Tuesday, April 24, 2012

(almost) 5.

we had a rare evening together.
just her and i ... she chose to spend half of our special time together in the play area at ikea. 
i suppose that's just how it is with (almost) five year olds that never get to be an only child.

she did manage to hold off on all! of! the! fun! that! she! was! going! to! have! long enough to have dinner with me in the ikea restaurant. 
one ... because it was free kids meal night.
two ... because ... hello! ... swedish meatballs.
and three ... because ... just because.

i finished my quiet shopping ... kinda bored.  and overwhelmed. 
that place is crazy cakes.

and then we topped off the evening with a stop by the goodwill. pretty much because i'm always up for an adventure among the aisles of thrift shopping. 
cora managed to find the sparkliest purple dress with a velvet long sleeved top ...
she stopped to caress and feel the fabrics between her fingers.
i pulled her away towards the homegoods stuff ... and found her constantly running back over and over and over again. i urged her to step away from the dress ... encouraging her to find something a bit more boring and useful. she could not stop looking at it.

i bought it.

it's her princess gown she tells me ... purpley and sparkley and ready for her perfectly princess pizza party picnic. 

my heart breaks a little realizing that it's no longer all about mama.  and what mommy thinks.  cora thinks purpley and sparkley and velvety are beautiful ... it makes her feel like a princess. 

and i suppose that's how it is with an (almost) five year old.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

finding the beautiful.

i liked her car.  an aging grocery getter ... maroon with rust inching up it's sides.  there was a conglomeration of bumper stickers peppering the backside ... notes of happiness and peacefulness.  messages that spoke of being yourself and loving the earth.  smile worthy thoughts.
i gazed around the waiting room.  listened in while the other parents spoke to one another ... i finally reasoned it to be the older woman in the corner.  she was talking about her cat. 
serious cat people always have bumper stickers don't they?
i quieted down my search ... fairly certain that i found the owner of the beamingly positive car.

i turned my attention towards a blonde haired mama hugging on her daughter.  smiling.  giggling.  completely present in that very moment with her girl.  she kissed on her.  told her i love yous.  and hugged her before ushering her into the gym.  she had the look of a new mama.  one that is so absolutely powerfully head over heels in love with her brand new baby.  and yet her baby was 5ish ... or so.  she lovingly watched her daughter get settled into her class ... and went for a jog. 

i sent my girls into their gymnastics make up session ... their hairs were scattered and hardly contained within the confines of the ponytail holders.  they were slightly disheveled.  cora's underwear peeked out from the legs of the leotard.  she happily bounced into the class without so much as a glance back towards me.  stella's eyes pleaded with me to not force her to suffer through another class.  i grabbed onto finn's sticky palm and pulled him towards the door ... buckled him in and drove home. 
have i ever told you that sometimes i feel like i'm suffocating?
i wash the same dirty dishes over and over and over again.  i wipe the table down and then wipe the table down and then wipe the table down again.  i say things like be nice.  be kind.  please be polite.  don't do that ... it's rude.  please stop.  be nice.  be kind.  so many times that i'm bound to loose count if i tried.  there is a consistency to our days ... never enough minutes and more that needs to be done with no more time in which to do it.
i don't really like me sometimes.
i'm not always happy with who i am or who i've become.  i don't like who looks back at me in the mirror.  imperfections glare at me from the glass.  i really dislike photographs of me.  i feel uncomfortable on that side of the camera.  when i'm over there ... the photograph stops being a search for beauty and turns into a capture of the things that i don't like about myself.  pounds that should be lost.  the lack of any fashion sense.  blah hair. 
somedays i yell.
i get frustrated and talk loudly.  i yell at the kids because i've asked them to do something over and over and over again.  they aren't following my direction the first, second or third time and i just feel unlistened to.  or they are fighting about something for the umpteenth time and i just can't handle it anymore.  i put them in bed with i love yous and kisses ... promises that we should all try to act more civil with one another in the morning.  i make a goal for myself to not yell the next day ... and then i raise my voice by 9 am ... sometimes.  when we have a good day ... i often make it to at least 4.  pm.
i feel static and stuck.  hopeless and wishful. 
i worry that things might just get worse around the corner ... because i feel too lucky that things have been ok for so long.  too long. 
i'm scared to death of dying before my children ... because i don't want to watch them hurt. 
i sometimes can't believe that they still love me.
imperfections and all.
 finn and i walk back into the gym to pick up the girls.  we catch a glimpse of them tumbling into a pit of foam blocks and shapes.  cora sees us through the window ... smiles and waves.  stella flashes a smile as she steps into the line behind her sister.  they say something to each other.  they smile.

the gaggle of girls venture out of the gym ...

the blonde mama envelopes her daughter into her arms.  she gleefully says, "i got you something!"  and presents her with a crown made from dandelions.  the daughter's face sparkles with joy.  they hold hands and dance out the door.  she tells her daughter that she ran 4 miles!  and the girl remarks, "good job!"

i follow a few steps behind ... a boy on the right and a girl on the left.  stella walking just up ahead.  everyone talking at the same time.  answering 3 questions at once.  i herd everyone to the minivan ...

and watch as the mother and daughter step into their station wagon ... with markers of positivity flowering the back bumper and window. 
it wasn't the car of the cat lady ... it was a car belonging to a mama full of smiles and laughter and her daughter adorned with a crown of dandelions.
tonight ... i watched a friend on facebook ask her friends what they speak for. 
i was intrigued by the question.  fascinated by the responses.  and watched answers trickle in ... definitive answers.  unsure answers.  people that knew what they were there for and people that were still trying to figure it all out.  some chose things that were quiet.  some silly.  some truthful.  some greatly fulfilling.
i told her that i didn't really know.  i wanted to be happy.  and i wanted sleep. 
and she agreefully retaliated with her thoughts.
Jen Olson I think those are lovely and wonderful and oh my, relatable! (I think that you speak for capturing beautiful things/moments/feelings.
and i mentioned
oh Galit ... i think you're right. i do kinda speak for that ... or i try to at least. thanks for helping me see past the sleeplessness, friend
and she said
Jen Olson I think that you *do* do this - and do it beautifully. (And you're welcome. xo)
i'm ok.
i'm me.

i search for beauty in the things that surround me ... and i work really hard at capturing that beauty in a way that allows you to pull it out and immerse yourself in it at the very moment that you need another glimpse.
tomorrow i will adhere a sticker of positivity to my rear end and find the smiles in the monotony of my day.
and just for the record?
i completely realize that the photos have virtually nothing to do with the words other than the fact that i enjoyed taking a moment to find the beauty in my yard tonight.  it's amazing what a little warm weather will do for the earth's soul.

Monday, April 2, 2012

eight. {what.ever.}

i sit quietly (while the tv watches the littler ones) upon the couch with a snoring dog behind me and a cup of warm coffee in my hands. 

she stands directly between the tall straight trunk of a pine tree and the twisted up trunk of a crabapple tree.  sometimes her face disappears behind the bough of pine ... but i can always see her feet.  she bounces and wiggles.  she stands bored waiting for the school bus. 
five minutes ...
ten minutes ...
the bus is never on time. 

earlier i knocked upon the window and flashed her an "i love you" ... she rolled her eyes. 
is this eight?
and so i knocked again and again and again against the glass pane of the window.  determined to make her smile and flash me the appropriate response.
she finally flashed me a simple i love you ... behind her back. 

i swear last week ... (long before eight hit) ... she would send an i love you right back to me.  and now ... this? 
man.  i'm so not sure that i'm ready for eight.

dear stella ... promise me that you'll always love me in the deepest part of your heart ... even when you roll your eyes and say whatever. 
and also?
the eight things that i love about you.  (because that's what i do.  7. 6. 5. 4. see?)

the silly that you are ... you make me laugh so much lately with your antics and goofiness.  pausing to be a leprechaun in the middle of a game of tag to stun the tagger.  you make me giggle ... and it's funny watching it be a silly in a way that is actually really silly and not just cute because you're little and funny.  i love that you have a wonderful sense of humor.

how much you love your siblings and your family ... even though you drive them crazy sometimes.  you love fully ... i think i may have said that about you a million times over.  you love.  you always have and i'm sure you always will.  i just hope that you never have to realize that love can break your heart sometimes.  i promise you ... there is always more love just around the bend.  and if you ever think that the one you loved got away ... please know that the right person just hasn't gotten there yet.  i promise.
your helpfulness.  even though sometimes i have to beg you several times and then bribe you with candy ... you still help me so much.  i don't know what i would do without you.  seriously.  thank you for that. 
your love of music.  you want so much to play the piano and sing.  i love to hear your making up songs and writing your own music.  i love that you sing and dance.  i love listening to your (finally!) rather on-key performances.  you remind me of me at this age.

your art.  you are becoming a wonderful artist.  now if we can just get you past the need for perfection ... all will be lovely and perfect. 

your poetry and stories.  you love to write.  hmmm.  wonder where that comes from? 

your imagination.  it runs.  wild at times.  but it's there always with a story ... please don't ever lose it.  learn to harness it and create and astound people the world around with your imagination.  don't stifle it and put it in a box in the attic.  please.

your smile.  your true smile ... crooked teeth showing.  a howl of laughter.  relaxed and carefree. 

my stelly-belly.
i watched you on the eve on your 8th birthday as you blew out the candles and hugged your relatives ... and i couldn't believe that i am lucky enough to have you in my life.  i'm not sure what i did to become so blessed with such an amazing person.  but i'm thankful that i did it. 
stay true to yourself.  don't get too bossy.  be happy.  don't fret so much.  trust yourself.  enjoy life.
and please pick up your room ... just once in awhile ... without me having to beg and bribe?

love you as big as the universe.