Monday, January 31, 2011

Sucret Diversion

Remember Sucrets? The throat lozenges? In that crafty little metal box where your grandmother stored stamps after all the lozenges were gone? Do they still make those? I must find out.

So yeah, I'm stalling. Not finishing Part Two of last post has been bothering me but apparently not enough to sit my hind end down and complete the task. And that should be okay but no. I agonize over the unimportant, obsess over the wee, and cannot move past anything in general. So, because I'm feeling a little unresolved about the whole thing, here's some bullets to tie a nice red bow on Nature is a Mother - Day Two.

  • Power stayed off for about19 hrs - all night and almost into the next evening
  • It did get cold but not see-your-breath-we-will-die-without-peanut-butter cold
  • Sleeping bags came in handy for all; mostly Sadie
  • Pop MacGyvered a heat source (and more importantly hot tea) with our Coleman camping stove in the a.m.

  • Toasted a piece of bread over Coleman stove with meat fork just for effect. Don't think anybody ate it
  • Know I spelled MacGyver wrong
  • Never learned that "effect vs. affect" rule either
  • Dug up wet soggy slurpy snow with anvil - I mean shovel (old, solid & heavy as sin dipped in iron)
  • Promptly made reservations the next afternoon @ local hotel that takes dogs, shivering Betta fish, and harried parents more for continental breakfast and fresh linen than life saving measures
  • Joined neighbor-friends in their living room for great food, cheese (listed separately...suspicious of its current status as food), of course vino, great company, and warmth from their fireplace *Must add she let me wear her warm woolen socks for 2 hrs. because mine were soaked. Odd thing to return when all done so we're like bloodsisters now or something fantastic I'm sure
  • Celebrated when power came back on @ 3pm. Thawed Perdue chicken would live to see crock pot afterall
  • Did not have to break down dining room table set for firewood either
  • Gloomily canceled reservation for hotel room with much of my own disappointed reservation
  • Had compulsory response to entire event and bought, unloaded (and stacked haphazardly) 100 pieces of wood like we suddenly live on a ranch in Oklahoma and not the suburbs of Virginia

  • Bought large kerosene heater because in retrospect, Damn it was cold!
  • Had large propane bottle refilled because... hot dogs!
  • Bought and thought I could carry 2 Duraflame boxes weighing in at one elephant and one point five large pregnant peacock(s)
  • Went on one hour long sojourn for kerosene
  • Got my latent Girl Scout badge for readiness
So yeah. It was a long couple of days and let me tell you how tired me and my personal ninjas were after it was all said and done. If we lived in the Wild West, we would've climbed into our teepees and had a good long smoke about it. But instead, Pop crocked dinner. Nam won the hearts of two small children and I hauled more wood in one day than my husband can make a dirty joke about in a lifetime. Or maybe. Or probably I'm wrong. He's got a lot of wood jokes, you guys.

Thanks for reading. You suffered through so here's a pic of something cute:

(I'm their mother, of course I think they're cute.)

Something funny:

(I'm her mother, of course I think she's funny.)

Something peanut butter:

(I'm a mother, those are not my spoons.)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Nature is a Mother

So the past few days I've had a little secret. Two little secrets if I'm doing the math. Their names are Nammy and Pop: My husband's parents but my own personal ninjas.

They've been here since Tuesday night.

Just in time for the recent snowstorm that ate trees and made grown Pepco men cry. Only six inches of snow but it must've fallen like kettlebells on to tree limbs that needed only one more reason to call it a life and crack in half over someone's silver Toyata. Evidently the roads here were utter anarchy with freezing people walking away from their own vehicles in search of a warm drink and a direct link to Facebook. Nuts-o. I wouldn't know because once the Nammy and the Pop arrived, I was lulled into a false sense of wonderful. They brought presents for Christmas, food for our refrigerator, and relief for the crazy woman living inside me.

I even had the audacity to tempt fate and pour myself a glass of Ries, crack open a new book, and prop myself up on the couch to be a bystander instead of the main event. The calm lasted minutes. Between sighs of relief and happy "OooOOOoohs" of kids opening gifts they liked, all the lights flickered then held their breath. That's all the crazy woman living inside me needed to completely mom out and begin disaster relief efforts in my son's bedroom. Flashlights? Check. Sleeping bags lined up in descending order? Check. Four pairs of everything for children in case we have to jump ship and sail the high seas to Cuba? Check. Cooler packed with peanut butter (protein), Fruitables (veggies), and crackers (sanity)? Check, one, two. Before I could even start packing my own things the power shut down for good and quiet shook around us like a big ole moose in headlights. Or maybe that was just me.

"I want a show!" demands Abby who obviously has a remote control for a lovey and seeks comfort in the warm glow of Dora the Explorer.

"It's getting cold in here," says Grayson who is already a little too much like his mother.

"I know, you guys. We'll be just fine. We'll climb into our sleeping bags and have a campout except we're inside! Fun!" I scream like the crazy woman living inside me. She's getting a little too much air time for my comfort lately. Perhaps an hour or so of living like Laura Ingalls will bring her down a notch. The quiet hums along as I fumble around the piano for our candles. I click each one on (oh yes, battery operated candles from Grandma Nonia saves the day!) and commence bed time routine while not believing for one second any of us will actually get any sleep.

-To be continued in the a.m. God and Pepco willing -

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Edge of Me

Months roll out

We answer three

Been here all day

On the edge of me

You turn and dance

Make believe

Love and sing

On the edge of me.

We eat, we play

We even scream

Tiny hand or two

On the edge of me.

Hide and Seek

You're hard to see

When was it you left

The edge of me?

This simple time

You're free to be

Here and there both

On the edge of me.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Displacement Theory

One weird thing about being a mom is the fact that you don't "fit" anywhere else. Maybe it's just me but I've found that the things I once enjoyed and the people I chose to surround myself with don't feel right anymore. I don't belong in those places, with those people anymore because I'm not that person anymore. I'm a mom and only a mom. I don't even really fit in new places or with new people quite well either. I feel awkward, ill-at-ease, apologetic, and generally socially inept. These are new characteristics I've picked up since having babies. It's starting to bother me.

I get that when you throw yourself into a lifestyle it can be dangerous. It can be risky because that lifestyle may outgrow you some day. This is true for full time mothering. The people you spend your time mothering will outgrow you one day. Fact. That's how nature designed it. Then what. Then what. Then what.

Right now the actual skeleton in my body aches because I'm dragging my bones around without their permission. But this post isn't about how tired I am. We're all tired. You can't compare tireds. Nobody wins that contest and it doesn't matter in the end. What matters is that at the end of my day I have sold myself out. I have given my best until only my worst comes out. It's not a good plan. It's not any plan. It's reacting to my current situation, not solving it smartly.

My current lot is a rare opportunity to spend hours upon hours upon days and more days with my children. This is unique and almost unheard of in this country. If I stay on top of that thought, I have a sweet perspective on things and can give my children my everything. But lately I've been asking myself, is that really the point? Will my kids be just fine, if not better, if I give them a portion of me and protect the rest for myself? If I don't nurture myself first then I have not taught them well. I have not taught them to look out for themselves first, then others. I have not given them the right example in the end. Because in the end, if I've done my job and served them correctly, I will be waving goodbye to healthy, confident, independent young adults who are able to care for themselves so well that they do not need me as their full time mother anymore. And that is exactly what scares me the most if I don't start figuring out just who I am today.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Too Many Shoes

There is a library book we loaned last week called, To Be a Kid. It runs an ethnic gamut of children, their colloquial dress, and their individual landscape from Nepal's brilliant textiles and rocky background to Pakistan's soft earth tones and long dirt roads. It was probably the first time my children could visually drink in so many different cultures in the span of five minutes.

In one picture, Grayson asked why the children didn't wear anything on their feet. I explained that not every child has things to wear on their feet. You could've blown him over with a shoelace. While studying our crowded shoe rack he said, "We are lucky to have more than we need." I sat quietly with his words in the air. I held his face with one hand and agreed. We are so very lucky to have more than we need. It is a good reminder.

Because of this book, his words, and my uplifted mood by reading so many wonderful stories of faith, love and hope on Dr. Martin Luther King Day, today I give thanks to be in a place where I always have more than I need. And sharing space with those who are beginning to get that too.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Dinosaur Food

We have a pretty good night time routine going now that the children aren't downing Tylenol like apple juice around here. There are a few consistent rituals like after dinner dance off and/or letting them run amok while I finish up cleaning kitchen, then living room Night Owl time, followed by bath, jammies, teeth brushing, story time and snugglefest. It's fair to say we all look forward to the snuggling the most.

Then Grayson and I tuck Abby in her big girl bed. He likes to stand and rock back and forth like a peg-legged pirate while I rock Abby in the rocking chair. This goes on for 10 minutes or so. Then it comes time to tuck Grayson in. This is when I have my last cup of coffee for the night because I know I'm about to need it.

Grayson: Mommy? Can we talk about a few things?
Me: Yes. But let's keep it to just three tonight, okay?
Grayson: -BIG sigh- okayyy.
Me: Okay, what's number one?
Grayson: Ummm...where come...........what's inside.... curtains?
Me: Fibers. Cotton. Something called nylon.
Grayson: Cotton like the cotton candy we had at the dolphin show that one time it was pink and blue and reeeaaallly sticky?
Me: Yes. Exactly like that except not candy and less sticky. What else you got?
Grayson: dinosaurs eat meat?
Me: Yes. Some sure do.
Grayson: (Quietly considering that response)
Grayson: Do people have meat inside them?
Me (finally cluing in to where this is going) Yes but not really. Not the kind of meat dinosaurs like. People taste very yucky.
Grayson: Like lasagna?
Me: (trying to forget that I made homemade lasagna tonight) More like rotten lasagna and very old eggs. Dinosaurs don't like to eat people. Most of them are herbivores: they eat plants and flowers and berries.
Grayson: (thoughtful)
Grayson: MOMMY! We had blueberries with dinner tonight!
Me: Yes. But you only had four.
Grayson: Right. And I spit out two when you weren't looking.
Me: Goodnight Dino Dan.
Grayson: Goodnight Lasagna Mommy

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Emoting Over an Otter

As always, I asked the kids to pick out one story before tucking them in for nap. Or "rest" as it is now dubbed because Grayson does not sleep but instead launches question after question about life, physics, religion, and ear wax until I beg him to hush please honey just stop making me think for the love of God thank you pleeeaaasseee don't talk just play with your cowboy and horse for five minutes please baby thank you.

Back to pre-nap story. They selected, agreed upon and sat motionless for "Franklin Has a Bad Day." Obviously, things weren't going well for Franklin (the cutest turtle ever drawn). He starts off on page one very grouchy. I hear ya, Buddy. He is not so nice to his friends, Bear and Beaver. Yep, sounds about right. Franklin melts down about a game or a picture or the clandestine crowd at the DMV, I can't recall but the point is the tantrum and the fact that it could've been for any reason whatsoever. Exactly, dude. Wanna share a pint? Then Franklin's dad comes in, wraps a paternal turtle claw around his son and asks what's really going on. What's really the matter.

This is where I had to deliberately set my jaw, swallow hard and continue reading. I have read this book a thousand times and yet at that moment it felt like those familiar words were hitting me square in the chest.

"Otter moved away." The truth shoots out like a cannon in the sky.

"And you miss her?" Dads always know that simple is best.

"Very much."

And this is where I had to physically set down the book, cover my face and not show my four and two year old that Mommy is the hormonal equivalent of Mount St. Helens.

"Mommy, are you crying?" Grayson asks nervously.
After some consideration of lying and getting caught red-handed I reconsider and come clean with him because the tears won't stop falling down my face. "Yes I am, Honey."
"It's okay, Mommy," Grayson reasons, "Franklin can still see Otter. He can go visit her!"
"You're right, Franklin can still go visit Otter. It's just that he really misses her already and she just left. I just feel..." sniff sniff, hands to face...." so sorry for Franklin," sniff, sniff, covering eyes, "and I am sad too because," my own truth washes over me like a frosty bath, "my friend is moving away also."

"Who, Mommy?"

"Miss Kathleen, Baby. She has to move away and Mommy's really sad. Kind of silly to be this sad because we don't get to see each other a lot but I already miss her so much."

"It's okay, Mommy. We will just drive to her new house when Daddy gets home and see her again. Don't cry, Mommy."

But I did. I cried like a dejected mopey turtle for much longer than I should have in front of my little turtlettes. It's just that right then I had to face the fact that my Otter is leaving soon too.

We just got back together and now she is the one who has to go.

A couple of weeks before she found out her husband got that job that would require them to relocate out of state, I had a dream she was moving. I was angry with her in my dream because she only gave me a few days' notice (in my dream, not real real life she knows I need more than a few days to process high impact news) and I felt hurt that we couldn't say a proper goodbye. Then, two weeks later I saw a status on her husband's Facebook (in real life, not in my my dream i don't check Facebook) that they were indeed moving away.

Thirty some odd years we've known each other and the connection we have is so strong I can honestly say it was friend ESP. Something inside me had a feeling her life was about to change drastically and that same something was trying to break the news to me gently, in my soft spot, in my sleep.

We have since seen each other and every time we're together I am reminded of what it must be like to have a sister. She is the kind of funny that makes my shoulders drop for the first time in days and causes that embarrassing snort breathe thing to happen when we're laughing. She is the kind of beautiful that is distracting when her shiny blond hair curls around her face as she talks. She is the kind of amazing mother to whom I ask lots of annoyingly specific questions and then follow accordingly when it comes time to mother my own. She is the kind of friend who stays out until midnight to hang out in my living room reliving old high school memories with me (just last week!) even though she has three young children of her own to wake up to by 6am. She is the sole reason I survived the high school experience. Seriously, I would still be hiding in the girls' bathroom if it weren't for her pulling me out. She is the reason I was so excited to move to Virginia in the first place.

She is my Otter and only Otter and I am so sad she has to go. Sad for me but happy and excited for her to start this new chapter with her family.

And Grayson is right, we will visit her when Daddy gets home, however many times she can handle us.

After all, turtles like me don't come across Otters like her more than once in a lifetime and I'd be a fool to let her go that easily.