Go Fly a Kite! Seriously, go fly a kite: This Moment

Kids: they dance before they learn there is anything that isn’t music. ~William Stafford ~Quote Garden

“This Moment” is a ritual adopted from SouleMama …check out her blog, it is beautiful, and if you are moved please leave a link to your Moment in the comment box below. I was inspired to take part in the “This Moment” ritual after seeing it on Life – Inspired by the Wee Man. Check out her blog it is both inspirational and lovely!

Summer, Fireflies, and Drinking More Coffee

The other night it all started when my youngest daughter wanted to catch lightning bugs; neat, fun summer thing to do. I’d plop down on the comfy chair underneath the ceiling fan, behind the screened porch that overlooks the then freshly mowed lawn. I’d read, drink coffee; whilst the children frolic about capturing fireflies.

La. La. La. La. La.

Do your children ever leave you dumbfounded? Thinking huh, wh, wha, what the what?

Anyway, so, before making way to my comfy, cozy chair; I gathered up jars, poked holes in the lids. The little one flies out the back door with purpose in her step; on a mission.

Now, it is Mama’s relaxing time; I’ve got my coffee, I’ve got my book. Ah, just about… just about dupa to chair, but, no wait, can’t, I’ve been spotted, and then, the little one, “Mom, mom, come look, you’ve gotta see this.”

The excitement coming from her was way better than any book; so, down goes the coffee and the book, and out the door I went. Notice I did not say better than coffee; I tease, sorta. Nah, ha. Seriously, she was super excited about the habitat she’d made… she had leaves and berries and small twigs; way cool, barely enough room for the fireflies.

I was thinking, ut oh, that looks more like a home for keeping, not catch and release, eeewww, and um, I’m not really down with keeping them captive, I said, “oh, wow that is the most impressive firefly habitat I’ve ever seen, and I’m sure they’ll love to stop in for a quick visit, but not like an extend-a-stay… you’ll let ‘em go, give them back to nature, where they belong, so they can fly, fly with the wind.”

No, she had zero intentions of giving them back to nature; nope. She wanted to keep them for pets, you know, so they could light her room at night.

Instead of just crushing her by saying, no, you cannot keep the ‘lil things captive, get over it. Done and done. I begin to explain, talk about it, try to reason with a six-year-old on a subject I know nothing about in presence of my nine-year-old who knows a little about everything.

I say, “what if you capture a mama bug and the mama bug can’t get back to her baby bugs? Or, what if you capture a daddy bug who is out foraging for food, and then he can’t get back to feed his babies…”

Sounds legit, right?! Well, wrong… The nine-year-old, “Actually mom, the female firefly stays low to the ground, so unless she is crawling around on the ground, I don’t think she’ll find a female. It is a male who flies above ground, and, he only lights up to attract his species, he just does that to mate with a female, he isn’t flying around looking for food to take back to “babies” and just so you know, they are not called babies they are called LAR-VUH. ”

I am not smarter than a third grader; obviously!

I stood there schooled on the subject of firefly, incredibly proud, happy dancing, thinking, she loves to read, she loves to read, and a little laughing on the inside, also thinking, what the hell… man, this kid of mine is part schoolmarm.

The lesson did not stop; oh no, she continued educating me, “Mom are you aware that the lightning bug is actually apart of the beetle family?”

“No kiddo, I did not know that.”

“Oh, and Mom, do you know what is used to make red food coloring?”

“Nope, I do not.”

“Well, you will not believe it, it is really, really gross.”

So, I was like, “okay, well then, I don’t wanna know…”

So, of course, that automatically means that I am in the need to know… “Mom. Grounded. Up. Beetle.”

I googled it… Eewwww. Yack. Ack. Long live the beetle!

Moral of the story… oh goodness, whatever, just drink more coffee, and, note to self: do not buy anything with red food coloring.

Three Hundred and Thirteen

RIGHT NOW, RIGHT THIS MINUTE, THIS DAY MAY SEEM LIKE THE BEST, OR LONGEST, OR WORST, OR HAPPIEST, OR SADIST, WHATEVER KIND OF DAY; THE DAY HAPPENS FAST.

BOOM…

THE FREQUENCY IN WHICH I BUY SHOES AND FOOD AND CLOTHING FOR MY QUICKLY, AIN’T GONNA SLOW-GROWING KIDS, SERVES AS A GREAT REMINDER OF HOW ABSOLUTELY, TRULY, ABSURDLY FAST LIFE HAPPENS.

THE OTHER DAY I HAD THIS MOMENT WHEN I LOOKED AT BOTH MY KIDS PLAYING AND THOUGHT WOW THEY’VE GOTTEN SO BIG, SO MUCH SO THEY’VE BOTH OUTGROWN MY HIP.

I MISS WEARING THOSE RUG RATS… I MISS A BABE NESTLED ON MY HIP, SNUGGLED UP IN THE CROOK OF MY ARM, STRANDS OF MY HAIR TWIRLED AROUND LITTLE FINGERS, A TINY HEAD RESTING ON MY SHOULDER, WHILE I TAKE IN THAT SWEET BABY SMELL, AND THE WARMTH OF BABY BREATH ON MY CHEST. SIGH.

INDEED, I MISS IT!

OH-OH! OH, I CAN STILL MAKE IT HAPPEN; I CAN CARRY THEM AROUND ON MY HIP; IF, I DON’T MIND EMBARRASSING THE CRAP OUT OF ‘EM, OR BREAKING MY BACK, OR FILLING A BURN AND TINGLING SENSATION IN MA-LEGS AND ARMS.

SIGH. CRAZY BEAUTIFUL ABSURDLY FAST LIFE…

MY LITTLE ONE HOLDS UP ONE HAND AND SAYS, “MOM, TODAY, TRY TO REMEMBER THREE THINGS; (1 FINGER) PAST, (2 FINGERS) PRESENT (3 FINGERS) FUTURE…”
“MOM, DO YOU KNOW THAT PRESENT MEANS GIFT OF LIVING?”
TO WHICH I SAID, “I DO NOW, SWEETIE.”

Three hundred and thirteen are the number of Wednesdays I’ve had with my six-year-old daughter because that is how many Wednesdays are in six years.

“What day is it?” It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.
My favorite day,” said Pooh.”
― A.A. Milne

MY DAUGHTERS WISHING AND HOPING AND WISHING FOR THE SKIES TO OPEN UP AND LET DOWN SOME OF THAT WHITE STUFF, OF WHICH, SO MANY OTHERS IN THE US OF A AND ACROSS THE GLOBE ARE TIRED OF LIVING… FINALLY HAPPENED, AND SNOW WE GOT –ALL TWO INCHES OF IT –GOOD TIMES.

cars on the sides of the road, cars on the middle of the road… people unable to slide, I mean, drive on ice-covered roads abandoned their cars.

Snow Angels

We live in an area that averages snow about every 3 years, so the officials responsible for deploying salt trucks and school closures and behind keep people safe scenes should know better than allowing for ill-preparedness, but this time wasn’t any different, and oh my, a cluster of madness we got.

…a long sheet of ice –my kids got to ice skate in their boots.

When the beautiful white fluff stuff starts melting, and then temperatures drop below freezing, it hardens into a sheet of ice, making for dangerous driving conditions, and well, we here in the South have yet learnt to drive on ice; words drenched in sarcasm. I digress.

And, for two days there weren’t alarms sounding, no get up and rush around… the word hurry did not fall from my mouth; not once.

My youngest daughter loves parties; we had a birthday party, well, not a birthday party, we just had the party, using birthday hats and birthday plates and candles and those blow thingy noise makers, and we ate and sang silly.

Go for long walks.

Indulge in hot baths.

Question your assumptions.

Be kind to yourself.

Live for the moment.

Loosen up your scream.

Curse the world.

Count your blessings.

JUST LET GO.

JUST BE.

Extraordinary things…

The Sailor and I began our parenting journey almost a decade ago; yet, it wasn’t until several years in that I realized the magnitude of how truly ill-prepared we were for such an extraordinary adventure.

Like whoa, you can think things through, talk about it, plan all over it, but until the foot hits the floor; what you think will happen doesn’t, what you think will never happen happens, and the love and the growth and the miracles and the crazy happy and sad, and oh my, it is infinite.

When I was pregnant… I had it planned; we’d decorate her room with all things cute, I’d make it through my struggle over wipe warmer or not, sure I’d read some books, learn as I go, family and friends would help, but near death experience and premature birth wasn’t apart of the plan. It is what we got, but it most certainly wasn’t apart of the plan.

Our introduction into parenthood was traumatic, and scary, and we had to find a new way, our way.

I thought I knew what parenthood looked like; I thought I knew what role the Sailor would play. He would work.

YOU SEE MY THOUGHTS ON FATHERHOOD WERE A BIT OFF; I COMPARED IT TO WHAT I KNEW… MY FATHER, MY FRIEND’S FATHER’S, MY COUSIN’S FATHER’S, ALL THESE FATHER’S WENT TO WORK. MOST OF THEM PROVIDED FOOD, CLOTHING AND SHELTER, BUT THAT WAS WHERE IT STOPPED, AND SADLY, SOME OF THEM DIDN’T EVEN DO THAT.

MY FATHER WAS AN EXCELLENT PROVIDER; FOR THAT, I AM GRATEFUL, BUT HE NEVER CHANGED A DIAPER, OR CLEANED UP VOMIT, OR CARED FOR US WHEN WE WERE SICK, OR GAVE FATHER DAUGHTER TALKS, OR BRUSHED HAIR, OR ATTENDED SCHOOL FUNCTIONS, OR MADE FORTS, OR GOT UP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT TO SCARE AWAY GOBLINS. HE JUST DIDN’T BECAUSE IT WAS MY MOM’S JOB, THE END.

SO, I THOUGHT THE SAILOR WOULD GO TO WORK, AND I’D DO EVERYTHING ELSE; WHEN HE STEPPED OUTSIDE THE BOUNDARY LINES I HAD FORMED, IN MY HEAD, ON HIS OWN, WITHOUT MY APPROVAL, WITHOUT MY NUDGING, WELL THAT SEEMED VERY ODD TO ME, PECULIAR.

I’M SLOW TO THE START, OBVIOUSLY, AND MAYBE A LITTLE BORDER-LINE OFF MY ROCKER BECAUSE I WAS NOT DOWN WITH ALL THAT INVOLVED BUSINESS. I WAS LIKE, UM, DUDE, GIVE ME THE BABY IF ANYONE IS GOING TO CLEAN UP VOMIT IT IS GONNA BE ME.

WELL, THE SAILOR, NEVER NEEDED MY PERMISSION TO TAKE PART; WE WENT OVER SOME BUMPY BUMPS, IT TOOK SOME ADJUSTING ON MY PART, WHICH NOW LOOKING BACK SEEMS SO WRONG, AND RIGHTFULLY SO, I LOVE AND ADMIRE HIM FOR STANDING HIS GROUND.

I KNOW I PROBABLY VIOLATE SOME UNSPOKEN RULE THAT ONE SHOULD NEVER TELL A MAN THAT HE IS A GOOD DAD BECAUSE THAT IS JUST HIM DOING HIS JOB, BUT SERIOUSLY, I GIVE ZERO CARES ABOUT RULES, I TELL THE SAILOR OFTEN THAT HE IS A REAL GOOD DAD, THE BEST IN FACT.

I’VE EVEN GONE AS FAR AS SAYING, THANK YOU, AND TELLING HIM HOW GRATEFUL I AM THAT HE IS THE DAD HE IS TO OUR KIDS. I LOVE AND APPRECIATE HIM TO THE MOON AND BACK, OF COURSE, TO HIM IT IS JUST ORDINARY DAD STUFF, TO ME IT IS MUTHA-EFFIN-EPIC-EXTRAORDINARY.

TODAY, FATHER’S DAY, THE SAILOR DOESN’T EXPECT NOR WANT FATHER’S DAY GIFTS, TO HIM IT IS JUST ANOTHER DAY TO CELEBRATE BEING DAD TO OUR DAUGHTERS, BUT IT WON’T STOP ME FROM TELLING HIM HOW MUCH I APPRECIATE HIM, AND HOW I THINK HE IS THE BEST DAD EVER OR THAT HE IS DOING A GOOD JOB, AND TO KEEP THAT SHIT UP BECAUSE I APPRECIATE IT MORE THAN A GIFT OR WORDS COULD EVER EXPRESS.

This Moment… when happy happens

IT WAS MY THIRD PREGNANCY, BUT I HAD YET TO EXPERIENCE A FULL TERM, NO COMPLICATIONS, CHILDBIRTH, AND WHILE THIS PREGNANCY WAS NO LESS COMPLICATED I REACHED THE SAFE POINT THAT I WAS SO CLOSE TO EXPERIENCING A FULL TERM, NO COMPLICATIONS CHILD-BIRTH MY HAPPY WAS BURSTING.

I SPENT COUNTLESS HOURS THAT TURNED INTO DAYS THAT TURNED INTO WEEKS FLAT ON MY BACK… SEVENTEEN TOTAL WEEKS ON DOCTOR ORDERED BED REST, GETTING SHOT UP WITH PROGESTERONE, FOLLOWING EVERY DOCTOR ORDER TO A T. I READ AND RESEARCHED. I WAITED. IT WAS AN INTENSE EXPERIENCE; I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO STILL, LIVING IN THE MOMENT LIKE THAT THAN AT ANY OTHER TIME IN MY LIFE.

HAVING EXPERIENCED, AS DOCTORS CALLED IT, FETAL DEMISE… THE DEATH OF MY FIRST DAUGHTER, AND A PREMATURE BIRTH AT 23 WEEKS GESTATION WITH MY SECOND DAUGHTER, THE DOCTORS COULD HAVE TOLD ME TO STAND ON MY HEAD WHILE RUBBING MY TUMMY AND I WOULD HAVE SAID… TEACH ME HOW.

THE BED REST BARELY SEEMED TO AFFECT ME; I WAS SO OVER THE TOP, LIKE NEVER IN MY LIFE, HIGHLY MOTIVATED TO DO WHATEVER POSSIBLE BECAUSE I WANTED MORE THAN ANYTHING TO FEEL A FULL TERM, HOLD MY HEALTHY BABY IN MY ARMS CHILD-BIRTH.

MY WILLINGNESS TO TRY SOMETHING, ANYTHING THAT MIGHT HELP ME AND MY UNBORN CHILD REACH A FULL TERM BIRTH OPENED UP THE POSSIBILITY FOR WHAT SOUNDED INCREDIBLY CRUNCHY WEIRD… HYPNOBIRTHING.

HYPNOBIRTHING; IT EVEN SOUNDS PECULIAR! AH, LIFE HAS THESE RAIN NOTHING BUT SHIT MOMENTS, MAKE YOU CURL UP IN A BALL CRY MOMENTS, YET SO FULL OF MIRACLE MOMENTS, MAKE YOU SCREAM, JUMP UP AND DOWN JOY MOMENTS… BEAUTIFUL, CRAZY HARD LIFE.

SO, I MET THIS GIRL, SHE WAS A NURSE WHO WAS THE WIFE OF THE SON OF A CUSTOMER WHO DID BUSINESS WITH THE SAILOR AND BOOM, QUITE THE MIRACULOUS NO WAY YOU CANNOT MEET THIS PERSON MOMENT BECAUSE YOU ARE GOING TO SIT, AND TALK, AND HEAR ABOUT THIS PERSONS EXPERIENCES. I LISTENED, WHILE SHE SHARED HER HYPNOBIRTHING EXPERIENCE. THE STUDENT WAS READY; THE TEACHER APPEARED.

WHATEVER, THE MOON AND STARS AND THE WORLD AND EVERYTHING ELSE SEEMED SO PERFECTLY ALIGNED. YOU KNOW WITH CERTAINTY THAT YOU WANT, DESERVE TO HAVE SOMETHING WONDERFULLY BEAUTIFUL HAPPEN AND YOU FEEL ITS GOODNESS, THE ANTICIPATION AND EXCITEMENT… IT’S A BIG ‘OLE BALL OF HOPE, HOPE, HOPE.

EVEN THOUGH YOU THINK YOU ARE THE TYPE OF PERSON TO SAY, “JACK ME UP WITH DRUGS, AND GET THIS BABY OUT OF ME” BECAUSE YOU ARE READY TO MEET THIS BABY KIND OF PERSON AND THEN ONE DAY YOU FIND YOURSELF GOING THROUGH A HYPNOBIRTHING EXPERIENCE.

WHOA. IT HAPPENED, AND I LISTENED TO MY BODY AND GOT TO EXPERIENCE SOMETHING SO NATURAL, PAIN-FREE, EUPHORIC, BEAUTIFUL, INCREDIBLE. LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL, CRAZY HARD, AND MIRACLES HAPPEN.

MY SWEET BABY GIRL BORN AT 40 WEEKS, PLUS 2 DAYS GESTATION BLESSED ME WITH HER SUPER FABULOUS AWESOME SELF, AND MY HEART GREW BIGGER.

SHE ROCKS MY WORLD WITH HER BEAUTY, AND SWEETNESS, AND KINDNESS, AND SILLY FUNNY SELF. I AM TO THE MOON AND BACK GRATEFUL THAT SHE IS MY DAUGHTER, AND THAT I GET TO BE HER MOM, AND ON THIS DAY WE GET TO CELEBRATE HER AND US AND OUR FAMILY.

HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Bunny Steps

This little bunny has been hard at work.
1 week shy of 11 months,
And she took her first steps!
Or so I’m told, by her sweet daycare people…that they let her go and she took a couple of steps on her own… TWICE!
Of course, my only goal when we got home today was to see it for myself.
{a part of me felt sad that I hadn’t seen those first steps….that I’d missed seeing that look on her face…but I had to remind myself… earth to Cassie- this is not about you…}
I held puffs just past her reach…
I tried tempting her with those objects normally verboten…
Remote control, iPhone, you name it.
Not bribery, just a little carrot dangling :)
But alas, she was a tired little bunny,
And although she came so so close a few times,
We didn’t get to see any hind leg momentum,
YET.
But that’s okay.
No rush.
I’m still getting used to the fact that just a year ago, this little bunny had still not made her above ground appearance.
I was blithely moseying along, unpacking baby shower goodies, washing tiny baby garments, organizing {everything, to a T.. the nesting hormones,you know}, and reading about training your baby to sleep through the night by 12 weeks old. {HA!}
I’m quite happy to have her scampering across the floor on all fours for a while longer.
There’s plenty of time for all of that other stuff.
Bunny steps.

Gray Matters

It’s a rainy Sunday morning.  Izzy is in bed next to me, making quiet baby babble cooing noises…too early… I know she’s not going to fall back to sleep, although I try to will her to do it by closing my eyes and pretending to snore.
Doesn’t work.
I knew it wouldn’t.
I wonder– (and on some mornings, seethe, but not this morning)
Why can’t my husband just surprise me and get up with her.
The level of exhaustion that hits me at various points of the day, it’s like a ton of bricks, suffocating, crippling… but not really.
Because it can be shoved back under, and forgotten, like a postcard under the bed, in a shoebox full of other random memorabilia that doesn’t necessarily mean anything but means enough to not throw away… that stuff gathering dust.
Evidence of a different life & time.
The corners bending, the print fading, the colors yellowing.
I wonder if I’ll ever feel normal again.  I wonder if everyone feels this way. I wonder if this degree of exhaustion means that I’m old, or depressed, or worse, ungrateful.
Or maybe just human.

Izzy and I get out of bed and stumble into her room, where it’s chilly, and her sound machine is still on.  The whale.  Whale-boy, as my husband and I call it.
It feels like we’re at the bottom of the ocean, the waves echoing and crashing, the room dark, the rain softly hitting the window. I get her dressed and changed.
She plays on the floor, sometimes crawling over top of me, reaching around my neck for a hug, but almost as soon as she makes it into my lap, she is reaching back down for the floor.

I lie on the carpet and watch her, sometimes join her.  I wonder how I could’ve wished to miss this.  How I could’ve wished that my husband would do this, would have this, would take this, while I sleep it away.
This is our rainy Sunday morning.
Izzy is funny, she is sweet, she is the most adorable little creature that I could’ve ever dreamed up.

I wonder if this is just a haze of new mother lust.
When will I hit a plateau, and look back on these days like they were the good ones.
When will I hit that ‘senior slide’, and feel weathered, bored,  blase, antsy.

Today though, I’m happy to squint through this still-new haze.. Which is equal parts joy – exhaustion – settling hormones (sometimes raging) – shifting identity (sometimes lost) – a full, bursting heart (sometimes lonely and afraid).
So many contradictions.
We’re settled in this gray space.
The in-between.

I have to go to work this morning.  Because I was out sick for a day, and a half.
I have to get off of this carpeted ocean floor, leave this baby’s soft babbling, and float along, through this city.  To work with people who don’t give a sh*t about this ocean floor and this baby and this nest.

I will soon have to wake up my husband, who will be grouchy and puffy eyed and will shuffle into the kitchen, and demand to know what is in the trash that smells.
Izzy will yell for him, and do her fastest crawl towards him.  She’ll pull up on his legs and reach for him to pick her up.  He’ll pick her up and smile and the morning grump will melt.  He’ll hug her and kiss her and pull me in.
I’ll try to forget my anger.  I’ll try to let it go, and see this moment for what it is.  Then he’ll make another grumpy comment.

I’ll leave the house, into the rain, and tell myself not to cry. Hating this morning,
Hating this city.
Hating this rain.

I’ll look for our postcard. The one where we have all of the time to spend together, where we can be sick at home when we need it, and travel towards the sun when the rain and the cold gets to be too much.  Where we can sit in the sand and hear the waves crash and recede, and where we can know that everything will be right.
(But even in my gloom and doom mood, I know that everything is right.)

I’ll sit in my car and hope that an extra hot Starbucks latte will fool me into feeling good about this day.
It just might.
Or maybe it’ll be the sugar in the raw that collects at the bottom of the cup.

So I’ll go.
And push all of this back underneath the bed.  .
To gather dust, and be forgotten.
But not entirely.
To be left.
But not completely.
Maybe tomorrow I’ll figure out how to fit all of these pieces together.