The Rough Days

IMG_1939

The tears are rolling now.  The big, fat mama sized tears.  The tears made heavy by fatigue and stress and a profound disappointment in myself.

I sit here in a quiet house after twelve plus hours of parenting three little ones while my husband works late, and at this moment, the joys and the tiny victories of the day have faded from memory, and all I can feel is the regret of moments lost.  Moments lost to rush and fatigue and frustration.

These days are full.  There are swim lessons and back to school shopping and library reading programs.  There are dinners and lunches and breakfasts.  Most uneaten.  Some gagged at.  Plenty left in a clump on the floor waiting for my mop and broom.

And there are promises broken.  White lies told.  Words unheeded.  There are temper tantrums and whines and arguments.  These are the things of childhood, and as such, they are the things of parenting.

And I try to take them in stride.  I try to respond with patience.  I pray to see them through merciful eyes.  I remember that harsh words or frustrated tones can leave marks on little souls.

But sometimes, my imperfections get the better of me.  I snip.  I lecture.  And sometimes I yell.

My lecture today was needed.  Some things need to change.  Some behaviors need to be adjusted.  Not dealing with it would have been neglecting my parental responsibilities.

But it doesn’t make it any easier.  It doesn’t make it easier to see my eldest’s tears, the tears that come whenever I am anything but ecstatic with her.  It doesn’t make it easier to see my four year old’s serious face, the one she only uses when she knows she has misbehaved.

They know their behavior disappointed me.  And I’m glad they care.  They need to care.  But I hate that my eldest is in bed sad.

As humans, we need to know guilt when we hurt another or neglect our responsibilities.  Kept in check, it is a healthy emotion.  But it still hurts to know they feel it.  It really does hurt us more than them.

And now I’m sitting here, shaken by my evening, wondering how I’m going to get up and do it all over again tomorrow morning.

But deep down I know the answer.

I will do it all over again because the thing that is stronger than the frustration and sadness and anger and remorse is the love.  It’s the love that always brings us back to try better tomorrow.

Love is what can turn the word “tomorrow” from dread to hope.

It’s the only thing that makes sense out of it all.  Even when it’s all a big mess of frustration.

Posted in Motherhood | Leave a comment

Savoring Summer

IMG_1682

It has been a very long time since I have written.  I don’t normally take breaks from writing if for no other reason that writing keeps me sane.  But this past month or two I haven’t been writing because I have been savoring instead.

Things have been sweet, and things have been simple, and for me, those two things mean that things have been perfect.

I guess I shouldn’t actually use the word perfect because I’ve had pneumonia for the past month.  That part sucked.  But even with that, it just gave me a chance to learn to settle down.

DSC_0007

I learned how not to beat myself up every time my house would get messy.  I learned how to take things slowly and do what I could do – if that meant a load of dishes, that was great.  If the rest of the kitchen was messy, I learned that it could wait.

And what the lucky perfectionists among us eventually learn is that the more you relax your standards, the more you actually improve the state of things.  I can’t have a perfectly clean house 24/7 with three little kids.  When I try, I get overwhelmed and I buckle in on myself.  But I can constantly make small improvements.  And I find when I do that, I might have a load of clean laundry sitting on my ottoman (true story,) but the rest of my house is fairly clean.  Small steps lead to great victories, possibly the most notable being peace, comfort, and confidence.

All of this has led to peace, and it has also led me to believe in myself more.  I’m learning that I can do it, but I’m also learning that I am worth it.  That I can hold people responsible for cleaning up their mess.  That it doesn’t matter if they all like a pig sty… if I crave reasonable order to feel comfortable in my house, then I can expect those who love me to play along.

It’s my home too.

IMG_1756

But as much as all of that has helped things, the absolute greatest part of this summer has been just being with my family.  Mae is 2.5 now.  She is clearly still in the toddler stage and as such needs a lot of supervision, but it is so much less than last year when she was 1.5 and Goosie was 3.

I can take them places.  We can go to a park and I believe there’s only a 55% chance of catastrophic injury.  I can take them to the splash pad by myself.  I can take them in the backyard to play, and they play for the most part.  Sure Mae will still take off for the street sometimes, but oftentimes she doesn’t.  I could sit and read.  I could play along.  I could garden if it didn’t make my entire body break out into crazy allergic reactions.

IMG_1408

And these girls are fun!  They are creative.  We have some wilting sunflowers in our backyard. Okay we have sunflowers everywhere, but the ones they were focusing on were right by our patio.  Today they decided to pick the seeds off of the dying flowers and replant them.  Then we played catch.  With a real softball.  Because finally Magoo has decided to give it a try this fall.  This even beats out the fact that we bought the first season of Little House on the Prarie, and she loves it as much as I do.  Some of it goes over her head, but I think that might be a good thing.

And Goosie makes these amazing drawings.  She sings nonstop.  She’s constantly asking questions and dancing and making us laugh.  She starts swimming lessons next week, and I am so excited because she is absolutely fearless in the water.

IMG_1718

And then there’s little Mae.  Still my cuddliest.  Still the one who would spend her entire life sitting on my lap reading book after book.  She’s two and she bawls when I say I need to stop reading after 30+ minutes.  She’s starting speech soon for articulation issues, but she’s right on track with everything else, and it’s so adorable hearing her put together new and more complex sentences.  And if anyone looks hurt or sad, she is the first to walk over and say “k Mommy?”

These little girls…

IMG_1514

They are more than just my daughters.  They are these little souls that I can’t get enough of.  I obviously love them, but I like them just as much, and that is such a blessing.  They are my companions.  They are the best part of TJ and I.  They are our joy and our solace and strange as it sounds, our respite.

I would never say they are my friends.  For the next few decades, that is not my job.  But they are my companions.  We walk this journey together.  TJ and I are the leaders as we should be.  But those little ducklings walking behind us are our teachers.  They teach us how to lead.  They teach us how to mold them.  They inspire us to inspire them to greatness.

IMG_1602

Being a parent can be challenging.  And I think that’s why God made kids so great.  They make us aspire to be more so we can model more.  All the good I strive for, all the holiness, all the virtue, is given new meaning when I know that it will give them an example they wouldn’t otherwise have.

So yea…

I haven’t been writing much.  I’m sure that will change once school starts again and I have no time to process anything.  But for now I am having fun just living my life.  The overanalyzing can wait.  There are rainbows to catch.

Posted in Indisposable, Motherhood, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Holy Moments/ Father’s Day

DSC_0040

Magoo loves Roald Dahl books.  She has devoured every single one she has come into contact with.  Today she opened up The Witches for the first time and was reading it in the car on the way home from our Father’s Day festivities.

TJ took the girls up to put them to bed, and all of a sudden Magoo walked into the kitchen where I was.  She had tears streaming down her face.  I asked her what was the matter.

She told me that the book starts off saying that it is true, and then it says that American witches put spells on parents to make them eat their children.  She was sobbing because she was afraid this was going to happen to us.

I looked at her and sat down and took her in my arms.  I explained that not everything we read is true even if it says it is, and then I assured her that no amount of condiments in the world would convince me to eat either her or her sisters.

Finally after a couple of minutes of creating ridiculous scenarios of me at the table with a bib and some ketchup, I got her laughing and convinced her that the story was not true.

She ran upstairs to go to bed, and I sat down with my heart in my throat.  I was choking back tears.

There are a lot of big moments with parenting – births, graduations, first steps, birthday parties.  Those are all fun and special and momentous.  But the moments that mean the most to me are these little ordinary ones.

The ones where I have to console a scared child after a nightmare.

The ones where I get to see them run up to me with such pride and show me their latest creation.

The ones that are raw and real and vulnerable.  The ones that highlight who I am to them and who they are to me.  The ones that remind me that a parent can’t be replaced.  That it’s the one single role in life that no one can step in and truly do the same job.

And then I look over at my husband.  We are partners in this endeavor of life, and yet our lives look so different.  I spend my days in the trenches, and he spends his days too far away working hard hours missing the trenches.

But I look at him and I see him looking at our girls, and I see that in all the world, he is the only other one who understands.  He is the only other person in this world who holds these girls that close to his heart.

He sings with them and dances with them and plays games and tells stories.  He’s the man in their little lives.  And that is a huge responsibility.  And he lives up to it and more than excels at it.  I’m proud to share my man with my three little ladies.  And I consider having him as their father was the greatest gift I could have ever given them.

Once upon a time TJ was the boy who would come visit me in Milwaukee.  Then he became my new husband — the one I couldn’t wait to get home to.  And now I get to see him through my daughters’ eyes, and it’s a sight I never want to look away from.

And so on Father’s Day, I thank God for my holy moments with my little ones, and I thank God that they have a father who views those moments as every bit as holy as I do.

And I thank God for my dad — the person who taught me what a dad is supposed to be and who thus led me on the path to TJ.  And he is also the only other man in my girls’ young lives who they look at with dancing eyes.  I see the way my dad looks at them, and I know that the girls have a bullpen.  I know that my parents have my back in having their back.  The love goes deep.

Our culture in some ways mythologizes moms.  Dads sometimes go a bit unnoticed in our culture.

But every girl who ever threw a ball to her dad, and every girl who twirled with him at daddy-daughter dances, and every girl who couldn’t wait to show her dad her wedding dress knows just how important dads are.

They are our first love.  The first man we want to marry.  And the one we will judge all other men by.  I’m so grateful to have such wonderful ones in my life.

Posted in Indisposable, Uncategorized | Comments Off

Goose’s First Book

IMG_0632

Goosie read her first book today — all by herself.

It wasn’t War and Peace or anything.  Indeed, it was called, Pig Wig, and the most exciting happening was that a cat sat on a hat.  But still, she read it on her own.

And to a four year old, that is a very, very big deal.  And to her parents, it is just as much of a big deal.

Today will be etched into my memory forever.

The look in her eyes as she realized she had sounded out a real word…

The pride as she learned that she could make sense out of the letters…

The giggles that she couldn’t suppress as she turned the last of the pages…

I’ve been a mom for seven years now, and I can say that honestly there is nothing like that first time a child reads something.  A whole world opens.  They begin the journey into the literate.  New realms become available.  The might be on the extreme early end of the reading spectrum, but they are on it.

And they realize it.

My Goosie, in pure Goose fashion, kept looking at me and curling up her whole little body. At one point she grabbed my arm and almost bit it because Goosies don’t always know what to do with extreme excitement.

I’m not big on teaching little kids to read before their time.  I’ve read all the studies.  I know that regardless of when a child learns to read, they are usually close to the same level by the time they are in third grade.  I know that their time is much better spent being read to than being tutored to read.

But when my kids start trying to sound out words on their own, I just make sure to give them the opportunity.

And that’s where we are blessed.  We have a ridiculous amount of children’s reading material in our house.  We have every level as my kids have been read to since the day they were born.

But the sad fact is that these reading materials are a blessing.  They are not a given… not even in the suburbs of the United States.

Like any bleeding heart liberal worth the label, when I see the joy in my children’s eyes, I can’t help but think of those not too far away who can’t experience the same.  The children who want to read but don’t have any materials.  And the parents who want to provide materials for their children but don’t have the means.

Because of this, I have decided to team up with First Book for a Virtual Book Drive.  The goal is simple and humble – raise $200 by August 18, 2015 for First Book.  First Book is an organization with a mission to get books into the hands of kids who need them most.  You might be familiar with them as they are the ones who provide the books that Cheerios occasionally give away in their cereal boxes.

If you have a chance, and you feel so moved, please consider making a contribution.  Even $5 could help us get on our way to $200.

In honor of the first book Goosie read “all by myself” I am setting up this drive.  Let’s try to help some kids in need!

Indisposable Mama’s First Book Virtual Book Drive

Posted in Kid's Book, Uncategorized | Comments Off

Out of the Mouths of Babes

IMG_0873

Ever wonder what your child thinks of you?

There’s this game going around Facebook where you ask each of your kids a list of questions and see how they compare.  I can’t resist a good time waster challenge, so I got right to it.

Some of the answers made me cringe (1-3), some made me smile (17, 19, and 20) and some just downright confused me (a decent number of Goosie’s answers).

Anyway, here’s what we came up with.  I wonder how their answers will be different in ten years!

Kid’s ages

Magoo: 7

Goosie: 4

1.  What is something your mom always says to you?

Magoo: Can you clean up the room?

Goose: Go outside.  Go outside.  Go outside.

2.  What makes mom happy?

Magoo: When we surprise you and clean up the room and you don’t tell us to.

Goose:  I clean up the whole house.

3.  What makes mom sad?

Magoo:  When we don’t clean up the living room when you say to.

Goose:  That I don’t clean up the house.

4.  How does your mom make you laugh?

Magoo:  When you tickle us.

Goose:  By tickling me

5.  What was your mom like as a child?

Magoo:  Helpful and responsible

Goose:  She likes me

6.  How old is your mom?

Magoo:  37

Goose: 17

7.  How tall is your mom?

Magoo: 6 feet

Goose: 16 feet

8.  What is her favorite thing to do?

Magoo:  Spend time with us and read to us

Goose:  Play with me

9.  What does your mom do when you’re not around?

Magoo:  Read

Goose:  You look for me.  [I love this answer]

10.  If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?

Magoo:  Reading with her kids so much

Goose:  Because if I tell you to play outside, you would get jealous

11.  What is your mom really good at?

Magoo:  Reading

Goose:  Making art with me

12.  What is your mom not very good at?

Magoo:  When someone has to go to another place.  If we have sleepovers you can’t handle it very much.

Goose:  A really, really bad animal

13.  What does your mom do for a job?

Magoo:  Takes care of us

Goose:  Read princess books to me

14.  What is your mom’s favorite food?

Magoo:  Mashed potatoes and gravy and turkey.  Like Thanksgiving

Goose:  Cereal

15.  What makes you proud of your mom?

Magoo:  Tha you are my mom

Goose:  Because I like you

16.  If your mom were a character, who would she be?

Magoo: Cinderella because you help us and Cinderella helps people.  And because you love your family and Cinderella does too.

Goose: Brave

17.  What do you and your mom do together?

Magoo:  Read.  She helps me with my homework.

Goose:  Play games

18.  How are you and your mom the same?

Magoo:  We both like a lot of things.

Goose: Because you are the best mommy in the whole wide world.

19.  How are you and your mom different?

Magoo:  She thinks potty jokes are weird and I think they are funny.

Goose:  Because we read together and have fun.

20.  How do you know your mom loves you?

Magoo:  Because you always say you love us when we get sad or angry.

Goose:  You hug me.

21.  What does your mom like most about your dad?

Magoo:  That he goes to work instead of you and you get to relax and stay here.

Goose:  That you married him.

22.  Where is your mom’s favorite place to go?

Magoo:  Grandma’s house because she likes to see her mother.

Goose:  Walmart with me.  [Side note: There are very few places in the world I detest more than Walmart.  About the only one I can think of is a rundown gas station bathroom in the middle of nowhere with no toilet paper and black sink handles.]

23.  How old was your mom when you were born?

Magoo:  31

Goose: Five-teen

I try not to write too specifically about my kids.  I try to keep their privacy even as I forgo my own.  But these answers just made me smile and think, and I would like to keep them for them to look back on when they are older.

Especially about that comment that I get to just sit around and relax all day.  It was super relaxing today – especially as I was being vomited all over and everyone was asking me for more breakfast as I slipped around in the mess trying to catch the rest of it that was coming at me.  Such serenity.

Posted in Motherhood, Uncategorized | Comments Off

Politics and Culture Wars and Caitlyn Jenner

I hide from politics on here. When I speak politics, I just piss off a whole ton of people. I’ve never found a political party (mainstream or otherwise) that fits me, and as such, I just always find myself shaking my head.

And then I get really upset, saddened by the whole game. Then I ruminate and dwell and it all turns ugly as I stew in a sublimely unattractive pot of self-righteousness.

So I’m not gonna ruminate. I’m not gonna choose sides. But for once in my blog, I would just like to make one little tiny political observation.

Here goes.

People on the Christian Right…

You can disagree with absolutely anything anyone does. You have a right to follow your conscience and God.

Disagree with people’s actions. Disagree loudly if you want. Stand your ground.

But be respectful. I can’t stand but feel my heart hurt a bit anytime anyone looks at the pictures of Caitlyn/Bruce Jenner and calls her a pervert or worse in the name of God.

By all means, disagree with her decision if you want to. Call it a sin. But speak about her as a beloved child of God who sins. Don’t say anything about her that you wouldn’t say in the presence of her Savior. Because you are always in His presence.

Anytime your words about another’s actions degrade their humanity, you are pushing Christianity back.

Love the sinner, hate the sin.

People are watching and listening. The way you respond to sin (any sin) will draw people closer or push them away even further.

And to the people on the left…

We all have a right to disagree. We all have a right to stand by or consciences. We all have a right to believe what we do about sin and morality and everything in between.

Calling something a sin does not make someone a bigot. Hating a person for what they do or claim to be makes someone a bigot.

I get really mad when my toddler hits her sisters. I give her a time out. I tell her that what she did was wrong.

Does that make me a bigot against toddlers? No, it’s me stating my beliefs.

Christianity teaches that certain behaviors are sins. If you don’t want to believe that, fine. But people do have a right to believe it.

It’s ironic when people scream about accepting people’s decisions to live their lives as they choose and then they turn around and try to silence other people for living their faith.

And so often I hear non-Christians pointing out the commandment, “Do unto others…”

Respecting and loving someone is not the same thing as agreeing with everything someone does. Love doesn’t require us to look the other way. It does require us to speak our truth in love.

Not everyone follows that. But not everyone fails it either.

To us all…

The gulf between right and left keeps seeming to get bigger. This isn’t an accident. This is because of media and politicians who gain their power and fortune through sound bites. They don’t want you to think deeply. They don’t want you to stretch your mind to see another side. They want to polarize and radicalize you.

And they are doing a darn good job.

No one has to agree. But I do think almost everyone can get behind the ideas of truth and kindness. And we might disagree about what that looks like, but can’t we at least put on our big girl pants and our thinking caps and try to at least understand where the other side is coming from?

Like I used to tell my English 101 students, if you can’t understand where the other side is coming from, then you haven’t done your homework, not them.

Come on world… Truth and kindness, love and respect. These aren’t new concepts.

It seems to me that the real groundbreaking thing to do here would be to embrace each other. Refuse to allow them to paint us into camps. Forget right and left, conservative and liberal.

Be a person.

Stand up for the other side.

Don’t be a stereotype.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

As Magoo Turns Seven

IMG_0604

There’s this little girl upstairs sleeping.  Well, actually she’s not sleeping.  She’s scouring the ceiling for bugs and reading books she has smuggled into her bed.

But still, there is this little girl upstairs.

I first met her almost seven years ago.  She was small – 7 lbs 14 oz.  And she was perfect.  In fact, she was so perfect that I spent months waiting for something to happen.  Because surely someone this perfect could not have come from me.

But she did.

We spent three years pretty much alone, she and I.  Of course at nights and on weekends, we had TJ home.  But all day every day, it was just she and I.  My little buddy.  My little Magoo.

We were in the car the other day driving home from the bookstore, and I started telling her about those days.  The days before our family became full.  To be honest, I think she’s kind of sick of hearing all those stories.

I look at her now, and it’s hard to believe that she is the same little baby from all those years back.

Because now she is a kid.  I called her a little girl, but she barely qualifies anymore.  Truth be told, she’s a kid.  Not a little kid, not a small kid, not an almost big kid.

I used to always fear the new years.  I would hold her little pudgy toddler hand, and I would pray that the moments would last forever.  I would lie on the floor reading her Oh the Places You’ll Go before she could even make out the pictures, and I would think that no other moment could be more special.  I knew school days and uniforms and soccer practice and dance classes were coming.  But I wanted to push them off.  I wanted to stay in our little bubble as long as possible.

Well, the bubble has burst, and with it, she has burst out into the world.  She has friends and she’s in activities.  Her world is so much bigger than it was all those years ago.

And the funny thing is that even though I miss those toddler hugs, I couldn’t be more happy with where we are now.

Now in the places of tottering steps and food mashed all over her face, I have a wonderful little lady who can walk confidently into a room.  Who knows what she wants.  Who isn’t afraid to say what she believes.  Who has confidence and compassion and empathy and intelligence and creativity and joy.

Every night, I take each of the girls up to my room one on one, and I read to them.  We are almost done with Charlotte’s Web.  It is in these moments more than any other that I realize just the gift I have in all three of them.

Magoo is not one to cuddle all that much, but she’ll scooch up next to me, and nestle in the crook of my arm.  She will ask me to read to her while she just listens, and I oblige because I want her to feel safe and secure and comfortable and at peace.

After we are done reading, we’ll talk about it for a bit.  And we’ll plan books to read.  Our list is a mile long.

And that is absolutely find with me.

Because I realize that the bigger her world gets, the more I will have to work to stay a part of it.  The more she experiences, the more she’ll need someone to filter it all through.  The more new people and new joys she encounters, the more she’ll need to be grounded in the old and the familiar.

Mom isn’t exciting.  Mom isn’t new friends and new toys and new sights and sounds.

Mom is the old and the comfortable.  Perhaps battered and beaten a bit like a favorite teddy bear, but loved all the more because of it.

And as always, I am so honored and blessed to be that person for my Magoo.

And so, as you turn seven Magoo, I wish you joy and happiness and peace and comfort and faith and love and adventure.  The world is at your fingertips.  With each new day, you experience more and more of it.  I am so happy to be your cheerleader and your companion and your guidepost and your way home.

I love you Schiminity.  Always and forever, from here to the moon and back, as big as the whole world.

Seven years ago, you made me a mom.  Being a mom to you and your sisters is the highlight of my life.

Above all, I say thank you.

Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail DSC_0050 59239_460954089746_2951096_n 373_43055139746_7645_n DSC_0039 hw5

Posted in Birthday | Comments Off

They Made Me Mom

IMG_0641

Seven years ago on Memorial Day weekend, TJ and I spent dozens upon dozens of hours walking the streets, trying to induce labor.  All we wanted was to meet the little girl who would make us parents.  We had absolutely no idea what we were getting ourselves into, but we knew we wanted to get wherever we were going soon.

She didn’t come that weekend – she came two days later – but those moments we spent walking will be forever etched in my memory.

What bigger event is there than becoming a mom for the first time?  Before every birth there is the excitement and the anticipation and the joy.  But at the birth of your first, you’re not just birthing a baby; you’re birthing a mother and a father too.

There was something about standing on that precipice that etched itself into the forever parts of my brain.  We were on the edge, peeking over, but we had no idea that the fall into parenthood would be the defining falls of our lives.

And now I stand on the other side of the precipice after already having met Magoo as well as Goosie and Mae, and most days I am in just as much awe as that first.

I look at these three little people, and some days they take my breath away.  They are so filled with joy and innocence and love and creativity and intelligence and ingenuity and passion.  Oh the passion!

I often wish that for even just one moment they could feel the love they inspire in me.  Because there’s nothing greater.

It’s so important to be loved.  But it’s even more important to love.  And these three give me so much opportunity to love.

I have so very much to be thankful for in this life, but there’s nothing greater than the souls that slumber in this house every evening after we have shut the light off and shut out the world.

Out of all of the gifts that my children give to me, perhaps the greatest is the opportunity to have my chest swell up with so much love it feels like it might overtake me.

“It was the pleasure of my life, and I cherish overtime; my whole world, it begins and ends with you.”

Sweet dreams my children.

Posted in Motherhood | Comments Off

About Death and Love and Eternity

47707_460008304746_6107274_n

We pray for my grandparents every morning.  Both Magoo and I do.  If I forget them in our morning intentions, she’s always right behind me asking God to keep them under His wing, close to His heart.  Well, those aren’t exactly her words, but you get what I mean.

I’ve been thinking about my grandparents a lot lately.  I don’t know if it’s because May is the anniversary of my grandma’s death or if it’s because I’m reading a book about a woman who lost someone close to her, or if it’s for some other reason unknown to me.

But I have been thinking about them.

Often.

I remember when I was younger fearing death.  I was always sure that once I lost someone close to me, I would never experience true happiness again.  I thought someone would always be missing.

I thought I would panic.  Which is not atypical for me of course.  But I thought I would panic at the thought of laying my eyes on their body for the last time and never seeing them alive again in this life.

It took me a long time to lose someone close to me.  My grandparents didn’t die until I was in my thirties.

And I remember once having to write a paper about who I would want to visit if I could visit anyone who ever lived.  Even when my grandparents were alive, I said I would want to meet my grandma when she was my age.

I’ve known my parents since they were fairly young, but my grandparents were in their sixties when I was born.  I never knew them with color in their hair and smooth skin.  I never knew them as young parents with children running around.  I never knew them when they had more of their life ahead of them than behind.

I’ve seen pictures.  I would like to jump into those pictures if only for an hour.

If I could, I would ask her what it was like to raise children in a world that is so different from mine.

I would ask her what it was like to live in small, homogenous communities where gender roles and social roles were so solidly established.

I would ask her what she did when five children in one house seemed like a whole lot of life to manage.

I would ask her what she thought about and dreamed about.  What made her heart sing, what made her sad.

And I would ask her what she would do if she ever felt down or anxious.  Because I know she did.  Just as I do.

I find myself sometimes getting sad even though it’s many years later.  I actually found myself reaching for my telephone to call her about a month ago.  It has been years since I have been able to do that.  I felt a bit silly.

I want to share my children with her.  I want to share my stories with her.  I want to tell her that I’m a writer now – just like she always said I could be.

But just as I get sad, I realize that while there was a big loss, it wasn’t quite as big as I would have imagined.  It’s not quite as big because not everything was lost.

I see my Goosie acting out her shenanigans (a word my Grandpa would have liked,) and I can see her smiling and calling her a little imp.  I can see Magoo sharing her stories with her and Grandma getting so proud.  I can see the look she would give Mae when Mae is throwing a little tantrum, and I can see the smile coming to Grandma’s eyes as she said she remembers those days well.

What I didn’t know all those years ago when I was fearing death was that death isn’t quite the separation I thought it was because death ends a life but it doesn’t end the bonds, and it doesn’t end the love.  Those things are eternal, and they are alive every bit as much now as they were then.

I share my stories of my grandparents with my girls just as Grandma shared stories about her father throughout my whole childhood.

I’ve heard people say, I don’t have any grandparents anymore; they have all died.  And I want to tell them that they are wrong.  They always will have grandparents.  That relationship doesn’t end just because of death.  It remains and it will continue to remain until we are reunited again on the other side.

But of course I don’t say that because everyone has their way of viewing life and death, and  who am I to say how another should feel about their deceased loved ones.

Except this is my space, and here I can say it.

Love doesn’t die.  Bonds aren’t severed.  Life goes on, on both sides of the veil.

Love is hard and tricky and messy and complicated.

But it’s also eternal.

I used to go through weird phases as a kid.  At one point, I had a bookmark collection, and I remember suddenly feeling silly about it.  After all, I thought, what is the point of collecting anything when we can’t bring it with us?

And it stands true.  We can’t bring physical things with us.  All we can bring is ourselves and our love.

And so I sit here tonight, a bit sad missing my grandparents but also full of hope thinking that perhaps they are reading these ideas somewhere beyond my sight and beyond my knowledge and beyond my understanding.

Maybe they already know my girls.  Maybe they see all they do.  Maybe they are loving them from a distance.

And maybe there is no maybe about it.

I believe they are and they do and they will continue to until one day I am sitting beside them again, breathing in their love, comforted by their joy.

Until that day as always I pray that God holds them tightly in the palm of his hand.

Posted in Indisposable | 1 Comment

This Crazy, Beautiful Life

Life is pretty crazy around here.

Tonight it has been really crazy.  My eldest has a stomach ache, my youngest is on a rage filled tirade, and my Goosie who gets caught up in such chaos easily has been a little force to reckon with.

They are upstairs with TJ right now.  He’s putting them to bed.  Because he’s awesome.  Because he went to work all day, and then he offered to make dinner after my crock pot meal didn’t finish in time, and then he put the kids to bed.  Like he always does.

Because I am very lucky.

And I hear my Goosie upstairs right now.  She’s quite upset about something.  She’s sobbing.  I hear her asking T if she can come downstairs and give me a hug.  “I need Mama,” she’s sobbing.

Because I am very lucky.  Because I get to be that Mama.

This life is ridiculous.  Every morning I wake up and I don’t stop.  I can’t eat a bite of food; I can’t read a paragraph; I can’t get anything done at all because at all times, at every single moment, I am needed.

And that’s crazy, and it’s crazy making.  It takes so much to give so much, and to be honest, I don’t feel like I have that much to give to begin with.

And sometimes I come here and I try to write nice little tidy messages about this life.  I try to sum it up and make sense of it.  I try to make it neat and meaningful and succinct.

But life isn’t like that.  Life is about having way too much to do.  It’s about giving away more than you knew you had.  It’s about having a heart that is so full and so vibrant and so heavy and so worn and so alive that it barely fits in your chest.

It’s about crying sometimes.  It’s about crying those bitter sobs of disappointment, and it’s about crying the frustrated tears of chaos, and it’s about crying the sweet tears of joy, and it’s about crying the empty tears that come for no other reason than your eyes need something to do at that moment.

It’s about trying to make sense out of it all, about trying to find our place, carve out our niche, make our impact, but getting so caught up in everything that it’s hard to even remember that there is a place to carve out after all.

It’s about trying to find meaning while living.  It’s about trying to learn to swim in the deep end.  It’s about falling under, having someone pull you back up, and then doing it all over again.

Life is beautiful and it’s complicated, and it’s aggravating, and it’s glorious.

But most of all, it’s holy.

It’s about taking the gifts of our one precious life and doing our best to do it justice.

Life isn’t about pretty little essays.  It’s not about one liners that make sense of it all.

It’s about all the mess and all the chaos and all the holiness all rolled into one.

It’s beautiful.  And it’s broken.

And it surely can’t be one without the other.

Posted in Indisposable | Comments Off