In what I hope will be a regular installment here, I am reporting a random act of kindness and senseless beauty committed last night.
I was at the store at 11pm getting food for today and things for the lesson I will be teaching in church. While standing in line, Coco got very fussy. He was tired and tired of being in his carseat. So, I took him out and held him. And in typical mother fashion I began loading things from my cart onto the conveyor belt with one hand while holding Coco in the other.
Then, without being asked, the people behind me said, "Can we help you with that?" And they began getting things from my cart for me.
Their names were Brad and Annie and I want to say THANK YOU to them. It had been a VERY difficult evening after a difficult day. I was downtrodden and heartbroken. As I began the work of taking things out of my cart I thought for a moment how great it would be to have help. I didn't expect to get any.
So, Brad and Annie were like angels from heaven. They lifted my spirits and helped my soul much more than my body. I'm a mother. I could have handled things on my own. But my heart was lifted to know that someone else was there and willing to make my burdens lighter.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
In what I hope will be a regular installment here, I am reporting a random act of kindness and senseless beauty committed last night.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Things are less than magical at our house lately.
Life has been closing in on us rather rapidly as of late. We are all feeling the pressure.
JDub is stressed to the breaking point. Maybe past it.
Our children are languishing. They are fed, loved, taken care of. But still, so much is missing. I see it in their eyes and feel it in the way they talk, the way they interact with one another.
And me. Oh. I feel like I spend more time reading about your lives than I do living my own. I keep seeking some refuge, some friendship, something more in this vast network of souls from around the world. It has served me well -- guiding me to amazing, wonderful people, returning me to old and cherished friends. But, my real life has been calling.
And I have been feeling so lost for quite some time. Confused, discouraged, disappointed that the road I had been treading has come to a fork and I have been unsure which way to turn.
I have been paused at the crossroads for quite some time, trusting that my heart would find a way, trusting that I don't have to DO anything to make it better. I have simply to be, to trust, to listen and live for this moment.
And it turns out that this is also my answer for the road ahead. Not plunging headlong into new territory or seeking for help or answers.
My heroes journey lies close to my home, close to my heart. And my task for now is not more, not bravery or speed or motion. My call right now is less. It is quiet. It is nurturing and building the space around me, remembering how to be "just" a mom again, remembering how to love it.
I keep thinking of this period of my life as prelude to my actual, real life. I've been waiting for the time when I get to do all the things I want to do for myself -- things motherhood and wifehood and housekeeping hold me back from.
Tonight I realize that this IS my life, this IS what I want to be doing more than anything else in the world. And if I live right now with open arms and really dive into my life, I won't care whether or not I ever do anything else. Truly, if I knew that, in giving up everything, I could have my family whole and well and happy, I would give up the world and everything in it.
I keep wanting to be big, to do something great. Why not this? Why not be great at life, at now, at building the only things that last, that will never be lost to me -- my marriage, my family, my home, my heart.
I will never hug these children again. Never. They always keep growing. My four year old Mashuga will not be here to play with me in ten years when I finally "have time". I must, must, must play with him NOW. NOW is all I have any guarantee of.
So, I may return to some of my extracurricular activities. These things I "love". Birthing From Within. Doula Work. Blogging. Yahoo groups. Poetry.
But I feel that it is time to step away with an attitude of never looking back. If I never mentor another class or write another blog post or attend another birth or read another email or write another poem and I have saved my family, loved them thoroughly, I will be joyous beyond words. I will not have missed the things that really do matter.
It's funny, if I knew that by giving my life, I could save one of my children, I would do it. Without pause. Without question.
I could do anything to save my child. Why not this? Why not life? Why not living with them again, being their mother -- truly, deeply.
This is what my soul is calling out for me to do. And it feels so foreign, this deep desire, thirst for less. To do nothing extra.
I could undertake an epic journey if called to do so.
But, to sit, to live my life -- moment to moment -- this is a challenge for me.
I'm ready to take it.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
My sister is getting married in less than two days! Friday morning! I'm so giddy for her.
I've been working all day on a slideshow for her reception. I'm excited about it.
Now, if I can just get my family over the stomach bug we all seem to have contracted. By Friday. That would be niiiiiice.
I think I've talked on here about Scud's Jim Carreyishness. Cracks me up.
Here's just a sampling of some of his many crazy faces.
Okay, so these three are variations on a theme. But, really, this kid is so physically FUNNY.
And then, my sister sent me an email a little while ago with lots of funny pictures of cats.
"You HAVE to see this," she said. "The karate cat looks just like Scud."
I saw it and LAUGHED for a full five minutes. What do you think?
Saturday, July 21, 2007
So was I once myself a swinger of birches.
And so I dream of going back to be.
It's when I'm weary of considerations,
And life is too much like a pathless wood
Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs
Broken across it, and one eye is weeping
From a twig's having lashed across it open.
I'd like to get away from earth awhile
And then come back to it and begin over.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
A list of just a few moments in my life that were difficult at the time, but that I'm very grateful for now.
1. When I found out, at 16, that my boyfriend was dating someone else. It was sad, but also a feeling of complete freedom. It was like my body, mind and spirit all heaved a great sigh of relief. It was over. I was no longer bound to that destructive, abusive relationship. My life began in that moment.
2. Fifteen minutes before Scud was born when I was absolutely certain that I wanted an epidural and my midwife said "It's too late for that." That moment led to me giving birth to Scud without medication, which was very empowering and led to deep study and preparation for Mashuga's birth. That terrifying moment was the beginning of the path I've taken and the reason I am fortunate enough to do the deep, fulfilling work with women that I do today.
3. At 17 when a boy I was dating (and really liked) told me that he couldn't date me anymore because he'd made a mistake and had sex with another girl. He said that I deserved better and that I was not that kind of a girl. I will love him forever for that decision. I might have forgiven him and still dated him, but he really saw me. He saw who I was and who I wanted to be and knew that he wasn't right for me and that I needed someone else. That is perhaps one of the most selfless and compassionate things that any person has ever done for me. I still see him sometimes, as he was walking away in tears and I want to reach through the years and embrace him to thank him for giving me some of the best gifts he could have given me -- gifts of myself, my future -- whole and unsullied, the gift of profound respect.
4. My worst date ever, also my first date and first date with JDub. For some reason that terrible experience made me realize that this skinny, blond kid was worth hanging on to. And I knew, somehow, that our worst date was behind us.
5. The moment I lay on an ultrasound table, searching with my midwife for the flicker of a heartbeat and hearing the words "I'm sorry. There's no heartbeat." Surrendering to this experience tore me wide open. In the years since, gallons of years of unacknowledged grief have come spilling out of the hole created by that moment. Grace, compassion, gratitude and joy have come rushing in to fill the void.
6. When I was six and my Grandpa collapsed in my backyard, then died a few hours later. This was my first of many experiences with death. It cemented my faith in the eternal nature of souls and families. It taught me to not be afraid of death, of endings. And it helped me appreciate the gift of a loving family.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
It was a good weekend. I was very surprised by just how much I enjoyed our family reunion. I realized that I actually really like this motley crew I call my family. Granted, some of them look like the type of people I wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley, but they all love me and each other and when it comes down to it, are good people. I was surprised by how warmly I felt toward everyone and how genuinely glad I was to be around this crazy family of mine.
I was especially glad to see some of my family that I haven't seen for over a decade.
Then there was my cousin, C, who is witty, warm and welcoming. One of my favorite people and its been forever since I saw him. A couple of my favorite quote from him:
Speaking (very lovingly) of one of our other cousins:
"Well, you know, that gray matter isn't magically going to come to life with age."
Speaking (perhaps less lovingly) of one of our cousins with whom he hasn't always gotten along:
"Are you kidding, I haven't seen him for 16, 17, 18 years. I had to come. Couldn't miss it. It's like a trip to the zoo."
My Dad's cousin J.R. and his family I especially haven't seen for a long time and it was wonderful to see them. He has a son, F, who is my age and has just always been uber-cool to me. Still is. He now works for Policy Today and will be taking a break from his job soon to take a long biking trip through Italy and Croatia with his girlfriend and her parents. Yeah, an interesting glimpse at the road not taken.
I'd be tempted to regret my life choices and wonder at "what ifs," but I've got these cool kids.
Coco was passed around and around, of course, as babies always are at family functions. Everyone oohed and ahhed over how pretty he is.
Kaitybean got to spend some time with J, one of my cousin's daughters who was born just a month after Kaitybean. They had a ball. They made a dam with JDub, rode bikes, climbed trees, got dirty and sang Hillary Duff and Britney Spears songs for all of us.
Scud was his usual blend of kookiness and timidity. He contorted his face for the camera, rode scooters all over and was just his wonderful, ever-present self. Watching and enjoying it all. Just taking it all in. Sure love him.
Mashuga was, of course, the star of the party. He tends to do that. Things just kind of turn into the Mashuga show. This was no exception. Just after dinner, they started karaoke. Well, Mashuga got up on the stage with the microphone and talked and welcomed everyone. Then, he sang a rousing rendition of "A Young Man Prepared". Nothing like a good church song to start off a night of inebriated karaoke.
But then, oh then, he got up and danced while someone else was singing.
It was hilarious, I tell you. Hil.ar.i.ous. This kid can move. And then, he turned around and did his little bum shake. Nobody expected it and we all laughed like crazy.
Videos and pictures are forthcoming. They just happen to be on JDub's computer, which is at work with him.
Don't worry, bloggy friends. I will not deprive you. You MUST see this.
And as we were leaving, my cousin C gave me one of the best compliments he ever could have given.
"I love your kids," he told me.
Then, at my shocked look he insisted, "Really. You have really great kids. They're normal kids, of course, but compared to a lot they are really well-behaved. And they're so much fun and so friendly and comfortable with people."
Just hearing that made the whole trip worthwhile.
Friday, July 13, 2007
Okay, before I say anything else, I have to post these pictures.
Is this not the cutest puppy you have ever seen? My brother and his wife just got a puppy and sent us an email showing him/her off. I'm already in love. Mashuga's going to flip.
So, on another front, my body is really surprising me. You may not want to know, but hey, I want to tell, so... Skip this paragraph if you're uninterested in my body's functioning. I have never started cycling sooner than about 12 months after any of my babies. But, guess what? This morning I started. Weird. Coco is only 6 months old.
The only thing I can attribute it to is that this baby REALLY likes food. All of my other babies weren't really here or there with solid food. They would rather nurse. But, Coco likes to eat whatever we're eating. So, we don't nurse as often. Interesting.
So, now I'm back to the ever-confusing birth control decisions. I have this thing. I HATE birth control. For one, chemical birth control has this funny thing about making me, um, SUICIDAL. So, not an option. Tried the IUD and it was painful -- all the time. My favorite form of birth control is actually the fertility awareness method, as explained here. But then there's the whole nursing, cosleeping babe thing and I worry about my temps being inaccurate. But, enough about me and my fertility...
Let's talk about my family. My Dad's extended family is having a reunion for the first time in about a decade. So, we are going tomorrow. I'm filled with equal parts excitement and dread. I'll have to let you know how it goes.
Also, JDub's parents are here from Germany. So, we'll try to spend as much time as is possible with them this weekend.
I still haven't finished my last post. There was stuff I wanted to tell you. Ah, well... Some day.
Yesterday, by the way, was one of those "Mashuga's lucky to still be alive kind of days. But we got the messes cleaned up, the neighbor's dogs back in their yard and the screen he thrashed can be replaced... We've gone back to the "No leaving Mom or Dad's sight" rule for a while. He's sitting here dejectedly waiting for me to finish and help him pack for Grandma's house.
I hope you have a marvelous weekend!
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
So, here are the goings on as of late.
Rusty, ever the destructo dog, ate an entire tube of this
today while we were gone. I know. Ewwwww!
So, why were we gone? We went to see my sweet new niece, Evie and her mommy (who is one of my best friends and favorite people). I also had the honor of being there for her birth. She is beautiful and tiny, 6lb 3 oz and 19 1/2 inches long and just perfect. I am so impressed by her mom. I got to do some work with her and her husband before the birth and I was amazed by her faith and her determination and strength in doing just what was right for her and Evie. And this was the FASTEST birth I've ever attended. (For you birth junkies, she was started on pitocin at 9am, received an epidural at 9:20 and her baby was born at 11:58. Wow.) What a beautiful gift it was to witness a miracle yesterday.
I have begun waking up at 5:30 each morning to go running, do yoga, read, pray and get a jump on the day. I've always considered myself more of a night owl, but it has been heavenly to be awake just as the sun is coming up and step out into the newness of a cool morning. I've found myself more than happy to go to bed earlier at night and more invigorated and productive throughout the day. I'm surprised as you are. But, I've loved this.
I have more to tell you about, but must get to it later. Right now life is calling -- diapers to be changed, dinner to be made, kids to hug.
Monday, July 09, 2007
Saturday, July 07, 2007
Feeling discouraged today. About my work, my home, my family... Just feeling off-balance and not knowing how to make it better.
I'll write more soon. For now, I just wanted to write a few lines to honor and acknowledge this new feeling of not knowing that I'm sitting with right now. The old patterns of my life and way of being are simply not working any longer.
So, I feel myself sitting quietly in beginner's mind, trying to learn what it is this moment has to teach me. Trying to learn to be more fully present to my life.
Sometimes discouragement and doubt are the best gifts, the best teachers.
I'm trying to welcome them in, listen as they whisper to my heart without trying to wriggle away from the discomfort before I learn this moment's secrets.