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Archive for June, 2011

mid-june

i take photographs of kale and cookies.
of sweaters and small pants made by my hands.
because the real work of my days is invisible.
can i hold him up –
as he squishes himself into his favorite corner of the couch,
crying a smallish whining cry,
because i used the bathroom before i sliced his
parmesan cheese?
can i just grab his small boned shoulders
and shake out the wrinkles and creases
and snap a photo?
with caption: i made this.
he is unformed and unformable-
but somehow the work is to raise him
to guide him
to be with him while he grows.
while he cries and whines over cheese.
as though the previous afternoons voicelessness
(playing with an assertive older child)
is now being mended
by minute upon minute of vocalizing.

meanwhile she-
not yet three-
still toddler shaped-
naked
kisses at the backs of my knees and says,
i want a happy mama, yes.
yes, i want a happy mama.

i hand wash the cookie baking dish mess
and i sing the farmer and the dell
over and over.
not quiet not loud.
then i hand wash the lunch dishes
even though they could go in the dishwasher.
i am not sure what my move is yet.
i am still singing
and flipping though
the parenting books of my mind.
empathy on the couch?
working at a task calmly instead of getting
sucked into the temper tantrum?
is this too aloof?
is this too reactive?
if i try that will i get frustrated and yell?
are there words?
just a hug?

i am at sea
using my oars not to move towards anything
but to hold steady
uncertain of which way is true north.
bobbing along to the soundtrack of his voice.
bobbling along through the undulations of my reactions to his voice.
the farmer takes a wife, the farmer takes a wife
hi ho the dairy-o the farmer takes a wife.

this invisible life
doesn’t post well on instagram.
this invisible work that doesn’t cease
that is never done.
the floor swept and then spilled on.
the beds made to be slept in.
the food cooked to be eaten and cleaned up and packed away
for the next meal.
the garden watered,
and again the next day.

in childs pose i breathe and then pause at the top of the breath.
here i am. i am here. just here.
it relaxes me somehow.
that time of not breathing.
just being here.

eventually today i will finish the dishes
and he will still be on the couch.
he is still mad about my bodily functions
trumping his parmesan.
i will need to plant the husking cherry tomato seedlings.
she will want to come with me.
i will invite him but he just sits on the couch,
crying,
parmesan before potty.
parmesanbeforepotty

so i will go outside with only her-
still naked but for her shoes-
to the garden.
we will pull a few weeds and plant the seedlings
to the tune of his calling to me from the window.
“mama. mama. mama.”

five years in
i can tell from his tone where he is at
in his cycle of stuckness.
i know that soon it might be possible for him to join us
or that when we head back in he will be ready
for some compromise or small story to bring him around.
(i had to go use the potty again since the parmesan was served.
and flush!)

that is the job.
can i take a photo of that?
the knowing when he is ready to shift.
the knowing which cry means she is physically hurt
and which means she is scared
and which means she is angry.

the pants i can pin and sew
and complete.
in two days!
the cookies just mix and bake.
the kale was just a seed in dirt.
sun and water. done.

the stream of parenting
these two souls
is unfinishable.
there is no tidy wrap up
to the other day at the lake
when i so badly want to be accepted
that i found myself
reacting to him
in unkind ways.
then stopped myself and took a moment
to sit down quietly
and wonder, why i am mad at him?
and realize that i was just scared.
scared for me.
that i wanted to be liked.
that i was worried i wouldn’t be.
that all my old familiar insecurities where
gathering together
for a game of tag
on my playground.
once i found what i was feeling
i was able to calm down.
and then he came up to me,
all smiles and agreeable,
as though our stand off before hadn’t even begun.

and i thought, wow.
really, wow!
is this the way?

but of course
it wasn’t pinned and sewn.
i couldn’t take a photo.
and share it somewhere.
saying, look what i did today.
so the things have to suffice.
the small things.
that mark the way through the days
of the biggest things
i will ever do.

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the bean made this window decoration using tissue paper and contact paper.

he also fell in love with his “two wheeler” bike.

i made the sweater he is wearing in this one and i love it.

before

after

he got his first professional haircut.

we went to the “big rig” event where they got to sit in/on several tractors, cement mixers, dump trucks and so on. funny how much the love these large vehicles.

i finished my first real sewing project — a skirt. it is actually kind of cute and this photo does it no justice.

the weather finally warmed and we started hitting several local ponds and lakes. it has been so amazing to see how much both of them enjoy the waters edge this year…for hours or even all day!

they are very close right now. i snuck this photo of them holding hands on the couch. i often notice they are holding hands or have arms around each other just comfortably snuggling without any discussion or even seeming to notice. when they are playing together and one gets hurt the other often offers kisses and hugs to make it better. i feel so blessed that they are such good friends and generally kind and gentle and loving with one another.

i’ve been brewing! kombucha, water kefir and ginger beer going in the cupboard.

i have rediscovered my love of fresh herbs (straight from our gardens) in a jar of ice water on hot summery days. even sage is good in water. simple and delightful. please try it.

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space and threads

on tuesday during my yoga class i had this moment of realizing that i could actually attempt to stay in the present, quiet in my mind, meditative — through the entire class instead of just for the breath work at the beginning and the shavasana at the end. it did mean listening to my teacher less, it did mean circling around to thinking and back to quiet again and again, it kind of meant less elation but it also created this kind of space within me. an opening. a big calm space. non-attachement.

a few days later, during my (third ever) tennis lesson i tried to return to this way of being. we were practicing serving and i was all up in my head about remembering each small detail the instructor has shared with us. but she also invited us to be loose and relaxed and i just suddenly wondered – what if i was nothing but me, the ball, the movement, right now. what if i could just silence the chatter and be practicing the serve? suddenly the ball was bright neon and the racquet was a crisp outline of black and white and there were my hands holding each. i took a breath. there was space.

my mom got a new horse – so now there are two horses in her barn again. when she started looking i was busy penduluming back and forth between excitement and grief. looking for a horse meant she would have something there for me to ride on the (rare) days when i can figure out how to fit riding in. and then, looking for a horse meant that lucky was really truly gone. that there would be someone else in his stall. that there would be a horse for me to ride but there would not be my horse.

so she found a little something. he is quiet and calm and small. he should be a nice little trail horse and safe enough for almost anyone to ride including the kids. once he is settled in and we know him that is. he is a dark bay thoroughbred with three white socks a star and a snip. so, actually, though he is not the spitting image of lucky he is not unlike him. when he first got here and stood in lucky’s stall i just looked in and felt my heart ache.

i have not ridden him yet, i have barely handled him or been around him. but today the dentist came to work on him. his teeth were in bad shape and it was a tough visit for dentist and horse. as he was packing up to leave and talking with my mom i slipped into the barn and stood outside toblerone’s stall. i didn’t even open the door – knowing he doesn’t know me yet and it would just feel like another intrusion. i stepped up close to the bars and i whispered to him, “that is as bad as it will get. we had the dentist come because we love you and we want to take care of you. we want you to be healthy and well and balanced. i know that was hard but that was the worst it will be. we are going to take good care of you and it will only get better from here. and we are proud of you for how brave you were today. you did a good job.”

he was still sedated and standing the way they do – his four legs spread a little wider than usual and his neck running parallel to the ground. his ears had cocked back when i approached the stall but he lifted his head slightly when i started whispering. he chewed a little bit and slowly tilted one ear forward while i spoke.

we are still strangers to each other. it takes a long time to get to know a horse really, and even longer when you dedicate so little of your time to it. i don’t know if there will be a real strong connection between us or if we will just be friendly.

i know that lucky helped us chose this horse.
i know that lucky’s spirit is growing stronger and stronger in the spirit world and when i call out for him now i can feel him filling up the air all around me.
i know that today, in the moment of quiet whispering, the first thread of connection jumped out of my heart and attached on to the horse that lives in the stall that lucky lived in. just a little thread – crossing through the space. it felt like a beginning.

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