Gabriel turns Two: Happy Birthday Sweet Boy

Friday, November 30, 2007

This too shall pass (or why parenting young children is like passing a kidney stone)

It has been one of those weeks. My eight month-old, Avriana has eyes like the moon and a sensitive stubborn spirit like her Mama, only more so, if it is possible. She staunchly refuses to let me help her sleep, day or night. She is a wriggly, gorgeous caricature of the painting you saw in high school art class called "The Scream."

Similar, my toddler, Gabriel bangs on the door during "nap" saying, "open the door, mommy. Mommy let you out." When I let him out, to see if he has any actual needs there are two possible scenarios:

1) He has pooped and it's gross and I have to change it, which usually results in flailing and wailing that wakes up his sister, who has, perhaps finally fallen asleep after two hours of guttural screeching while I sat in her crib gently but firmly soothing her (and trying to do yogic breathing.)

2) He smiles, says, "Good morning," even if it is two o'clock in the afternoon and starts incessantly asking for "Frog and Toad."

When I pick up my five-year-old Nika from school, she is angry because her brother is kicking her. Also I didn't pack TWO juice boxes. I try to take an interest in her life: "How was art?"
"Yaga. Bobby."

Baby talk.

The last thing I need from my one child who is supposed not be a baby, except of course the other two seem so successful at taking all my resources by acting like babies, why wouldn't she try? And the poor thing, it's hard to be one whose always being asked to be a "big birl." I miss my Nika.

Frankly, Mama is tired of being a big girl too.

I take Nika to Barne's & Noble, for a brief outing together, despite the fact that I feel and emotionally physically that my heart is utterly tired and I am not sure I can go on, literally.

On the way, I get in the shoulder lane a few driveways before B & N, and out of one of them, an idiot driver decides to start pulling out -- I honk -- a collision is barely avoided and I practice yogic breathing, as we pull into the bookstore parking lot. I'm ready for a steamer. I see flashing lights. Whadya know? Apparently it was my fault that the other car almost hit me because I got in the shoulder lane too early. I cried when the police officer took my info, both because it was impossible not to, and also I have heard it helps commute tickets into warnings. I got a summons anyway. And as I breathed, filling my belly with all the weeks labor pains, I wondered if this kid-ney stone will ever pass.

This one will, I imagine, glimpsing ahead through a peep hole in my mustard seed binoculars, and there will be new kid-ney stones ahead. I only I will have the grace to make alters out of them as they pass, to remember where God has met me in my hour of need and created beauty, healing and love from the labors which invite our utmost and highest, even when we're at our weakest and lowest.

May God bring out treasures from this fragile jar of clay, and those entrusted to her care. Amen.

Milky Multitasking: Places I've Breastfed My Baby

1. In front of the soft porn section of Borders (don't you know breasts are FOOD)
2. Walking up the steps, carrying the mail
3. While dancing
4. In the kitchen while extracting Rice Milk from the fridge
5. In class
6. In her crib (desperate times call for desperate measures)
7. On an airplane
8. At the park
9. Over coffee at Starbucks
10. Hiding behind the coffee table at church

Yes, of all the places and circumstances under which I've fed my baby with the food God created just for her, the only place I've felt (and feel) uncomfortable breastfeeding my baby is at church. Hmmm...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The God's In My Snots:

i tunes was playing the Hamster Dance song, and my husband and our kids were goofy-dancing around, swinging, swirling, hippity-hopping, and after a while, Nika, our five-year-old hunkered down on the couch and assumed a rather peaceful, introspective posture. I asked Nika if she was tired.

Nika: No, it's just nice to lie down and have my own thoughts.

Me: Will you share your thoughts with me someday?

Nika: I'll share one of them with you right now.

Me: Tell me.

Nika: God...is everywhere. Which means God is inside my nose where the snifflies are. God's even in my SNOT! And in my bones.

Yes, God is everywhere.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Control Presence Peace

Control: what we want and can't have. The source of misery when we try to have it anyway. The cause of war when we try to have it over other people.

Presence: being there to be or do as the Spirit leads, to work with God to create beauty from what IS, because God is the Great I AM, and not the God of Shoulda Woulda Coulda.

Peace: it's not what you think. At least it's not what I think. More often it's the tranquility after the storm, or centering in love, smack in the midst of chaos, needs, hurricanes of conflicting demands, giving your all, allowing all your feelings, yet abiding in the Vine of Acceptance, the Arms that Love and Burn until we collapse in gentle, beautiful surrender.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thank You

A full day. A full belly. A full heart.

Thanksgiving: a time not only of giving things, but of giving of ourselves...and then giving thanks for the good harvest that God grows from our planting, watering, tending and perhaps most difficult, waiting through this painful times when we are utterly helpless. This lesson came home to me this year, as my family and I celebrated Thanksgiving as a nuclear family. Cooking, playing, thanking, orchestrating, letting go, gathering, and all the other million things you do as a family with three young children often seems like a burden when I'm running on a long-dead battery. I know people whose babies sleep...like babies. My children have always had sleep habits that more closely resemble an insomniac crack addict going through withdrawal.

Yet there was grace today. A grace of embracing a time of family celebration and thankfulness and giving to the peeps I love the energy I could have miserly stolen for myself (it would have been spent on self-pity.) Yes, today I ran full steam ahead into the fields of family when a pull of moon-ebb could easily have dragged me away to Borders to work on my book alone. Grace alone led me to celebrate the beauty that is in my world, the flowers I've been watering, sometimes from a seemingly empty watering can. Thank you. Thank you again, dear One who Is, for the Grace of witnessing those seeds sprout, and sprout with spunky, sweet strength.

I watched today, while gently, with robust attention, my two older ones who usually fight washed cranberries together, picking out the squishy ones. I watched my littlest seeking with mighty spirit to join the big kids on the Marimba and in wrestling on the carpet. My oldest daughter said to my on our family walk, "Go be with your husband!" And so David and I walked together on this wonderful day -- a real Thanksgiving. Thanks Be.


Thursday, November 01, 2007

Ambiguity, Idols and Socks

I am reading Forever Lily: An Unexpected Mother's Journey to Adoption in China, and I came across this quote:

Ambiguity is one the most difficult things to tolerate, and the intolerance leads to poor choices. Not knowing, not knowing how something will turn out, leads to impatience for an outcome. The impatience then results in one of two actions: either a resolution is corced, or there is a move to retreat, to give up. Either way, the result cannot be optimal, for in every situation, a process is working, an intricate, complex process, which has as its goal the highest outcome, the good of the whole, which we cannot easily see or grasp. The ability to allow the process to work can be called faith, and this faith is not a belief, this faith is not passive. The self-discipline needed to overome the anxiety of ambiguity takes enormous effort to sustain.

I am so a control freak. Not in the anal-cleaner sense. I'm also not an over protective, obsessive parent, and I don't care which way you hang the toilet paper. But when it comes to controlling what happens to me, or in some cases who happens to me, I am a serious case. I want to know the happy ending. I want to know how someone will react, and I want it to be the way I want them to react. I don't want to have to deal with ambiguity about whether someone will want to be my friend, or will be able to meet my needs or honor my boundaries; what I want instead is to get a promise from God that my life will turn out happy.

I am smart enough to know certainty is a hocus pocus illusion, an idol doll in a frosted window. I may have moments when I am in Love without it, but temptation is sly, and I open my mouth and let hell fly out in search of some measure of control or certainty, and the only thing that is certain is that my idol is porcelain, with a highly flammable dress.

I am hoping to be wise someday. Peaceful, unnattached, fully available, with laughing eyes that learned compassion instead of despair. I'm going to go skinny dipping when my body billows like seaweed, and by the grace of Grace, I'm going to love the socks off of life, even when it stinks, and I'm gonna learn to bide my time in the Presence, allowing this process that has as its goal, the highest good. The good in God.

Looking in the mirror

It is one of the ironies that we attract people who cause us to deal with ourselves. And I do think that when Jesus said, "Love your enemies," it would have been helpful if he had mentioned that a prerequisite to loving Other Enemies is learning to accept and love the enemy within, because we are all so alone and desperate and we act and feel out of this place, and that's how we make enemies of ourselves and one another. Then we see it in someone else -- a co-worker, a nanny, a spouse, a child or sibling, and we when we witness that desperate way of living based on fear or need of one kind or another, we want to kill that part of ourself we see in them, whichc means we get wacko, and wammo, you're left with a cat fight, homeland security, marital breakdown or isolation at best (or worst.)

My au pair is awfully like me. And I mean, certain parts of my self which I find awful, I see in her. We also look like sisters and are quite similar in a number of neutral and beautiful ways. I am having a problem with her, and it's like as bad fighting with my husband -- maybe worse. How do I deal with the part of myself I see in her? How do I deal with her, knowing she is not me, and can't be expected to respond to whatever I do in the way I (or any of my inner parts) would respond?