Friday, February 27, 2009

PSF: On some days . . .

On some days, I have no idea how blessed I am . . .

Early in the morning I hear this tiny little voice, suggestions of words. It beckons me.

I pick him up and cradle him in my arms. "You know one day he'll be too big for this?"

Yes. I know.

We head downstairs where I find our spot on the well-worn couch. He rolls out of my arms onto the cushion while I gather up the quilt and bring it over to the couch. He scrambles for my lap and tucks his head under my chin as I pull up the quilt, creating the perfect cocoon.

We stay that way for close to an hour. Just cuddling.

"You know he won't always cuddle with you, right?"

Yes. I know.

I grab a perfectly ripened banana and begin pulling at the peel. I hear the little patter of feet come behind me and feel him wrap his arms around my legs. He starts to sing, "Lado lado lado." I have no idea what this song is, but he sings with such gusto that I can't help but clap and cheer for each note that passes from his lips. He grins and nods his head, his body shakes in excitement. I can't even fathom the simple joy this boy feels. His hand stretches out for the banana. "Nanananana." I screech. That was definitely a word. I heard it. HE SAID BANANA! I scoop him up and spin around. He throws his head back as he rubs his banana-sticky fingers in my hair. My heaven.

"One day he won't need the cheering section anymore."

Yes. I know.

I busy myself in the kitchen as the afternoon approaches. Loading the dishwasher, folding laundry, cleaning off counter tops. It amazes me that one mother and her child can destroy a house like we do. But every afternoon it looks the same. Sweet chaos.

A small truck races across the floor. WOOSH! Followed by its "driver," the little car skids to stop a few inches from my feet.

He runs over. Grabbing my legs he looks up at me. Those eyes. Blue. Innocent. Perfect. Those eyes that love me . . .

"He won't always look at you that way, you know?"

Yes, I know.

I drop the towel in the sink. I forget about the laundry. The dishes. The messy counter.

I turn around and I chase my son. His laughter filling the air . . .

My heaven.

* * *

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Good Thing

I have to be honest. My husband is awesome. I feel like I should go on some sort of "why my husband is a pain" rant. But, I can't (I can't say the same for him, however).

A few hours ago he cleaned up after dinner, dusted (I know, shocker), vacuumed, did 3 loads of laundry and get this . . . he was on his hands and knees washing the floor.

How lucky am I? I mean, this guy accomplishes more in an hour than I do all day. Sure, I have Mr. Destructo to watch, play with, feed and of course NURTURE. But seriously, how is it that I can't finish one load of whites? Wash a few breakfast dishes? Sweep a floor covered in dried Play Doh, Cheerios (I talk about Cheerios way too much on my blog . . . not as much as Swedish Fish, though), crumbs, UIO (unidentified icky objects) and such?

I mean, on a good day I'm lucky to get a shower.

But Super Hubby swoops in and he's faster than a speeding blob of vomit when it comes to getting this house to look a little less Romper and a little more Room. Pretty damn amazing. I hesitate to tell him this . . . I fear that I will hear in return that if I just "keep up with it throughout the day" I can be as good as he. He's never, ever said this . . . but I know it lingers on his tongue. Besides, if we start to talk about it then that might mean he'll . . .
expect more of me.

As I sit here thinking of how lucky I am, I can't help but smile. I should probably tell him how grateful I am for all he does, for the loving way in which he cares for his family.

I lean against the door frame staring down in admiration at my wonderful husband. Swish, swish. His hands move in unison as he wipes remnants of our day off the old oak floors.

He looks up at me, as if he anticipates evidence of my love and appreciation to fall from my lips.

He gets up, hands on knees, tilts his head, the hint of a smile on his face, "Yes?" he asks in a knowing tone.

"You missed a spot," I reply.

I mean, why ruin a good thing?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

For Misty

There is a blogger I know. She is full of warmth, honesty and a love so profound that it inspires you to grab onto your children and never, ever let them go.

Her strength was what first drew me in. She had such heavy burdens to bear yet she never wavered in her faith (and if she did, she never let it show), she drew strength from the love of her family and the kindness of her friends.

Even more inspiring . . . she gave it all back three-fold.

I ask that you pray for
Misty, that you think of her family during this time . . . for in a matter of months Misty will be delivering her dear son, Isaac . . . and then she will bid him farewell.

I have no more words.

Except to say, my heart is with you Misty . . .

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Walking the cow

This post sat in-draft. It begged me to be freed. It was born from a manic state of swirling chaos that had gripped my shoulders and shook me dry.

I relent. There is no poetry. No depth. No guarded history. Just a day in the life of being constantly in-draft . . .

* * *

The other day I was on this cleaning kick. I scrubbed the sink. I cleaned every inch of my counter tops. I was even able to remove the jelly that had hardened weeks ago (I had placed an old trivet over it thinking I'd get to it later). I mopped. I vacuumed (this word ticks me off because it always takes me three times to spell it correctly). I dusted, and I mean REALLY dusted--base boards, chair rails, ceiling fans (found a few dozen bugs lounging--dead--up there).
And get this. I cleaned out my junk drawer (OK, one of my MANY junk drawers, but a junk drawer nonetheless). I seriously should have taken a picture . . . I tossed coupons that expired in 2006. A raffle ticket from 2004. Buttons to non-existent clothing. A bunch of old tissues--don't ask. Underwear magnets (yes, I had magnets in the shape of underwear--don't ask about that either). A little plastic bag that I thought was the stump of J's umbilical cord, but was indeed only an old raisin. I think. I was so damned productive that I awarded myself a gold star.

But here's the deal. That's all I was able to do.

I had this freaky laser-like focus on getting the house clean (this is a rare focus as I am usually surrounded by Legos, Little People, blocks, cars, mix-matched Tupperware . . . ). But, during my Mrs. Clean adventure I ignored nearly everything else. I never got out of my PJs. I ignored phone calls. I didn't even bother to make dinner.
I'm pretty sure I forgot to go pee. Yeah. It wasn't good. Oh, don't worry about J. Apparently, he was enthralled and thoroughly entertained watching me buzz around like the busy bee from his storybook ("Buzz, buzz" said Bee, "I'm too busy today . . . ").

I have a confession.
I suck at multitasking. My dad used to tell me that I did everything with blinders on. He was right. I do. Give me more than one thing to do and something is bound to suffer. "Walk the dog and go get milk." OK. Chances are I'll walk a cow (no, we didn't have a cow--see the problem?) and go get dog food. My brain just doesn't work well when it is overloaded . . . with more than one thing, one instruction, one option (oh, dear Lord, don't even get me started on menus).

You know what's funny? During job interviews I always state with confidence that I am an excellent multi-tasker. I don't necessarily lie. I just think of myself in a parallel universe.

The worst thing about being a single-tasker . . . distraction. This is why I rely on those blinders.
I'm making dinner. Oooohh. Twitter. I'm writing a to do list. What a pretty pen. I'm brushing my hair. I think I'll go through all my make-up. I'm just getting out of the shower. The shower needs a full scrubbing. And the sinks. And the toilet. I need to make a phone call. Geesh, the phone needs to be sanitized. So do the doorknobs, light switches, cupboard hardware . . . I just need to run in and get milk. There are a bazillion cereals in the cereal aisle and I need cereal with my milk--thus, the 3 hour grocery shopping excursion.

I envy those moms that clearly are excellent multi-taskers. They are balancing a baby on one hip, nursing the other while giving an online lecture on the subatomic particles to an advanced physics class all while texting on a Blackberry. Yeah. That's not me. I admit it. I'm coming clean. Trust me, this is NOT my way of trying to look all cool and laid back with my flawed, yet embraceable and endearing mommy persona.

The fact is, I'd love to be a master multi-tasker.
I can only imagine how productive I could be. How focused I would be. How centered. How Zen. And after I would wake, shower and dress, I'd prepare a nutritious breakfast. Clean the kitchen. Then make a list. Go to the store. Buy milk and Wow . . . this maze on the back of the Cap'n Crunch box is kinda hard. Damn it. Now, what were we talking about?

* * *
Added after reading some of your comments: There is something so comforting about NOT being alone in this . . . I can see it now. A whole big nekkid bunch of us all walking cows at the grocery store. Excellent . . .

Friday, February 13, 2009

PSF: My Little Dude

A mere 18 months ago I peered into a set of dark eyes surrounded by wrinkles and peach fuzz.

Last night I peered into a set of deep blue eyes surrounded by smooth creamy skin smeared with a mixture of chocolate cake, frosting and banana (Yes, I look for any excuse to make cupcakes).

What a beautiful face. What a huge mess . . .

Although I see glimpses of that newborn baby that I cradled in my arms, today I see more the boy he is slowly turning out to be. I am full of all sorts of bittersweet amazement.

I have a toddler now. A TODDLER.

And nothing can truly prepare you for living with a toddler. Well, except two months alone in the Amazon jungle with the constant chatter of monkeys, the jabs and pokes of the greenery, the rough terrain of the near-untouched land, the never ending fear of the unknown, and the constant desire to dry off or to take a shower (with soap). That might give you an idea . . . MIGHT.

And all that said, I so completely and utterly dig this little dude. Here is just a sampling of why . . .

1. His hugs. Man can this kid hug! He comes running, full force, throwing his arms around you and burying his head in your shoulder. He hugs with his entire body. He's like a warm coat you just don't want to take off.

2. His laugh. His giggles are still that of a baby. They are light and airy and coated in sweetness. Until you do something silly. Like reenact an episode of The Three Stooges. He is enamored with ridiculousness. If you drop something, he laughs. You stumble, he laughs. You fall, he cracks up with this deep giggle that resonates from his belly and curls up in your ears. I'd fall all day long to hear that laugh. ALL DAY.

3. His words. OK. Although I talk to J all day long, we read, we sing, we play . . . he's not much of a talker. Of the English language, that is. He jabbers all day long. But either I am not well versed in "baby" or he is literally speaking another language. But let me tell you, when a perfectly formed word springs from those lips, it is like someone dropped gold in my lap. Lots and lots of gold. In the matter of the last couple days it is like a switch has turned on and I am hearing more and more words. Up. Down. Car. WOOF. Dog. Cat. An expletive I swear I never taught him . . . (I think he's trying to say "funny duck"--at least I hope that's what he's trying to say).

4. His brains. He is taking after his dad. No doubt. He's been sorting shapes for months. He stacks blocks, building towers as tall as he is only to knock them down. He pulls things a part and puts them back together. He can sort his Legos into color piles and like items into bins. Brilliance in action, I say (and if this is totally normal for his age, don't tell me. He still tries to eat weird and gross things off the ground so I need something to hold onto).

5. His heart. Several months ago we found that if we put our hands over our eyes and "cry" he will come running, remove your hands and check to see if you are OK. Once he sees your eyes he moves in for a comforting hug. He hears crying, whether a baby at the mall or a woman on TV and a look of concern creeps across his face. YET, when he cries he just shakes it off. My little tough guy with a heart.

and here are a few other fun facts . . .

6. He clearly possesses the skills to one day work in covert ops. From sneaking sips of his dad's Mountain Dew and emptying a box of cereal (that used to be up high on the counter) to tearing apart a roll of toilet paper and ripping open all the mail (that was in a drawer in the desk), he knows what he wants, performs reconnaissance and then goes for it. He's got skills.

7. He loves chocolate. Dang it. My competition.

8. He develops infatuations with strange items. One minute it is a small Elmo finger puppet (normal) and the next it is an emptied bottle of travel-sized hand sanitizer. I don't get it.

9. I'm pretty sure he's made the decision to become a vegetarian. Either that or the mass/distance ratio of the flight plan of a piece of meat is more interesting then actually eating it.

10. He is FAST. I was a record-setter in high school track. I competed (and won a lot) at the college level. I've been running nearly my entire life. I am FAST. Or. I WAS fast. This kid is can have me heaving in a matter of seconds. And the minute those little feet touch ground . . . watch out!

And finally . . . I love this face. This face that belongs to the boy that cracks me up, makes me smile, swells my heart, brings tears to my eyes, fills my heart with fear and worry, but most of all . . . makes it all worth it.

Only 18 months. I can't imagine 18 years, yet I know we'll be here in no time.

Love. This. Face.

* * *

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Just a little . . .

R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Please.

Apparently, I am a mommy blogger.

A blogger.

NOT, necessarily, a writer.

Really? I'm not?

I have always hesitated to use that word to describe myself. Writer. I have a degree in English. Does that make me a writer? I've been paid to write (not much, but more than a few dollars). Does that make me a writer? My 5th grade teacher said I was "Awesome" and gave me lots of gold stars. Does that make me a writer?

I write, but does that make me a writer?

I write about my past, the histories that have become threaded into the frayed fabric that is my life.

I write about this whole mom gig. I'm not sure if anyone ever picks up on my fears, but they are there, preening beneath my words.

I write about silly things, like my desperate attempt to yank a toy out of its plastic prison or about having a rather intense competitive spirit.

Sometimes, I write through tears. Wiping them away while I forge ahead with an idea, a hope, a dream.

Sometimes, I write through laughter. Gagging on my Lucky Charms as I shake my head and pound the keyboard in a fit of hilarity (trust me, you own the laughter more than I do).

I don't know.

Maybe I am a writer.

There are some that will disagree. There are some that will say that I am nothing but a talentless hack. A wanna-be. A bored mom desperate to fill nap times. A lonely (young--yes, let's say YOUNG, shall we?) woman with nothing better to do.

Fine. Say it. Believe it. Maybe I am it.

But I'll be damned if I'll let someone else tell me I'm NOT a writer. That as a blogger I am "less than."

The blog is the vehicle by which we share our lives, our stories and ourselves. We do it with words. Words that pound the virtual page with conviction. With emotion. With power. Unlike the dusty journals that sit at our nightstand or the memoir that we are building one document at a time, the blog is our testament. To a life lived and a life shared.

A writer need not have a fancy degree. A writer does not need to bend the phrase like Shakespeare or Hemingway. A writer does not need to brandish the title like an ill-crafted weapon. A writer does not ever feel the need to tell someone else that they are NOT a writer.

A true writer writes with passion, celebrating the words and relishing in the story. A true writer embraces community and encourages expression. From profound revelations and satirical observations to heartfelt anecdotes to stunning images of unspoken words . . . a true writer . . . just writes. With zeal. With honesty. With humor. With hope . . .

Yes. YOU are a writer. Claim it. And don't let anyone tell you any different.

The mother, with tear-stained cheeks and trembling fingers, writes about losing her child. She reaches out and we reach for her. Holding her up and drying her tears.

The father, with awe and humor, shares the stories of his young son as he catches glimpses of the man he will one day become.

The young woman who is reborn within the words that she scatters along the page--reclaiming her independence, her youth, her life from an unkind history.

The new mom who courageously raises her baby boy while trudging through classes and hoping for her husband's safe return from overseas writes of her life with an edgy wit as profound depth ripples just beneath the surface.

We are out there. Don't be distracted by our cute headers. The photos of our babies. The silly stories we tell. There is a hell of a lot more to us. Just read . . . if you dare.

We are out there. We are writing. And we are getting really, really good.

And the only thing we ask . . . just give us a little respect.

Because you can never truly know the power of the blog . . . of the power of the writer who writes it.

* * *

Please visit Don Mills Diva for more inspiring Write on! Respect the blog posts.

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