Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Van Gogh, Vivaldi, and Vince Garibaldi

I teach preschool again tomorrow. We are learning about the letter "V". I sat in a chair last night wondering what in the heck I could do with the letter v that would keep 9 kids entertained for 2 1/2 hours. Let's see...volcanoes, valentines, vans, violets... and then my humanities classes started to pass before my eyes, but I don't think the four year-olds are up for it. Maybe next year.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Tomorrow I have to go to my doctor's office and drink that gaggy orange drink they make you guzzle in order to figure out if you have gestational diabetes. I am supposed to take it easy on the sugar today as to not induce a false reading, which is why I am currently eating sorbet before starting the required fast at midnight. I wish I were braver, like my mother, who simply refused to take the test. I don't have gestational diabetes. But I'm going to gulp down the hyper-sugared soda anyway, because the doctor says so, and it's what you do.

It's funny the things we do that create patterns. Exercises, requirements, necessary forms to fill out that make a structure for our lives. Some of these are imposed by others for our own good, or for order, or for our money
(standing in line to get my motor vehicle registration comes to mind), who knows exactly why. But there are some things we do over and over that are not forced upon us by someone else. They are things that we choose for ourselves.

Almost every night I put my son down to sleep in his little bed in my room. He knows that after we have read stories with his sisters and tucked them in that soon it will be his turn. My room is not his final resting place, thank goodness. He sleeps in the same room with said sisters but I don't put him in his crib at first because it always takes the girls awhile to fall asleep. Innocent boy that he is, he hasn't yet learned the fun of staying up and awake in the dark, and I don't want him to learn that yet (or ever, for that matter, but it's kind of inevitable). So I take him into my room and lay him down and pull his blanket over him. I tell him I love him and that I'll be back in awhile to carry him up to bed, and then I turn off the lamp and shut the door, and he goes to sleep.

Ben has offered to carry the little guy up to bed for me a few times these past couple weeks and I have thanked, but no-thanked him. He admitted that he may not have the same touch I have for transfering sleeping baby from play pen to crib without disturbing the slumbering child. But that's not why I refuse Ben's offer.

I do it because in not too long I won't be able to carry my baby up, his little body snuggled into mine, his head nestled by my neck. I treasure this little nightly routine we have; holding him tight as I walk up the narrow staircase into his room where I put him in bed and kiss him goodnight. In a few months my expanding belly will make it more difficult, and then near impossible to bend down and pick him up. And walking up those stairs won't be very fun. When that happens I will hand over the job to Ben, and let him carry on the ritual. But until then, this pattern of life is all mine.

Monday, February 26, 2007

regular programming will resume shortly

I was right. We had a great weekend filled with little girl birthday enthusiasm, and grandma in town, and broadway musicals. But by the time Sunday afternoon rolled around, along with the ever lingering cold, it had caught up with me. And then it proceeded to roll over me. Last night I sat in the kitchen contemplating the sorry state of my mood and starting off this next year of my life as a grump and felt bad about it. If it were just my fatigue I think I could deal with it more gracefully, but as it is, my kids go crazy if they don't get their sleep, and they didn't this weekend so today may be a challenge. In any case, my daughter has just called me a "pie" and a "pumpkin" for reprimanding her for beheading her sister's flower. It seems there are two options before me today: Hysterically funny, or just hysterical. I'm game for the first. Let's hope everyone else is, too.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

If a tree falls in the middle of a forest and no one is around...

Ben and I were on the train back from the city when it turned midnight and ushered in my birthday. Although, since I was born in Utah, does that mean technically I needed to wait until 2 a.m. for my birthday to get there? We debated half-heartedly for a moment. But this morning there can be no doubt. I have officially moved up one notch on the age scale.

Birthdays are funny things when you get older. It's nice to have a special day, but this one isn't necessarily invoking the feelings that, say, turning 5 might. Age does has it's advantages and disadvantages, as everything. For now, this girl is going to herd children to the kitchen table for breakfast since Ben is at a meeting, and I'm going to say "shhh!!!" very often so the kids don't wake the neighbors downstairs. I think it will be a good day.

P.S. A post on Les Mis will show up later.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

makes perfect sense

My three year-old came out from the bathroom the other day with her jeans on backwards. She can be a little absent minded at times, so I helpfully pointed out that her pants were on wrong. "I like to see the flowers," she said, indicating the little embroidery designs that are on the back pockets. No absent mind here. Purely intentional.

This is why I have kids.

Friday, February 23, 2007

time flies when you're having fun: a birth day story

Today I have a five year-old. Which, simply put, is just crazy. Where did I get a five year-old? Yes, yes, I remember the day before this one, five years ago. A day spent in labor that wouldn't quite kick into gear. A day I spent with Ben walking around the mall and saying outloud "Bring it on!" any time a contraction stopped me in my tracks. We bought our stroller and carseat. We had hamburgers and shakes. My hamburger made me feel sick. Or was that the being in labor part? Who knows.

My mom brought me over a fruit smoothie later in the day. I think Ben and I were watching a movie. I was not happy, not comfortable. If you would have asked me I would have told you I was in pain. But I hadn't yet hit the point at which I would truly understand that when you get to those contractions, you cannot talk. Can not. I didn't know what I was in for.

At 10 p.m. I went into the hospital to get checked. They kept me an hour and when I wasn't progressing they gave me a shot of morphine (wonderful stuff) and sent me home. The last thing I remember is driving up to our house. I was out of it after that. Apparently I would moan and make unpleasant noises when a contraction hit, but I have no recollection. My sweet husband stayed up timing contractions for his unconcious wife, until they were bad enough to wake me from my drug induced slumber.

Ah. I then got to feel those amazing pains of labor. Holy cow. You just don't know until you know, you know? When we got to the hospital around 3 a.m. I was dialated to a seven. They gave me an epidural. I was miserable until it kicked in and then Ben and I napped until they came in at 7:30 a.m. and woke me up. My baby was born about an hour later and suddenly I was a mom, and Ben was a dad. We had a sweet little girl who was all our own. Unbelievable. And yet, there she was.

Almost more unbelievable still is that here she is; full of love, energy, compassion, and drama - sometimes more than I know what to do with. She has been waiting all year to turn five, as if it has some magical quality to it. She is a smart girl. She learns with her heart and with her head. She loves music, loves to draw, loves to be the big sister. In her I see me. In her I see Ben. She is the one who started us on this journey of parenthood.

Oh, you sweet girl. I do love you so much. I hope this birthday is everything you have been expecting it to be. I hope that this year is everything you are expecting it to be. I hope that I can live up to what you expect me to be. And that I can help you become all that you expect you'll be.

Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

it's wednesday

Normally considered the pinnacle of the week's work and then you get to head down hill towards the weekend...well, maybe not the pinnacle, but at least the half-way point. Our half-way point this week is the beginning. Coming up we have:

two birthdays (daughter's, Fri. mine, Sun.)
a formal birthday party (not mine)
a not-so-formal family birthday party (not mine)
a sort of non-existent family b-day party due to other events (um, prob. mine)
two birthday cakes to make
cupcakes, as well
two trips to the airport bookending ...
a visit from a Grandma (Ben's mom)
a trip to see Les Miserables!!! on Saturday night (this is part of those 'other events' - I also claim it as mine)
some activities and events that will require some housecleaning (see above)
particularly the bathroom
a trip to the laundromat
weekly pilgrimage to Costco

So mostly pretty fun stuff. But I'm afraid when Sunday morning comes along you will find me in bed, totally kaput. (Is that how you spell kaput? I don't know.)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

never been much of a reveler myself

I was reminded that today is Mardi Gras- literally, "Fat Tuesday", for those of you who aren't French buffs or something. I'm not much for the big ol' parties they throw, not only in New Orleans, but around the world. I will tell you, in good staunch religious tradition, that I think there is some not-so-great-stuff that goes on during those crazy parties that I'm not too keen to be apart of. And isn't glutony one of the seven deadlies? Uh-huh.

Okay, well, I will eat plenty of Cadbury mini eggs today. But I think I would do that even if it wasn't Fat Tuesday.

Really, the only significance of Mardi Gras for me personally is that when I was in France my birthday fell on Ash Wednedsay, which is the day after "Fat Tuesday." Ash Wednesday is the holiday that actually makes it onto your calendar. A friend had me come to Mass that night and everyone went up to the front at one point and got ashes smeared across their foreheads. I didn't, as I am not Catholic and was a Mormon missionary at the time, and well, as I still am Mormon and not Catholic, I probably wouldn't get any ashes smeared on me anyway. But it had been a nice birthday. I bought myself a new green coat that I liked very much. And a bunch of junk food. We were doing missionary work on Mardi Gras, but Wednesday was our day off and I took advantage of that. And my friend, who was a spunky old French lady, got a real kick introducing her Mormon missionaries to people in the congregation.

So you know. There is my story about how my life really has no relation to Mardi Gras, except it's French name. Still, if you'd like a mini egg, stop by. I'll toss you one.

Monday, February 19, 2007

just the bran and the crunch, please

On Saturday I called Ben from Costco to consult on the cereal. When you buy cereal at Costco, you should consult with someone because buying it in such massive quantities, even if you live with an entire army, it's going to be around for a little while. I offered two options, Raisin Bran Crunch or Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds. Two decent cereals that we will eat and that the girls will eat. With a few exceptions. The raisins being the exception in the first, and the almonds being the exception in the second. And so, wise man that he is, Ben opted for the Raisin Bran Crunch, because it's a lot easier to get out the raisins than it is to get out the almonds.

February 19th

Happy Birthday, Mom. I love you.

Friday, February 16, 2007

curses, foiled again

In an attempt to head off some fatigue threatening to overwhelm, I went to bed around 9:00 last night. I slept relatively well. I didn't even have to get up to go to the bathroom! Alas, when Ben's alarm went off at four, instead of falling back asleep as I usually do, I stayed awake, depriving myself of the last 2 1/2 hours that I really needed... need I add that this was not intentional? So much for that experiment. Tonight, maybe, I go to bed a lot later, but I have a suspicion that's not going to solve the problem.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

is it wrong...

to hope that the roads are so icy that I don't have to teach preschool this morning because no one wants to drive over here? After hiding away for the past few days, the sun is going to be out this morning until about 11:00 a.m. when it is supposed to turn into a pumpkin and roll away. So I wouldn't complain to have those few hours of nice, sunny, natural light to just enjoy while wandering around the house. I think it may help my mood which is a wee bit bedraggled, due to weather-cooped up kids.

However (the philospher gets back in her saddle...) if the kids do show up I'm sure we'll have a fine, fun time. There are worse things than teaching 9 little kids about the letter "U" and the United States of America. But you know, sometimes it's not just the kids who wish for a snowday. Sometimes the parents do, too.

Update: Bless the weather man, the sun has been out all day along with a happy blue sky. So we got to have preschool and have some happy, though freezing cold, weather.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

about love poems

Throughout the vast works of literature, undoubtedly a majority of them are devoted to, in some manner, the subject of love. Why? Because love is the all-powerful force. In it's many forms, it compels us to do things we would never do otherwise. Sometimes this is good. Sometimes this is bad. It always makes for a good story. The poets, those troubadors of love, have spent countless hours attempting to describe the feelings evoked in one being by another. And while love of family and friends is most certainly worth celebrating, today we are concerned with the more romantic version of the phenomenon.

W.B. Yeats is eloquent on the subject of unrequited and lost loves. Below, A Drinking Song, paints such a poignant picture.
Yeats is brilliant; here is a story in the poem neatly folded into six lines. You want to sit down next to him on the barstool and ask him what it is. Except we've already experienced it in our early twenties. Even if you didn't spend any time physically in taverns or bars, this poem will let you know that at least emotionally, you were there.

Wine comes in at the mouth
And love comes in at the eye;
That's all we shall know for truth
Before we grow old and die.
I lift the glass to my mouth,
I look at you, and I sigh.

And then there is the
one that got away; the betrayal, real or imagined - it hurts either way. Yeats has something for this, too.

Others because you did not keep
That deep-sworn vow have been friends of mine;
Yet always when I look death in the face,
When I clamber to the heights of sleep,
Or when I grow excited with wine,
Suddenly, I meet your face.

We move then to the euphoria of infatuation much of which has found its way onto the radio in the form of pop music. And the depth of the infatuation is only rivaled by that of the lyrics themselves. I will forebear and not share any of those with you today.

Even when things do work out, don't suppose that the courtship has been without it's own amount of drama.
My own happily-ever-after had it's share of ups and downs, which led to many journal entries, though not quite as pathetic as the many written by my eighteen year-old self. Seven years will do wonders for one's philosphical and dramatic nature. But despite Marianne Dashwood's own propensity for drama she was right about Shakespeare's 116th sonnet. It's a good guide for what true love ought to be.

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds [...]

Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom [...]

My own true love is out testing the wintery roads of our Valentine's Day. We've had some snow and freezing rain and he is driving to the grocery store for me. I like to think that ours, indeed, is a marriage of true minds, and not just of bodies, as many marriages have been and will ever be. I delight to be in his company, to hear what he has to say, to learn of his sorrows and share in his joys. And for the most part, the reason I actually like Valentine's Day is because there is an "us". Until there was an "us", I didn't think it was all that great.

Real love poems are hard to write. I don't just mean the basic love poem, I mean poems about real love. Getting the right words to describe something that has moved beyond most of the drama and settled into a space that exists past infatuation and the like isn't easy. I won't share my own attempts here, but instead leave you with two poems from W.S. Merwin.

I have watched your smile in your sleep
and I know it is the boat
in which my sun rides under the earth
all night on the wave of your breath
no wonder the days grow short
and waking without you
is the beginning of winter
-from Kore, in The Carrier of Ladders

In each world they may put us
farther apart
do not die
as this world is made I might
live forever.
- Do Not Die, from Flower and Hand

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

a love note to my son

You sweet boy. That about sums it up. I could stop there.

Old enough for your personality to be shining out, small enough that no matter what I do, you love me. If you are hurt or sad, you might be grumpy, but you want me to be with you. If you are cheery and happy you still need me to play with you. You have yet to learn the trick that children have of hiding in the corner after doing something they know they shouldn't have, and so you greet me with grins and giggles when I find you pulled up at the toilet splashing in the water and dipping in toilet paper. Which is just gross.

You have a complete assurance that I will still be pleased with you, that I will still love you, No Matter What. And you are right. I will love you no matter what. I just wish it were always going to be this easy to show you that, to forgive you for unspooling the toilet paper, crinkling up and then eating that important list of things-to-do. Even for stuffing so much play-doh in your mouth that I shake as I try to clean it out of your mouth instead of pushing it further in. Don't you realize I could lose you over something as simple as that? You don't. You just know that squishy green stuff left on the floor looked interesting and you wanted to eat it. Can I blame you?

I can hardly imagine how you will grow up. But you will. You are my little boy. I try to look forward to the man you will become and I can't, at least right now. There will be things in your life I won't completely be able to relate to, that you will choose to talk to your dad about. Just guy stuff. And that's fine. Because there are things that you will want to talk to your mom about
, (some of it may even be guy stuff). I hope you learn that you can always talk to me, even when the day comes that you consider me just your mom.

Happy-go-lucky with life. You are delighted with your sisters. You adore your dad. But I know that you are in love with me. And I am in love with you, too.

Monday, February 12, 2007

oh, the irony

The truth is, after writing my 'love note' my girls have been driving me crazy. The oldest has been petulant and bordering on obnoxious, and the youngest is prone to irrational crying jags which could be solved, if only one could reason with her. All this makes me wonder if I should reconsider the writing of my next note...

But the kids are upstairs watching a Little People video while I get dinner going. Whew. In any case, bed time is early tonight. And I could use some chocolate ice cream or something. Hey, I had half a grapefruit today.

Also, I do still love my girls. Mostly.

a love note to my daughters

How funny it is to watch you grow up, completely parallel to my own growth as a mother. I am a mom because here you are, my girls, whirling before me, half myself, half your dad, and all your own. I have scarcely contemplated the perils of parenting but you remind me of them almost daily, as you should. It is not something I want to take lightly.

And yet, I don't want our relationship to be so overburdened with too many cares that I forget to laugh and sing with you. That I can't enjoy your company for fear of making some tremendous mistake. I have made many mistakes. And I will surely make more. I hope that I can teach you that there is a grace in overcoming, because none of us is perfect.

The mother-daughter relationship is a complicated one, filled with the potential for companionship and rivalry. I was a girl as you two are now, and you will become, each, your own woman, as I am striving to be. There are moments when my past collides with your future and I am left trembling at the fact that I can't protect you from everything I would like to. I can only hope to teach and prepare you as best I can. But I confess to standing still as I see you, who I am not, personalities that never belonged to me, and wonder how to help you. And I see you as I am, my own weaknesses and faults flailing before me, and am not in any better place to know how to fix things.

If there is one gift I hope to give you, it is a sure knowledge of who you are. That you are divine. That who you are is of extraordinary importance. That you are enough.

The world is full of detractors who will try to make you feel less than. I hope you will have learned from me that what they say is false. Beauty is made and found within and you two are beautiful. Capacity is made and found with in, and you two are capable. Thank you for being my girls, for wanting to be near me, for wanting to be like me. I love you.

Friday, February 9, 2007

let the countdown begin...are the rocket boosters even attached?

I got an email from Pottery Barn yesterday informing me that today is the last day I can order gifts to be delivered on time for Valentine's Day. And, ohhoho, is this helpful because Ben surely does need another McKenna jewelry armoire (yes, for heaven's sake, an armoire), because his other three are filled, filled I tell you, to the brim with past treasures I have given him on various such occassions. Mostly things involving 3 carat or larger precious and semi-precious stones, you understand. Ben is a flashy guy.

Gotta love Valentine's Day, I tell you what.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

missing the point?

Ah, to be four years-old...

Her- I'm going to listen to the Safety Kids. The one where they talk about the poison that is bad for you.

Me- OK. That's a good idea.

Her- Like the kind of poison in Snow White, right?

Me- Well, they're talking about things that poison your mind, and aren't good for you. Like pictures or movies. If there is something bad on TV what should you do? You should just turn it off, right?

Her- Well, there are bad parts in Star Wars, but it's okay if we watch it because it's not real. It's just a movie.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

let's sing it again

Another birthday post. This one is a little harder to write because I'm not sure where to start. I guess I should begin by saying it's Ben's birthday. And not just any Ben, mind you, but my Ben. It's probably some other Ben's birthday today, too and I hope he has a good one, but this post is for my own Benjamin.

But I am still not sure where to begin. I could praise him for being a fabulous husband who does the dishes in the morning before he heads out to work, even on his birthday. But that's kind of an anniversary post. Or I could tell you what an amazing father he is and include all of the trips with the girls to the library and the number of pages he has read to any given child on any given day, except I really don't know because it became impossible to keep count long ago. And I need to save that for Father's day. Valentine's day, being just a week away could be reserved for all of the sweet things he does for me like sending me postcards in the mail, or buying me some random books to help me pass the time when I'm so ready to have that baby, but the baby isn't quite ready to come. But really, since it's his birthday, I should just tell you a little about him.

Ben is brilliant. He is always learning, thinking, thinking, learning. It was something I noticed when we first met and I loved that about him. He was (and is) a stimulating person to be around and I love talking with him about any number of things. Ben serves. It used to kind of annoy me, when, at the end of church instead of being able to go home, I had to stand around while he helped put away the folding chairs. I soon realized that this trait is not to be grumbled at, but embraced. Ben will help you if he can. And if he can't he will try to find a way anyway. Ben's ambitions have little to do with himself or his own aggrandizement. He doesn't seek out the praise of the world. He has no desire or need to be the richest kid on the block. He wants to be a good person and to take care of those he loves. And I have to say, he does a pretty good job at that.

In any case, I could go on and on, but it might become a little nausea inducing for those of you who aren't me, his mom, or my mom. Yes, in all honesty, I think if my mom had to choose between Ben and me, it would take her awhile to decide, and most of my merits would have to do with biological attachment. I mean, Ben does the dishes at her house too, so you can see why.

But have no fear, as you read above, I have plenty of upcoming opportunities to write about my amazing man. In any case, if you feel so inclined you can leave a birthday wish and/or message for Ben, or just tell me how lucky I am. And even if you don't, I already know.

Happy Birthday, Ben.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

she saved her money, I spent mine

Growing up Stephanie and I had, at times, a somewhat adversarial relationship. We are four years apart, with a brother in between, and have vastly different ways of going about life. At certain points if you would have asked me what we had in common I might have said, "We were both born in February - but different astrological signs."

There is a home movie that gets pulled out at my house from time to time that shows the kids playing around. When the camera is on me I pull back, hang my head a little bit, say hi softly and wait for my dad to move the camera. It's not that I didn't like the attention, it's just that I didn't know what to do with it. I felt stupid. Stephanie, on the other hand, knew what to do. Be a complete and total goof-off. She makes faces at the camera. She giggles and stickes out her tongue. She is a spaz. Time and experience has tempered both of us. I'm not quite the shrinking violet the movie shows, nor is Stephanie someone who goes around with or looking for a spotlight on her.

Along the way our interactions lessened with our divergent interests, excepting the almost daily battle that took place each morning when she would come in to ask to borrow some article of clothing. We had some good wrestling matches over sweaters and such. Eventually we outgrew the fighting and went on our separate ways, occassionally meeting for a Christmas Day trip to the movie theatre or something.

And then we grew up. She went to college, I went on a mission, we wrote letters back and forth, talked about guys, shared stories and advice. And we learned that despite our different personalities that we were friends, and pretty good friends at that. She got married a few years ago and just had her first baby in November. There is nothing like the bonds of motherhood to help cement a relationship.
The ground we stand on is a little more common these days.

Stephanie is smart and athletic. She knows how to get things done. She has started a design business and makes her own greeting cards. From all accounts, she is a fabulous mom. And today is her birthday. Happy Birthday, Steph. I hope this next year is a fabulous one.

Monday, February 5, 2007


A few weeks before I discovered I was pregnant I learned that a family friend was expecting triplets. I was so happy and excited for her. I knew she had been waiting to become a mother for some time, so the news of three at once, although overwhelming I'm sure, was very welcome. While talking on the phone later with my sister, she mentioned that this friend had just had another ultrasound and they had found another baby. She was carrying quadruplets and I think was in a state of shock. Wow. Four at once. But, I thought, if anyone can do it, she can. She's strong, driven and determined, but calm. And she has faith.

Though no one knew at the time, I was currently adjusting to the idea of being the mother of four myself. The thought of having all four of my children at once was a reality check. I thought of my son, times four, with his new found ability to crawl around where ever he pleased, picking up whatever small objects that lay on the ground to place in his mouth. I could not imagine how draining that would be. Worth it, no doubt, but very difficult. My new baby was coming fairly fast on the heels of her brother, but it wouldn't be anywhere near having four babies at once. I vowed that whenever I felt too overwhelmed by the task given to me, I would think of her.

This sweet girl lost her babies last week. Her water broke and they tried to keep her from delivering until she reached 24 weeks, when the babies would have a chance at surviving outside the womb, but they came a little too early. They were all born alive and were all named and blessed. And this weekend she buried them.

My heart broke
when I found out. I just can't imagine that. I can't imagine having to first adjust to the idea of having four at the same time, and then having none. The evening after my mom called me with the news I put my girls to bed and carried my son downstairs with me. We sat on the couch and I cried. And this small little boy looked at me in wonder and then smiled, bouncing up and down as I hugged him.

When the Lord says "My ways are not thy ways" he's not kidding. There are so many incomprehensible things that happen throughout the course life. Why is it that she had to lose her babies, and here I am with three healthy children, and another healthy one on the way? And why is it that she must deal with an overwhelming heartache that I can't even comprehend, much less find the words to describe, while here I sit, in my house, with my day-to-day before me. The floor to sweep, the bathroom to clean, the kids to feed; mundane and tiresome a lot of the time, but I think now that maybe it shouldn't be.
It doesn't seem fair, my brother said.

Still, and yes, there is a still, God's ways are indeed God's ways. And in the end, though it may take every ounce of faith we have and more, his way is the way whereby all things are restored and made better and ultimately understood. Blessed are those that mourn for they shall be comforted. I believe that promise. It's not an empty one. It is full of love and mercy and tenderness, more than we could ever understand. But like all of God's promises, it does require some faith, while waiting for it to be fulfilled.

I have thought a lot about her the past few days. I have mourned. I have reflected on my feelings about her journey, and realised that I never anticipated this outcome, and this particular path she is now treading. I wonder if she did? I pray that all of the things that would have allowed her to take care of four little ones will instead help sustain her through this time just after having brought those sweet spirits to earth, before ushering them back home. And I have resolved to continue with my inital vow: that when I am overhelmed with all that is before me, when I'm tired and don't want to pick up the toys one more time, or make dinner even if it is just macaroni and cheese, or read one more book outloud though I may like Frog and Toad, when I haven't showered and am short on patience and feeling like I'd rather selfishly hide away under the bedcovers while little hands that need to be washed are following me around making a mess of the space around them, that instead of letting it all get to me I will stop, and I will think of her.

Friday, February 2, 2007

tired is in the body of the beholder

You may be surprised to hear that I'm tired. I know, I know. I never mention fatigue. Ever. Do I? Actually, I've been quite pleased with my energy levels the last few weeks. I've kept the house relatively clean. I've been able to play with my kids. I've been impressed with my body's capacity to go. And on some level, I've discovered it is a matter of choice. If I choose to keep going, I can! I thought triumphantly the other day, while scrubbing away at the dishes.

This morning I laid down on my bed, leaning against my pillow to rest for just a moment. I was listening to the News Roundup on the Diane Rhem show (something to look forward to on Fridays for sure) and all of the sudden I was waking up from a short, I think, cat-nap. I'm sure I would have slept longer, but that inherent mommy 6th sense reminded me that I have a baby who was crawling around and possibly getting into things he shouldn't be, so I got up groggily to go into the other room to crash on the couch, but a whiff of his diaper quickly did in that dream.

I've been re-reading A Year in Provence, a completely charming and utterly depressing account once you realize that as accessable as Peter Mayle makes it sound, you know that you will never find yourself living in an old stone farmhouse in the countryside of Southern France, no matter how much you might dream about it. Also, they seem to drink so much alcohol there, I'm afraid as a non-drinker, I would immediately be branded as a freak and studiously avoided. So that, and the fact that Ben and I have yet to achieve the
status of independently wealthy are just two of the roadblocks that have come to my mind during the past few gray days here in New York.

My next reading adventure is the first Harry Potter book in French to help, you know, keep my French up, in the event I ever do find myself in possession of an old stone farmhouse in France. I am aproaching it with a slight bit of trepidation, knowing it's going to take a little more brain power than just reading the English version. I'm sure this is good for me. Kind of like the physical push to keep my body moving, my mind will surely function better with a little mental push as well. I've written before about the vacation my brain takes during various stages of the mothering experience. Another mental exercise I am trying to involve my brain in is a blog re-design. Hopefully someday you'll see the fruits of it.

The truth of it is, mothering is tiring. Having watched my own mother live in a pretty constant state of fatigue, I have few illusions. And the ones I do have are probably necessary to my survival. At the end of the day, it's not so much the physical drain, although that has it's place and part, especially when everyone is in constant companionship with a ne'er departing cold, but it's the mental exhaustion that takes a toll from the everyday routines of very small people who aren't quite ready to be out and about in the world a whole lot. The amusing, but not quite stimulating conversations of 4 year-olds, coupled with cold weather, and no transportation and a child who refuses to just take the leap and decide to be completely potty trained as opposed to just almost potty trained.

But, tis also a seasonal thing. The good times of Winter are passed. February is usually a dismal month for weather, although I hold out hope for a few of those sunny days that occassionally pop in. Winter in a holding pattern, warmer weather is somewhere around the corner, but taking it's own sweet time. The good news is that Punxsutawney Phil didn't see his shadow today so Spring should be showing up early. Hence, that vicarious year in Provence, and a little foreign language stimulation, a little pep talk, and a shower as well (imagine that! a shower!), may actually do the trick of mind over matter. But we'll see. Today my matter is feeling pretty persistent.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

the end is near

It's been made official. The release date for the final installment of Harry Potter. Such a funny thing, this Potter phenomenon. I will most likely have the book in hand that morning and spend the remainder of my day reading it, letting Ben take over the kids (nursing responsibilites excepted) for the duration since thank goodness it will be a Saturday! I'll then hand it off the Ben that night before crashing into bed, head full of information that can't be shared until he has finished the book himself. Oh the torture! It makes me shiver just thinking about it.