Tuesday, October 30, 2012

therapy

Before the therapists come over, I hurriedly dress everyone, wipe crusty breakfast remnants of little faces, brighten up my tired face and put on something that says "I plan to accomplish something today." I wipe fingerprints off tables. I relegate clutter to it's rightful home, or at least a different room. I sit and feed Little Miss, or I think of ways to entertain Silas (she's inevitably hungry right when they arrive, and he's inevitably clingy the entire time they're here).

It's all a little unsettling, a little like a performance, but I try to resist that. I voice my concerns, I sing her praises. I pry Silas off my neck. I listen and nod.

When they leave, I am usually overwhelmed by my new to-do list. Today, it's more formula per ounce of water, olive oil, avocado, probiotics. It's massaging open those tiny clenched fists, encouraging sitting and exploration, always  pushing her forward. Pushing.

We're pushing ourselves along, looking around to make sure all of us are keeping up.

Monday, October 29, 2012

in search of autumn color


It was a crisp, chilly fall day yesterday--perfect for a drive.



The babies napped on the way over.


We found what we were looking for, along with several deer skeletons. Nicky, of course, had to question whether they might be dinosaurs. He did some observing and poking and decided yeah, probably not.


We walked and picked up leaves for projects, and pressed them in my big fat nursing school books.



our gem-boy



Got some great shots of all three littles together. (I'm tired of hiding her face on here...) Hoodies with ears never fail to make me happy.



We thought maybe we could squeeze in a quick pie stop before any meltdowns began....and we had just enough time. We're getting to know what we can and can't do with this bunch.



 Nicky got a mustache, just in time for Movember I guess :)


I love Sundays.

Friday, October 26, 2012

San Diego

                                      









highlights: sweater and boot weather, three date nights in a row, a dueling pianos bar, hours of uninterrupted reading, Thai food, walking walking walking, dessert paired with jazz music, clouds, silliness, not having a fixed destination or plan in mind, beautiful views, and the realization that it only takes about 30 minutes to pack up a hotel room with only our stuff to pack. Ricky: doesn't this usually take like two hours? :)

I like my life partner. It was good to get away and be just us for a few days.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

on rough edges

Three years ago, during our east coast summer, I read this book by Anne Lamott called Grace (Eventually) and kind of hated it. I had a really hard time relating to her, and can I say something honest and ugly and completely unflattering? I had a hard time thinking of her as a Christian. She didn't seem victorious at all over her issues, and that bothered me. (I know, that says a lot more about where I was at the time than it does about Anne Lamott. She's a brave soul.)

This weekend I read it again and pretty much loved it. I found the pockets of grace easily, amidst the political rambling and the lack of traditional Christian tidiness. I found good news there.

Here's the thing about her: she's rough around the edges, and she doesn't polish her image for her books. It was upsetting the first time around, this lack of polish. This time it was a relief.

What I get now, and I'm not sure why I didn't then, is that you can't possibly begin to talk about grace until you talk about the ugly stuff. Without one, the other doesn't exist. There's a startling beauty that begins to unfold when a person is vulnerable; truly vulnerable, not in the "I used to be this way but look, God helped me and I'm so much better now" way that we're all so fond of. She has a way of capturing the beauty of the human condition without airbrushing it, without leaving out the f word and the angry hot tears, and the confusion.


I'm definitely over myself more these days. I've prayed a lot of "why do I suck so much; please help me" prayers. I've apologized without any real idea of what I'm going to do to fix it. I've gone to bed bone tired just from being with myself all day. I'm in over my head and it turns out, much to my disappointment, that I'm not strong after all. I'm actually pretty ridiculous. I'm the proverbial old man grumbling "get off my lawn" and the optimistic kid saying "will you play with me?" at the same time. I read once that you grow up the day you look in the mirror and have a good, long laugh at yourself. Well.

But grace allows me to rest. Grace says, go to sleep and try again tomorrow, knowing full well that tomorrow might actually be worse. Grace teaches me continually to be kinder to myself even when I know that might be a mistake, because I might take advantage of it.
That's me, trying to make any progress at all with family, in work, relationships, self-image: scootch, scootch, stall; scootch, stall, catastrophic reversal; bog, bog, scootch. I wish grace and healing were more abracadabra kinds of things; also, that delicate silver bells would ring to announce grace's arrival. But no, it's clog and slog and scootch, on the floor, in silence, in the dark. 
I suppose that if you were snatched out of the mess, you'd miss the lesson; the lesson is the slog (p. 93) 
It speaks to me. I've become a student of the slog.

Silas came up to me just now, face covered in yogurt and said "Hey. Mommy. Owp." Too often I approach prayer like it's some kind of favor I'm doing. That's so not the case, ever. I just need help.

I'm making peace with the human condition (or you know, trying to). Opportunities abound for being taken up with our less pleasant qualities. It will always be tempting to say snarky things, to react, to judge. Especially in response to people who say careless, mean things....and oh, they are so much more up in our faces nowadays (or does it just seems that way to me?) I read today that the best way to be friends with people who you disagree with is to say "tell me why this is important to you", and then just listen. That pretty much sounds like the best and hardest thing ever. It is hard to have a conversation. It is hard to really listen and not just wait for your turn to talk some more.

All the ugly things that I bump up against and want to react to are inside of me too. I keep running into them. So I'm free to let others off the hook. Theoretically. Hopefully.

We are such fragile people, it's amazing we can experience love at all.

Monday, October 15, 2012

fall, again

We made our annual visit to the pumpkin patch yesterday, and came home with three pumpkins: big, medium, and small. One for each of the littles.


This time last year we were filling out paperwork to be foster parents, and now we're looking at the possibility of adoption. Nothing even close to official yet, but that's the direction we've been told things are moving. We're going to pursue it as the opportunity arises. It feels like we're taking these slow, shaky steps but really, when I look at the big picture, things are just flying along. It's amazing.


Little Miss was a trooper. She stayed awake the whole time, rode in the carrier facing out for a while, then just hung out in her stroller. She smiles big when she sees Ricky.



Silas wasn't quite walking last year, so he thoroughly enjoyed himself this time. He ran, climbed, hoisted, ate and at times even stayed still for pictures. 


Nicky knew what he wanted this time around: a big pumpkin, lots of turns down the slides, and to find the diggers right away. He confided that last year he was a little scared of all the fifth graders playing on them.



Ricky and I found a contained play area and sat for a bit, eating fresh corn in a cup with lots of butter, chili powder and garlic salt, and a green chile tamale. Oh my.


At the end, the boys shared a wand of cotton candy, and it was suddenly very quiet. They just sat there, and every once in a while Silas would say "Dattoo, Gicky" after he was handed some more. 



Such a good Sunday afternoon.



Thursday, October 4, 2012

she laughed today


I held her above my head, playing helicopter--down, up, side to side-- and she laughed, looking all around and then back at me. It was a tiny little laugh that could have been missed if we weren't looking for it; wondering when it was coming.




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