Archive for the ‘love’ Category

I can feel you watching me, hear the stifled giggle, and am fully aware of just how pathetic you think I am that I get this thrill from leaving my house in the evening to go by myself to a coffee shop to write on a laptop for an hour or two… Pretty exciting, right?

How do you like this, then: When I see a little toddler run by, I kind of miss my kids already, who are sprinting, wildly laughing, around their father’s legs in the kitchen while he tries to make them dinner.

(Don’t miss them enough to leave yet, though.)


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My Birthday Card


It was 3/20…known more importantly as the First Day of Spring…

The very best part of this was seeing my husband’s face after he took them off to make this…many hours later. He looked like he’d been hit by a bus–the background story of this clever montage of loving, happy children involved a lot of crying, running away, refusals to participate, collapsing on the ground, and general crankiness. (And that was just the dad–imagine how the children were behaving. Ha, ha.) But out of all of that uncooperative nastiness… Who would have guessed? (Oh, yeah, basically anyone with a small child in her or his life.)

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Questions, Part 2

Martin and I were watching The Grinch Who Stole Christmas on Christmas Eve, probably one of my favorite Christmas traditions.

During that fantastic song, “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” Martin hears:

You’ve got garlic in your soul, Mr. Grinch.

Your soul is full of gunk, Mr. Grinch.

Your soul is an appalling dump heap overflowing
with the most disgraceful assortment of deplorable
rubbish imaginable,
Mangled up in tangled up knots.

and asks, spurred, I’m sure also by our recent heart-wrenching conversation, “What’s a soul?”

Fighting an urge to run to dictionary.com, which didn’t seem particularly motherly or Christmas-y, I say: “Errr….well…” for a little bit, and then: “Your soul is the place inside you where you keep your love, and your compassion, and your feelings.” Hmmm, not bad, not bad at all, I think.

“Oh!” he exclaims. “So I’m your soul! And you’re my soul. And we’re each other’s soul.”

My heart stopped for just a second before I hugged him. Oh, you’re so right, little boy.

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I was lying with Martin last night as he was falling asleep, telling him a story. I thought he had already drifted away; he was very still. Then he said, “Mom, when I am very old, are you going to be killed?” His voice broke, and he sobbed; I could see tears stream down his cheeks by the glow of the nightlight.

Uh-oh. My mind started racing. I believe in telling him the truth, worded appropriately for a three year old perspective, but this was not like telling him where the truck filled with stacked cages of chickens was heading on the highway the other day. How to say: Well, yes, I am going to die. Odds are, you’ll probably be in your fifties–that is, unless I succumb to one of the cancers that seem to cut down certain women in my family when they’re quite young–but, really, it could happen at any time, even tonight. . . . which would be, morbid as it is, the truth.

“I’m here right now,” I said, hugging him, “and I will be in the morning [please!] and I think I’ll be right here with you for so long it will feel like forever.”

He was still choking on his sobs; I could feel it in his little body as I held him. “But I’m going to have you when I’m three and four and five and six and seven, but then when I’m very old, you are going to fall off of a bridge and be killed.”

My odds of falling off a bridge to my death seem staggeringly low, and I reassured him on this point fairly well, and hoped that the conversation would turn to the various unlikely ways I could meet my end. I’d be on stable ground convincing him that a bald eagle wasn’t going to snatch me from the front yard, for instance. I wasn’t so lucky.

“Where will you go if you get killed? And where is Grammy’s family?”

I am not religious, but I sorely wished that I had a religion-based, this-is-what-happens-when-we-die answer for him. I had a fleeting thought of a mother, long ago, inventing the whole idea of heaven to soothe her child asking this very question…

I admitted that I didn’t know where people went when they got killed, but floundered for something remotely consoling. “Did you know that when I’m right here next to you, or somewhere else, or anywhere, you still have me with you? All the little pieces that make up your body are from Dad and me.” I went on a little in this vein, and he seemed to like it.

His last question: “If Dad gets killed, how is he going to teach people how to use computers?”

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When children are sick, and changes are afoot, and midnight and 3pm seem about the same, and other things besides blogs need to be written, the only things I can come up with seem to be Twitters.

Twitter: Yet another technological thingamajig that I had a good laugh at my husband for suggesting to me–I believe my exact words were something like….”Ha, ha, you’re a narcissistic stalker!” He showed me his account–his colleagues use it at work for telling each other…well, I didn’t really read it, read it because it was too boring, but they use it to give updates to each other. Why I would profess to assume that anyone would want daily, hourly, minute-by-minute updates on my life was beyond me, and I certainly don’t need to get quite so involved in other people’s business.

But….then my sister moved far, far away, and I did want to know what she was doing all day as she acclimated to a new place, and assumed she wanted to know just what book I was reading to my children and what we had for lunch. And then I thought I recalled seeing this strange Twitter thing on a blog or two that I love, looked around, and there it was. If it’s good enough for Christine, it’s good enough for me.

And the true glory of it–I now know that a friend on the West Coast was making homemade desserts with her girlfriend to prepare for Thanksgiving, and know that today, a friend on the East Coast is getting out early from her job due to snow. These are friends that I have known since elementary school, and I used to know those daily details, but now I don’t. I always want to plan an hour of uninterrupted time to talk on the phone with them, or write a four page email, and really, it’s hard to do that often for all of us. But these little twitters–you can’t go beyond 140 characters no matter how much you want to–give me all those details that might not make it into a phone conversation or an email, and keep up that closeness we had when we were playing softball together or sitting in science class discussing our true 9th grade loves.

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Blinking in the Light

I’m slowly crawling out of my Thanksgiving daze. I returned home, went twenty minutes without eating pie, and drank something with no caffeine or alcohol in it. It’s very, very quiet . . . no parents, siblings . . . even my children and husband are off somewhere. We all spent the last four days reading and laughing and baking and watching football and running around in the backyard. Nobody working or knowing the time. When the two-year-old woke up at 11:00 pm and sang and laughed as if it were morning, I got him up, and he ran cars all over my brother’s legs and ate honeydew melon.

Already, though, it’s a world away as I check the calendar for the week and start a load of laundry . . . and then read a post on blue milk about a little boy who seems utterly alone in the world. To think: He was standing, somewhere far away from us, whimpering by a gas station, abandoned in the darkness for a time by a drunk father . . . while my children were being embraced, no one ever wanting to let them go, by family and more family.

This seems impossible.

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The little one didn’t nap, fussed all day, wouldn’t take a bath, wouldn’t eat, and now wouldn’t go to sleep, and as I was trying with all my might to get him to change his mind, the older one sat down next to me and put his head on my shoulder. I thought, I swear, if he riles up this damn baby, or makes him wake up, or . . .” when he said, “Mom, my heart has a lot of love for you and it’s floating up to my ears and coming out my mouth and my toes. Look.” And he opened his mouth and raised his toes in the air.

Thank you, little Martin.

Let me get out of my head when things seem overwhelming; seeing two little boys with love dripping from their toes makes it better.

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