Friday, June 28, 2013

Mardi Girl

"Mardi Girl, Mardi Girl, you don't even know what Mardi Girl is," Grayson sings to his sister who is busy searching for a Dora backpack.

"Uh huh, I do too," returns Abby.

"Then what is it," challenges her brother.

"Penis."  Abby decides.

"No.  You're wrong.  It's famous.  It lasts a whole WEEK and I get off from school and you might not."

"It's penis," Abby explains.

"No.  It's not.  It's a pa-RADE and it goes all week AND kids can go but you might not."

Abby, my Mardi Girl, your brother is right.  You are staying at home on house arrest with Mommy during Mardi Gras. 

Until you're thirty.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

New Land

We have landed in the new place.

Sweaty, bedraggled, and slightly crazed, we arrived over a week ago to set up camp inside the echoes of this new house.

The kids went nuts. (Hold your ears if you click link.) 

They have calmed down a bit since then but only because they are both sick.  We all came down with the yuck, except Andy.  Hmm, he was driving in a separate car.  Alone, with music and NPR and beef jerkey.  Smart man. 

My dear brother, Donnie helped us with the worst part of the move.  He was driving the moving van that wouldn't go above 43 mph up a hill.  And we took the scenic route through Virginia.  The Blue Ridge Mountain route with nothing but hills.  Donnie was speaking in tongues and practically chewing his e-cigarette by the time we stopped for gas.  I would not have blamed him if he ducked out the Sunoco window, hailed a cab back to NYC, and gave us the finger in the back seat for the next hundred miles.  But he stayed the course. And I adore him for that.  For many other things too but that is icing on an already divine chocolate brownie-cookie-dough cake.

I was driving the minivan so rightfully got the kids, the dogs, and everything that wouldn't fit in two moving trucks.  Before you feel sorry for me I have to confess, it really was not bad.  I had company to keep me awake, dog saliva to keep me watered, and the option to learn every lyric to Rio by Rihanna.  It could and should have been so much worse.  They have all earned the moniker:  Road Warrior.  Especially Sadie who shrugged her shoulders in Virginia and didn't wake up until Tennessee.

So, we are here at the end of one road and the beginning of another and I don't really know what to tell you guys about first.  There is just so much to say.  I've written and rewritten this post several times, posted then uposted, ruminated and mindfully deleted and still cannot come up with anything close to how I feel about all of this.

Leaving was harder than I knew it would be and all of us were sad as hell to leave.  Even Donnie.  He gets very attached.

I could go on and on about all the sad and how I couldn't belieeeee-eeee-eeeve I had to leave my mom, my brother, his family, Mary, her kids, after Jimmy blew this taco stand.  Then, leaving Mr. Jack, his Eddie-Lou, Mr. Ives, Jenna Jam, my JCC lovelies, Trader Joe's, sweet Sara, our cozy routine, our entire way of life.

But you know what?  Somehow we lived through all the leaving miles and I refuse to breathe in the sad that does not belong in this new place.  Wallowing will happen later, for sure, when I can't find a friend to stomp puddles with me but for now, for now...'s really beautiful here.  There are critters as far as the eye can see in our front yard and our back yard. The kids grab their fishing poles while still in their pjs and walk down the driveway to fish for sunnies.  Frogs race the tadpoles in our stream.  This house has very tall ceilings.  There is pretty white bark flaking off of two trees near our sunroom.  Something clicks and barks right outside our door causing Sparrow to froth at the mouth and Sadie to perk her ears up like a purebred lab.  Our neighborhood looks like every scene in The Prince of Tides.  Somehow I scored a gorgeous lantern for a housewarming gift.  Small friendly lizards come to visit us every morning while we have a sit and a listen.  My children have room to wander in this house and talk to themselves for a change.  The dogs think we parked on the sun and lost the keys.  The kids might think that too.  I love FaceTime with my mom.  My husband and I feel like newlyweds in this strange land with only each other to lean on. There is a CVS and a TCBY within a mile of our house.  You should see my closet.

We have landed in the new place and so far, it's an adventure.

Monday, June 10, 2013


This Sunday, I had a refreshing conversation with a really cool lady. We don't know each other whatsoever but we connected right away. Isn't it funny how you can knock yourself over with trying to make some friendships gel while others just spark to life over watermelon slices and a paper plate?

This one sparked to life.

She used words like faith, open, mystic, love and immediately I knew she probably kissed her dog on its face too. We won't see each other again, but that's the point. Connection doesn't necessitate longevity.

This really cool lady and I decided that life strings some of us, as people, to each other at just the right time even if the moment feels all wrong.

Case in point: When I first arrived here in Virginia, I was slow to meet other moms. My neighborhood is filled with them only they are at work during the day while I am at home with kids and fourteen hours to fill before bedtime. Zoom ahead a year and I find myself at a playdate with three new-to-me preschool moms. One of which was very outgoing. She was the ringleader, the spokesperson, the one I shied away from.  Andy had just left for a year long deployment, I was reserving energy, and needed quiet companionship.  Gregarious felt wrong for me.

Zoom ahead three years and this mom is now one of the four soul sisters I rely on here. We have spent so much time together that she can tell if something's wrong by how I exit my car. I can hear her thoughts when her mouth isn't talking much. We connected when I least really wanted to. And now, the path of our lives is forever intertwined through coffee, blue frosting, Marshall's, burlap burn where the sun don't shine (tube slides), play date wine, and so much more.

Some friendships are connected for life. Others are brief conduits on our way to someone else. Others still smolder in preparation for a future that will unfold in its own due time.

If I've learned anything from being me the last four years, I've learned to appreciate the system as it happens naturally. Not to force the ones that make you feel uneasy. Not to worry over or mourn friendships that may not have an organic foundation anyway. 

You can always tell when it does have promise. She'll use words like mystic, faith, open, love, or your version of meaningful. 

Sometimes the best connections happen when we least expect or even want them to.  Personally, I think it's because we're not the ones in charge of the system.

Thursday, June 6, 2013


boxes stacked, leaning in, waiting
for me to believe in them
and trust they are not here to take away
but to give back
our home to us
on new ground,
green and ripe with choices,
new love,
primal aches for comfort
far away
from here

no longer next door
an hour down the street

our backyard with the bald spot on the lawn that isn't

ours anymore
And Jesus God please someone look after Mr. Jack and his wife. 

soon, we will unpack there
to find our home again,
hoping you really can
take it with you
while at the same time knowing
[with hearts sewn, twined, cross-stitched, frayed, stretching]
we are
leaving a lifetime behind.