Thursday, October 13, 2011

St. Francis, the Butterfly

Arriving home from the groceries just before lunch, I came up to the front door to see a monarch circling around the entry area to our home...I took it to be a beautiful blessing and decided to let that little encounter plan our lunch time.  Although it was very damp (misting) outside, I fixed us a quesadilla picnic and a few minutes later Ever and I were sitting outside munching.  Ever spent the greater part of half an hour studying a slug make its way down from mid-tree to the ground, completely in awe.

I stood quietly nearby, breathed many deep breaths, and unfocused my eyes so I could take in the soft gray atmosphere above lit up by pockets of amber beginning to poke out of the surrounding green...and then I began to see tiny water drops swirling through the air all around (which are invisible when the eye is focused).  I was still me, but another version of me...almost free of my physical self and yet, embraced by so much physical beauty that I felt as though I had been plucked out of almost reality and inserted into this luscious moment of pure life and energy literally emanating from every living thing around me.

Perhaps this is what St. Francis of Assisi experienced when he came to have such potent experiences with God through is a gift that I pray I would be a worthy steward of.  Thank you, lovely little Franciscan butterfly for catching my attention, shifting my day entirely, and bringing me into such a state of contented gratitude.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

No, I'm not pregnant-just a planner...

Staring at an overturned laundry basket as I breathe deeply and consider

Thinking of my little one seated on it so sweetly waiting for me to hurry up and take her to the beach this morning. 

Am I ready for another even littler one?  Will I miss many of her very special moments if I have a newborn taking over my life again?

I see other moms with more than one child under the age of four, and many of them make it seem totally natural-they seem to embrace the ensuing whirlwind of personalities, needs, and laughter (and other expressions of the not so happy type).  I also remember being the second child...and then the middle child.  Often happy to be left alone, sometimes made to feel as an afterthought (by my very loving but very busy mama). 

I also think about all of the moments of fear and doubt seated in the fact that I had never had a child before during Ever's first year of will that play out if I've done it already?  Maybe it won't be so hard...but, then factor in that there are two small (and one big brother here with us part time) and maybe it will be. 

I suppose I still have time to think on it.  I do think on this-whatever juncture we have found ourselves at during Ever's last 2+ years, I have used equal measures of planning and spontaneity tempered with pure instinct (and a good deal of divine intervention).  I appreciate advice (about 30% of the time), but ultimately I am her mama and I do know best without a doubt. 

I look to that when I wonder what to do with another child.  I will love, I will listen (God does need us to meet halfway), and my heart will grow even bigger than I could ever expect. 

(And that laundry basket is going to be used even more than it already is.)


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sugar and Spice

Somewhere in the last couple of weeks a very subtle transition occurred.  Bit by bit, my baby has become an almost big little girl. 
We went on a family road trip-I was nerve wracked about her routine and how she (and we) would do without it.  She did fabulously-slept in beds (with foam or rolled towel bumpers), napped whenever (or almost not at all), and ate her food ( a miracle, actually-the last few months of medical attention warranted by her small stature can attest to that).
Now that we're home-she is still eating, has transitioned into her toddler bed, and is having conversations with me.  "Let's go, Ever-let's get in the car."  "I'm coming, Mommy."
Amazing, that's what it is.  As much as I dreaded this time in her development, because it would mean that I'm losing her babyhood, I'm so filled with joy seeing her moments of shining pride in her new abilities that any dread is eclipsed in that light.  I love that she is finally able to communicate with me all the thoughts that are floating around in that amazing mind of hers.  I've become closer with her-more like we're hanging out with each other.  Of course, this is accompanied by disagreements and moments of fierce love-but I am basking in it. 
Thinking about her yesterday, I became aware that in her case, the spice that makes her girly sugar and spiciness is definitely cayenne...but, then-what should I have expected after years of putting crushed red pepper on practically anything edible!  She is a fierce little sprite-may I always give her enough room to cultivate the independence glimmering on the surface of her developing sense of self.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Tumultuous Twos

Two year olds...
Still small enough and adorable enough to incite a strong desire to kiss their messy haired sweaty little heads whilst holding them tight as can be...
Yet...old enough, determined enough, and physically capable of doing things which also make you want to drink by 3 in the afternoon...
Yep.  I think that about sums it up.

If you're having a really rough day with your little one, hold out-they usually alternate the halos and the horns, mama (or daddy)!

I think it's all about communication-they seem to understand us-yet they are still very confused about much of what we say or what is going on around them.  Then, add to that the very important developing sense of self and of boundaries (which are begging to be pushed) and you have the two year old dilemma.

I am practicing being completely specific and mind numbingly repetitive.  The trouble is that when the mind is spread in the many different directions necessary to prepare food, watch baby, answer phone calls, remove child from various situations she gets herself into that end with the words, "Uh-oh, I'm stuck!", etc...the specificities poof right out of the head.

This is when it's a good idea to breathe-maybe with eyes closed, maybe not-and realize that this is just today.  I am not and never will be perfect.  My child doesn't require perfection-she needs to see my response to the unexpected and she needs to know that changes in her mood, my mood, or our environment will not alter how loved she is.

Usually, I can get out of the beginnings of a chaotic outlook by sitting down at her level and doing something to make her giggle-which makes her compliant enough to let me hold her-which allows me to inhale her sweet little smell (her special smell is kind of like bread being baked)-which reminds me of countless other moments that have linked together to make our bond-which ends with me feeling kind of giddy, more together, and aware.

When this time has passed, she'll be speaking clearly and will no longer have the kitty dishes I so love (a friend calls them that-the little indentations on a babies hands over their knuckles-she said her mom was sad when she noticed the kitty dishes gone from her children-marking their passage out of babyhood).  I will be willing to lose all the hair from an eyebrow (or worse) just to spend a few moments with two year old Ever...and with any luck, the smell of fresh baking bread will give me the shadow of one such time that I stopped, held her, and breathed.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Everlyse Turns Two

My hubby put this video together, sweet man.  So quickly it all goes by...

Everlyse Turns Two

Now Leaving (Your) Comfort Zone...

Eric, in true Eric fashion...made me get out of the house and into the city earlier this week.  I used to LOVE doing so-in fact, I would leave Newark (where I taught) after school, drive to the train station, and go in to meet him and his work buddies for soccer games (followed by beer) as well as attend church there at my favorite place of worship thus far on the east coast, All Angels.

However, I have since lost that feeling of wanting to go all the time-true, we live an hour away rather than the half hour of yesteryear-but that is not what drives my lackluster response to proposed forays into the city.  I'm not sure I can JUST blame it on motherhood, but something has really shifted for me.  It's as if all the little ways I used to try to find at least some structure in my day in order for things to go smoothly has completely taken over my much so that anything that would push me outside of that brings on anxiety.

The day I was supposed to head in arrived and it was not a very good day to begin with-I have been having a recurring allergic response to something which prevents me from wearing my beloved eyeliner and I went to see a dermatologist about it.  She promptly prescribed a $390 cream which with our current insurance I get at the bargain price of $190.  Yes, seriously.  I did not buy said cream-treating it with emu oil and not wearing my usual stuff seems to be working nicely, thank you. After that-it was a rush to get Ever fed and napped followed by another rush to make our house look a little bit presentable for grandma-who was so generously staying over to babysit.  Somewhere in the midst of this it hit, the anxiety headache that ALWAYS seems to strike when I have to leave her and go anywhere further than a half hour away.  It freaks me out-no matter how much I trust she will be okay and is in great hands-the headache arrives.  Arrrrrrrrrrrghhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Anyhow-after all of the anxiety and rushing-I finally left-proceeded to miss my train, and drove in.  It ended up being a great night.  We hung out in this relaxed almost divey bar with pool tables, ping-pong, chess, and a Five Guys (delicious burgers) on the corner we ordered take out from (this bar lets you bring in your own food, awww yeah).  One of my besties showed up-chola code name, Chygirl-and we drank (Not too much-I had to drive home, remember?), chatted, and shushed each other when our favorite song sections came on-the second place we went to played In Rainbows in it's entirety....nice!!  Add to that:  Having a night out with my man, laughing with friends, and just doing something we hadn't done in a really lo-ho-hoong time..

Upon picking up the car, I found out it only cost $12 to park there for nights-I couldn't believe it-$12 to park a car in Manhattan overnight anytime after 4 p.m.  Yup-everything turned out fine, well worth the headache.

So, mommies-if you are like me and a little resistant to your man's efforts to do something outside of your comfort zone, give it a chance!  The little bit of stress involved in doing it will be rewarded in the moments of just feeling like YOU again.  Not mommy you, wife you, work you-just the woman inside of all of these definitions-when you get back home you will feel renewed and will also have a healthy sense of priority.  How important is it to have a super-clean organized home when you don't take time to enjoy the people living in it?  (That includes you, mama.)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Wait and See

I learned something today.  Before I say no to something, it's best to see just what my little one has in mind.  This morning while getting breakfast together she requested the ice cream scooper.  She likes to drum with it, so I handed it to her.  Sure enough, after sitting her in the high chair, she began to drum with it.  Then, I put down her bowl of oatmeal/applesauce that I usually give her.  She proceeded to eat with the ice cream scoop.  I switched it with her spoon and let me know just what she thought of that with a procession of howls and swats aimed at retrieving said scooper.

So, I gave it back and watched.  That little booger ate her breakfast with it and did a fantastic job of it, too.  So-as long as it's not dangerous or rude in some way, I have decided to watch and wait when she uses all (almost) 2 years of the wisdom garnered in her life to try something new.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Eyes of Truth

Today while practicing yoga I realized something that is usually an underlying awareness as I practice.  I regard my body differently as a result of yoga and where it led me.

Pre-yoga (began to practice in 1995 as a supplement to ballet, but began daily practice in 1998 after I had stopped dancing) my body was something that represented me physically to the world-it held clothes that told others about me and of course I compared it to the bodies of others ruthlessly.

When I began a daily practice of yoga, something started to shift in my mind and it changed the way my eyes looked upon my body.  I was no longer detached from it-it became a vehicle for me to literally become a prayer-it led me into silence, peace, and stillness.  It was beautiful regardless of shape or appearance, I was in awe of it.

Today, as I sat in pigeon pose-breathing-a soft focus gaze on my inner right foot-I had a knowledge that my foot and everything attached to it was sacred, beautiful, and almost entirely responsible for the state of love and grace I found myself in.  I say almost because I credit God for that state, at the time I began getting acquainted with yoga, I was not open to Christianity.  He knew me well enough to understand that if I would just have a little time each day to shut my mouth and see myself through His eyes, I would open up.  Of course, that's exactly what happened.

I guess what this all means is that God finds you where you are and He loves you where you are.  Receiving that love and recognizing yourself as lovable is damn near impossible for people...but, it is possible.