You Get What You Need

I want a cup of tea.

Not herbal. The real stuff. With milk and sugar.

And I want someone to make me popovers.

Which I will eat warm with a little butter and cinnamon sugar.

 

I want someone to wash my duvet cover and then put it back on my comforter. Because if we’re honest with each other, that is a four-person job.

 

I want a week to declutter, shuffle and reshuffle, purge (stuff, not vomit – though both usually make you feel better), think about writing something, nap.

 

I want dinner to be done, meals planned. But really, I want to do that stuff myself.

I want a bedside clock for my husband that isn’t the brightest clock on the planet.

I want the socks paired.

Oh the socks.

 

I want not to worry about the four RSVPs, camps, birthday party to plan.

I want to be grateful that I have parties, camps, birthday parties to worry about.

I want new work shoes that I don’t have to break in.

I want to use the hours between 8:30pm and 10:30pm wisely at least once a week.

I want to figure out how on earth to spend more time being and less time doing.

 

I want to cook every day. Walk every day. Sleep more. Pick up less. Read to my kids more. Explore more. Love more. Give more.  Fight more for the things I think are worth fighting for. And sit on a blanket on the grass in the sun.

 

I want to spend more time doing silly and creative things, and less time wondering what could have possibly spilled on the floor to make it that sticky.  I want more time with my kids. I want more time with my husband. I want more time by myself.

I want more time having grown-up conversations. With wine. I want more music in my house. I want less dust. I want my kids to eat less yogurt.

 

I want more dancing in my life.

 

And I want the thank you notes to write themselves.

 

Advertisements

Just a Regular Life

One spring evening, cuddled up together under my down comforter, I asked Pickle what he wanted to be when he grew up, what kind of life he wanted to have.

“Just a regular life,” he replied, as if my question was a little silly.

Just a regular life.

I smiled.

“You mean like the life we have now?” I asked.  He nodded.

***

Several years ago I asked my husband what kind of bird he would be if he could be any bird at all.

“A robin,” he answered, without hesitation, “or a blue jay.  Just a regular bird.”

I didn’t believe him. I couldn’t believe him.

“A robin?  Just like a regular, run-of-the-mill robin?  You wouldn’t want to be a hawk, or an eagle, or something interesting like a penguin or an ostrich? A heron?”

“No,” he shook his head, “just a robin.”

***

1981

We met in nursery school.  Though I can’t honestly say that I remember him.  I remember the swing set and missing a step and rolling my ankle.  And I have vague, watercolor memories of making art projects, perhaps Easter bonnets, in a bright sun-filled room.

We went to high school together.  I sat behind him in Ms. Zaffer’s 9th grade science class.  He teased me, and wore bright striped shirts that were too big for him. In college he called me, very much out of the blue, and perhaps under the influence of some adult beverages.   We dated.  Then we didn’t.  But he still agreed to come to my 5th college reunion with me.

And when we ducked into the parking garage by the grad school to escape a torrential downpour I looked at him and I knew.  I knew that I would marry him.

And I did, a few years later in the same church that housed our preschool.

wedding

***

Of course he wanted to be a robin.  He is a robin.

I had dated hawks, dodos, kiwis.  I had lusted after eagles and peacocks. But I married a robin. My robin.

My robin who is humble and kind.  My robin who is responsible and loving.  My robin whose goal has never been fame, or attention, or fortune, but instead just to lead a good and regular life.  Spending time with his family, loving his kids, mowing the lawn, going to work, going to church, paying bills, cooking dinner, playing catch, changing diapers, reading magazines.  Learning, laughing, doing.

Playing

***

A few weeks ago, at an event, a childhood acquaintance who I hadn’t seen in at least a decade complimented me on my handsome (baby-holding) husband, much the way someone would compliment me on a new sports car or a trophy wife.  I laughed, a bit uncomfortably, but agreed.  “He is tall and handsome,” I conceded. But, I thought to myself, he is so much more.

***

“Just a regular life,” I repeated to Pickle. He smiled, his nose with new spring freckles crinkled.

He is five.  I had expected him to tell me that he wanted to be a Superhero or a Transformer, or to lead some sort of fantastical life.

But he is his father’s son.  A little robin who is content to live a life of kindness, loving other people, being a normal kid, doing normal kid things, and snuggling with his mom on a spring night.

“Do you know what kind of job you want?” I asked him, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

He thought.  “A cowboy,” he said, “and a dad.”

I kissed his forehead.

“That sounds like a very good plan to me,” I said. “And I think you’ll be a really great dad.”

Edits-0085

How quickly we forget…

A woman I know – a brand new mom – reached out on Facebook the other day to mention how much her world had been rocked by the arrival of her son.  She mentioned this without a positive or negative spin.  There was no whining or wonder, just a mom noting how much her life had changed and how much hard work parenting a newborn is.

Then came the responses. There were so many women telling her to enjoy her baby! Cherish these moments! Change is good! He is adorable! Welcome to your new normal!  Your life has been changed for the better! It is a love you’ve never known! Welcome to MY world – now you get it! You’ll miss these days when they’re gone!

Blarghggghhlll, these posts gave me reflux.

How do we forget so quickly?

Why does “We’ve done it, so can you.” sound so dismissive rather than supportive?

The subtext of so many of these types of comments seems unkind and unsupportive:

Enjoy your baby! (Stop whining. We’ve all been there.)

Cherish these moments! (Stop whining. Why dwell on the bad stuff?)

Change is good! (Stop whining. What did you expect?)

How do we forget that the newborn “new normal” is occasionally terrifying, always exhausting, and can throw a person completely off kilter, no matter how much they love the little milky, loose-skinned, froggy-legged baby asleep on their chest?

Smiling. And exhausted. June, 2010.

Smiling. And exhausted. June, 2010.

I think my poet friend’s response was best “You are doing it! And you can do it! ❤ ❤ ❤ No subtext.  Just support and love from another new mom who isn’t so far past that newborn world-rocking that she forgets what it is like.

Because it is so hard – it is bigger, more all-encompassing than that even.  And you just do it.  You get through the days, you get through the nights. You have good moments, bad ones, lots of tired ones.  You call in your village if you have one.  Or you call your village if they are far away.  Or you call your doctor.  You accept help, pay for it, ask for it, or struggle through without it.  You do it.  You just do.

June 2010. Pickle, Baby Bear and Me.

June 2010. Pickle, Baby Bear and Me.

I’m making a promise to myself that I’ll try my darnedest not to forget the feelings, the exhaustion, the crazy way the universe shifted completely when Pickle was born.  And I promise my friends that I’ll never demand that they cherish their baby and enjoy every damn moment.  I’ll just love them, remind them of their own strength, hold them up when they need me to and bring dinner when possible.

That was for me.

That extra episode of Octonauts I let you watch?

That was for you, because you’ve been helpful, patient and kind this week.

But that was also for me, because I needed 23 minutes to pack bags for tomorrow, load the dishwasher, feed the cat, and breathe, for just a second.

 

That third lullaby I sang tonight?

That was for you, because you love our rare quiet time together, my third child.

But that was also for me, because you are growing too fast, because the glider will move out of your bedroom too soon, and because your warm hand on my cheek and full face smile as I sing won’t last forever, it won’t even last the year.

 

That dance party in the kitchen?

That was for you, because you’ve been cooped up too long in this winter house and need to wiggle and giggle and move.

But that was also for me, because your shimmies, and beautifully un-self-conscious twists, hip shakes and jumps are so lovely, so silly, and so free, and someday you’ll worry more about how you look as you dance, and who is watching.

 

That late bedtime?

That was for you, so I can ease you into this time change.

But that was also for me, as you sat, gently combing my hair and we pretended to color and style, because someday soon, you’ll both be too busy to bother playing hairdresser with your mom, even if she lets you stay up late.

 

My babies, my marvelous little people, thank you for the gifts you give me every day.

three

2014 – A Recap

2014 – A Recap

Babies birthed – 1
Uninterrupted nights of sleep – 3 (dear God, can that be right?!)
Trips to the ER – 3
Boxes of mac & cheese prepared – 50 +/-
Diapers changed – ??? (math too complicated)
Children potty-trained – 1

Of course, there is a lot of good stuff that happened in 2014 that can’t be quantified: giggles, moments watching sleeping babies, personal and professional successes, hard work, quiet times, growth.

And there’s some not-as-good stuff to remember, too: tears, weariness, worry, frustration, sadness.

“No resolutions beyond the ones I make every morning: to be kinder and calmer and less demanding of happiness. To listen better. To be curious. To show my love for the person lying next to me. To be grateful for every messy second of this glorious life.” – Armistead Maupin

That about sums it up for me. I’m not much of a resolver (see my 2012 resolutions where I resolved not to eat monkfish liver or get a face tattoo, or my 2011 resolutions where I resolve to use up bath products). It’s pretty clear that I like to set the bar low. But I am a reflector, and the New Year, in its cold, dark stillness, seems to be a good time for that, winter ice like a mirror.

I can do better.
I can be less grumpy.
I can strive to feel less harried.
I can work towards letting go of things that create a sort of self-inflicted overwhelmedness.
I can accept help.
I can strive for more patience.
I can work on tenderness.
I can try to save my kindest words for those I love most and for myself.
I can embrace stillness when I find it.
I can try to emulate my small children’s wonder.
I can learn to give without compromising myself.
I can strive to have a generous heart and spirit.
I can read more books.

I can also avoid monkfish liver and face tattoos for at least another year.

Wishing you all peace, grace and love, now and always.

-ST

Happy New Year

Humbling Plenty

I do love Thanksgiving.  Warmth, friends and family, with some gratitude and gravy thrown in?  Yes, please.

Grateful, thankful, a life full of noise, laughter, work and fun. Full of dancing, silliness, and so so many tiny articles of clothing.

There isn’t a word big enough.   Nothing encompasses the goodness, and fullness, the humbling plenty in my life.

I am so grateful for my husband and the life (and people!) we’ve created together.

I am so grateful for my loving family.

I am so grateful for my generous, genuine, thoughtful, gentle, and funny first.

I am so grateful for my spunky, interested, clever, determined, adaptable, silly second.

And I am so grateful for my cuddly, curious, pleasant, reasonable, thinking third.

Real Reason by Brian Andreas  Image from StoryPeople.com.

Real Reason by Brian Andreas
Image from StoryPeople.com.