Me: "Who has the best seat in the house, me or daddy?"

Adam: "Well, Daddy's is nice, but yours is best. Your's is squishier."

Sunday, March 22, 2015

My Beebee Dahw

Oh, those eyes.
Those squeezable cheeks.
Those sweet little lips.
The hint of red in her brows and tousled curls.

Oh, how I love her. 


You sweet, naughty little thing.  You stay up too late talking to your "beebee dahw", a tiny doll you only think of when it's time to got to sleep.  You eat five bites out of every apple in the fruit bowl.  You unroll the toilet paper, unfasten your diaper, and un-tidy every room only moments after I have them all put together.  You get into mama's beads and throw them one at a time to watch them bounce.  You unroll my floss.  You empty the kleenex box.

Destructo traits aside, you are an amazing little person.  You watch and carefully copy as your sisters restock the DVD shelf you just emptied, making sure to get them all right side up.  You sit in our homeschool reading time and carefully turn the pages of a chapter book with no pictures in it,  You help me put the wash into the dryer, and scrub the walls and floors any chance you get.

I'd love to secretly film you as you studiously scribble on a notepad, or sing the credits of "Friends" late at night ("....Waaaay!  .....Aaaaaaay!  ...........Yoooooooou!!!!  Tooooooo!!!!")  
As soon as you learn to speak English I'll have to stop watching that in front of you.  One more reason for you not to grow up.

You don't notice my grey hair, my lazy laundry habits, or the million things a day I do that aren't quite right.

Thanks for that.

I fret about being an older mama to a new-ling.  Will you be embarrassed to have a mom that looks more like a grandma when you are a teenager?  Will my health hold up?  You have certainly inspired me to change my lifestyle.  I never imagined I would love doing something called "downward dog" or "baby cobra" regularly.  Who knows, maybe, even with all we've been through, I'll actually live longer just because of you.

You did luck out in a way.  I got all of my guinea-pig-experimentation out on the older kids.  Any parenting tactic that has made the cut in the last 18 years must work pretty well.  I don't care when you potty train, and you can pick your nose all you want (just don't eat it).  Also, I don't care what you grow up to be as long as you have integrity and are caring.  I think that rules out out most careers in organized crime or anything with "pole dancing" in the job description (no offense to all you pole dancers out there.  I'm sure you are lovely and very nimble.)

I thought the feeling might wear off, the feeling that you are a miracle child, but it hasn't.  There is a hallowed feeling when I am with you, and I wish everyone knew your story.  It's not the kind of thing you talk about in a store checkout line (though I have if the moment has felt right).  But it shows in your eyes, and anyone who knows you has felt your special spirit.

I love you, sweet girl.

I've found myself feeling afraid lately.  Afraid of offending people.  Nervous that what I may say here will cause some person some untold, unintended pain.  I find I'm running my words through so many filters my fingers hover over the keyboard, paralyzed.  If I air my many opinions on parenting or birth related issues, will I hurt the tender feelings of a mama who feels otherwise?  If I blast the airwaves with my political agenda, my homeschool ideas, my vaccine and western medicine criticisms, will I alienate a reader or two or ten? I've likely already offended the pole-dancers in the crowd.

The filter has gotten so big, and so clogged, I am experiencing writers block.  A big blocked filter.

Which brings me back to this angel girl.  There was a day I would have written odes and poetry of her lovey ways.  I would have gushed and mushed all about her.

But I am aware, these days more than ever, of women who have waited and wanted and held in their hearts a little cradle that has remained still empty.  Whether from loss of life or health, or loss of opportunity, their arms are empty.  

Then I think about authenticity.  How can any of us be our true selves if we worry about things in this way?  How, if we fear that living our lives fully may offend another, can we become the people we were meant to be?

I remember Francine once telling me that being our authentic selves helps others to find their authentic voice.  I know that when I meet someone who can move through the world gently, doing what they do well with power and grace, I feel so inspired.  I don't think it is all or nothing (though my thinking tends to go that way).  I don't believe that you must be abrasive or offensive in order to be your best and most real you.  And I don' think we must hide our candle under a bushel so that we don't offend the people around us that are using a lamp or a flashlight.

So I'm going to work on being okay with being me.
I hope I can do it gently, and not hurt others along the way.

It is what I would want for her.  

Sunday, March 8, 2015

'Meet' me in Saint Louie

I slopped out of bed  yesterday and dragged myself to the closet to get dressed.  The Littles and Middles were already up because on Saturdays they set an alarm to get up at 6:30 AM to watch cartoons.  It is a throwback to my childhood, this whole allowing them to watch 'junk-food TV', as I call it.  Every kid should get to have some "me" time on Saturday morning.  Okay, I really don't feel that way.  What I really feel is that I want sleep on Saturday more than I want food and, if it weren't for that whole asphyxiation thing, air.  I would sell my firstborn for 2 more snoozes.  Don't judge me.  Before we caught them, the kids had been getting up at 4:30 AM.  We set a limit... no earlier than 6:30.  See what good parenting?

Anyway, I bumbled out to the studio and told them to hustle, we had to get to the meet. "The.  Meet."  Two words I think I will be saying often from now on.  It's track season, and Adam had his first track meet.  Let me explain this to you if you have never been to one before.  Those of you who have, sit back and knowingly nod your heads.

You get up at 0-dark-thirty, pack like you are going to Antarctica, then pack more like you are going to the Sahara.  Now, pack food for 25 people.  And water.  Lots and lots of heavy water.  Yell at slowpokes 12 times, because, hey, it's early, and nice mommy doesn't get up for 2 more hours.  Get in the car and drive to Saint Louis, Missouri.  When you are 5 blocks from there, stop and use the lovely bathroom at the grange hall during an AA meeting, because apparently it cannot possibly wait 5 more blocks.  Thank the nice sober people, and drive the 5 blocks to Saint Louis.  When you get there, park, and walk to Michigan.

Now see if you can find a bench made of pure stone.  Okay, I guess metal will do.  Make sure it is 4 inches narrower than your booty so said-booty will hang off the back real nice-like.  Okay, now unpack, because someone is already starving and may whither and die.  Snacks, coloring books, cray... oops, no crayons.  Here's a pencil, kid.  All settled?  Great!  It's starting!

Now... wait.

Do that a lot.  Like, for two hours.  Tell yourself that you are doing this to show your darling offspring how much you love and support him.  Yah, keep telling yourself that.

Oh! Wait, your kid is up!!! On the OTHER side of Lake Michigan.  RUN around the outside of the track.  Okay, actually, start out running, get 50 "meters" (because when you are at a track meet we are suddenly British, and we no longer use 'feet' ).  Now, stop and  limpingly pant, trying not to look totally out of shape as a pack of healthy teenagers flies past.  Arrive at the other side of the Lake just in time to watch your beloved child, fruit of your loins run for 5 seconds and jump.  Did you blink?  No worries, you still get two more tries to watch him scratch (for those of you who don't speak track, to scratch means to cross an imperceptible line that only the guy with the measuring tape can see, with the tippy-tip of your child's very expensive spiky shoes (that he will outgrow in a week), thereby losing claim to the awesome jump he just did).

Watch him do that two more times.

Fabulous.  Most thrilling 15 seconds of your life.

Now walk back to the other side of the lake.  Sit on pins and needles waiting for the next event.  After an hour or two, get off the pins and needles, the bench is already cozy enough.

For the next four and a half hours:

 ~ feed small, squawky humans sundry snacks while trying not to eat them yourself out of desperate boredom.

~  take 37 trips to the oh-so tidy 100 year old bathrooms.  On the last 3 trips, help small people use toilet seat covers because there are no tiny toilet paper squares left.  Wash your hands in the sink that wasn't being thrown-up into when you walked in.  Dry them on... oh, never mind,  Drip.

~  see how many ways you can roll a sweater under your tushy to kill the pain,

~  realize the smallest person in your group used your water bottle straw to color on the very clean bleacher seat.  Also, rescue her cookie from her mouth a split second too late when she mistakes the ground for something not riddled with Ebola.

~  rescue that same person 7 times from flying head first down the bleachers.

~  break up 8 small tiffs, 'cuz that's fun that travels anywhere.

~  realize you forgot the sunblock.  Watch as that becomes burningly obvious on your family's faces.

~  forget why you are here, and the name of the kid you are here to cheer on.

~  decide you might as well cheer for some other kid.  It's something to do (oh!  Hey!  I just figured out why all those other people were cheering for Adam!).

~  become lifelong friends with the nice ladies sitting two rows back (honestly, I loved them.  They were chipper and positive, and they kept flirting with my kids and calling them 'cute'.  They are now on my Christmas card list.)

~  give up entirely that this thing will ever happen, and go find a cool bench in the shade with 6 other defeated parents.  Try to keep the smallest people in your group from running away down the non-bleacher filled slope of  skin-grinding asphalt.  Fail several times.

Now here is the important part.  This is what it has all been hanging on.  Your event, the one that the whole day has led up to, is finally here.  You muster the will to care again, and leave the shade.  A gun goes off (by the way, why a gun, of all things?  Hello!  Guns in school!  I mean, I know they shoot blanks, and they are loud enough to get the point across, but seriously?  Must we?  What is this, the olden days?  They can put a man on the moon...)

Oh, yeah, the gun went off.

Watch as the little bug wearing red way-the-heck-down-there gets closer and closer until it becomes the sunburned version of a child you once cared about before this whole day sucked you dry of your will to live.

Now watch as he suddenly starts to pull ahead.

And as he starts jumping over long metal thingies that some moron left at even intervals on the track  right in your precious child's way.

Hold your breath.

Feel dizzy.

(oh!  gotta breathe!)

See him gain the lead!

See him fly like he wasn't even related to you!

Cheer!!! Include embarrassing pet names!!!


See his foot get, oh no! ... caught!  ...hurdle tipping!  ...limbs wonky! GASP!!!!!!!

See him recover.


See him lose his lead, but finish the race.

Worry a little about his heart, now that you know you won't be spending the evening in the ER having a hurdle-ectomy.

See him smile.

See that all is well in his cute heart (whew again!  Hate the drive home with a sad athlete.  If you've been there, you know).

Make mental note to slap beloved son in the head when you see him for scaring the bless-ed crap out of you and making you think you might never have grand children because of how it looked like he might straddle that dang metal hurdle at 300 miles an hour (for gosh sakes! We put helmets on kids when they are frolicking on padded playgrounds, but we tell young people to go running wild-willy-nilly down a track full of metal DEATH TRAPS with all their important bits exposed.  Please, call me later and explain this to me.  No,  never mind.  I will be argumentative and it will damage our friendship.

Four seconds after you see that your awesome son is okay, head for the van in Missouri, only it feels like it got moved to Wisconsin.

Enjoy the lovely Saturday evening traffic for the first time ever, because; - you have AC, and -your tushy is finally happy on the padded seats.

Hear the small people snoring.

Repeat next week in Kansas.