Monday, June 29, 2015

Being Protective, Letting Go

I remember when Elliot was small and I would have lunch once a week with my sisters and my mom (Why didn't I revere those days as golden?). I was probably hovering, fussing, helicoptering over that little boy all over the place. I remember my mom smirking at me and saying, "You should have another baby."

My reaction was to try to be offended. I didn't, still don't, like being given unsolicited advice. I grew up with two parents and a truckload of siblings and they often told me what I should or should not be doing. It was not easy. But I knew that day at lunch she was being subtle, letting me know I needed to relax, and that another baby would force me to do that.

The thing is, when you have a baby, and that baby is your first baby, and then that baby dies, you learn how much of life is out of your control. You, if you're me, become a freak for control. I had sat powerless for so many hours, holding my baby girl's hand while she endured pain because I couldn't do anything else for her. I could not stop any of it. It was awful. Controlling every possible circumstance after that was a way of showing the universe that Ha! You didn't get the best of me this time.

So I had taken this big leap already in having another baby. The baby was Elliot, he was here, he was healthy. I was terrified of that being taken away. I was terrified of him being hurt, or sad, or whatever. And I knew my mom was right. I needed, I wanted to have another baby.

Fast forward to last week, a conversation about protective parenting and how there's too much. I feel for children who get no free time because they are rushed to too many practices and lessons. I feel for kids who don't get to think for themselves, whose parents are one step behind every stride they try to make. I want my kids to feel confident, to be brave, to make their own sandwiches, beds, and decisions. I want them all to ride down hills on their bikes, jump freely into water and swim, and walk to a friend's house or home from school.

Of course, to gain confidence they will get hurt. A lot of somethings will happen. I will hold their hands, feel their hurt, and be powerless to take it away. But they will be better for it, and so will I.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Where Are They Now?

Today I'm thinking of people who became dear friends during our Lucy's little-big life at Primary Children's Hospital eleven years ago. I wonder about them now. I wonder if they still work there, if they're still changing lives, like they did mine. I wonder if they remember her, and us, if they know they made imprints on me. This is one reason I really should probably go get on that Facebook.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

I Found Happiness

It was in my living room! It was under the fort we made out of blankets. It was right there with two little kids, still wearing pajamas in the middle of the day, holding mini flashlights and telling spooky stories about old houses with spiders, snakes, creepers, and a puppy named Frederick.

Monday, June 22, 2015

SO Much Has Happened Since I Wrote Last Time

A year was added to my age. I'll give you a hint--I used to be 33...

I got my first rejection letter for a personal essay! Go, me!

I spent the rest of the birthday doing things I like, like yard work, going out to lunch, shopping, and throwing rocks into the water up the canyon. We made s'mores and ate cupcakes with friends. Sam made a candle out of a stick. We came home, washed the campfire and creek water off of children, and Sara came and picked me up in her Dad's car and we drove around looking for some place to go. Just like the olden times! We ended up getting a drink at 7-Eleven and driving back to my house and talking for hours. Just like olden times again! I still remember meeting her in 7th grade and thinking This girl is funny.

Then Sam left me for 2 days to be a grown up in charge of teenagers. I like seeing him do stuff like that. I am the mother, so I did things like take the kids to the park. I pushed the girl in a swing for an hour. We watched Frozen in the daytime while the boys played Minecraft. I began to clean/organize the shed. I killed spiders. I ate cereal and watched stupid shows after the kids were in bed. I avoided folding any laundry.

Sam returned, we grabbed a bucket of chicken, and met some of my family at The Park with the Fat Seagulls for Father's Day Eve. Seagulls like grapes, and grape tomatoes. They do not like carrots. There was bubble-blowing, frisbie-throwing, European Freeze Tag, and general summertime merriment.

We had some of Sam's family for dinner Sunday. They brought glass bottled root beer, ice cream, and creamy potato salad. I tried a new recipe for peach cobbler. Sam grilled broccoli in balsamic vinegar, and a bunch of chicken. There were inappropriate jokes, of course. There was laughing, of course.

There. We are now caught up and I feel good about this.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

I'm Taken Back to Childhood

...when I smell:

A Bag of Marshmallows
W-D 40
Homegrown Grapes
Homegrown Tomatoes
Cut Grass

We used to play "Run From the Cars." We wore blankets as capes, and ran up the block to the STOP sign and waited. As soon as a car came we dashed toward our front yard, barefooted and sweaty. If we could get behind our car parked on our curb before the other car passed, then we were safe. If we didn't make it behind our car, we collapsed onto the grass and covered ourselves with the blankets as the car drove by.

If I close my eyes now, I am back, safe, under my flannel blanket. My breaths are heavy and hot. I smell dew, dirt, grass. I examine the grass stain on my knee. Nothing major. I lift the corner of the blanket and peek to see if the car is gone. Phew. I stand, brush off my knee and hurry back up to the corner.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Thirteen Years of Wedded Matrimonial Bliss

Today, but in the year 2002, we posed for pictures on a wrought iron bench under a tree with pear-shaped leaves. My hand rested on his leg. I had white and green flowers in my lap. There was a shiny ring on my finger, and a darker, beveled ring was on his. He wore the glasses in the family back then. We had fresh faces.

Later that evening, we danced in the back yard of our red-bricked chapel. He had removed the jacket to his tuxedo, and I had removed my shoes. The raw silk of my dress, sewn by my mom, swayed and swished as we moved together. The guests wrapped ribbons around us as we danced, then they pulled us and the ribbons apart, and hoisted us up above the crowd and cheered.

I wish I could relive the day. Or at least I wish I could whisper to myself that we were in for some serious struggle. But we'd be ok.

We are happy.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Last Week I Found Out We Had a Poisonous Plant Growing in Our Garden

Like, if a child were to eat just a few of the berries it produces, they could die.

So, that was fun.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Over the Weekend

We were visited by Bob and Priscilla. (Ducks.) We fed them wheat bread, they quacked thank-yous. It started raining, and we watched them move over to Kent's yard under the matronly oak tree. They napped. When the sun was out again, they waddled to the puddles in our gutter, where they drank and drank. Then Bob pooped. Priscilla decided to rest again, this time in the road. I waved them along to other grass, under a tall pine. They quacked some more. Last we saw, they were headed down the street toward whoknowswhere, side by side.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Apples and Falling from Trees

The other day the boys and I were talking about wrapping up the school year, and all the fun things happening. Elliot was talking about Field Day and how Mrs. J. challenged kids to tether ball. She beat them all (this is reason number 87 million why I love her). He thought for a second and said, "I wish I could see Mrs. J.'s house." I asked him why. He shrugged. "I'm just curious."

Huh. Sounds like something I would say.

Louis has adjusted to summer vacation by sleeping in well past 9:00 each morning since school got out. I'd be doing the same if Sally wasn't across the hall calling, "Moooooooooooom? Daaaaaaaad? I'm awake now!" at 7:04. Sleeping in is a delight.

Meanwhile, this morning, that little girl is wearing a blankey-cape, ate yogurt with blueberries for breakfast, and falls down when she twirls. She has my hair, she is naughty, and says that painting makes her happy.

When these small people formed inside me, and then came out, and then started doing things, I learned about the joy that comes from seeing myself in them.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Now Accepting Early Birthday Gifts

It's my birthday month now. Yay, June! I am one year older (and much wiser, too, for sure). I do like my birthdays, but they are different now that my mom is gone. I find myself just wanting her voice saying, "Happy birthday, dear."

Other impossible-for-now-at-least items on my wish list include:
-A trip to Italy
-More days and nights in Hallstatt, Austria
-Perfectly-behaved children (preferably in public)
-To hold Lucy (a dream would be acceptable)
-A stack of books, with nowhere I have to be, and nothing I have to do
-Hours of uninterrupted work in the garden
-A day at the spa
-Lunch with all of my sisters
-To be anxiety-free
-Many, many new pairs of sandals
-A time machine
-A bagel sandwich and Diet Dr. Pepper from Hot Bagels & Deli

Monday, June 1, 2015

Like an Ice Cube in Arizona

Hey everyone, guess what? I am just going to have a complete meltdown every Sunday afternoon! That's been the pattern these last few weeks! It has been so much fun for me and everyone who lives here!

Maybe I'm pulled too tight, stretched too thin, tangled too much. There are only four more alarm-setting, rushing-to-make-lunches, and brushing-teeth-at-the-last-second-before-hurrying-out-the-door days. Maybe having the kids out of school will help. Maybe it will make it worse. We shall find out very soon.

Wishing you all good mental health, and remember to have your pets spayed or neutered.