allow” negative behaviors.  There grows a sense of fear and horror when your child has an outburst, like that behavior is going to leak out and our friends and family are going to judge us as bad parents because of it, or that somehow a young child exploring real/pretend who lies is on the road to moral decay, or that a child who expresses a horrifying statement like “I hate you!” attached to a strong emotion is destined to become a sociopath if it is not nipped in the bud right now.  This is especially difficult when it happens or is witnessed in your home, the trenches where all this stuff is hashed out in a safe place to start with but is then given an audience.

A small child stubs his toe, or feels threatened his brother is going to take a toy and hurts his finger in the great rush to safety.  He begins to cry.  After thinking about the indignation of the situation for a moment, he realizes he is not only in pain, but also angry.  Angry at the pain, at ineptitude, at the demeaning nature of having an audience in his blunder, at things out of his control.  When you ask if he is okay or whether you can comfort him, the anger is turned on you and you are met with a contorted face and fiery angry eyes and attacked with a vicious scream, “I’m going to HIT you!”

What would your response be?

Uhh…can I pass him off now?

Nope.  This is it.  There is no great pass-off, no comfortable seat on the sideline from where you can assess the volleys back and forth righteously.  You are the parent.  You are it.

As an advocate for the premise behind Positive Discipline and Attachment Parenting, I have been deeply perplexed and troubled.  Hurting my child to teach him the lesson that he may not threaten to hurt me seems…incompatible and illogical.  But, the challenge given to me these last few months has been exactly that, “I’m going to HIT you!!!”  repeated…repeated…repeated.  Said with spit flying, this has knocked me off my feet.  An emotion and declaration so violent in nature and so socially unacceptable and personal has instantly put me on the defensive and placed me squarely in the hot seat.  If simple reflection doesn’t work (you are angry?) then we need to contain and treat this unacceptable behavior.  Right?

*sigh*  The saying goes, “The more you resist, the more it persists.”  I’ve racked my brain deep into the night trying to do the mental gymnastics of how to not resist this verbal attack.  Nothing.

I’ll spare you the details of every attempt to “teach him a lesson” I pulled (none violent in nature, rest assured).  The rage would only escalate.

Fortunately, I only write this because of an intense epiphany and it’s subsequent waves we’ve been enjoying the last two days.

A conversation with a good friend spurred finding a serendipitous passage in a book about children saying “I hate you” which gave me pause.

“Part of your child’s development is learning how to recognize, label, and express his emotions.  He needs to learn that it is okay to have strong negative feelings, including anger.  Your child isn’t stopping to think, “How will Mommy feel when I tell her I hate her?”  ….Forbidding the use of the expression “I hate you” sends the message that it isn’t okay to have those strong feelings.  Even when you suggest that he find another way to express himself, the child gets the message that his feeling was not okay.  But all feelings have to be acceptable.  They are feelings, not actions.  …As your child matures, he will learn the power of his words and the effect they have on others.  That is part of his growing emotional intelligence.  But children under six are not there yet.  They are all about themselves….here is the good news about children who say “I hate you.”  …Not only is he becoming aware of his effect on other people, but he is also learning to use his words and not his actions to express his feelings.” (Just Tell Me What To Say, p 118).

The wash of relief was energizing.  For weeks I’d been fretting whether it would be best to physically restrain him “to protect myself,” place him somewhere alone safely with me on the other side of the door until he was capable of expressing his anger in “acceptable” ways, empathizing, attempting to reflect, etc.  It only escalated the situation to baffling intensities.   No longer did I feel hopelessly backed into a corner with this situation.  I had options!!  How freeing!  Bring on the intense emotions!

That next morning I drew from this new information and the seven scripts I’d committed.  Previously my tactic had been a variation of “You are angry you stubbed your toe?  (explore appropriate methods to express anger).  I choose not to have that kind of talk around our family.  You’ll need to be in the (room) if you’re going to attack me with your words until you can speak kindly to me.”

Sure enough, my opportunity to change tactics was presented.

Toe stub.

::screaming escalated…here it comes::  “I’m going to HIT you!!”

“Wow.  You stubbed your toe and that made you so angry, you feel like you want to hit me?”

His body stuttered a second before continuing.

“I’m going to HIT you!!”

“That’s really angry.  When you’re so angry you want to hit someone you love, that’s pretty intense.  That’s pretty heavy.  You must be very angry”

“I’m goi…I want to HIT you!”

“You’re so angry you want to hit me?  Man, that’s really angry.”

repeat some more, and then, “yeah.”  mumble mumble.  the end.

Are you freaking kidding me?!?!  We just took a power struggle for what I perceived to be a legitimate need to teach my son appropriate expressions for his anger that would typically ruin whole mornings or afternoons down to ten freaking minutes!!!?!?

I got to thinking.  If I am honest with myself, I get that angry sometimes too.  But the 25 years I have on my son gives me the wherewithal to shut my trap.  I too could say that I’ve been so angry I have wanted to hit someone.  I have never acted on it. I have needed to choose other more appropriate ways to handle my anger, but that emotion he himself is expressing which has given us both such grief is one I too have had and just never made the connection that words are not actions.  I am the safety net where he is learning the connection between actions, feelings, words…all this from.  It would not be acceptable for him to tell anyone else that he is going to hit them, but I get to accept him, warts and all, so I can help walk him through what on earth he’s feeling and where to go from there.  How can we give words to our feelings unless someone shows us how?  We eventually figure it out, but maybe we don’t have to reinvent the wheel if someone will accept us at face value.

Yesterday I was given four more opportunities to try my new tactic of reflection and accepting his analogy that his anger is so great he thinks about hitting someone he loves.   Each time was progressively shorter and less intense.  Momentous.

And a post for another day?  Today this Little Boy exhibited a drive to nurture and connect and play that I have never seen before, in very specific ways.  I’ll never know if the two are connected, but perhaps.  Today, a wall was crumbled.

Phew.  Some days we’re flying blind, and some days we’re high as a kite with the hope we are on a path that will grow our boys into compassionate, empathetic men.

Today, the wind is blowing and the kite tails are flying.

the love of a papa

So, I’ve been absent the past few days due, in part, to a sleepless baby but also because I have been struggling with perfection.

My hero in the mom-blog world is Amanda Blake Soule (http://www.soulemama.com/soulemama/).  But I don’t feel confident I can come up with deep insights each evening AND have the time and energy to explore them succinctly and edit properly, etc.  My scope is different from hers, but no one ever went anywhere by not doing something out of a fear of failure.  How passive that is.  How real that is too.  That’s not who I want to be.

So, I’m recommitting to building my boys.  Giving myself permission to relinquish absolute perfection in the face of a new venture seems only reasonable.

And on that note, we’ve had some wonderful moments recently.  Papa came over to build a fire with the boys, use a hatchet to chop sticks, wait patiently while Little Boy insisted he too could use the hatchet until he realized the hatchet was real and therefore heavy…hehe.  The we focused on fire-building while boys jumped like crickets around Papa, anxious to finally light the carefully prepared teepee of paper, tinder, and twigs.  And then, a fire!  Hiss, crack!  Pop!

Papa is one adored man, and it’s completely because he makes the time to check in on the level of each boy and be absorbed and interested.  The feelings of being valued and important just for existing is the biggest warm-fuzzy around.  There is great freedom when a relationship is free of criticism, guilt, shame or disgust.  How vulnerable we can be with that person!  How sweet it is to have gifts given freely because you are loved for your existence rather than because there is any intention to remind you of it in the future?

And so, it goes that the boys will squeal and wait eagerly for Papa to come long before he arrives.

I think most anyone would wait with their nose pressed to the window for warm acceptance to role in the driveway.  Only a Papa has been around for long enough to be mindful of time.  Often I’ll find Papa in the garage or the shed patiently explaining the uses of different tools or how they work to the bright blue eyes seated comfortably in his arms.

Only a Papa remembers how quickly a boy grows up.  Boys need someone who remembers.  That person will take the time to go at their pace and show them at their level, and not be worried when the interest fades mid-stride and we’re off on another topic.  They remember that the boy will get bigger and the time will come for longer attention spans.

I was caught by surprise thinking of what it means to a young boy to have a Papa in his life.

When a mother of one finds she is newly pregnant, one of the concerning thoughts she will spend time wondering about is whether she will be able to love the second child as fiercely as she loves the first, followed by the fear that she may not since how can one expand something which already fills your heart to breaking.  People reassure that love doesn’t split, it grows, but the reassurance is weak.  Not until that mother falls in love with her second child does she realize what it feels like and the worry is cast aside.

Today I thought about how having their Dad completes these two boys.  He is their idol and mentor even while they are young, even while he is away.  He is the man to whom all others are compared to.  “Mom, is it as big….as DAD?!?”

When presented with the choice to play with Mom and the girls or “assist” the men in their attempt to trouble-shoot the black-water lines, a friend’s 14 month old son stood seriously in the circle of men around the leaky line.  Barely reaching their knees, he too pondered the gravity of the situation with his little arms crossed.  Along with the men.  Next to his Dad.

A boy with a loving Father who will prize and protect him, who will show him how to wrestle and guide him through fears…he is wrapped in fullness and love completely.

A boy with a loving Papa who patiently tries to steady his screw-gun while a wee one plays “ride ’em cowboy” on his back, and makes time to be in the moment…he is wrapped in fullness and love.

That love does not split.

Each complete him, in his own unique way.  Each mean the world to him and will shape who he becomes.

When they love him, the boy does not need to allocate the ribbon for being wrapped in love.  He gets wrapped twice.

Each piece of the ribbon will be one that he leans on at different times during his life.  Having more ribbon tied around you just gives you more support when you’re weak, more options when unsure, more models of love and masculinity.

How special to have the love of a Papa.

Without guilt.

Without shame.

Without criticism.

Completely.

beneath a child’s anger

Breakfast oatmeal was greeted with enthusiasm and bright eyes today in anticipation of the warm and creamy oats, shredded apple, maple and butter, cinnamon.

Unfortunately, said breakfast oatmeal was still flaming hot off the stove and Little Boy was ready to eat it “right now!!”

Patiently he tested it on his tongue, blew on it, tested, blew, gave it far more attention cooling it down than normal.  But the bite that made it past his lips was still too hot, and he became ANGRY.

Okay, so parenting books suggest staying present, reflecting your child, etc.  “Oh I see you are so angry that the oatmeal is too hot to eat.”

While others rave about this technique, for reasons that mystify me, reflecting my son’s anger has always done nothing but feed the beast.  If, when a bout of screaming rage subsides, an attempt is made to reflect that stubbing your toe on a corner really does hurt and I see it makes him angry, I am not met with bright eyes of validation but rather a fresh torrent of tears and wails. What’s a mom to do when she is incapable of comforting her child?

Something deeper is lying beneath that anger though.  Anger is the surface emotion that compensates and leads our bodies to action.  Anger is the symptom.

Beneath our angers can lie our fears.

When my child is screaming in a public place I become angry, but really I am fearful of how others will view him, my ability as a parent, and myself.

When my Little Boy tries to put his shoes on and can’t and begins yelling and throwing them in frustration he is angry, but really he is fearful that he is failing at this simple task he sees others do every day.

When Little Boy romps around, gleefully skidding along the rocks with a tricycle’s loud plastic wheels I become angry, but really I am fearful that he will wake the tired baby who finally fell asleep in the van.

When the Littlest comes near Little Boy and he freaks out, shoving all of the toys away he is angry, but really he is fearful that the Littlest is coming to grab, drool on, or rearrange his projects.

When two children are in distress simultaneously I must play triage on them which can anger one or the other and sometimes I become angry, but really I am fearful that I cannot meet the needs of both of the small needy beings whom I love and rely on me.

To recall our angers and then backtrack them into fear is intriguing.  It is also not just for kids.

Fear of judgment, fear of incompetence, fear of worthlessness, fear of failure.  That’s heavy stuff.  I get why he’s screaming now.

Baffled by my red-faced son at the breakfast table, mind racing trying to grasp for some semblence of helpful offering, I recall the power of fear.

“Are you afraid the oatmeal would burn your lips?  Your tongue?  Are you afraid that you won’t even be able to eat your breakfast because it is so hot and you’ll be hungry all day?  Are you afraid that you are doing something wrong and for all the patient effort to cool it down the oatmeal is still hot?”

Tears instantly stopped with the surprised wide-eyed look I’d left for lost years ago.  “Yes.”

A wash of relief is a physical experience.   My son could be reached through finding his fear.

He cried a minute more connecting with those fears and then moved on.  Breakfast as usual.  One empty bowl.

I will remember today.

I will remember the power of our fears, and the value of acknowledging them.

Copyright Ginger Payton 2010 all text and photos

This post is inspired by an article in the November/December issue of Mothering Magazine, “Tame Your Temper: Managing Mama Rage”.  It also addresses many other facets and resources for addressing the anger mothers (and fathers) can experience.

you won’t pick up your toys, huh?

Anyone with children or who remembers childhood is also likely to recall the perpetual challenge the request “clean up time” regularly comes with.

Fortunate is our society that our children have so many playthings.  The bounty also gives us a never-ending conundrum of how many toys is enough, what to do to organize all of them, and how to deal with reluctant children and chaos in the aftermath of building towers, setting up intricate road systems, creating dragon lairs and rescue missions and such.

One of the perpetual missions I find myself on is identifying ways to turn the tides of the power struggle from a battle of wills and rather into an opportunity to explore choices.  My ability to run mental gymnastics finding solutions that give Little Boy practice making choices while still maintaining my boundaries sometimes runs out, but more often than not we find a solution.

Like every other parent of children with multiple toys, the time comes when we must announce cleanup time.  And like every other parent who announces this, it is not infrequent to hear that your sweet child would prefer someone *else* to clean up the mess on the floor as it has become uninteresting since play has stopped.

Umm.  No.  Power struggle…imminent.

One day when presented with this innocent declaration that cleanup would be left for someone else, I had an epiphany.  In my search to stay calm, since in my experience in winning power struggles is exhausting, I hatched a plan that would be acceptable to both of us.

Little Boy was presented with his choices.  We talked about how when you make a mess, you clean it up.  Mom cleans up messes in the kitchen when she makes them, Papa cleans up messes in the garage when he’s building things.  We talked about all the grownups in his life and the messes they might make and then clean up.  Little Boy makes messes too, and part of making the mess is cleaning it up.

So, he was offered his solution.  One of the things I do for our family is keep our house cleaned up.  I have other responsibilities of things to take care of, just like he takes care of his toys, but we could trade chores and I was okay with that.

So quickly I scooped the jumble of playthings into a basket and stashed it in a high place.  We talked about how when he was ready to earn them back, we’d come up with something that Mom was planning on doing to trade.  One cleanup for one cleanup.

Deep breath.  I didn’t feel taken advantage of, the toys were picked up, and Little Boy had some fairly earned washing coming up that he would *choose* when to do!

Smile.

The stash that I clean up peacefully grows.  Dump trucks, airplanes, random cars, trucks, trains, motorcycles.  One basket for each cleanup, ready for trade with one cleanup around the house.  Little Boy discovers toys he hasn’t played with in a while since his other toys are in hock and he is unwilling to clean for them yet.  The pull to be domestic has not yet grown strong enough to match his desire for the toys cleaned up.


Finally, the day inevitably comes when his attention turns to something in one of the bins.  Nothing else will do.  The time has come to clean.

One bin discovered leads to more needed, and our house gets some deep cleaning that’s been waiting just for him.

Toilets, sinks, small sections of floors, stairs, little tables, wooden arm rests…each in it’s own time has been polished and washed too.

And I sigh with satisfaction.  One more power struggle to release.  That feels good.

lullaby

Last night I found the words to my lullaby.

Every new mother finds herself singing tunes, perhaps tunes that were unexpected, in hope of comforting her crying infant.  Night after night these songs are turned to for comfort and reassurance.  These lullabies are sung mindlessly, eventually taking on a relief of their own deep in the night when thoughts are incoherent, sleep beckons but your body is needed by a small being, and a soft song is sung to reassure that you both that all is safe and will return to calm.

The lullaby that came to me deep in the night was different from the other songs that I sing to my sons.

Years before I had known a Woman whose entire being embodied warmth and acceptance.  There were none unwelcome to her and her presence was magnetizing, people following her billowing skirt and long braid.  She was married to a Man whose gentle and firm presence, together with her joy, laid the foundation for a large community of people, of whom they were the nexus.

They were well-loved, and adored each other with an energy you could mop up.

I adored them too, though from the distance of a newcomer, only marveling at the radiance you wonder if perhaps it might be contagious and if so I would need to find more ways to be around them in the hopes I could gather some pieces of wisdom.

And so, I found myself in a makeshift Tavern one summer in Alaska.  A happy place with peanut shells scattered across the dirt and old wooden reels previously used for wrapping giant cables around and now re-purposed as tables.  There were live skits and singing, a lighthearted affair.  At the end of the evening, this Woman and Man emerged with a group of friends and actors and sang a song, haunting and beautiful.

Using my excellent skill for hearing lyrics that only rhyme with the real lyrics, I thought the song was about a woman named Linda Lane and could only gather something about the boys coming home to her.

So when, deep in the night, my exhausted body able only to rock and hum a tune from somewhere lost inside, this was the song I heard myself singing, remembering only “let her go boys” in the lyrics.

Eyes closed, rocking my sleepless infant, it took me back to the joy of watching her expressive face light up, of admiring how after a lifetime of marriage she adored and was adored, of knowing how many lives she and her husband brought sunshine to, and of the boys in the song finally finding their way home.

Her husband died unexpectedly that fall.

My heart hurts each time.  I think of how death is indiscriminate of even beautiful love.  How impersonal death itself is, but how personal the affect is.  And no one else I’ve ever known has adored their wife so openly as this man, and my husband.  Knowing she lost her love terrified me.  Where then do you turn to for your foundation when the one who gives you worth and life is lost.

Last night I found the song.  This post never made it past my throat as I was singing the lullaby to my son last night, who couldn’t sleep. Tonight I am able.

It is about boys coming home.  Though it is not to Linda Lane, but rather to the Isle of Mingulay, meant to be sung by Scottish fishermen returning home, home to wives and babes.

This is the group I originally heard sing that afternoon.  I was near the drummer, whose rhythm encompassed me and became my heartbeat for a moment.

Now I sing so my sons, who are my heartbeat forever, waiting with love for the day their Daddy will return home too.

Heel y’ho boys / let her go boys
Bring her head round / into the weather
Heel y’ho boys / let her go boys
Sailing homeward / to Mingulay!
What care we boys / how white the Minch is?
What care we boys / of windy weather
when we know that / every inch is
sailing homeward / to Mingulay?
Chorus
Wives are waiting / on the pier heads,
Gazing seaward / from the heather.
Pull her head ’round / and we’ll anchor
‘Ere the sun sets / on Mingulay!
Chorus
When the wind is wild with shouting
And the waves mount ever higher
Anxious eyes turn ever seaward
To see us home, boys, to Mingulay
Chorus
Far behind us hills of Quinlon,
Soon before us hills of heather,
And you know, boys, candles glow, boys
In the windows of Mingulay