Thursday, January 28, 2010

Time Out Thursday

So I've been fortunate to learn about this great blog, Theta Mom ( Heather (the founder) hosts a Time Out Thursday once a month. The goal? To get all mothers to take one hour for themselves, once a month. Then we share our experiences, motivating others to do the same. Bravo, Theta Mom! So this month, I gladly participated in Time Out Thursday. Here's what happened:

I took the kids to school. I came home, skipped in my kitchen and let out a big "wahoooo!" because I was alone. Then, through the quiet, I started to write...

Snow falling falling falling like bits of sugared lace, whitening my world and warming my soul. Snow tickles my heart and makes me jump with glee. It makes me want to sing. Cold gray days are some of my very favorites (yes, even when I’m out in them). I just took the kids to school and luxuriated in my warm, dry car interior while Mother Nature whipped it all around outside. Cocoon-like in our warmth. Cozy, safe, together. The soundlessness of snow lulls me into a winter trance, wishing that it keeps dumping the white stuff so I can stay transfixed in my winter coma. Delight in the cold, frigid climate. Delicate snowflakes, falling, drifting, cavorting through the air. “We’re here!” they seem to say. They have a quiet confidence I find admirable. Each falling haphazardly yet with intention. The grace of the snow, the chill of the air, the warmth of my home echoing in a harmonic beat. When each of these events align, I am home. Exactly where I should be. Taking in the amazing wonder that the weather delivered to me that day.

The red fire hydrant standing proudly in the white fluff. The trees, ahh the trees, always stoic, always tall. Noble in their strong winter pursuit. I wonder if their roots know that it’s snowing? The branches reach up and softly cradle millions of snowflakes, building a colony. The fabulous intricacy of the elements soothes and amazes me. We all exist together. We each feel singular yet in truth, the symbiotic relationship of each part is what makes us whole.

Sometimes the downpour of snow sifts off to a slight sprinkle and the flakes lazily descend from their origins. Then, without warning, the deluge restarts, reclaiming its control. The beginning of a promising snow storm has always been, and will continue to be, one of my favorite times. The promise of the coming of all the things I love. The anticipation of stripping off boots, hanging coats, donning slippers, warming soup, layering under downy blankets – it stirs my cells. Retreating within, with the promise of the extremes outside. The storm unfolds outside my windows and I remain hypnotized. The flakes become rounder, fatter, more robust. They speak to me in hushed tones. They glide in on the wings of the wind. Sometimes they seem suspended in air, time stopped, so I can examine their beauty. I resonate. The heat of my home wicks comfort around me as the wind becomes boss of the outside elements. My molecules sing and skip, heralding the joy of the storm.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wednesday Wishes

When I'm submerged in my life, as I always am, I find it difficult to truly see my life. Some days, I wish I could leave my body and view my life from outside of me. What would I covet about my life? What would I edit?

Today, Henry and I patronized one of my favorite destinations in the world, Target. Ahhh, Target, like a siren beckoning me home. A popcorn combo and we're in stride, perusing the aisles, sipping Diet Coke and hunting for the perfect tidbit on the 75% off clearance rack. Spidey PJ bottoms for $2.50! The softest t-shirt imaginable for $1.79!

We paid for our finds and left. After buckling Henry into his car seat, I returned our shopping cart (buggy to my southern pals) to the cart return. As I walked back to my car, I stopped. I don't know if the wind changed, or if the cold steeped in my brain for too long, but everything (my minivan, my open door, my son in the backseat) looked new. I stared. I stared at those items (and that boy) as if they belonged to someone else. "Man," I whispered to myself, "I'd love it I if were going to that life."

The wind whipped again. A smile spread across my face and into my soul. Lucky me. Wish granted.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Frustrating? Motherhood? Nahhhh....

A dear, dear friend called today. (She's a mother to a four-month-old and a three-year-old, and she stays home with her kids AND runs a business out of her home. She's a rock star.) She's having a great day. Truly awesome. She might run stark-raving mad through the streets of her town.

She started our phone conversation like this:
"Do you ever get really, really angry and frustrated? With your kids, your husband?"

Because she is a dear, dear friend, she knew the answer before she even reached for the phone. But she dialed just the same because she needed to hear a resounding,


Three years ago, Henry was just five-months-old and Abby was three. Hubby was MBA-bound and therefore not home-bound (I proudly took that role)**. As a result, I spent many solo days, nights, weeks and weekends with my children. Some of those endless stretches proved to be exceptionally maddening. One January evening, after sending Abby and Henry off to slumberland,I sunk into the couch with a rotund pour of Cabernet Sauvignon. The digital picture frame illuminated the dark room with happy photos of my children. As each photo flickered by, the tears began to pour down my very tired face. This thought train accompanied my tears:

"I don't even remember those smiling moments. I'm ruining my children. I am a horrible mother. I didn't enjoy them today. I circumvented and navigated and orchestrated...but I did not enjoy. Aren't I supposed to always enjoy them?" Then, the guilt started punching me around. LOTS of guilt. Lots of punching. Defeat snuck in there and had her hand with me. I realized with a nauseous jolt that I’d been wishing away minutes with these sweet (yet terrorizing, noise-producing, maddening, exhausting) children because I was tired. Done.

And here's the kicker: I thought my feelings were novel.

Then, through the haze of tears and wine, another thought throttled forward:

"Other mothers MUST share these feelings. I cannot be the first mother in all of motherhood to experience these raw frustrations."

Whew. During that epiphany, my voice materialized. I decided to regularly expose myself and my lovely imperfect messes here. And in so doing, I hoped to spare other moms from some personal lambasting, guilt and agony.

I try to stay buoyant in the ordinary extravagances that moments with my children present. Because I know, in a flash, I will throttle back and trip over Lego's, employ timeouts and referee screaming matches. It is from this precarious perch from which I parent.

**Hubby and I mutually decided that he should get his MBA. We both signed up for the rigors of an executive program. We mentally prepared, budgeted for babysitters, girls' nights out and the occasional bottle of wine. I continue to applaud both of us for allowing him to achieve his goal--and reaching it with our marriage stronger than when we started.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Sickness descended on our healthy home. Henry's profile: sick with purple/blue bags under his eyes, a cough that makes him sound like he polishes off 2 packs a day, stomach troubles and a rising temp. Poor guy. He's absolutely pathetic but still amazingly resilient. So resilient, in fact, that he turned sickbay into the super heroes lounge. First, the Rescue Heroes abolished a boredom coup. A fireman donned his jacket and extinguished rising fevers. Then, Captain America chilled on the couch, signing along (cough cough) with the Backyardigans (wheeze wheeze). He even coordinated his cherry-red fever cheeks his uniform. Who knew the Captain was so fashion-forward and musically inclined?

After a dose of Motrin (which thankfully either contains caffeine, kid crack or a very strong placebo affect because H always feels better after a dose), we prepare for Day Three of Sickness. Here's hoping that Wonder Woman can spin (insert sound effects here) another day of super-human patience.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Gluttons of Sunday

Our downstairs currently registers a balmy 57 degrees Fahrenheit (relief and repair hopefully come tomorrow). We clad ourselves in scarves, fleece and many layers to no warm avail. To rescue our cold noses and toeses, hubby suggested warm refuge in Mommy & Daddy's bed. So we retreated upstairs to flannel-ville. Hubby read the paper. Abby and I watched whatever TBS threw our way (Cheaper by the Dozen entertained us while I salivated over the stay-at-home mom becoming a national bestselling author). Henry's imagination entertained him--my red flannel duvet became a boat, a ship and a helicopter carrying him to distant lands at the southern border of the bed.

Simplicity, warmth and laziness reigned. What started as a necessity for bodily warmth became a salve for our frenetic lives; our souls exhaled. We lay there, spent, the gluttons of Sunday.

Friday, January 8, 2010


Tonight, I lie in bed with sweet Henry (and thankfully not his sinister alter-ego who still likes to visit). After we read a pre-negotiated three books, we snuggle down under the fresh sheets. His lashes grace the roundness of his cheeks and his forehead spoons with mine. I am there to put him to sleep but it is he who hypnotizes me. I still grasp to comprehend the miracle of his presence and my role in bringing him here. I remember his not-so-elegant but noble first breaths. And now I am here, absorbing him, his essence and his breath. In and out. Out and in. I time my inhalations with his exhalations so I can breathe him in -- forever folding him and this moment into my lungs.