Sunday, July 24, 2011

Eleven Years Ago Today

Eleven years ago today I became a mother. In that moment my life changed forever for the better. Eleven years ago today I held my baby boy in my arms and prayed that I wouldn't ruin something so beautiful and precious.

Today I can barely wrap my arms around that boy. He is only inches shorter than me and he loses a bit more of the little boy in him each day. Long gone are the days of hot wheels and Bob the Builder. Today he dreams of real cars and real adventure. I watch him as he struggles in the gray between a boy and a man. I see so much of myself and his father in him. But really he is his own. He is kind and thoughtful. He is stubborn and logical. He is a quiet, old soul. He has a poet's heart and an engineer's intellect. He is artist and mathematician. He is annoyed by living in a household of dramatic females and often retreats to his room or his tree. But he will defend all three of us to anyone who makes us cry and takes care of us without being asked. People are drawn to him. He is charming without arrogance. He is handsome without vanity. He is respectful but willing to speak up when he feels he needs to, and sometimes speaks up when he shouldn't. He is a work in progress. But he is a work that appears to be progressing very well. Despite my own imperfections, I have yet to see ruin. In fact, I am constantly finding new reasons to be proud of him. He amazes me each time he rises above a situation that I worry will tear him apart. He is tough and resilient. He is good and he is able to do so much more than I can ever imagine for him.

Today I want to tell him happy birthday. And I want him to know that I am so very proud of him. I think he is a wonderful mess.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Holiday Love

I grew up spending the 4th of July on the lake. We'd go out on Dad's boat and tube all day long, getting tossed around by giant waves made by the hundreds of other boaters who had the same idea. At some point Dad would break out the skis and attempt to teach us to ski. He tried for several years but we never did learn to ski. Our brains didn't translate putting boards on our feet to gliding on water. For us, it meant face down dives into the water with boards still attached to our feet while the boat sped away. So instead we opted for being thrown into the air by a giant inflatable raft that left us soar and bruised. Really, it's a lot of fun. We would stay out until we were burnt to a lobster-red crisp, tired, and slightly cranky. Then we would drive to the middle of the lake and watch the fireworks. And all of the tired and cranky would melt away. We all love fireworks. We love the 4th of July.

Actually, my family is kind of crazy about holidays. All of them: Christmas, Valentine's Day, Memorial Day, National Popcorn Day. OK, maybe we skip Popcorn Day, but only because we don't know when it is. Holidays we're a big part of my childhood. No matter what was going on day to day, my parents made sure holidays were special days full of good memories. And my sisters and I have carried that sentiment into our own families. My kids know holidays are fun days. I love that. Life is crazy and chaotic and messy. It's important to have some days that are reserved just for good. Just for family and loving one another.

This year, I was thrilled when I got to spend the 4th with my sister, Hilary, and her family. We even made it to a lake! Not on the 4th, but close enough for it to be nostalgic. Throw in some sparklers and some fireworks, and it made for a pretty wonderful 4th of July. Hopefully, one that my kids will remember fondly prompting them to pass down some holiday love to their own kids. Some family and laughter. Some good memories made and more to come.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My Girl

My oldest girl turned eight this summer. My Analiese. My sweet girl with the reserved smile. My creative girl who is both self-conscious and sure of her ideas. My nature girl who is unafraid to hold any kind of bug in her hand. My girl who wants to travel the world. She imagines trips to India, Italy, and Paris. My girl with the sensitive heart who cries when others cry or are hurt. My girl who would bring every stray in the neighborhood home. My drama queen who thinks the world is most certainly going to end if she can't find her shoes. My girl who disappears into her music and into her world of Peace, Love, and Fairies. My girls who love the color blue. My freckle-faced beauty with the big brown eyes that shine with joy.

My dear, I love you.

A New Home

I've been exiled from the modern world for the last four weeks at the hands of local internet providers. But I'm back now. Back in civilization. Back at the keyboard with many stories of summer adventure to share.

I left you with s'mores. A good place to leave anyone. We've had many s'mores since then. And watermelon and fresh off the vine tomatoes and watermelon. Did I mention watermelon? I love watermelon, especially in the summer.

In between all of that eating, we've done some traveling and we moved. I think I'll pick up at the move, since that's what really kicked off our summer. We only moved down the street. But this move has felt significant. It seems to be making this new chapter in our life more real and less surreal, though I still feel a hint of surreal hanging in the air. It's the first move I've made in my adult life without my husband. There are boxes sitting in the garage waiting to be moved to his new place. Some days I can't quite wrap my head around that. Some days I feel like this has to be a bad dream that will disappear when I awake. But then I know it's not. He's really going to take all of his stuff and start a life separate from mine. That terrifies me and makes me want to cry.

Other days, I go through my day content, as if a new normal is starting to sink in. (And to think it only took six months to not wake up on the verge of tears every morning.) I slip through rooms that already feel like home. This new place feels right for us four. We are forming new routines and carving out our own special places. For Chris, that would be twelve feet up in a pine tree in the backyard where he has built a fort with his own hands. For Analiese, it's spinning around the floor of her room with her ipod blasting in her ears. For Sicily, it's pushing high on the swings until she can jump off and fly before landing like a cat, gracefully on her feet. For me, it's curled up in bed alone with a glass of wine watching Gilmore Girls and feeling, all at once, home and happy and calm. On those days I know I'm going to be alright.

We are well. We are happy. We are working out the emotional mess of this year. We are home in this place and it feels just right for this moment.