Faith, Family, & Focaccia

A faith and culture Mommy blog, because real life gets all mixed together like that.

My Solution: Day 23 of the April Poetry Challenge


Last night just before bedtime I was having some personal time in the bathroom when the door was pushed open by little fingers. I tried to forestall the intrusion, but there was no stopping my little Gigglemonster.

“I just need to be with you, Mommy.”

Honestly, how do you say “no” to that?

He then proceeded to lay down on the bath mat, snuggle against my feet, and declare:

“I was just so lonely, and so I needed to be with you because you’re the only one who could fix that.”

Seriously, girls, watch out. This boy’s sweet nothings are going to be soul-melting.

As a responsible parent I try not to melt too obviously when he says stuff like this to me, but I really had to respond to something that sweet with appropriate sentimentality.

“I’m glad I’m your solution to feeling lonely, Honey” (Massive smile in response – adorable – must build on these awesome fuzzy feelings!) “You are my solution to feeling lonely too!”

His eyes lit up even brighter and we had one of those magic connection moments that are what make all the 3:00 am wake-ups, and cleaning up vomit, and general harassment endured as a parent all worth it.

Then he went and ruined the moment by revealing the true source of his glee. He thought I meant he was my ONLY solution to loneliness, and particularly that his Daddy and sister were not.

Screeeeech. Back up! We need to address this.

We went on to have a little conversation about how his specialness did not exclude other people (especially people in our family!) from being special to me to. He got it eventually, but it was clear that this prospect lacked a bit of the appeal of being my one and only. He struggled with the reality check for a bit and then asked a very telling question:

“Mommy, who is NOT your solution?”

Good question, kid. The reality, of course, is that there are a whole host of people whom I do not treat like my solution – many whom I even treat as my problem (including the Gigglemonster himself from time to time – did I mention 3:00am?). My good-Christian-parent instincts, however, prompted me to respond that everybody can be my solution, and his solution too. A little Good-Samaritan-ask-not-who-is-my-neighbor-but-rather-ask-how-to-be-a-neighbor morality lesson.

Of course, he is only four years old so at that point he lost interest and started asking questions about Frozen (because we hadn’t already spent at least forty-two minutes talking about Prince Hans’ sword that day). While he might have been unimpressed by my answer, however, it has stuck with me. What might it be to actually believe that every single person I encountered could be my solution?

My Solution


What would it mean to know you as “solution”?

Would it mean that I would see with different eyes?

look for our points of commonality?

ignore competing impulses of pride?

believe that you had something real to give me?


What would it mean to know you as “solution”?


Would it mean that I would speak, admit my need?

reveal the pain of gnawing loneliness?

let down my guard, be willing to conceded

that on my own I feel so often less?


What would it mean to know you as “solution”?


Would it mean that trust would be more free?

that we would both be honest, both be true?

that in exchange for sharing all of me,

you also would reveal the truest you?


What would it mean to know you as “solution”?


Would it mean that we could find together

that blessing comes from vulnerability?

that – maybe even – we could build a better

understanding of community?


What would it mean for us to share “solution”?


Could it mean that ALL could know connection?

Could it mean suspicion would abate?

That we could cease to subdivide by section?

Could it mean an end to war and hate?


For if it would, then what a true solution!


Relationships that value love and sharing

Morality that always seeks to give

Community where trust is worth repairing

A world that knows to heal it must forgive.


It’s hard to see the other as solution,

and harder still to speak, admit my need,

but I will make this simple resolution

and offer it to you who sit and read.


I will try to see you as my solution.
Will you try the same?




Author: Serena Gideon Rice

In early 2011 my family moved our home, temporarily, from New Jersey to Milan, Italy. In the process I quit what had been my dream job conducting policy-directed social science research, to focus on my other dream job, raising our two young children. The three-year adventure was exciting, exhausting, disorienting, fulfilling, and countless other contradictions. It also birthed in me a desire to share my reflections on life's joys and challenges with anyone who cares to reflect with me. Now that we have returned to the US I'm finding that the new perspective I gained in Europe has come with me, and gives me a whole new way of interacting with my home. There's still so much to learn and share! I hope you'll share the journey, and add your own lessons to my daily education.

2 thoughts on “My Solution: Day 23 of the April Poetry Challenge

  1. This reminded me of a comment by a new friend who decided that she would call “cancer” “(the)an(sw)er.” She looks at an unfortunate situation as a solution.

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