Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Lessons in Life

It's difficult not to feel every emotion your child experiences, right along with them. When they hurt, and their heart aches, mine aches for them. When their frustration takes over and erupts like a volcano spilling its lava in every direction, I feel the heat along with him. And today Wyatt learned one of life's lessons, that life, isn't always fair. I wish it could be for his sake. That there would always be plenty to go around, so that I didn't have to explain to him through his tears and sobs why.
Today, like every Tuesday, we went to the playgroup. We had talked about it the night before at bedtime, and it was one of the first things out of his mouth this morning when he woke up, to him it is over the top fun. It's an open gym type of playgroup at a local gymnastics place that is sort of come one, come all style. We were running a few minutes behind because Ben was taking a nap, and I told Wyatt as soon as Ben wakes up we would be out the door. We pulled up about 15 minutes after the open gym had started. I shoved cups of water and diapers into my purse, slid Ben into the Moby wrap, and unbuckled one full of energy little boy. He held my hand across the parking lot saying "run run run Mama, PLAY!" I love seeing just how excited he gets to come run and play and hop and bounce.

We opened the front door and the noise of happy little toddlers playing flooded our ears. We went to sign Wyatt in, when the lady told us "I'm sorry playtime is at capacity today, you'll have to come back another day." My heart sunk. I looked down at Wyatt who was already trying to take his shoes and coat off. I knelt down, feeling like someone had just pulled the floor out from under me, and quietly told him that we couldn't play today. Well to a two year old who can clearly see 20 or so other kids already playing, it is impossible to explain that they are full and we have to leave. He cried big crocodile tears, and begged me "please, please, play, please!!" I hurt. I was sad, and a little angry, and had to swallow hard as I gathered up my sobbing Wyatt and took him to the car.

I tried to explain to him that it wasn't his fault, but he just looked at me, tears streaming down his face and repeated, "please play." I couldn't help but feel every ounce of sadness and frustration that he was feeling. My eyes welled up with tears. I tried to hold his hand, but he was too busy craning his neck around, trying to see the gym and pointing as we drove out of the parking lot. I felt crushed. I felt like I had let him down.

I don't know how I am going to handle the future break-ups, and didn't make the team type of scenarios. How is it possible to see your child hurt and hold back and not be the Mom who makes a fool of herself trying to talk the coach into allowing one more player. How do I let them learn that life isn't always fair.

Sometimes I wish I could just keep them in my arms. Keep their little hands entwined safe in mine. But alas, that is life. And with it comes many many happy joyous, smile from ear to ear times. But with that is also the let downs, the tears, and the oh so not fair.

We will try again next time, because that's another life lesson, to get back on that horse and try, try again.
Because after all, who wants to miss this:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

On Finding Our Groove

Nights and days, days and nights, that's the cycle we live on around here. Justin works 7 days a month, and 7 nights a month, leaving us 14 wonderful days with him to ourselves. Because of how his nights and days rotate, I always find myself asking him, nights or days? And I used to dread those nights. Because it meant almost 15 hours of him away from the house, followed by a whole day of sleeping, and two hours of just getting ready to leave again. These are my single parent days. And I used to dread their arrival, but we've found a little groove, my boys and I. One where our feet fit comfortably and we can keep on keeping on.

There's something unexplainably (although I'll try) special about nights when Justin is working. The boys are mine. I don't have to share their laughs and smiles, they are mine all mine. And while Wyatt splashes away in his bubbly bath water, I can hold my little Ben and just take him all in. And when Ben looks at you with his little bobbly head and his luminous blue eyes, they pierce into you. Seer into your soul just ever so slightly, and then the corners of his mouth start to turn up and before you know it his whole face is in on this smile, grinning from ear to ear. And call me selfish, but sometimes I don't want to share that smile, I want it all to myself. I want all the credit for those ear to ear grins, and the high pitched rich sound of laughter from Wyatt's mouth as I tickle his fresh from the bath body. And no matter how loud the boys are those nights, the house seems blissfully calm and strangely still. Like walking out after a thunderstorm to find the sky still dark and gray but no wind, no rain, just silence.

It's not always easy having Justin gone so many hours out of the day. No, there are times when I want to scream at the top of my lungs, or just collapse into my corner of the couch and pull a velvety soft blanket over my tired legs. There are times when the minutes until bedtime seem to stretch into days, and no one wants to listen, or to put clothes on, or pick up toys, not even me. But for every pull your hair out, sob into your hands, scream into the cold night air type of day, there are ten more these-are-what-memories-are-made-of type of days to somehow, like a dusty chalkboard eraser, erase those bad days away, and start you off with a fresh clean slate.

And so here I sit on this stay under the covers type of Sunday, Justin away at work. One boy leaning into my sweatshirt covered shoulder on the couch next to me. The other trying his darnedest not to fall asleep in his swing across the room from us. The moon still hanging in the sky outside my window, a thin veil of wispy clouds falling across it's face. And when the moon is still out at 10am, I think that gives you a pretty good excuse to have a lazy day. After all, Friday and Saturday we burned the candle at both ends trying to make the most of Justin's days off. We had little cousins spend the night which involved large brightly colored puzzles pieces scattered across the living room floor and eager little hands reaching for just the right piece. And then there were craft fairs, pumpkin carving and music classes, and riding the spooky train dressed up like an astronaut (Wyatt, not me), and visiting Nana, and playing in the snow, and then crashing into bed, deflated like someone just pulled the stopper out and all of your air went whooshing out the back. Curling into the pillow and pulling warm blankets up under our chin. That's the kind of Saturday I can get behind. One that has definitely earned us the right to sit around in our pajamas and slippered feet.

This weekend also brought me a 4 month old! I have asked myself so many times, but for some reason I never get an answer, where does the time go!? He's rolling and laughing and smiling and coo-ing and awh-ing and being oh so can't believe this little boy is mine cute.

Life...you have been good to me lately.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Brick of Cheese

It's funny how life swoops in and keeps pushing you forward with its constant little jab in your back, and before you know it, another week has passed.

I'm in slight denial about October being half over, didn't it just begin? But the snow on the ground rings loud and clear, that yep, winter is here.
October in my lovely little town, is not the time of winter that screams winter wonderland. October is the awkward early teen years in the life of winter. It is transition, dead leaves still cling to the tree branches, and the thin layer of snow mixes in with the dirt, making for a palette of ugliness. As ugly as this time of year is, there is something wildly magical about the first snow. Somehow it transforms not only the land, but the spirit. It makes you yearn for a warm fire and a cup of hot apple cider to sip. It makes a little boy so eager to get out, in a snowsuit that is just a little too short, to build snowmen and to make train tracks through the front yard by shuffling his feet through the fine powder.

But one thing about October that makes me happy to celebrate its arrival? It means that holidays are just around the corner. It means pumpkin bread and decorations.
It means dressing up, then dressing a turkey, then dressing packages with ribbon. And although Justin and I are still debating about what to be for Halloween, I can not wait.

Bricks in the Bed
Although I do love a little body curled up next to me in our giant king size bed. It has its drawbacks which lately have come in the form of a sore neck and back from sleeping so stiffly. And for Wyatt, a perk of coming into our bed in the middle of the night, means more freedom in the morning. Usually he will wake me up before he decides to descend from the bed and take on the day. But this morning, he had different plans, and an early morning craving it seems.

I had Ben curled up in the crook of my arm, and Justin had long since left for work, when Wyatt's head popped up next to my bed. "Mama brrrrr" he said, and through my bleary half asleep eyes I looked at him standing there, then the clock, which read 6:24am, then told Wyatt that if he was cold to climb back in bed and I would cover him up, and so he did. I drifted back to dreamland, Wyatt's head resting on the pillow next to mine.

A short while later Wyatt woke me again. So I figured it was time to drag ourselves out of the nice warm bed with the cozy flannel sheets and go start the coffee pot. I pushed at the covers with my feet and my toes touched something cold. I quickly pulled them back, and raised my eyebrows towards Wyatt, wondering what foreign object was lurking underneath those covers of mine. I pulled back the blanket to find...a brick of cheese. Nicely nibbled all around. It seemed to be that Wyatt needed his 6am cheese fix today and that "Mama brrr" was more likely about the cheese he had just stolen from the refrigerator and not a reference to the room temperature. Looks like I will be adding cheese to my grocery list this week.
And here is a little sweet brother goodness to fill you up for the week!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I Just Couldn't Resist

The house is eerily quiet on this late Thursday night. Justin is away at work and my babies are sleeping.
As I sat on the couch, my fingers clicking on the keyboard, the click click click of Ben's swing kept drawing my eyes that way. I couldn't help but notice how the light from the lamp cast the perfect glow across his perfect little baby skin. I knew I needed to move him into the bedroom, but first I decided to put my night's rest on the line, and capture my little sleeping Ben.
I laid him oh-so-gently on the couch and just melted into a puddle of mush when I saw how absolutely flawless and beautiful his sweet little cheeks looked on "film".

How could I resist taking a picture of this...

And just a few moments later, he gave me one of these..as in what the heck is going on...

But it was quickly followed by one of these...

And then, just as quick as he was awake, his eyes closed, and he drifted back off to dreamland.

Oh LOVE, thank you for filling my cup up again tonight, you gave me more then my helping, and my cup is overflowing in every direction...but this girl isn't complaining.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Boys of Fall

Ask and you shall receive...I hung on to the tiniest bit of hope that fall would leave its door open just a short while longer before winter swept in and blanketed us in cold and white. I hung on to hope for just a little more warm weather. And this week, hope delivered. October first was 60 degrees, the sun was shining, I shed my coat on the edge of the porch as we ran around in the yard, the skies were blue with fluffy white clouds scattered about, this is the kind of fall that I can get behind.

Oh fall how I love thee. It seems to awaken me, and my spirit and creativity, which had been dwindling with the summer weather. But fall stirs it up just as it does to the crisp yellow leaves when the wind whips through the ones strewn across the front yard and sends them sailing in a new direction. We've been running around in a don't-know-what-you've-got-till-it's-gone, type of panic, since we thought for sure the cold was here to stay, trying to suck the last drop of juice out of fall before it slips into the shadows and we awake to crystalline white flakes falling from the sky.

We've walked hand in hand around the block as the sun dips below the horizon, Ben cuddled warm against my chest, and Wyatt zipping up and down the sidewalk. We've raked leaves and jumped in piles. We've explored through the woods, with childlike wonder. We've had a second chance at fall. And in case you haven't realized how much I love fall...I do, I just can't get enough.

It's that time of year where the yard is now bare, my garden clean, flower pots put away. And I go back in forth in my mind about whether it is too early to put out the Halloween decorations or not. A quick survey of my street says no, but in my mind it's not quite time. So the yard remains empty, a blank slate. Ready for ghosts and goblins and pumpkins.

Gold Dredging We Will Go

And about that exploring. Trying to make the best of our Storybook fall Saturday. We decided to put the boys in the car and take a little drive. In the hills north of town, where the road winds, and dips and climbs over rolling peaks speckled with golds and reds. There is an abandoned gold dredge. Gold Dredge #3, which was built in 1923, and operated until 1958 sits on a pond a short hike off the road, about 30 miles from town. It's a giant steel relic from the heyday of the Alaskan gold rush. A time in which this dredge pulled out over 70 million dollars in gold from the frozen Alaskan ground, and this dredge is a sight to see.

I was thinking this would be a fun trip, a nice hike, and a chance to explore and play on a piece of history. Yet I didn't think about the fact that Wyatt would be gallivanting around on what is essentially a rotting steel and wood boat sitting many feet in the air, with the front half hanging over a frozen pond. Needless to say, I could hear my heart beating outside my chest. And when Justin climbed the sets of stairs to the top with Wyatt, and I could hear his feet running across the original, 90 year old wood floors, I had to hold my breath and swallow hard, and try not to ruin the fun. It was dark and shadowy inside, yet all of the pieces remain. Our voices echoed when we talked, and I couldn't imagine spending my days inside that beast. Did I mention that Lucy came along for the ride. She even climbed the ladders all by herself. She made me just as nervous as Wyatt did when they would peer out of old open windows together, 60 feet in the air.

By the time we made it back to the car my heart was starting to beat at a normal pace once again. And Ben was just starting to stir in the sling where he had been sleeping peacefully all along. I asked Wyatt if he had fun and he responded with a simple head shake and a strong and resounding "YES", I guess that's all that matters, fun. And as we drove back into town. Both boys closed their eyes, rocked to sleep by the hum of the tires, and my hand found it's home wrapped inside of Justin's, and Lucy curled up on the floor, happy for some rest.

We burned the candle at both ends this past week, trying our hardest not to let this sun go to waste. So now it's time for cuddling up with my boys on the couch, and jumping on the bed, and winding down, which Sundays are best for. Storing up for another week ahead.
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