Saturday, November 21, 2009

In a Small Hand

The last few days, Abby has been a bit, shall we say, sassy. She's sassafrassed her way through her time with hubby, Henry and me. Scratch that. She's admirably attempted to be the reigning queen of sass but we've thwarted her efforts.

Last night after hubby bathed both children (love you, hubby), Abby ran down the hall squealing with glee. After I finished putting Henry to bed, I joined Abby in her room.

(After four days of her sass, and five days of solo-parenting while hubby traveled on business, I was a bit, shall we say, done. But I
took my deep breath and decided to attempt to enjoy our last minutes together.)

I bent down to help her with her footie jammies and Sassy Sue (a.k.a Abby) said,

"Why (sigh) didn't you turn the lights on (quivering lip) in my room?" (a nice, full-bodied whine accompanied this question.)

I replied, "Please tell me you are not getting sassy and upset about a simple light. You got to your room first--you should've turned on the light." (Pride trumped my frustration because I didn't once utter the four-letter words that begged to be released from my lips.)

"But moooooommmmmmmm, I didn't KNOW the lights were out in my room. It was daaaaaark." She expertly employed the furrowed-brow-big-bottom-lip-and-foot-stomp trio.


"Abby, the darkness in your room should've given you a clue that it was indeed dark in your room. Now knock it off and go brush your teeth." (Calm? What calm. Frustration now reigned.)

Abby stomped off to the bathroom and slammed things** and thumped stuff. Henry slept on the other side of the bathroom.

"STOP IT.", I venomously spat.

She responded by bawling.

I left, gained composure and waited for her in her bed to read books. I didn't say another word. I (tried) to emulate peace and love. We read. We hugged. As I left her bed, Abby said,

"Mommy, I want to touch you one more time." I took her hand. Then I heard Abby quietly say, through the night-light lit darkness,

"I'm sorry Mommy. I'm sorry I was so sassy about just a light."

In her hand and from the depths of her sass-rejecting soul, Abby found the right way. Tears welled. Pride returned and our evening ended with the two of us, hand in hand.

**Gene pool alert: In Abby's defense, she comes from a long line of slammers. Her great grandmother slammed, her grandmother slams, her mother slams. So slam she will.

Monday, November 16, 2009

November's Eve

The darkened branches starkly etch the crisp November sky--they seem to reach for the possibility of snow, heralding its pending arrival. All the leaves have since swirled, cavorted and lay spent on the soon-to-freeze ground.

The warmth of home beckons us in--steam rising from hearty soups, candle's flames dancing on darkened edges. Pink noses and cherry cheeks thaw in the hearth's flickering fire. Bodies cuddle, feet are warmed. Fuzzy, footed pajamas cocoon the children for a warm slumber. Flannel and fleece keep us toasty through the long, black nights. We sleep. Warm and assured by the comfort of each other, four protective walls, down comforters and the promise of the pending winter. Dreams lingering from past nights reemerge in our sleepy minds, giving way to winter reverie.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Yesterday morning, Henry and I agreed to walk Abby into school, per her request. We'd made it from the minivan to the sidewalk when we stopped briefly to appreciate Henry's 217th fabulous piece of firewood. When I looked up to talk to Abby, she was gone. She'd walked herself into school. I found her in her hallway.

"Abby!", I called.
"What?", she replied.

("Heeeeellllllllllllllllllloooooooooooooooo?!?!?!?!?!?!?", I thought, "Why are we walking you into school, and why did I drag your brother out of his car seat, when you're walking yourself into school?")

But instead I said, "You asked us to walk you into school. Would you please walk with us?" She agreed. As we neared her classroom, with Henry and I trailing, I saw a group of her male classmates sitting in the hall awaiting entry to their room.

"Hey Abby!", one of them yelled.
"Watch this Abby, it's so silly!", another smiled.

Abby beamed and sat down to join the early morning festivities. "Goodbye, Abby..." I said. I got a distracted, "Bye Mom." and I started to depart.

Henry and I walked through the hallway to the exit. I was so glad she was happy and enjoying her friends. I was surprised, however, by the realization that hit next:

Abby is her own person.

An obvious epiphany but a poignant one
. She forges her own way, all day, through learnings both educational and transformative. What to say, what to wear, how to interact, how to translate the intricacies of elementary school life. Her acquisitions occur publicly but are private to her. I do not partake. We talk after school--I ask questions, she shares, we recap. But I am not physically present.

I watched the hoards of young kids filing through that school. My naive realization resonated within--young children, on their paths, defining their futures with each step. Each choice. Independent and autonomous.
With no parents in sight.

Abby is her own person.

Abby inherently understands this. Why don't I? Where have I been? Was a memo issued? "Abby does stuff by herself all the time now! She goes to school and makes decisions on her own!" My daughter is no longer merely an extension of me, of Hubby or our family. She, like all the other students I saw, is an individual, forging her own way each day.

I am simultaneously proud, dumbfounded and humbled.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Sharing a Few of My Favorite Things

A random list of little things that make me happy.

1. Tervis Tumblers. I use the 24 oz BigT in the car instead of water bottles. They keep your drink cold and they don't sweat AND they have a lifetime guarantee.
2. Max Factor 2000 Calorie mascara. I love this stuff. But come 2010, they won't sell it in the US anymore. So I'll be desperately searching for an equally cheap and fabulous replacement.
3. Origins Underwear for lashes. I'm totally addicted. You put this white stuff on like mascara before you apply mascara. Makes lashes long, thick and fabulous.
4. McDonald's Diet Coke. And a side of fries.
5. Neutrogena MoistureShine Lip Gloss in Dreamy. Smooth, not sticky. Looks great over all my lipsticks or solo.
6. Aunt Sadie's Tree in a Can candle. Capri Blue's Number 9 Volcano candle. Tyler Candle Company's Limelight candle. They all make my house smell warm and cozy and gooooood.
8. Medicated ChapStick. I've tried so many chapsticks from the cheapest to the priciest and this is my favorite.
7. Salt and Vinegar potato chips. The more sour the better.
8. Ben Heggy's (Canton, OH) buttercreams in dark chocolate. Like a spoonful of cookie dough.

(File the following under the "Irish-girl-with-pasty-skin-needs-help-not-blending-into-the-walls" category)
9. Jemma Kidd Mannequinn Skin Complexion Enhancer. I feel like I look dewy and well-rested when I use this stuff. Light must reflect off this magic stuff and makes me feel pretty.
10. Trish McEvoy Face Shine Malibu. It's a creamy bronzer you apply with your fingers...but yikes! I can't find it!
11. Jane Blushtix in Shimmering Brown. Same idea as above. I look healthy and not peaked with this stuff.

Now come on and tell me yours...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Onnlaye Six

Sometimes, the biggest wallops of love come from the smallest moments. Today I was working and I asked the kids to draw some pictures to keep them entertained. (Amazingly, this worked and I worked quietly while they drew quietly!) When I was mid-thought, I peripherally saw Abby approach with a smile and a piece of paper.

She quietly handed it to me. Thankfully, I stopped writing and accepted her gift.

My six-year-old love wants to marry me. (I'm the one in blue plaid flannel pajama bottoms and green t-shirt; Abby is in the pink one-piece body suit.)

Time stopped. All noise subsided. The poignancy of her message grew lumps in my throat and formed tears in my eyes. Abby stood patiently while I read and reread her note, languishing in her and the depths of her love. I looked up at her, smiled and swallowed her in a hug.