Truck-spotting

We took a walk today because we both needed it.

We went truck-spotting around our neighborhood. He held my hand the whole way.

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We walked slowly and chose our path as we went.  I breathed in the crisp autumn air and let my worries float away on the wind.  I felt the warmth of the sun on my face and felt the sturdy trust of his hand in mine.

As we prepare for battle it is important to focus on the peaceful place of stillness we hold inside, the place of love that will bring us home.

This past season has been one of testing- testing my faith, testing my patience, testing my trust.  With only a few days..weeks..to go before we welcome baby boy #2 into this world, I cherished this quiet walk with my firstborn.  I hung on his every word as he told me how rain drops came to be on the fallen leaves along the sidewalk, how good the the breeze felt, when he explained how the bulldozer and backhoe worked, how the bushes tickled his hand as he walked past.  I tucked away the memories of him tasting the rain water, jumping with his shadow, and the way he jumped and the big grin that appeared on his face when the “big semi truck” honked at him after he waved at it.

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On the way home he turned to me and silently asked me to carry him by raising his arms up to me.  And I did, even though it was hard, even though I’m very pregnant and it got hot and the sciatic pain my right leg and hip began to act up.  I carried him all the way home with his head resting on my shoulder and his eyes half closed as if he knew that this was just what I needed- to hold him and breathe him in and feel him relax against me as if I was his only tether to this world.

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Nest and Rest

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34 weeks and the time to welcome this new baby feels like it is right around the corner!!

The past two days I have felt equal but opposing forces compelling me to both nest and rest. I have had the unflinching urge to clean, clean, clean. I look around and cannot find it in me to sit down in the evening until I have picked up every toy, wiped down every surface, cleaned every dish. This morning I woke up, gathered my supplies and my favorite helper, and deep cleaned both of our bathrooms. I scrubbed them down from top to bottom and backed out of each so they could dry without a single fingerprint left behind. I made a list- room by room, step by step I listed each small thing that has yet to be done.

I put Casey down for a nap and then I sat down with the intention to take a quick break and get back to it. But I made a cup of tea and put my feet up and now here I am with an incredible sense of exhaustion, an almost magnetic force keeping me from standing up. “Rest, rest, rest” cries this little voice inside of me.

I still have 5.5 weeks until my due date but it feels like the time is closing in fast and there is still so much to get done. I felt this way when I was pregnant with Casey too, except then I didn’t realize I was capable of so much. Now, I know that I am so much stronger, so much more capable, so much more able and while that knowledge brings me comfort and strengthens my resolve, it also makes me terrified that I won’t live up to my own expectations.

So here I sit with these two opposing urges, to nest and to rest, trying to find a balance between the two. I know my body needs rest as much as it needs movement- it needs a balance of both to stay healthy and strong and prepare to bring a second life into this world. I also know how much satisfaction I get from creating- the actual act of sewing and making things for my little ones, for other people’s little ones, for my friends; the physical act of creating a comfortable, clean home for my family, finding a shelf for every book, a bin for every toy, a drawer for each piece of clothing and a space for every picture I have yet to hang.

Nest and rest. Nest and rest. Time is closing in but it is still there. There are still days and weeks stretching ahead of me and with trust and faith I know that each day will open up to me exactly as it should and guide me to the proper balance so that I may nest and rest exactly as much as I need to both stay healthy and cross each and every things off of my list.

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I would miss so many beautiful moments, like this one -chasing butterflies,  if I didn’t give myself space to rest and relax!!

Perfectly Imperfect Days

I had plans today. I had a list prepared and an itinerary. We actually got to sleep in and I got out of bed with high hopes that today was going to be a good day. Today was going to go as planned, filled with smiles and laughing and jokes and conversations about trucks as we drove about town, checking things off our list one by one.

I had to let all of that go today. I had to fold my list and tuck it away for later, revise my itinerary and change my plans. Today was not the day for it all.

It started out with a battle over breakfast. He wanted cake (leftover birthday pie) and I wanted him to have something at least slightly nutritious. Half an hour later he had a small sliver of pie next to his piece of french toast with blueberries sprinkled on top of it all.

Things were going along fine as he helped me go through and reorganize my sock drawer (which a small black spider decided to run into yesterday, propelling me to either burn the contents and start over or pull on rubber gloves and go through it piece by piece). We even caught the garbage truck as it rumbled down our street, leaving the front door swinging as we raced outside to run along beside it.

And then on the way back home, he tripped in his oversized cowboy boots and skinned his knee and this turned into a 45 minute temper tantrum. No, he did not want a kiss or a band-aid. No, he would not put on socks with his boots. No, he would not put on flip-flops but once he finally did he was terribly upset all over again when I called them his lobster flip-flops (because they have lobsters one them…) and not his monster flip-flops (because apparently the lobsters are actually monsters).

I held him as he cried, as he screamed at me, as he attempted to get his way. No, I would not go outside until he calmed down. No, I would not stand up but would gladly sit and hold him until he felt better. No, I would not let him hit me. No, I would not leave.

We read a story because he saw it on the wall and wanted to read a story and we rocked in the rocking chair until his eyes finally closed and his ragged breathing finally evened itself out.

I took a deep breath and let it all go today. I let my plans go, I let me anger fall away, I allowed myself to accept that this morning was hard, that I was not a perfect parent, that this was not going to be a perfect day…except that in a way it was. It was a perfectly imperfect day of Motherhood.

Being a mother means that sometimes you have to let it all go, let your plans change, allow yourself to get angry and then forgive yourself, stick to your guns even when it’s hard, even when it means holding a screaming child, wanting to burst into tears yourself and feeling like you have no clue what to do and then just continuing to sit there and be present, to keep going. It means laying in a toddler bed, in the middle of the day or in the middle of the night, with your body scrunched around theirs, your head resting half on the headboard and half on your arm which is falling asleep and you have to pee but still you don’t move because they need you to be there so they can relax and fall asleep. And when their eyes finally close and their breathing evens out and their hand, which has been ferociously gripping the neck of your shirt, finally falls softly away, you stroke their hair with tingling fingers and still you don’t move because as you stare at their peaceful, sleeping face, you feel the tremendous love you have for them. You feel the soul shaking, heart shattering love that rocks you to your very core and you simply can not imagine being anywhere else.

This is motherhood. These are the perfectly imperfect days.

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Broken Dam

I don’t know when it happened-
when the dam broke.
A trickle widened into a crack,
brick by brick the walls fell away
until one day the entire structure gave way.
Whoosh!
The contents poured forth
washing away the divide.
There was no longer any separation
nothing dividing the halves
nothing to keep one side from embracing the other.
There was no longer anything holding them back.
The topography changed in an instant,
quietly, unnoticed even, to those not paying attention.
But to the sole witness,
it happened with a roar,
a flash of light so totally blinding
it caught her off guard and she was forced
to catch her breath,
to close her eyes, to blink,
in case it wasn’t real-
In case it hadn’t really happened at all.

Palms to sky

Tonight, I held his hand as he slept
and his hand filled my palm
and I remembered another night
when I held him as he slept
and his tiny hand wrapped around my finger
and my fingertip filled his palm
and I imagine another night yet to come
when he will hold my hand as I look up to him
and my hand will fill his palm.
My son.

We walked outside in the rain today.
He ran in front of me and knelt down in the puddle
pajamas and all.
He fell to his belly and laughed
as he splashed the muddy water upon him.
His baptism.
I let the raindrops fall upon my shoulders
and turned my face to the sky
and let the rain wash away a thin film 
from my bedraggled body.
My renewal.

Palms to sky
I stare at the blanket of stars above me
reaching out as if to pluck one off
like a piece of lint.
If only I could bring one down
and put it in my pocket
and surprise him someday
as we stand in darkness
and he tells me he is afraid.
If only, then, I could pull the star
from my pocket and put it in his palm
so he would always have a light to lead his way,
a star to guide him through the darkness
when he is afraid
when my hand is no longer there to fill his palm.

Stardust & Friendship

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Starlight sparkled in their eyes when they smiled.

Inside, the steady beat of the sewing machine kept time with the soft music playing in the background. The hiss of the iron as it came down again and again upon the small seams, pressing down, preparing them for even small stitches.
Mind-numbing is often confused with soul-opening.

Outside, they stood at the top of the hill, gazing down upon their respective kingdoms, arms linked. Warrior women. Starlight sparkled from their eyes as the bundles of stardust shone brightly inside their bellies. Their hair blew back in the night wind and the planes of their faces reflected the light of the moon.
Serenity, strength and solace found through friendship.

There is nothing in this world like a good friend.  The power of friendship to heal, to humble and to give us strength is something that surprises me over and over again as I grow older.  I am not a social butterfly and although I connect with other people easily, it is rare that I find a friend that I can be truly intimate with; someone who I feel comfortable enough around to open up and to be vulnerable.  It took me a long time to grow into myself enough to be able to let go of judgement and self-doubt and embrace the bond that is formed when you are willing to take the time to cultivate a true friendship.  It isn’t always easy.  It is scary to share those moments in life that are raw and ugly with someone who has not committed their life to yours.  It is hard to express your self-doubts and share your fears as well as admit your dreams and share your strengths.

As a mother and wife, I am thankful every day that I have a true friend who also fills these rolls in her daily life.  I am thankful that we share so many of the same qualities and interests and more thankful for the differences that make us unique and from which we each continually learn and find inspiration from.   It’s been ten years since we first spoke to each other while standing in the hallway, waiting for the class before ours to let out. We were both in college then, still learning about life and love, both at the very beginning of our journey’s.  We would be tested again and again, taken to opposite sides of the country, turn our backs on one another and finally take those first tentative steps toward the reinvention and renewal of a friendship that has flowered over the past few years and continues to grow stronger with each passing day.

Sitting back and watching our children play together, there is a stillness, a calm between us that has settled like a soft blanket.  We each watch over our respective kingdoms, sharing laughs and recipes and giving strength to the other when it is failing.  We walk the mall and sit in coffee shops and share wet wipes and diapers and tea and tips to make our lives just a little bit easier.  We work to build each other up and celebrate each other’s success and make plans that may never come to pass but are fun to think about anyway.

B~ I am so grateful that we are entering this next stage of our life together.

Inside each of them, the stardust churned and grew.  Tiny atoms from exploded starts were reborn into two tiny bundles; new universes that would bring about the next generation of stars.

Stardust

Stardust came down and filled her-
Coalescing into a tiny bundle,
a shining secret ball of glowing, growing energy
that she had to carry for nine months.

Nine months of waiting and wondering,
of loving intensely,
of dreaming and feeling heart-full
even as her heart broke open
again and again,
bursting into a thousand tiny pieces
shimmering and expanding
to clear space
to make room.

The heat can make the afternoons drag on but the days seem to be passing all too quickly. It seems like it was only yesterday that I gave Alex this hastily made Valentine’s Day card, announcing our good news:

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Now, here we are ten weeks away and I am steadily working my way through a list of projects.  I haven’t felt much of the “mom guilt” that I hear other women talk about but I am making sure to savor every moment I have with my son even when he is difficult and over tired and I walk out of his room, after putting him to sleep, wondering how I am every going to manage two.  While he sleeps, I use the time to enjoy my moments alone, knowing they will be few and far between in a few short weeks.  I spend the time reading, napping, dreaming, sewing, painting, preparing…

In my heart I am ready: ready to give birth again, ready to meet this little boy growing inside of me, ready to see what he looks like, ready to have two little boys to hold in my arms and in my heart, ready to watch our family of three become a family of four and experience what that is like.

But until October, I will be enjoying the last days that I have as a mom of one.  I’ll enjoy every hand hold and every laugh, savor each sweet cuddle, every hug and kiss, take advantage of every moment to connect.  I’ll remind myself again and again to smile and breathe when I am feeling frustrated or tired because I will never get these days back.   Each night, when he cuddles in as close to me as he can get and we read book after book, I won’t rush through them or put a limit on how many we can read.

Change is inevitable but I am ready to embrace it because it is scary but it is also beautiful.