One step at a time

Life is just one dream flowing into another

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Yesterday was a tough day.  Tempers flared and my anger got the best of me, I have a friendship on the fritz, a knee injury keeping me from being as active as I would like to be and a house full of messes that I just can’t seem to get on top of.  I just couldn’t seem to shake it off and  I woke up this morning and felt the lingering weight of it all hanging over me.

I got home from dropping Casey off at school and got Cameron out of the car, ready to walk into the house and tackle some project or another.  Instead, Cameron wrapped him chubby hand around my pointer finger and led me down the driveway, with plans of his own.  I let him lead me along and we took a long, leisurely stroll around what we call the “big block”.  On it’s longest side, we walked along a relatively busy rode and Cameron pointed out the trucks and school busses whizzing past.  We stopped, briefly, to crouch down and examine the gravel along the sidewalk’s edge and to sit on the big rocks in one of our neighbors yards.  It was beautiful to simply walk quietly with him.

Later in the day, after we had picked up Casey and taken a surprise trip to the candy store in the mall, I took another walk with the boys, Cameron walking with me and Casey riding one of our scooters.  I let them dictate which direction we walked and set the pace.  Casey raced ahead and then stopped to study an ant hill or fill his little pick up truck with grass while he waited for Cam and I to catch up.  The sun was warm on our necks and bare legs and little Cameron’s cheeks were bright and rosy by the time we turned back into our driveway.

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Taking walks with my boys is probably one of my favorite things to do.  When Casey was a baby I took multiple walks a day, pushing him in his strolled and listening to podcasts or music.  When he was older we would regularly take off on walks around our neighborhood, naming things, talking about colors and flowers and birds.  I don’t get as much one on one time with Cameron to walk like I did with Casey, and often walking when both of them are riding something (tricycle, scooter, ride-on car, etc.) is a bit stress-inducing, so this morning felt really special. With Cameron walking along so independently, swinging his little arms, his chubby feet confident in his newly acquired hand-me-down flip-flops, I was reminded how quickly these days go by and how important it is to cherish them instead of squandering my day away in a cloud of negative energy.

 

We don’t have babies anymore.  We have two wonderful little boys.  Two creative, inquisitive, independent, silly and often exasperating little boys who are full of so much energy and so much life and often drive me nuts but fill my heart with more love then I’ve ever known.

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Blueberry picking

I carried one boy on my back as I tried to convince the other one to put as many blueberries in our bucket as he was putting into his mouth.  The sun shone bright overhead and warmed our shoulders as we bent towards the bushes.  Cameron fussed from behind me, pulling small twigs and leaves from the bushes when he was close enough.  I wrestled them from his hands, blindly, relying on my three year old to make sure nothing had gotten into his mouth.  When he asked if he could give his brother a blueberry, I said  “Sure, as long as you bite it in half first.”  I watched him choose just the right berry and then pop it into his own mouth.  I bit a berry in half myself and peeled as much of the skin off with my teeth as I could.  “Hey, look at this little tiny one I found! Aww, it’s so cute.”  I reached back and put the peeled berry in Cameron’s open mouth as Casey gently put the tiny berry in our bucket.

We had started out picking Currants, finding vines dripping with the delicate, translucent balls.  Even though they are incredibly tart, Casey kept putting the few he picked into his mouth. With Cameron fussing from the stroller (which we ditched soon after) and lacking the concentration needed to collect the small berries, not to mention the sour reward for our efforts, we quickly returned to the farm store to exchange our small bags for a bucket and were pointed in the direction of the blueberry patch.

This was my first time picking blueberries.  I think I am in love. The color palette alone was enough to make me drool- the frosted blue and lavender berries, the brilliant green leaves, standing in sark contrast to the bright yellow hay piled around their bases.  It made me want to come home and paint our house; to rip up the bushes in our backyard and replace them with blueberry bushes. I had daydreams of a blueberry and lavender farm and I imagined the beauty and abundance of our crops for years to come.

The afternoon felt lazy.  We gorged on blueberry banana muffins while blueberry currant jam cooled in jars on the counter.  There’s still a pan of blueberries in the refrigerator waiting to be mixed into pancake batter, added to tomorrow mornings cereal, and eaten by the handful.  Still, we can’t wait to go pick more.

 

 

 

 

Brotherhood

I lay still as I listen to him breathe 60 calm, even breaths; as I take in his face and the feel of his soft hair beneath my fingertips.  My baby is becoming a little boy.  Some days I can barely keep up.  He pushes me to my limits as he tests all of his- physically, behaviorally, emotionally.  His favorite word is no and sometimes he screams and covers his face when he doesn’t get his way or someone says something he doesn’t want to hear.

But he is still my muse.  He has always been my muse.  My first born who helped me to find my voice and unlocked the dam to a million words.

And now there’s another boy who is slowly stealing my heart, beginning to inspire his own words.  Poetry seems slow to come these days, overshadowed by the inelegant daily concerns of figuring out how to meet the needs of two little boys.  As an only child myself, I am winging it.  I don’t know what it’s like to grow up with a sibling, to share that bond, to share the attention of your parents.  I find myself overwhelmed a lot by how to give myself to both boys without feeling as if I am letting one down, without feeling like I am being ‘mean’ or ‘bad’ in the mom realm.  I am plagued with questions and guilt about whether I am giving Cameron the same attention and opportunities that I gave Casey.  One of the hardest things is realizing that their first years in this world will be different from each other and that that’s ok.

Just when I am plagued by this whirlwind of thoughts, I catch a glimpse of their brotherhood- Casey running to get a toy for Cameron before he goes to bed so he can give it to him in the morning, helping me find a pacifier, showing Cameron his trucks, telling me why he thinks Cameron is crying and telling me to go take care of “my brother” when he fusses.  Cameron unable to take his eyes off his older brother, fascinated, laughing and cooing when Casey talks to him, grabbing onto his hair or his shirt or his hand when he sits close, laying still and watching him as he plays.

Cameron is growing so fast. I forgot how fast they grow. He is rolling over both ways and will be sitting up in the next month or two.  He is already so aware of his surroundings and I can’t wait to see what it will be like when he is able to begin “playing” simple games, when he is able to begin to communicate with us.  I can’t wait to watch these brothers grow together.  As my own comfort level with raising siblings grows, I have hope that poetry will return but for now my words will serve to simply document our days and keep track of my running thoughts so they don’t spin out of control.

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Motherhood and happiness.

It was last night when I had a moment of enlightening, while sitting on our couch after both boys had finally gone down to sleep.  It’s been a roller coaster these last two months and we have had some trying days with Casey adjusting to a baby in the house.  There have been some times.  Enough said.

I never feel good after I’ve yelled at my kids.  I don’t like losing my temper and there are many times during the day when I get mad at something I later realize didn’t warrant the emotional energy spent arguing and fighting about.

The thing is, I am a selfish person.  I mean not really.  I’m empathetic and love connecting and learning about other people.  But here’s the thing: I’m an only child and, for better or worse, I am used to having things in my family revolve around me.  I am used to having most areas of my life revolve around my schedule and my needs.

But parenting doesn’t work that way.  I don’t get to set the schedule for my children. Besides making sure they are well fed, educated, and taken care of, I have no control over what toys my 2.5 year old wants to play with or whether or not he actually wants to go to Target and wander the isles when I say so.  I have no control over when my 7 week old is hungry or tired or overwhelmed or wants to be totally cute and lay on his back and kick and coo and smile for us.  I cannot exert my will or my schedule upon these boys anymore then I can tell the sun to set at a later hour.  It is not about me anymore.

My job now is to raise these two boys.  It is my job to make sure they are well-adjusted, healthy, encouraged, understood, loved, supported and generally happy.  It is easy to lose sight of this in the moment, after I have said the same thing 5 times in a row, when I am facing ultimate temper-tantrums, when the only answer I get all day is “no” and “I did it anyway”.  It is hard to just want five minutes to myself, to be able to finish whatever it is I am working on or have things go “according to plan”.  It is easy to lean into the resentment and anger that can bubble up.

But this does not serve me.  This season of my life calls for deep breathing and slowing down; for listening, uplifting, teaching, gentleness and understanding.  It is a season of warmth and growth and bonding and even though the hours stretch long and sleep is wanting, it always feels better to take the time and give that extra minute.  It pays to get down on their level and slow down, to try to see through their eyes and understand what the world is like for them, instead of trying to impose my schedule onto them.

All of this came to me last night and it was like a light turned on. It was forgiveness and a letting go of all the guilt I carry about reacting badly when I am stressed out or tired, letting go of all the questions of whether or not I am a good mom.  It was like warmth and reassurance; the innate knowledge that I am a great mother to my boys and that I have so much to cherish and to look forward to.  It was happiness.

It was motherhood and it was happiness.

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