Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from all of us over here in the Western NC mountains, where we are fervently wishing for just a little bit of snow!

Friday, December 28, 2007

My Father's eyes

In my father's eyes...

How do I appear?
What am I to him? Source of pride, or cause of restless indignation.
Is he regretful of who I have become?

In my father's eyes,
Do I exhibit strength?
Or have I succumbed to weakness, the culmination of bad choices. The 'told you so' poster child perhaps.

Is there respect? Admiration?
Or just lost dreams and wishes for what could have been, should have been. Hope and potential dashed.

In his arms I danced, just a little wisp of a girl, tiny and innocent with all of life stretched out ahead in colorful beckoning, sunny liquid dreams just waiting to be absorbed.
In his face, I gazed.
On his lap I took comfort.
In his arms I took refuge.
On his feet, I walked. Trying, yearning to be like him. To be be strong, to carry life with dignity and intellect.

My Daddy.
Have I let you down?
I have not always taken the high road and have made some choices I regret; choices I would change, if this world allowed second chances on such things.
Daddy, I implore you, I am trying to make it all right. As I raise my children, without their Daddy.
Am I strong enough?
Can I be Mommy and Daddy to my little boys and my little girls, offering security and comfort as you did?

I weep as I watch my girls search for Daddy's lap, not able to imagine the pain in their hearts as it eludes them.
Who will dance with them?
Whose feet will they stand upon?
Into whose gentle, forgiving eyes will they gaze?
Whose strong arms will scoop them up when they fall?

Daddy, I am sorry.
I have created pain, in not following your advice, in failing to heed your words, so many years ago.
I disregarded the wisdom I knew you held fast.

Daddy, please forgive me.
Please love me despite my transgressions and mistakes.

Nothing else matters except my reflection,

In my father's eyes.

Edited to add: Ok, so it isn't that nothing else matters, really. It is just that I often wonder, from the eyes of a parent, how my own father views me and the choices I have made. Truth be told, I also wonder about my mother's perspective of who I have become.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas chores may not be so bad after all

I hate to wrap. Not just Christmas presents, any present. I feel it is a waste of time, a lot of effort for nothing, not to mention a waste of cash.
BUT, it is what is expected of gift-givers, especially during the holiday season. So wrap I did, last night, after I felt I could really put it off no longer.

I retreated to my room, locked the door, and readied myself for the task ahead. I turned on the holiday music station, began listening to Delila choose songs for the woeful, the happy, and the Christmas music addicts (of which I actually am one, so I can't say much there). I sorted my accoutrement's ~ tape, scissors, gift tags, etc. I unpacked the festive paper covered in snowmen and Santa's, left from last year because I must have thought wrapping paper would no longer ever be manufactured so therefore bought like 1800 feet of the stuff. Ironic, I know. But, a sale is a sale, what can I say?

I wrapped the first gift.
Then the second.
I listened to the different stories of Christmas traditions being told by the callers to the radio station.
And then it happened.
I realized that I was actually having a good time. I was on the 7th, then the 8th gift and found myself no longer watching the clock, coming up with distractions or wishing I was doing something else.

I began thinking about the course of events in my life these last few months, the snowballs life has thrown my way, and the fact that I still haven't found employment, despite my vehement efforts; I realized that I should be grateful that I even have presents to wrap for my children, not whining about the required duty of wrapping. After all, there was a time I thought I wouldn't have anything for them. I reminded myself that there was a time, not too many weeks ago that I was planning the discussion I was going to have with my children. How I was going to be forced to break it to them that there would be no magical Santa gift, no presents under the tree on Christmas morning, and how that actually made my heart physically hurt. How quickly we forget.

I began to ponder how lucky I am that I have my children with me and they are not far away fighting a war of pain and suffering, or gone ~ lost forever, leaving me with nothing but the memories.
Still wrapping along, I listened to one story after another of people that do not have their loved ones with them this holiday season. One mother hasn't seen her son for three years and won't see him for three more years because he is stationed overseas and neither one can travel to the other. Six years without the chance to hug her son, to touch him, to cook for him, and yet she was sounding positive and grateful for what she did have. Of course, some of the callers wanted to hear a song that expressed their love toward a spouse or significant other, a connection that seems to bolster during this time of year.

Before I knew it, I was wrapping the last present, one for my youngest daughter. I smiled as I thought of the fun she would have playing with it, the laughter I would hear, the carefree happiness I would be privilege to observe.
Last piece of tape applied, I stood back to admire my job, one that took less than two hours. A chore that turned out to be a joyful experience and a learning experience as well.
I sat down and listened to one more personal testimony followed by one of my favorite songs of the season ~ Christmas Cannon ( Merry Christmas Night) by the Transiberian Orchestra.
Somewhat reluctantly, not wanting the time to end, I put away my wrapping tools, packed away the rest of the paper, strategically repositioned the gifts in various hiding places until the magical day. I turned off the music, turned around once more to make sure everything was hidden, caught the light and walked back out to join my children.

Christmas chores may not be so bad after all.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

To my children

To My children,

My babies,

I watch you grow, learn, live.

I love you all more than I thought possible. Far gone are the days when, pregnant with each of you, I asked myself, "will I have enough love to go around"?

I watch you play and be with one another, most of the time happily, sometimes frustrated with each other but fostering and cultivating relationships that will outlast, out stand, and outwit any others each of you will form with others in your lives. You are brothers and sisters.


I try to instill in you the values, the morals you will need to be strong with and for one another, to confront the world, to stay connected to who you are and where you came from. From love.

I gaze into your little faces, noticing each day a little more knowledge, a little more independence, more awareness of the way this world works. Which frightens me and thrills me simultaneously. I see you experience pain, and my heart breaks as I want to take it from you, but I know that in order to become well-rounded and complete, you must experience pain.

I watch you revel in joy and eagerness and my heart sings.

I hear you call for me, a sweet sound on my ears, and sometimes I don't listen to you. I hurt you with my ignorance, with my impatience.

I see each of you changing, just as I grow comfortable with who you are in the moment. This keeps me on my toes and I thank you.

I feel your arms wrap around my neck for a squeeze, or ask for a kiss, and I want to melt into the moment and save it, bottle the feeling for the days when you are all grown and gone from my home, living your own busy lives, as time marches on.

You are all teachers, to me, to each other.

Thank you for coming to me, for trusting me to be the one to teach you, to mother you. Sometimes I fall short of my duties and you forgive me with the innocence of your childlike hearts.

We are a family, my children, you and I.
Edited to add: Ok, so the picture is a bit off center, my hair is a wreck and pulled back from my face, Jacob looks half-stoned, and we all look worn out, but hey, it was Thanksgiving! We were drunk on turkey and way too much pumpkin pie!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Spirit of the Season

In the spirit of the season, I am going to write about what we did today.
The Christmas cookie baking marathon.
I will have to post the pics later, though, as I am worn completely out and don't want to face the task of fighting with my camera to upload the pictures (my camera and my computer tend to gang up on me whenever I try to upload a specific picture and the whole process can drag on for a long time).

The soundtrack from Polar Express playing, we gathered around the table for cookie shaping, decorating, tasting, and finally baking--a mere formality of course. It was the perfect day to be indoors surrounded by the aroma of fresh baked treats. Snow flurries blowing, wind whistling.
Children chattering, growing more excited by the moment, also getting stickier as each minute passes. Sounds of the season floating along the air, landing on our ears and inviting Christmas into our hearts.
Cheery, rosy faces, dancing eyes, the decision of which frosting to dig into next. Which shape to form, which sprinkles are worthy of the creation.

Sneaky fingers lick the tasty sugary concoction ever so quickly. Maybe Mom won't notice, but she does and she smiles, as she too grabs a finger-full.
Children talking excitedly of wishes and desires, hopes for what might lie beneath the tree on the most magical morning of the year. Will it snow?
Times like these are to treasure, to relish, to savor.
Every year, the kids and I make cookies, as many families do. It is a fun, loud, messy occasion, but one I wouldn't trade for a million dollars. Time to bond with my kids, time to be a bit childish myself, time to just be together. Time to teach my kids what the season is really all about, because I know that above all, gifts will come and go, but when they are grown they will remember these times of being a family, of being with one another and having fun, and that is what the season will mean for them, as it does for me.
A Happy Holiday Season to all of you, thank you for your constant patronage of my blog. It means a lot to me to see the comments you leave, the time you take to read about my life. May you all be blessed this season.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Thinking Chair

I can see her.
She knows it, but wants to make sure.
Entirely sure. Every two seconds.

She peers around the corner, ever so slowly...
"Journey. Sit up straight" I say.
She obeys. For 10 seconds.

She peers around the corner again. Almost without even moving.
"Journey" I say sternly. "I said sit there for your five minutes".

I hear her sit back, defiantly, somewhat defeated, but not completely. Never completely.
I watch. Without watching.

One minute passes, legs begin swinging, humming commences.
"Journey" I say. "You must be quiet while you are sitting".

A total of three minutes have passed now, since the girl had to go to the thinking chair. Eternity.

She peers around the corner at me with big eyes. She knows the rules. Yet, still I see the flicker of playfulness on her lips. She isn't suffering yet.
"Journey" I say, trying to sound angry, hiding my mouth as it smiles.

She sighs, loudly, dramatically, and settles back for her few more minutes of torture.

I watch.
Eyes peer, once again around the corner, to see if I am watching her sit like a big girl, all nice and quiet-like. 'Cause there is nothing harder in the world for chirpy, giggly girls than to have to sit still AND quietly for five minutes.
"Come here Journey" I say, and she runs to me, glad once again for her freedom. I give her a hug and off she runs to frolic.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Just my biased opinion

My boy, Max.

Today is Max's birthday. He is turning seven and I am literally wondering where the time has gone since that sweet thing was curled up on my chest sleeping peacefully.

Those cheeky cheeks, the deep baby blue eyes so full of trust. Why was I chosen to be a mother to this precious little person? How am I worthy?

Max isn't like most other 7 year old boys, you see (yeah, of course I am biased, but just listen). He is different. Well, at least I think so. Naturally, he loves cars and trucks, Lego's, and the other things that boys this age do for fun, but there is something beyond that for Max. He reaches out, and from that he gains satisfaction. He is a person that constantly thinks of others. He helps his little sisters voluntarily. It is rare that I have to fuss at him, and when I do, it is usually just enough to sternly say, "Max!" He loves to cook. He is a protector. He is a bright child with promising academic potential.

Never have I met a child that is sometimes so selfless he could be an example for most adults. I stand in awe. The child offers of himself, his affection, his love--all so unconditionally and gladly. He has a certain intuition like that of a wise old man. He is an old soul, wise beyond his seven little years.

Unfortunately, along with this type of sensitive personality comes hardship, especially for a child in a world like ours. Because he is sensitive and visibly affected by things that happen, he is ridiculed for his feelings, the neighborhood children take joy in making him cry. They bully him and jeer at him, calling him names like 'gay boy' and 'pretty boy' . Yet, he stands strong. At least, for right now. He isn't afraid to be himself, but how long will that last? Will kids like these finally chase the caring nature from my son forever? These are worries that keep me up at night. I vacillate between interfering in these incidents and letting him work it out on his own--not wanting to make it worse. An age-old problem with bullying. But, nowadays, with incidents like Columbine, we see what bullying can cause even the most normal children to do when pushed to the edge.

I want to protect my son. To convince him that the way he is...well it is special, something to treasure and protect, and those children that hurt him, when they grow up will realize this. Or at least they will come to realize what is missing from their own hearts.

But will it be too late for my little boy?

Today, though, is not a day for worries like these. Not today.
Today is a day filled with surprises, happy decorations, excitement...and most of all--CAKE.

Happy Birthday Max.

Mommy loves you beyond measure.

edited to add: The picture above is of Max at the fair this fall, helping out with Serenity while we were waiting on the circus show to begin. For me, she was squirming, screaming, wanting to get down and run. For him, she sat pleasantly as he talked to her and fed her his treats.