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2.23.12

this morning we baked (our slightly adapted version of) elana’s chocolate prune bars.  while they were in the oven we packed up our backpacks with a few things so we could head out on a walk.  the kids each had a bowl of just peas while we waited for the timer to ring.  then we headed out.  i have learned finally, after almost six years, that going for a walk with the kids doesn’t feel anything like what i think a walk is.  i am making peace with it.

the bean carried with him one drawing book, one package of crayons, one usborne ocean book, one silly putty in egg and his water bottle.  the pea carried the same but no book and two silly putty’s.  i carried a drawing book and crayons, my knitting project, a blanket, my water bottle, pistacio’s, cut up apples, dried mango, a few wipes, a pack of the berry ricola (for emergencies only) and my phone.  we walked a short ways and then they asked to set up our blanket to rest.  they asked for nibble bites.  we sat and snacked, the bean looked at this book, they took out their silly putty and played with it.  castle james and one of my mom’s dogs had followed us and they worked at exploring the woods that surrounded the field we sat in and circling back to check in with us.  it is a warm day with a breeze and it felt idyllic to sit there.  quiet.  outside.  surrounded by mostly nothing.  we didn’t draw, i didn’t knit, we just kind of sat there happy.

last night while i was getting dinner ready both kids were deep in the when, where why’s.  that constant battery of questioning that seems to happen so frequently now.  “when is gran gran coming in from the barn?  when is she going to her friends house?  why is she going to her friend’s house?  what are we having for dinner?  what is in that pot?  what was that noise?  when will that be ready?  when will gran gran come in from the barn?  where is she going tonight?  why is she going somewhere?  what are we doing tomorrow?”  sometimes they just cycle through the same three questions over and over.  sometimes i answer them, sometimes i say “i wonder…” or “i don’t know…”  sometimes i say, “please stop asking me questions!”  last night i looked at the clock and it was 5:06.  i said, “i am not going to talk until the clock has the numbers 5, 1 and 0.  when you see those numbers on the clock i will speak again but until then i need to be silent.”

i kept cooking.  they stared at the clock and talked about what numbers they saw.  i waited for the moment someone was going to whine at me that they needed me.  i waited for the moment that they started to have a fight and i had to break my silence to help them work it.  i waited for my strange and unplanned attempt at a moment of peace to be rudely interrupted.  but it held.  then it was 5:11 and they noticed and i said, “let’s try for 5, 1, 5.”  they did that too.  they talked to each other but let me stay quiet.  i breathed.  i cooked chickpea saffron soup.  i drank my peppermint water.  at 5:15 i shelved my need for silence and dove back in.

on the walk today the bean is asking me questions about biting ants and needs to hold my hand.  we meander down the sandy path in the south carolina woods.  the pea is stomping along confidently and grabs his other hand.  she assures him we are safe and he pads along between us.  a few moments later she gets her small feet tangled up in a branch on the path, he holds tightly to her hand so she doesn’t fall.  “good save bean,” she thanks him, “good save!”  my heart swells in my chest.  the breeze blows gently past us.

its funny this life spent with my children.  where my whole days revolve around them.  where the moments rise and fall from adoration and heart breaking happiness through irritation and near insanity.  and how every morning we snuggle up in bed when we first wake up and that is how i find my way to doing it all again.

 

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1.26.12

today in meditation i asked to, what do i need to be right now?

flash was gone for thirteen days and now he is home.

the kids are bouncing off the walls happy.

and it is so nice to be a family of four again.

there is also the transition though.

sometimes i remember there will be a transition when he departs

but forget there is another one when he returns.

so i asked to be what i need to be

for myself

for my kids

for flash.

to be what i need to be to help us through these few little days of shifting again.

i saw myself as a shining beacon

bursting with light from above and below.

i saw myself standing strong and holding the space for us

i saw that the strength was soft and yeilding

i saw that our family is filled with love

and sometimes all that love need huge bursts of light

as well.

i saw how my tendency when he first gets back is to disappear a little bit

to assume the kids need me less

to go on a kind of energetic break.

but that really that is not what any of us need me to do.

(not even me!)

that a healthy function would be bringing the light

holding my spot in this family

being brightly present.

 

the other day we went for a walk in the forest.

covered by a blanket of snow.

with castle james.

i let him off leash and hoped he’d stay close.

he did.

we stomped through the snow a bit.

we climbed up slight hills suddenly imposing

when you are tiny

and dressed in so much gear.

we padded in

we stomped out

we slid around.

it wasn’t a long hike.

it wasn’t exercise for me.

but it totally changed my day.

being surrounded by mother earth

held by nature

and her amazing depth and breadth.

she doesn’t go on break.

she shines with strength from above and below.

her power is soft and yielding.

she is bursting with light.

she holds us all.

 

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1.21.12

sometimes it feels like i am cheating all the time now.  never writing anything down.  forgetting to take pictures.

like i might forget a small something that should not be forgotten.

like it means somehow that this time is less important than the time when i did write it all out.

i think about how the words might work to string together the moments into scenes and how this tiny spot on the internet might somehow be the place where all my misplaced memories are stored.

and then i wonder if that also cheapens it.  if it is just etched into my being so that it shapes me constantly and how could that be forgotten when it is all that i am?  and how really if i am doing what i intend to do, mothering them, then these moments are also carved into their very beings.  that they won’t remember the days together at all but that it will just weave into who they are.

the pea has a grasp of language that still surprises me.  she strings together thoughts and sentences that sound like they are coming from a much older child.  but her voice and words have the lisps and twangs of a three year old.  it is so incongruous it makes my heart full.  the bean is sometimes unrecognizable from the toddler i had so recently who was silent, hiding behind me, sitting in my lap.  he talks to people at grocery store as though its the most natural thing in the world.  he has a confidence and ease out in the world now that fits his beauty and grace.

two days a week the three of us pack up a collection of bags containing all manner of stuff and drive “on highway number one and highway number two” to get to our homeschool coop.  we eat snacks, talk and sing our way through the forty five minutes there and home. in between the driving we experience our little coop.  led by a woman who has served these last few months as my inspiration and mentor.  our coop has a hired teacher and i am blessed (and challenged) to stay on as one of the assistant teachers.  i work on truly holding the space, seeing children in the light, developing the intuition of a teacher instead of a healer, and trusting my instincts.  the bean and the pea work on sharing space with other children, holding another child’s hand, wanting a shovel they don’t have, and eating as part of the community.  it is hard work for all of us.  somedays deeply frustrating and overwhelming and other days rewarding in ways i could never have predicted.  somehow i am a full time stay at home mom, homemaker, and home schooling parent, and suddenly also a part time assistant teacher in a really amazing outdoor based waldorf inspired mixed kindergarten program.

other days we go to the gym.  i leave my children in the day care there where they play with blocks or plastic cars and buses while i indulge in exercise.  i am learning to play tennis.  surrounded by people who feel so very different from the families involved in the coop its almost like i am somehow lifting a curtain to travel between different universes.  on the court though i learn the same thing i am always learning.  to forgive myself when i don’t measure up.  to stay focused in on the present moment.  and to let go.  to let go of the last point, the last shot, the last mistake i made.  to just simply let it go and face the next one.  it doesn’t work to pretend to let it go or to even file it away for later analysis.  somehow, playing tennis, my body stores up the tension of the judgement i am passing on myself if i try one of those.  i have to really take a deep breath, forget that last thing that happened, and trust that even if i let go instantly of the mistake i made i have somehow learned what i needed from it and the next moment will go better.

flash is away again on another two week trip for work.  it is hard and it has moments of struggle for sure but honestly it isn’t too terrible.  we all miss him and it is more work for me but it is ok.  in these long stretches of being the only parent i learn so much about my kids.  i feel so close to them.  most of the time i feel lucky.  i love these little guys so much and they are truly amazing beings who surprise me, delight me, and humble me everyday.  the way flash travels somehow shapes my relationship with them in a way that is a gift.  the other day the bean told me, “i know you better than anyone else does.  i spend even more time with you than daddy does!”  i thought about it for a moment.  i always think i am the one doing the knowing.  that i know these kids so well.

he is right though.  with his huge sensitive heart and elephant memory and all the thousands upon thousands of hours we have clocked together in this life time he just might know me better than anyone else in the world does.  it is possible.

 

 

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1.5.12

sometimes when i am at the gym i look around and see other women who are much more muscular, stronger, in better shape then i am.  i immediately think, oh wow look at her.  i need to work out more often.

i wonder why my instant reaction is to rank myself lower and assume i need to change.  i wonder if there comes a time – through all this spiritual and inner work that i commit myself to doing – when those critiques are silenced and i can just appreciate each person (even myself) as they are.

on the fifth we took a hike at noon hill because it was not desperately cold.  i was just going to loop the pond there but sebastian wanted us to veer off up a hill.  i agreed.  it was a beautiful path.  at the top of the hill we looked back through the pines at the frozen pond.

a few minutes later we were walking through an archway of small pines that had grown thick leaning over each other to form a kind of greenery tunnel.  we saw a giant fallen tree and decided to bushwhack over to it and walk it like a balance beam.  it was one of those days where things just kind of fall together and you get this feeling inside vibrating around like a huge yes.

 

 

 

 

 

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novemeber 8th

back when i started this blog i challenged myself to write every day.

every.  day.

can you even imagine?

i actually did it for awhile too.  maybe for even year.  honestly if you look back there are a lot of posts on here…

 

recently though everything just kind of drifted in other directions and although i am still alive, still struggling, still parenting, still cooking – i just don’t post very often.

 

i still write things in my head though.  i compose the beginnings of posts.  i think of a few choice sentences here and there.  then they sit in there like lonely friends – banging into each other and repeating themselves in loops hoping for a chance to hit paper, to be pressed through the dirty keys of my now old laptop onto the perhaps even filthier screen.

 

the other day on the way to get my hair cut i stopped to let a flock of wild turkey’s cross the road.  there were round about thirty of them and they crossed in fits and starts.  five ran across blustery and hurried while the rest were still pecking about the lawn.  then four more, slowly walking across looking at the cars waiting and bobbing their heads in time to their own feet hitting the pavement.  the car coming from the opposite direction and i both waited patiently.

there were times when the next group of turkeys hesitated long enough that we could have depressed our gas pedals and hurried on to where we needed to be but neither of us did.  as the minutes dragged out it felt like we had come to an unspoken agreement that for this brief moment in time nature was going to take center stage over human’s and our overly important jam packed lives.  we sat in our cars and let each turkey cross.  the final one hesitating the longest before looking up and realizing he was alone and then running to catch up.

 

then at last we drove on.  it turned out it was a woman in the other car as well.  we smiled at each other and got back to getting to where we were going.  i was touched though, i felt less alone, i felt hopeful about nothing in particular.  it seemed like an ordinary moment in a basically ordinary day could hold the potential to be — just better.  not spectacular or life bending – just kind of nice.  that a silent respect for a gaggle of wild turkeys could shine small bits of light into my consciousness.

 

the bean is five and half now.  it turns out that five and a half to six is an age of “disequilibrium.”  it is shocking how different it feels to parent him.  after a blissful time of him being amazing, balanced, calm, loving, and agreeable.  now he storms at me for what feels like nothing, chants “no no no no” as he stomps around and then later screams out, “mama come to me i am scared!”

it hasn’t been pretty.

i haven’t been very proud of myself at times.  i’d say the first five days or so i resorted to out and out crabbiness followed by a glass of wine.

but slowly i am learning that when he changes i need to change.  my expectations must shift.  i need somehow to bring more stillness and more softness while being solid and present.  i am working on the actual practice of holding him in the light, on being visionary, on seeing through what he is displaying into what he is.  he is a beautiful beautiful child with a sensitive heart and soul.  when he feels bad he truly feels awful and instead of letting my own vision go dark around him i need to pull strongly out of that and see him strong, calm, smiling, filled with joy.  sometimes i find a quiet spot to sit while he has his tantrum (the toilet, the front steps) and i cover my ears and breathe drishdi breath so that all i can hear is myself.  all i can hear is the rolling in and out of my own breathing.  then i return – more able to be with him without my own demons rising up and twisting my sense of what needs to be done in response.

 

by the end of the day i am exhausted.  i am praying all the time that we can get through this phase with relative speed.  i doubt my ability to match it for six months.

 

this morning i wanted thanksgiving blend coffee and sumatra is what was in the grinder.  normally i would have been a good girl and just continued to use the sumatra until it was gone but i am working on letting my own desires lead me so instead i pulled off the top of the grinder and dumped the beans back into the sumatra bag.  i opened the thanksgiving blend and ground it up and made my coffee.  because, you know, a starving person has a very hard time sharing food.  but a person with plenty to eat can happily pass the dishes around.

 

baby steps here.

always.

 

peace love and joy to anyone who still stops by this driftingly quiet place…

mama de woowoo

 

 

 

 

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half

today we went for a walk

where the bean rode his bike

which means he sometimes pushes himself along with his feet

which he calls “walking”

and sometimes he pedals.

after he is already cruising along from the walking part

he lifts up his feet and

i watch as those little

(and yet, wait!  not really as little as they were)

feet reach around

thin air

seeking out the pedals.

then he is riding his bike.

meanwhile i am pushing the (double) stroller with the pea

her snack

and some old snacks that were not cleaned up from some other walk.

and we have the dog.

 

as we head home i notice

wow, the sun is really shining in that insanely crisp october way.

wow, the bean’s red and brown sweater

with thick stripes

looks amazing.

i could pull out my phone and take a photo.

or, i could just see it.

and think, “wow, that looks amazing.”

we stop to gather leaves on the sidewalk.

small red/yellow oak (?) leaves.

i put them in the stroller pocket.

 

later the rest of the day will unfold.

but for now we are just fitting in a walk

with a stroller half full

with a little boy half riding his bike

with me more than half present

which isn’t

really

half bad.

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it’s golden in the tree tops

it’s golden in the skies

it’s golden, golden, golden

october’s passing by

(adapted from wynstones autumn)

 

after days of grey skies and rain

the sun finally broke through again today.

as i was driving down our road i noticed how the tree tops really are golden now,

when the bright fall sun is shedding her golden rays upon them.

how the verse we have been saying about the golden tree tops and golden skies

suddenly becomes more then a verse

when you are living it.

and i realized, in that moment as i drove along,

that the verse echoing silently in my own mind and heart

was coming to life for me.

and that it brings nothing for them when it is not alive inside me to begin with.

 

i am emerging here from more grayness than just the rain over the last days.

a healthy cocktail of large and small life stressors seemed to pile upon each other in my mind and heart recently until two nights ago i stood over the broccoli soup pot at 9 o’clock at night scrubbing and crying.  tears of fear, loneliness, and worry.

it is funny – no matter how good life gets there are still those moments of despair.  moments of sinking into feeling so deeply alone that there really is nothing left to do but cry.  to cry and cry until you are done crying (and then pick up the phone and call your friend.)

since that moment i have asked for and received the help and support i needed to inch my way out of that little dark spot and into a place of hope and spacious light.

the golden golden golden on the drive home was searing its way into my very core and spreading back out like a reflection of my own emotional and spiritual shifting.

 

we made rice milk today.

it was the bean’s idea.

i resisted it heavily when he first brought it up at 8am as the best way to resolve the dire situation of being out of rice milk (his only beverage).

i fought back.

then i gave in.

eventually i got into it.

we found a recipe.  we measured and cooked.  we worked on it throughout the day together.  blending, straining, straining, and finally pouring the finished product into glass jars.  we made labels together and he stocked two jars into the upstairs fridge and three into the downstairs fridge.

he had looked at the first label i made,

“rice milk

10-20-11”

and he asked to make his own:

“r    i         c e                   m    i      l          e

1  0     –  20    –  1            1 ”

he brought it to me and worried, “i couldn’t make the letter here,” while pointing to the k in milk.

“it looks beautiful to me,” i said.  “i can read this.”

several minutes passed.  he looked again at the jar with his label on it.

“if a real person was here could they know what mine said?”

“yes.”

 

maybe this is homeschooling.  measuring, cooking safety, creating something from scratch, copying mama’s letters as you make your own label.  wondering if your letters are real.

 

eventually the rice milk was cool enough to try.

he hated it.

“it tastes like there is rice in it!”

 

my schooling is in the art of letting go i suppose.

 

 

 

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