Thursday, February 13, 2014

Just A February Day

Joyce this morning.

Caught on nanny cam later on that same day:



Children, as they appeared from 7:01 until 7:02 AM.

Also for moments possibly around 8:12, and 1:32.


This. Much of the time.

Also this.


And barely anything like this.

Can I blame this?

Or this?

Might have a little something to do with this.


For sure there's been a lot of...

Which has been responsible for a great deal of this.

I meanwhile am craving some of this.


But will be forced to dig deep and fake this.

To promote some of that.

And a lot more of that.


Friday, February 07, 2014

Excuse Me, But I've Just Got to Say- Blessings.

I don't often use the word "blessed". It sounds kind of corny, and contrived, and quite a bit too "church lady" for my dominant cynical side. I don't "seek to be a blessing", or "count my blessings", though I have been known to issue the occasional "bless you" for my non-Gesundheit acquaintances.

However, I have been blessed. And this morning, there is just no way around admitting it.

When my alarm should have rung, my daughter's did. When my Baldwin babies burst through door at 7:00 AM, having enough enthusiasm to fill a stadium, my daughter was there to greet them. She fed them their breakfast, and offered them play dough. I lay in my nest and listened. I heard all the chirping and the questions, the squeals and the exclamations, and instead of doing all the replying, I listened to my daughter love on my day babies.

By 8:00 AM, my coffee maker was calling to me, and I ascended the stairs in flannels and rumpled hair. All my sweethearts were at the table, engaged in creative play. My big girlie was flipping pancakes and washing dishes and spinning all the plates. My coffee perked as I made my rounds kissing all their furry little heads and listening to their beautiful little stories.

But my ears were ringing, and my head ached, and my chest was burning. I was so grateful then, to leave them in her care and stand, all blissfully alone in the shower.

I had finally gotten sick. After weeks of nursing my day babies, dispensing their medications, pressing my cheek to their foreheads, covering them in blankies on the couch, my own resistence said- no. That's enough. And my nights turned into coughing festivals without the balloons and cotton candy. So for about the third time in the last nine years of caring for wee ones, I "called in sick". Arianna to the rescue.

And there's just no other word to really captured what I witnessed from my dark and cozy bed this morning, but a blessing.

My own beautiful baby girl. Saying- "mom. go back to sleep- I got this."

Making the pancakes and bacon for her brothers.

The peanut butter sandwiches and apple slices for the kiddos.

Playing the silly songs cd's all morning, even though she already knows her ABC's.

Cuddling the toddlers on her lap.

Handling the questions, the diapers, the screeching, the couch laps, the crayons, the play dough.

When my own kids were littles, and I was so tired, and so not entirely sure if I was doing okay by them or creating sociopaths, I used to wish for a report card. Some sort of evaluation with 37 kind things and one or 25 "room for growth's"

Well, nearly twenty years later, I got that card. And it was pretty darned exceptional and made me very, very proud.

And like it or not, I've got to say- I am. So blessed.

Thursday, February 06, 2014


I dreamed last night that the house was tiny and kind of wrecked and very definitely under construction.  There were still preschoolers around the place, and one of the mamas was at my back door with the three puppies that she was dog-sitting.  I invited her in.  We stood in the kitchen and visited while I peeled up two layers of crusty old linoleum to discover hard wood.  Which wasn't hard wood at all, and when I realized it was laminate, and peeled that back- we found the actual for real hard wood.

Which is sort of a lot like how life has been.
I've been peeling back the layers, and people have been coming right into the mess to keep me company while the dust and crusty bits keep flying around.  It's not exactly pretty, but it isn't anywhere ugly either.  I've been digging down to find the good stuff, I've been chipping through the bad.

On Saturday, there's a story that will be told to 30 women participants at a winter's day retreat.  We will be in a sort of log cabin that will smell of wood smoke and baked bread.  We'll be on couches and chairs, a bed and some tall press-backs and on cushions on the floor.  There will be a sort of reverence in the air and the kind of quiet that comes of women gathering together intentionally.  It will be time to speak out the story that my body tells.  It will be the first time that all those words will line up into sentences which will march resolutely out of my mouth one by one by one until the whole story is told. It's been a bit of an undertaking.

There have been some tears.  Okay, so there's been times of the full out UGLY CRY, kleenex balled up behind my glasses, snot dripping, red eyes swelling.

There's been a crap ton of reading.  Geneen Roth, Susie Orbach, Brene Brown, and a few other authors have been sharing the old couch with me, the cats, and the dog on these impossibly cold and dark winter nights.

And there's been a lot of writing.  And re-writing.

So we've been peeling back the layers, and looking for the good.  I've not been alone.  There have been phone calls (you know things are desperate if I mention phone calls.  I abhor them much the way some people might dread the dentist or the dreaded internal ultrasound).  I've send more than my fair share of the universe's available panic texts-  Help!  I'm a mess!  I'll never ever ever be any semblance of togetherness and I can't even remember my name right now, oh pleasepleaseplease help!  E-mails have been sent.  Friends have stopped in, sopped up my distress, brought me wine.  Moms of babies have handed out hugs, comforts, and rah rah rah's.  (hard to come by in some parts, from what I hear)  Brian has rubbed my shoulders, bought me peanut butter cup ice cream, and suspended judgement when I've gone to bed at 7:00 PM to stare at the wall in peace.  And sniffle.  And whine.

It's a beautiful mess, this life.
There are some crusty layers, and a fair piece of renos that beg to be done.
But if I had it to trade for a tidy package with no drop by puppies or friends, I'd tell you to keep it.
I'm digging down for the real.