So I was a little crabby (read: dramatically depressed and angry all rolled in to one) when Daddy said he had to work on Mother's Day. I was all, "But it's MY day! MINE! I need pampered and loved and the WHOLE DAY OFF, dammit!"
It is entirely possible that I sulked. My feet may have been heavy to the ground too. I also plead no contest to the accusation that I was putting the dishes away loudly. Ok, fine, I deep sighed a lot too. But then, moments later I was given the perfect reminder that I needed to zip my lip and get a hold of myself.
Mr. Pants had been doing what he does best (getting into things he's not supposed to) when he sauntered on over to me with something in his hand. He gave it right to me the first time I asked. It was an old CD. One that was very important to me.
Seven years ago I went to Grand Central Station with my best friend. We wanted to be a part of StoryCorps
, an awesome living history project that began recording stories of survivors after 9/11 and eventually expanded to become an oral history project filled with the voices of any and all Americans who wanted to record an interview. Preserving life, one hour at a time. Below is an excerpt of the interview I did with Jessica, my best friend of over 20 years now. There were three of us in the room that day. Jessica was pregnant with her amazing daughter. After talking about what it felt like for her to be pregnant, she asked me a seemingly simple question. Have a listen...
I can still feel that turn in my stomach as I fought those tears. The flush in my cheeks. The feeling of my breath leaving my body and not coming back quick enough. The pause of my heart. I remember it like it was just yesterday. What if I never become a mother? I remember when my heart started to beat again. It sped up too fast. When my breath came back it hurt. This moment in my life was so powerful. It's one I will never forget.
I want to go back and give that girl a hug and tell her to take a deep breath. And that there are two babies waiting for her. That belong to her. They are already a part of her. She just doesn't know that yet. And it is even better than she thought it could be. It's harder too. A much bigger job than she thinks it is right now.
I want to tell her all about her kids. That her first born will be a son. That he is an awesome ball of energy that will challenge her to be better. He will help her find her way with him. All she has to do is let him. I want to tell her that her daughter will come 21 months after her son. And that her emotions are sometimes bigger than she is and it overwhelms her. But she knows how to help her through that. After all, she knows the feeling.
I want to tell her that it's coming. It's just a few years away. To hang in there and not worry. But I know that she will worry for years. Waiting. Hoping. Loving her future babies. Almost giving up hope so many times.
But I cannot go to her and tell her. So instead I tell myself that the holiday I so desperately wished would someday be mine to celebrate, is not about a day in May to run away from them. Maybe next year I will spend the day at the spa being pampered. But this year is a reminder that my dreams have come true. I waited a long time for sticky fingers and slobbery kisses. I have waited what feels like a hundred years to hear those sweet words come out of the cracker filled mouth of my toddler. I wuv you, mommy.
Oh, My loves, I will love you forever.
So this Mother's Day I'll be at home soaking up the gift I have been given, the love of these babies that are mine. Finally. And I can't think of any spa that can compete with that.
Happy Mother's Day. Especially to those of you still waiting for your babies.
May you find them. Keep believing.
Monday. April 15, 2013
When I heard about the bombs at the Boston Marathon on Monday, I felt some of the things I imagine a lot of people did. Shock. Horror. Sadness that turned to anger.
Why did this happen? Who would DO something like this? I hope they find this/these depraved human/s and slam justice down on them. What is wrong with people?
My heart beat faster.
So I started to breathe. I recognized that I was about to spend hours watching live news feeds and scanning through pictures of the carnage. It was at this moment when I whispered to myself. Don't. You don't have too. It's ok. And so I stopped and I did the only thing that I could do. I took you by the hands, walked away from the computer and back into your lives.
I left the sink filled with dirty dishes. The dishes won't be changing the world or helping to heal it in their own small way. And sometimes on days like yesterday things become so very clear to your mama. There is so much that is right with people.
For the rest of the day we played. All four of us. We giggled. We hugged. There were extra bubbles in your bath. There was no frustration when your snack hit the carpet. There was no rush to bed. There was no rush to do anything beyond being together. Oh, loves you are so young and thankfully there is no need to explain this awful thing to you today. But there will be a day when we do. I imagine what I say might sound like this...
We are all connected. All of us. When we hurt, others hurt. That is why we feel so very sad when we see others are hurting. When we love, others love. That is why our hearts fill up when we see love roll out across the country. When we practice kindness, we send kindness out in to the world for others to feel. Today that balance was thrown off. But only for a minute, my loves. Because you will see kindness and love swallowing up the hurt as people help each other heal. Human beings rise. They rise up and they hold up the grieving and they hug those who are hurting. Those are the people that we are. Love is always stronger.
Pants and Plum, it pains my heart that there will be more tragedy in this world as you grow. But I promise that when it happens, I will not turn my back from you. I will not be swallowed into news feeds and slideshows of carnage. Instead, I will be still. I will be present with you. And we will work through our fears together, coming out the other side of them, ready to love this world that much more. Shining light into the darkness.
That is how we will change the world.
The winter is ending. The spring is new and breaking through. Today was Easter Sunday. The entire day showed me that life is as the seasons are. Always moving. Always changing. Life, youth, age and endings. I was reminded that spring will blossom in honor of the winter's sleep. The flowers will bloom in homage to the ice and snow. That Winter will eventually give way to April. I was reminded that life goes on. And that life's end is a beautiful time despite the sadness it brings.
We spent Easter with my grandparents.
When I walked into the house my grandma asked to see me in her bedroom. She had something she wanted to give to me. Plum and I followed her in. "I have something for you. Reach in the drawer. Pull it out." I reached in and felt a round cold metal ball and knew immediately what my grandmother had gifted me.
When I was a little girl we searched desperately for it in the Christmas tree. It was The Bird. But it didn't look like a bird. It was a silver ball ornament that when switched on sang like a cardinal. The child who found it first received the first Christmas present.
I almost always found it first.
The memories flooded me. All of us throwing our coats and boots off into a pile and running to the Christmas tree. Frantic. Excited. Our arms getting little scratches from the tree. The smells of a real pine tree. My Aunt Candy, who is no longer with us, laughing and playing Hot and Cold with us until someone found it. Then I would find it.
Sitting there with my grandmother, in my hand I held my childhood. And the tears began to flow. From both of us. As she sobbed into my arms, I promised her that my children would inherit this tradition. This excellent memory. That the search for the bird will live on and someday I would pass this piece of our life onto one of my children.
From winter to spring.
Our tears flowed easy. My grandmother's weakened lungs produced coughs and wheezing. We sat together on her bed and regained our composure. She was frail. She was remembering a time when she was younger.
So was I.
Plum ate dinner with them. Right between them actually. Great-grandma cut her meat for her. Plum even conveniently forgot how to feed herself so that great-grandma had to help her. It was as though she knew this would warm her grammy's heart. Because it really did. Mine too.
I remember sitting between my grandparents and celebrating. I remember. I remember it as though it was just last week. They were younger. They were strong. But today they are not as strong.
I watch my grandfather's hand shake because his brain has begun to misfire. Isee him forgetting and confused. I see him struggle to maintain his balance.
I hear my grandmother short of breath. She is so tired. I watch her eyes determined to soak in every memory available to her. I am overcome with the reality that life is moving forward. That the blessing of this life is that it is limited. That time will never stand still. That my children are the legacy. That life is so very precious.
We don't get to keep it. We get no do-overs. But we do get this time. We are given the gift of this time. This here. This now. This chapter of our life. This seemingly simple meal with great-grandparents.
Sharing a meal with Grammy and Pappy
I have no picture of what moved me to cry the entire drive home. Because you don't run to grab the camera when a moment like this comes. Instead you try desperately to remember. And as soon as you get home, you write it down so that it is never lost under the piles of memories that life gives to us. So that they know.
He leaned in for a hug goodbye. My son, so small. Just three years-old. My grandfather, his great-grandfather, cradles one cheek in his hand. His other hand drew my baby's back to his chest. My grandfather's head rests gently cheek-to-cheek with my son. "Lord, bless and keep this child. This beautiful child", he whispered into my son's ear.
My boy looked up to listen to his great-grandfather. He looked right into his eyes and he smiled. My heart wept. I cried for love. The deep and enormous love of my grandfather. I cried for the knowledge that he is in the winter of his life. And I cried for the beauty of this moment between my beloved son and my beloved grandfather. My baby stepped back. "I wuv you, grampy", he whispered. "Oh child, I love you.", my grandfather said.
Plum piped up, "uv oo, ammpy" she said as she moved in for her hug.
It's a wonder I had my wits about me by this point as my grandfather with tears of love in his eyes for my babies, held her and whispered, "Lord, bless and keep this beautiful child". His hand shook. She was calm and stayed in his warm embrace.
I remember how that embrace enveloped me as a child. I remember how safe I felt. How loved. I kissed my grandpa. And while my heart sobbed, I smiled as I met his eyes. "I love you. I love you, grandpa." and he held me in those arms. I knew them. For a moment he didn't shake. He looked into my eyes and said, "Bless you, my girl. May the Lord bless you and keep you."
And for a moment I was 10 years old.
So I thought long and hard about this post. I try to keep controversial topics off the blog because in the end I want this to be a record for my children. But it occurred to me that I want them to know that this time in our lives was big deal. That things were happening beyond poop diapers and Pinterest fails. Mostly I want them to know that their dad and I stood up for something. That we believed in things. This particular issue touches our family. Plum has two God Mommies. They deserve equal rights. It is my hope that by the time our kids read this post, they will do so in disbelief that there was ever a time when people were denied the right to marry the person they love.
So I'm a bit nervous to hit the publish button on this one because I know that I stand to lose some readers. But I'm gonna be OK with that. I'm gonna do it anyway. Here we go....
Image Source: http://humanrightscampaign.tumblr.com/
This is a big week. The Supreme Court of The United States is hearing arguments this week to determine the constitutionality of Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage act. People are fired up on both sides.
Try mentioning marriage equality on Facebook and see what happens. Better yet go to some of the pages dedicated to it and start reading the comments. Inevitably you find people fighting about whether or not gay people are born gay and what the bible says or doesn't say about it. But guess what?
We shouldn't even be having that conversation in relation to marriage equality. It’s all smoke and mirrors and positioning and assholery. Say what? Oh yes. It’s true. Our opinions on how gays come to be gay don’t mean a thing when talking about marriage. It serves to get people all excited and sweating (pun probably intended) and distracts people. It causes those on both sides to dig in their heels and scowl. It makes people read blogs (guilty) and watch MSNBC. Because people love to watch a brawl, don't they?
But it’s all moot. Because marriage is a legal contract. However you make it sacred is then up to you to do or not do. And since we are lucky enough to live in a country that separates church and state, the bible and religion can not apply to this.
If they did I wouldn't be able to roll up on an afternoon to a drive-thru "chapel" in Vegas and get married by
some drunk dude dressed like Liberace. Making a marriage sacred is a personal decision on top of the legal contract. Not the other way around.
My ramblings/ word barfs/ general up-in-arms-ness/points are these...
1. We all choose to live in the United States of America. And that means we have chosen a free society.
One that doesn't use religion or the government to oppress people
or to strip minorities of rights (or never recognize them in the first place). Well at least it’s supposed to be. We are just not all the way there yet.
2. But I hope that we will be. I even have faith that we will.
And that we will soon stop the insanity of this conversation and get to the business of righting this
. Because people and children are being hurt by the government. Because the government has no business
telling you how to be married to a consenting adult. They have no business telling you that you cannot be a subservient wife or a polygamist ( oooh I went there!) or gay married or straight married or divorced or wearing hammer pants. I am freaked out by a few of those things but it is not my right
to take away yours just because you do things differently than I do.
3. My marriage is not "lessened" by anyone else's marriage. It's not even lessened by those pimping themselves on The Bachelor. Though I want to kick all of those “hopefuls” for a rose in the shins and take some gentle cleanser to all that eye make-up. I digress, ahem, your <insert major religion here> marriage is not diminished by my Unitarian Universalist marriage. If it is then your marriage probably wasn't that great to begin with.
4. The definition of marriage has been changed throughout history like eighty-seven hundred times. Or at least fifteen times. Somewhere between 15-8700 times. And seriously, can we just stop the bullshit about definitions? Nobody gives a rats butt about definitions, let's be honest. It's not about that. I mean, they demoted Pluto to some non-planet thingy and I was all, "Wait, what? The definition of Pluto is that it is a planet! You can't change that! Pluto is traditionally known as a planet and all of my understanding of the solar system depends on Pluto being a planet" but they changed it anyway and I somehow lived through it. <- worst analogy ever but whateve
r. Definition shmefinition. It's already been changed, dudes.
5. Some think that it would just be a tragedy if the Supreme Court overturns Proposition 8 because it is "the vote of the people" but you know what? Those same people probably believe in the Constitution (just like I do) and a people's vote is invalid if it takes away the rights of others. We could also talk about how no one "took them away" because they never had them to begin with. Yep. That sucks just as much. Instead I'm talking about the very first big promise from the law of our land. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for ALL Americans. All. Of. Us. The LGBTQ population has the constitutional right to pursue their happiness just like I do. Just like you do. My available liberties and your available liberties must look the same
. How is this even in question?
<puts note cards down>
In conclusion, It’s time to let consenting adults marry each other so that we can move on and do whatever it is we do and be whoever we are and love whoever we love and stop getting up in each other’s business. Because it suuuuucks that we are still talking about this. All my un-equal by law
friends and family just want to get married and have families and have it mean what it does to the rest of us. Sweet Christmas, it is TIME.
One love. It's in your hands SCOTUS. I have faith that the times they are a changin'...
How do you think the SCOTUS will rule on marriage equality?
Respectful comments accepted.
Any comments that contain hateful or disrespectful language will be deleted.
I sit and stare at her in amazement at least once a day. Usually it's more. This girl is fancy. This girl is funny. She is silly and smart. And beautiful. I know I'm not supposed to emphasize beauty but I can't help it. She is a beautiful girl and I can't believe that she is mine. Well, sometimes I can. Like when she puts on her clown wig and rainbow pants. I totally believe it then. Because, duh.
I have been putting off writing this post. It's mostly because I have no idea what to say. My feelings are all over the place. She's two now. She's two. Two whole years old. And I am all at once in love with little ball of awesome energy she has become and wistful about the little tiny baby who lay skin to skin on my chest this very night two years ago.
She has changed and grown. She has learned to talk. She sings and dances. She dresses up and has mad fashion sense. She loves Dora the Explorer (Dora Bora!) and putting on a pwee-tee dwess (pretty dress). Her favorite foods are avocado and turkey wraps. Her favorite drink is still mama's milk. Her second favorite drink is apple juice. She has learned how to bring the best and the worst out of her brother and she is an expert in knowing when to play her cards with him. She knows her alphabet and the sounds the letters make. She is smart smart smart.
She is always excited to see you. She is always chatting with someone or something. She cares deeply for her babies and tells them how loved they are. She will rock and nurse her baby dolls to sleep and then let us all know that we need to "Shhhhh, a baby sweepy". She runs to most of the places she goes. Her amazing chub-a-lub jiggling, even though I notice when a roll disappears and is replaced by a longer body. And yes, that makes me sad. She was my squishiest baby. Maybe the squishiest baby of all time. I'm not ready to see those rolls go just yet. But she's running and jumping and climbing. Determined to grow them out. She has a twinkle in her eye and lilt in her sweet voice. She is gentle and kind and funny and loves her family.
But tonight as I sit here typing, all I can focus on is that she is my little itty-bitty baby. I can still feel her curled up like a kidney bean on my chest. Wrapped in a Moby wrap. Breathing her soft breath in my ear as we slept. Sometimes sleeping with her head stuck in my armpit. I remember the little barracuda baby who knew exactly what to do to get the milk from me. I am remembering the smell and lighting of the bedroom where we spent a lot of time during our first weeks together. How the bedside table lamp tossed a soft light on her face and how I would just stare at her. How when I sang to her, she would smile and coo along. I'm remembering the little baby who eventually won her brothers heart. She knew he'd come around. Because you can't help but love her. You just can't.
She made our family whole. That is how I am thinking of her tonight. Our last baby. Our Plum.
But she's is not a little baby anymore.
I knew she was the last and I made sure that I was soaking up the scents and soft snuggles of her babyhood. But I still want to go back for a few minutes and nuzzle my nose onto her soft fuzzy newborn head and take in her sweet baby scent. Just for a minute. I swear I'd come right back and be ready to move forward on this new chapter. But it seems there is no return but for dreaming. And time will march forward like it always does. What with the flying by...
So I will hold my heart in my hands and say out loud that I am so very sad at times when I think of how fast she has grown. My heart is squeezed and my breath is shallow as I fight tears, wishing I could hold my new babies just one more time. But then I am pulled back into this place. This time. And I hear her call out to me, frightened. Maybe from a dream or just not wanting to be alone. "Mama? Mama?!" and I jump up from my keyboard and slide into bed next to my sweet Plum and say "Mama's right here baby girl. Mama's right here. It's ok." She is immediately calmed. She makes the most beautiful sounds as she nurses back to sleep. And I am reminded that while she is not a baby anymore, she is still my baby. She will always be my baby.
Happy Birthday to you, my precious and loved baby girl. You light up my life every single day with your joy. You are a gift to this world. It is an honor to have been the first to love you. Love you always, Mama
Newborn Baby Plum
Welcome to February’s Secret Subject Swap. This week, 14 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts. My subject was submitted by Macdonald's Playland and it is "The best thing in life..."
When I first saw my subject my face twitched a bit. Oh shit...the best thing in life? How is there any one thing? I ended up thinking about it for days and days and days. I could pin nothing down. I had forty-three ideas and none of them were right. None of them were the best thing in life. They were good things but they weren't The.Best.Thing.In.Life.
I was over-thinking it. Which should come as a surprise to no one. Least of all me. It's how I roll. So this is the new plan. I'm just gonna type and we will just see where it takes us. A little experiment to see what my conclusion is on this topic. You in? Here we go...
1. The answer is absolutely LOVE. There is nothing more important. Nothing more fulfilling. Nothing more integral to my happiness than love. It's love that makes the world go around, you guys. It's love that makes me a better person and love that connects us to each other. Love love love.
2. The answer is definitely LAUGHTER. There is nothing more important or fulfilling than a good belly laugh. We need to laugh. We have to laugh otherwise we'd cry, right?
I just ate this.
3. The answer is definitely this CHOCOLATE CUPCAKE I'm eating right now. I mean I could run away and marry this thing.
4. The answer is definitely BOOZE. Who gets through their whole life without needing a beer? Beer is the friend that hangs out in your fridge just waiting for the right time to love on you. No pressure. No expectations. That's a good friend.
5. The answer is COMMUNITY. We don't walk around in a bubble. We aren't floating about on our own islands. We need each other. We need community and connection. And when you have found that you are lucky lucky lucky. Because community can be hard to find. And community can save you.
6. This is going absolutely nowhere. I could list like this for days on end. Shit.
7. The answer is definitely TIME. Because we all know that it will run out. But we have it right now. Why do we waste it? We can't make more time, yet we go about life like we can. Ok, this is it. The best thing in life is TIME. Time to love. Time to laugh. Time to eat the heavenly cupcakes. Time to throw back a beer. Time to be a part of community. It all comes down to time.
The best thing in life is the time we actually have to live this life. The trick is to find ways to honor that time. And to be inside your own life. To be present and actually living. Yep, it sounds cliché. But I have never seen time plow through my life faster than it has since I became a mama. So, time. We can't slow it down and we can't change how much of it there is. But we can use it and be in it. And take solace in the truth that right now this second we still have it. So we can be living and loving and laughing.
Time. Yep, the best thing in life is just time. The trick is to not waste it.
How do you stay inside of your life? How do you honor the time you have?
“Often when you think you're at the end of something, you're at the beginning of something else.” ~ Fred Rogers
That's what I read this morning when I was tooling around on the interwebs. My intention was to redesign our blog button and spruce up this joint. But then I stumbled onto that quote up there and started to get the hot eyes that you get when you are trying not to cry. Again. You know, because, um, I cry all the time. It's a problem.
If I'm not crying in my car
on my way to grab Chinese take-out, I'm crying happy tears at the end of a movie. Or I'm laughing myself into
tears because I can. not. stop
. watching the Bad Lip Reading
videos on YouTube (you are so welcome for that link). And then this morning Mr. Rogers makes me cry the Always-Threatening-to-Spill Bittersweet-Baby-Stuff tears.
So instead of designing a blog button or tweaking the site or cleaning my house or making myself breakfast, I made this and posted it to our Facebook
page while crying and blowing my nose...
Plum and Pants see the future
He is rounding the bases toward four. He understands how the world works more and more every minute. He is curious. He asks questions even when he knows the answer. I think he just wants to chat and show off his skills. He is sensitive. So so sensitive. He is loving. And he is loud. He wants to show her the way. He wants to show her how. He is getting so tall. He is getting too tall. He is goofy and he knows it. When he wants to figure things out there is no stopping him until he's got it. He is our Lil dude. And he is getting bigger by the hour.
She is turning two in March. It's only six weeks away. She is nowhere near the tiny baby I brought home from the hospital 680 days ago. She is talking to me in sentences. She is tapping into her individuality. She knows her alphabet, numbers and shapes. She has always had opinions, but now she acts on them. She tells you about them. She is thrilled to be understood. She expresses herself all over the place. And her stink-eye is brutal. Brutal. She's a dancer and a singer. She's a dare-devil like her brother. There is no mistaking her love. It is unconditional and covers you. She is our Plum. And she is only one for 1,128 more hours...
Time is always going to be flying. That's nothing new. I'm finding that being awake and inside of these days is the best way to fly along with it. Because it's just never going to slow down. And that is life.
Linking up with Greta and Julie for #iPPP
I am a patient mother
. I really am. I don't get riled up when things aren't going my way. Ya know, like when my little angels take a day by the balls and tear the place apart? I can handle that. Usually. Or when I take extra time to make an elaborate (well, by my standards) meal and both kids end up with cereal after gagging at the taste of the slop I so lovingly prepared? Oh well. Or when the frustration of a particular event builds up inside them and they lash out and hit me? I return a calm voice to them "We don't hit in this house" Because they are very young and still learning how to self-regulate. Sometimes they don't know what to do with their feelings when those feelings get bigger than they are. Hell, sometimes I don't know what to do my feelings when they get bigger than me. But when you are three and almost two you don't yet have all the tools you need to work through and process the intensity that comes with being human. And it's that intensity that sometimes grabs a hold of all three of us at the same time and creates the powder keg. All three of us sitting on it. Waiting for it to blow the entire day straight to hell.I am a patient mother
. But I am also human. I am a gentle mother
. But that is tested sometimes. I have my hot buttons. One of which, when pushed, is my greatest test. I am an imperfect mother
. It doesn't get pushed very often but when it does, my anger comes fast and furious. My gentle parenting strategies become foggy. I see red. So it is my job then to have a plan for that button getting pushed. As the adult here, that's my job. The button is different for everyone. For me? It's biting.
We were in the shit. From dawn to dusk. I started considering an afternoon beer around 9 am. It was as though all three of us woke with an impossible itch to scratch. I had plans. They had plans. These plans were in direct defiance of the other. I was doing ok
managing the chaos. Pulling out my bag of tricks and trying to change up the routine to make our day exciting enough to calm the raging waters. They have cabin fever, I know it. My fear of Plum contracting the Flu has been playing into the plans we make. So I employed just about every tried and true technique I had to make them happy. But nothing was working. Pants was on fire and spraying it everywhere. Plum was out of sorts because Pants was out of sorts and he is her spirit guide. Mama (That's me!) started completely falling apart sometime around 3 pm after hours of constant conflict, destruction, hitting, crying and drama. I reached back into my patience reserves for any little bit of something, anything, to propel me through this day to bedtime. But they were empty. I am a patient mother.
And then it happened.
I felt myself flinch. I was at a breaking point. My button wasn't just pushed, my Achilles heel was slashed. He bit her. AGAIN. For the third time. Her tears immediate and plentiful. Her face, destroyed. Pain. He laughed at her tears. And I flinched. My hand rising up without a thought. My brain hadn't a clue what my hand was about to do. But it wasn't going to be good. My arm was angry and wanted to exact revenge on behalf of my crying Plum. I wanted to spank his bare butt. But in a moment of clarity, I looked through my eyes and saw his face. A sadness washed over me. This is not you. You are not this
. Don't make THIS one of his memories
. Put your hands in your pocket.
My arm came down to my side as tears came to my eyes. That was close. And I employed the plan. Walk away (I took Plum with me). Breathe. Re-think. Start again. Mama needed a time-out. We all did. Once I brought myself back to a good place, I employed step two.
Step two is designed to keep us from returning to that ugly and volatile place. Basically, step two is a resolve. A surrender to the needs of the whole family. Leaving my plan for another time and forming a new plan. On Wednesday, for me, it looked like this...You wanted to get the dishes done but today they need to just sit there and wait. You wanted to get the laundry folded, but its ok that it won't happen. You didn't get a shower. Oh well, you stink. You wanted to write a blog post because you had ideas swirling in your head that you have long forgotten inside of this crazy day. Don't worry about that. So because you didn't get the dishes done and now can't fathom trying to make dinner around the mess, order a pizza, heat up some broccoli, dump some applesauce into some bowls and call it a day. Now is the time to give 100% of you to being present with the kids. Everything else will wait. They will not. Be with them. Go all in. Not just because they need you. But because you need them, too. Erase it. Start again. Let go.
And that's what we did. One minute at a time until things began looking up.
So we went about repairing our bad, bad, awful and straight-up miserable day. And what better way to do that than with one-on-one attention, snuggles, eye-contact, sitting on the floor and playing for real, junk food, pizza and a dance party?
Well don't you know? That's the Pants Family recipe for turning that frown upside-down. Oh and Daddy coming home early from work. That helps too. How do you turn a bad day around?
I didn't have a chance to write a post about our year. We were in the thick of germ warfare in this house as the ball dropped in Times Square. But I can't not recap. This blog is nothing if not a chronicle of our life together. Had I not been washing puke towels and bleaching my house, my year end post would have gone something like this...
My Dearest Husband, Pants and Plum,
2012. Oh, it was a year. It was all at once brutal, beautiful, hard and amazing. It taught us that we can weather anything. But we already knew that, didn't we? As I went through the pictures of what 2012 brought us, I sat and stared and cried. In awe of us. Remembering. Photographs can do that. They take us right back to a feeling. A thought. A memory.
We've made so many memories.
Relaxing on Thanksgiving morning. Bellies so very full. Or the day that the two of you brought your mama comfort because I was so so sad. Sad that my friend had died.
There was the day that we played in the mud and the day that Plum turned One. The day that broke our hearts when Pants had his tonsils out and the day that we rode on a real train for the first time.
So many days. So many moments. But if I had to choose just one, it would be that this was the year you two became inseparable. This was the year you found each other.
I remember every single moment in each of these pictures. The second it occurred to me, Mr. Pants, that you would be ok because you spoke a sentence to me for the first time in your life.
Plum, you started walking and talking this year, baby girl. And you were such a champ when we went camping. I can't believe that you know all of your alphabet and shapes and numbers. You are so crazy (and almost scary) smart.
Pants, you started pre-school and you are r.u.l.i.n.g. it. And Mama cried when I gave you your first short haircut. You loved it but I hope you will choose to grow it out again. You always tell me, "I got you, Mama" as you hug me tight. It melts me.
Daddy, remember when we sat in the driveway and watched our babies play? Do you remember that moment we realized that we were becoming parents to bigger kids?
We've played in the hay, sandboxes and on swing-sets. We snuggled so close every single night. We played dress-up, got fat lips, shared all of our viruses and jumped on beds. We turned 36, 37, 3 and 1.
Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. Life moved forward. Life happened. Life was so beautiful.
And it still is, my loves. I cannot wait to spend 2013 (and all the years to come) loving you. You have made my life full. You bring me a joy that I had no idea existed. You are my heart. All three of you.
You mean everything.
Here's what The Family Pants was up to last year...
And close your fingertips and fly where I can't hold you. Let the sun-rain fall and let the dewy clouds enfold you. And maybe you can sing to me the words I just told you. If all the things you feel ain't what they seem. Then don't mind me 'cos I ain't nothin' but a dream.
Every time I try to sing this song to them, I have to stop. I can't get more than a few lines in before the lump forms in my throat, I feel the salt water hot in my eyes and my voice begins to shake.
I cannot look into their eyes or I don't even get that far. I've come a long way from singing about the paint colors in the house when Mr. Pants was new. But I still can't sing this one.
Sometimes we cannot speak or write words that actually mean what we want them to. Sometimes music can take those words and string them raw and real into the world. Sometimes a song gets inside of you. It's those songs that I cannot sing to my babies just yet. Because those songs lay bare my soul and it would seem I am not yet strong enough for that.
That's usually when I close my eyes and listen. I pull them in. I let the music play. Sometimes I hum and I get the courage to try a few lines. I stop when the tears come and listen. I watch them and dance with them. Hoping that they know how magnificently they are loved.
Music can bring me to my knees. It can make me feel everything at once. It can bring my heart to the outside of my body and move my emotions like waves. It brings me to such an important place when I let it. This place of pure love. A place of freedom. A place of stillness. A place of knowing how fast these days are leaving us. How fleeting these years are while they are young.
And I hold them tighter when I am in this place. I hold them longer. I soak them in. I feel the love I have for them in my bones. And I never want to let them go. It's knowing that I will have to un-knot my fingers from around them someday that brings the swell of my heart and my tears.
I'm sure there will come a day when they think that's weird. But there will also come a day when they understand. When they know this place I am taken to. Because they will be taken there too. And they will know in their bones how fiercely they are loved.
If I had the chance to write a song for my children it would sound an awful lot like this one...
Let the river rock you like a cradle. Climb to the treetops, child, if you're able. Let your hands tie a knot across the table. Come and touch the things you cannot feel. And close your fingertips and fly where I can't hold you. Let the sun-rain fall and let the dewy clouds enfold you. And maybe you can sing to me the words I just told you, If all the things you feel ain't what they seem. And don't mind me 'cos I ain't nothin' but a dream.
Is there a song that speaks to your heart? Is there a place that the music takes you?