August 29, 2008
August 28, 2008
August 27, 2008
August 26, 2008
August 25, 2008
August 22, 2008
August 21, 2008
August 20, 2008
August 19, 2008
August 18, 2008
August 15, 2008
There is a silent wind-up, and I have one second to grab the arm of any nearby piece of furniture to brace myself.
I almost can’t stand that two word sentence when it flies out of her mouth at 100 mph in a high-pitched selfish squeal. It is usually accompanied by pulling a princess toy from her younger brothers grasp, or simply shoving him to the ground and then prying it out of his hands. This holy boldness. This selfish shrill of a proclamation. Standing ground for what is hers. Sure, she is a self-centered 3 1/2 year old, like most her age, but she is also on to something.
How confidently kids stake claim on what is theirs. On what they deserve. On what was created for them, even before they breathed a single breath. What was already fought for. And won. For them. And they unabashedly run for it. Unhindered with the lies that they are undeserving.
They are wired knowing the whole world was made for them, and if it isn’t too heavy for them to lift, they pick it up and carry it off. This week alone, we have stopped to examine much that belongs to them, including: rocks, grass, flowers, butterflies, birdies, slides, really tall ladders, clouds, the hot sun, and pine cones.
The last two weeks have been so provoking for me. I have been playing with my two little people so intensely, and entering into their perspective. Watching them, and sharing their experiences intimately and first hand. Joining in. Agreeing with them. As they dare to dream. Because dreams and life are still inseparable concepts to them. And that is intoxicating to this thirsty spirit.
And so is the view from a place that Dave + I are dreaming about. A bit of land in our city that may or may not even be available. Of a city that we have so much hope for. A city that is ours. And I am strangely comforted, that this is not a dream that we do not deserve to have. That is a lie. Because this land is ours, and this view is ours, whether we ever really own it, or not. Whether we ever design a place called home for this land, and build it, and physically move our lives into its spaces. And whether or not the city builds a landmark urban-view playground that we dream of for the adjacent properties.
Like Bella’s “that’s mine”, I have muttered snidely “God knows how that will ever work out”, for more than three years now. But you know what, it is actually true. When I change the tone of those statements from sarcasm + unbelief to that of a bold + believing faith: It is mine, and God knows how it will work out.
Here is the view that is making my heart sing:
Please excuse the low resolution image. A dreaming husband captured this shot the other day using his phone, and put it on our desktop to surprise me.
August 14, 2008
We had the best of intentions to celebrate Earth Day this year, on time that is, when the rest of the world acknowledges the green holiday. I mulled over many thoughtful commemorative ideas, and considering I was planning on including the preschooler, I am actually proud of myself that I managed to almost get to my goal. It seemed so simple. We would give our family and friends tender young plants, perennials so they would keep on giving, that we would plant + watch grow from seed.
The plan was to buy a nifty little gadget called the Potmaker. This lovely wooden tool would reuse/recycle newspaper and form it into a handy + plantable seed starting pot.
We ordered said tool, we even went out and bought three types of seed and some organic potting soil. We made the sturdy little biodegradable pots one afternoon late in March -- the last day of the month, if I remember correctly. We sowed a variety of seeds into the little pots: Coreopsis, Chinese Lantern, and Butterfly flower. [pictured in listed order below]
We lined up two trays of the future plants on the dining room window ledge and waited. Watered. Waited. Watered and waited. Watered and waited some more. Repeat forever. Long gone was Isabella's attention and interest in what I kept reminding her was coming. I dutifully speared the seed packets on bamboo plant markers, and we would occasionally look that them, and wonder when they might begin to grow. I swear they looked like this forever:
Actually, right up until Earth Day [April 22nd], to be exact. When they finally looked like this:
On Earth Day, or two weeks later, when they were still growing at an indistinguishable pace, we decided to give the plants a solid Team Craun try, but to forgo the thoughtful--but already quite belated--gift idea. Some time after Mother's Day, we planted them into window baskets, so they could continue to grow ever so slowly. And sometime in June or July we hung them on the fence so they could try to survive on Nature's provisions since we were already proving quite negligent. I had nearly lost hope for these plants. It was actually consoling that they were out of sight for weeks, and practically left to themselves. I just couldn't bear it. I used to have a green thumb. Who could ever imagine how slow seeds grow?
Today [nearly 4 months after Earth Day] digging for something to do shortly after the sunrise with the little people, we headed outside with our shovels. While we were in Chicago, Dave prepared a small bed, easy to view from our dining room windows where this whole thing began. By 9:30 am, we were already packing up, as proud little gardeners finally celebrating our Earth Day.
I am sure there is no chance of these things actually blooming this year. I only hope now that they survive, and come back next year around Earth Day as their packages promise. Maybe in 2009, they will help us to celebrate on time.
August 13, 2008
I have been waiting to wake up today for two weeks. I had placed a mental marker on the 13th. I thought I had remembered correctly that 14 days makes a habit. In a bit of research I have found a range from three weeks to three months. And a few schemes that claim results with things like two solid hours of intense concentration tapping energy from the core of the earth and such. However the math of habit-forming really works out, today is day 14.
I am crossing all my fingers that this habit-forming works also in reverse. Today is my 14th straight day without the coffee drive thru, and my efforts of un-habit-forming. The first few days, I was compensating with several cups of home brew, or an occasional soda pop -- YUCK. The last several days, I am proud to admit, I have held my sanity on only one morning espresso. And no more headaches, already this week. I am sort of stunned, to be honest.
The only thing I am missing right now, aside from the lovely brown and milk-chocolaty warmth of my favorite comfort-drink-to-go, is my energy. I fell, well...so consistent. I think this is in part due to the waning days of summer, and the getting started all over again apathy, but I am missing those spontaneous [or not so much] bursts of energy that would besiege me after a cup, or three.
Good habits are formed; bad habits we fall into.
Funny how easy it was to pattern my life around a bad habit, everything sort of fell into place, and then started getting out of control. Looking back at the weeks of summer now gone, I liken my daily and often bi-daily comfort caffeine excursions to Alice falling down the rabbit hole -- it certainly was a lovely adventure. But I am reminded of Dorothy’s desire to end her good times in the Land of Oz, and I find myself now repeating the mantra: there is no place like home.
August 12, 2008
Never have I played so hard.
We spent a full week in Chicago with the Grand Dubs, played until we had fully exhausted them, and then drove back home. Here is one of my favorite photos of Bella + Nate with the Grand Dubs:
See more of our raucous fun playcation here.
I still cannot believe how many racer slides, tunnel slides, twirly slides, bumpy slides, double racer slides + super huge tunnel twirly slides we adventured. Bella, Nate and myself stayed with my parents for 8 full days, sandwiched by weekends where Dave was there, and each day was highlighted--if not once, then twice--with time exploring a different playground. Isabella went down the tallest twirly tunnel slide I have ever seen -- and all by herself.
The power [or influence, maybe] of the Grand Dubs is unquantifiable. They grew up a ton this week, they soaked in the sunniest days of summer, played harder than we ever have, and exhausted all the available energy of their grandparents.
Bella enjoyed the rain, and actually asked to wear her raincoat, and go outside in the storm. Nate decided to speak up, all the time, and used actual understandable English words I knew he had in him. Bella sported princess hair-do’s all week, including double french braids, and is still requesting pony tails and clippers daily. Nate fearlessly climbs stairs now, up and down, by himself. Bella memorized Jack and Jill, and recited it with grandma every night before bed. Nate no longer takes a bottle at nap and bedtime, and has enough new words to joke about it.
Unpacking from a week of play, we are up to our ears in books, balls, ballerina skirts, candy, and pictures. This was the summer vacation of Bella’s wildest dreams. Last night, she said of her playcation: It had “everything I like: SLIDES!”
We Skype with my parents regularly; watching the kids interact on the gorgeous screen of the iMac with the Grand Dubs who are miles away is astounding. When we came downstairs the first morning of our stay, Bella + Nate played immediately with Grandma + Grandpa as if we see them every week.
Last night Bella was talking to her now well-rested Grandparents about when she might come back again, without hesitation or any relevant concept of time or distance, she shouted: “Saturday!”
August 11, 2008
Early in dating and engagement, I would frequently ask Dave if he would love me even when we were fifty. I have always wanted to get old. And to get old with someone.
Several weeks ago, on a warm summer evening, our very retired neighbors June + Glen were chatting with us over our fence. They speak of themselves mostly in third person, as mama and papa out of years of practice, and have grafted Isabella and Nathaniel into their small tribe of great-grandchildren.
June inquired about some bug bites on Nate’s face, while Glen listened in behind his crossword puzzle, and she commented that it was good that Nate did not itch them. I heard Glenn mutter scratch under his breath before June had even finished her sentence. Then June laughed, and went on to explain that she always says itch when she always means scratch and Glen always dutifully corrects her. And she was so cute, and so proud of her husband, and their relationship that has withstood so many pressures and forces over time, always. Next, Glen quipped: why did you have to tell her all of that?!
How lovely it all is. I have reflected on this exchange for more than a month now. And that urge to tell. And it’s compulsion to share, relate, and blab to the whole world through words and example. The itching, the scratching, the banter of two old married people. The deep intimacy of their union, the passage of time, and togetherness. Really knowing another human being -- so intricately. And the comfort of always. Even when you reach fifty, and further.
Above, is my long-winded preface to a Happy Anniversary. My husband and I celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary today, and a decade of being together. A third of our lives spent joined, and I can’t imagine it any different. Husband, I decided in reflection on the above passages, to blab it to the whole world.
I look forward to getting to fifty with you. And passed that, I look forward to sharing our life with younger neighbors some day, reassuring them with all of our always anecdotes. Showing them first hand what relationship looks like all walked out. Finishing each others sentences. Forgetting and remembering the same things over and over.