April 15, 2014
by Tricia
3 Comments

Wonder

Sometimes I look at her and I wonder.

I wonder at how we’re here.

climbing ladder

Here with long, lanky legs. And a mouth full of teeth from which multi-syllabic words stream out in eloquent sentences conveying thoughts and ideas and dreams. I’m magical, she says, and she is. Like a unicorn dancing on a rainbow.

Baby at the park

But I know it was just yesterday that she was small. So very small. It was just a breath ago that she was helpless. So very helpless. Just a blink since she survived on me. She thrived because of me. Some days in spite of me. But she thrived. Just a moment that she’s been growing. And really, in the grand scheme, that is all it is. A moment.

She is only four but already, some days, I wonder how we got here. Here where she gets dressed by herself and gets in the car by herself and buckles by herself. Here where she runs off to school and back again and happily moves through her world, creating her life. Here where we talk about friends and we discuss plans and we squeal together over the season’s first blooms and here where we sit quietly together, just enjoying our company.

Baby and me shadows

Does anyone remember how we got here?

I wonder because then, I look at him. His chubby little baby legs, still wobbly and not always there for him. His mouth, half filled with teeth but still so many craters, from which grunts and screams and cries stream out amidst occasional dribbles of giggles. He needs for everything and wants for it all and we still have such a long way to go.

new shoes

And yes, he too used to be so small. Really it was just this morning, wasn’t it? Just half a breath ago that he needed me to carry him from place to place. A nanomoment that he’s been growing. But some days it feels much longer. As though with all this time, we should be further along. Not here. Here where I try to slide pants over feet that refuse to stay in one place. Here where an arched back is my arch nemesis and we battle every morning in the driveway. Here where he either runs or clings and it’s always running when I need him close and clinging when I need him to run. Here where I want to talk with him about friends and about plans and about life and I want to squeal with him too and oh how I want to know what his voice sounds like when it wraps itself around words and thoughts. And I want us to sit quietly together. But we are just not there. Because we are here.

boy and mama

And I wonder how we’ll do it.

Because it doesn’t seem fair, to have walked this road once before only to find that in the time I was gone, the scenery and the path itself have changed. I swore I left breadcrumbs along the way the last time, you know, marking the miles and the turns, just in case I came back. But they’re gone now. Carried away by birds I suppose.

And I know the path should change. No two paths should ever be the same. I’d cry for him if his were the same as hers. He needs his own.

But oh if it doesn’t make things hard. And oh how I wonder about how we got here. And how we’ll get there.

April 11, 2014
by Tricia
15 Comments

Lovely little things, 13

This week’s lovely little things.

oh yea, the park

Things to do. Always there are things to do. Laundry and grocery shopping and vacation planning and packing and cleaning and spring cleaning and yes, the list goes on. But we needed some us time. So I released us both from the trappings of a Wednesday afternoon and we went. An hour at the park. Just us. And he ran. And ran and ran. And then he sat before he ran some more.

boyatthepark

And it was lovely.

tiny, tiny flowers

“So, where should we go?” I asked her as I pulled the car out onto the street. It was a rainy, dreary Monday. But we had an extra hour to spend thanks to an early school dismissal.

“We could go to the library,” I offered, “or to Target. Or we could just go home and spend more time with baby brother.”

“But I want to spend time just me and you.”

Sometimes life can be so good on a Monday.

She decided she wanted to go get a manicure.

Sometimes life can be so very good on a Monday.

And the manicurist painted tiny little flowers on her thumbnails. And she was over the moon. And she’s shone them off proudly to everyone, everyday, ever since.

And I got princess sparkle pink on mine. Not my first choice but all week, my fingers have reminded me of her and time spent with just us two.

celebrating 70

Degrees. Yesterday reached 70 degrees. And I just can’t help myself when it happens for the first time all season. I wore a skirt, no tights. And I let her do the same. And we both wore our new Toms shoes and mine have made me smile since the day I put them in my cart. And she’s been dying to wear hers since the day we slide them out of their protective little bag and I love fresh starts and spring and new shoes.

feetandnewshoes

Favorite words

Baby boy and I have hit a rough patch. He’s a toddler and I’m not nearly as patient or calm as I’d like to be. And so we battle.

On the way home from work this week, I heard Peace by O.A.R. And though obviously meant in a romantic kind of way, these lines struck me in a difference place.

“I just wanna make you laugh

I just wanna see that smile

Babe we’re only here for a little while

I just wanna hold you till you fall asleep

I want love. I want us. I want you. I want me. I want peace.”

If you want to hear the full song:

Happy lovely weekend.

running at the park2

April 7, 2014
by Tricia
7 Comments

I’ll never be done making my kids’ childhood magical

Last year, as Memorial Day approached, my daughter started to ask questions.

“Why don’t I have school on Monday?”

Well, it’s Memorial Day.

“What’s Memorial Day?”

It’s a holiday…

“A holiday? Are we going?”

Are we going – as in are we going to the party. Because holidays involve parties. In her three and a half short years, she had learned, because I had taught her, that holidays involve parties. And any day can involve a celebration. And every day is a little something special.

The problem was, last year, we weren’t ‘going.’ There were no Memorial Day parties or barbecues planned, or, at least, none that we had been invited to.

So, we made a party. I bought red and white and blue balloons and she helped me blow them up and hang them in bunches from our playroom ceiling.  I bought red, white, and blue glow bracelets and she shook them to light them up and then wore them all day before hanging them in her room that night. And we ate dinner, and dessert, outside on our deck (a rare thing for us). It was just the four of us, but it was a party.

baby on tummy and balloons

balloon magic

And I didn’t open Pinterest to make it happen. And I didn’t feel pressure to make Memorial Day magical. I didn’t do it because every other mother out there with the propensity to share her life on social media guilted me into doing it.

I did it because I love magic and celebration and parties and decorations just as much as my daughter (some days, more).

Valentines day magic

Valentines day magic

And was it unicorns dancing on rainbows magical? Probably not. If you asked her about that particular weekend today, my daughter might not even remember the specifics. But that impromptu party, along with milkshakes on the first day of spring and a pet store scavenger hunt on an otherwise boring Wednesday and pizza every Friday night to celebrate the weekend and, yes, the occasional Pinterest inspired craft or party, all of these together infuse our lives with magic and celebration. And more than anything, I want my children to believe in magic and celebration and hold tightly to it. I want them to believe deep in their souls, because this is how they’ve lived all their lives, that life is meant to be celebrated. And every day is magical. Even the bad ones.

chalk magic

chalk magic

The idea of making childhood magic as a response to pressure or as an elaborate, expensive, planned to the very last detail kind of thing makes me sad. The idea that magic is only infused with the help of Pottery Barn and Disney and Elves on shelves and Pinterest inspired, expensive parties makes me want to scream.

Because it doesn’t have to be that way. It shouldn’t be that way. And honestly, anytime you make a parenting move in response to external pressures, you’re making the wrong move. Magic or no magic.

make a fairy wand

birthday party magic

Yes, childhood is inherently magical. But we, as parents, should inherently be part of that.

I, too, have childhood memories of playing with my siblings and friends that feel quite magical. Nights spent running around in my backyard catching fireflies. Skipping rocks at the creek behind my friends’ house. Building tremendous snow forts without an adult in sight. But the times when my uncle got in the pool with us in the summer to toss us around and really get Marco Polo going, or when my mother let us help decorate the Christmas cookies, or when they planned extra little surprises on my birthday or went the extra mile to really sell the magic of the Easter bunny to me? Those moments are why I can, today, find beauty in the mundane.

girl decorating christmas tree

holiday magic

Let’s definitely not put on a show for our kids, letting them sit passively as we dazzle and delight them with glitter and sparkles. But yes, let’s play a role in the magic. Let’s take their lead and run with them. Let’s share the magic they feel when they pick up rocks and save them in their pockets or experience the feeling of playing in the snow. Let’s live the magic with them.

we do it together magic

we do it together magic

Let’s believe in magic and make magic, every day. And, who knows, maybe we’ll make a few magical adulthoods in the process.

~~~~~
pour your heart out

April 4, 2014
by Tricia
14 Comments

Lovely little things, 12

Another round up of this week’s lovely little things.

tulips

lovely little wayward tulip

yeah, the park again!

running at the park

I know, I  know, three weeks now and all I can talk about is the park. But seriously, friends, we really missed the park. And Monday evening was made for the park. After we got home from school and work we loaded up the stroller and headed off, without jackets! And the running and the swinging and the sliding, it was oh so good. And baby boy makes me hella nervous with his climbing and running and his four-year-old sense of adventure trapped in a one-year-old’s body way of life but even with my fretting and following and jumping every time he teetered near the edge of the slide, that half hour at the park was so good for my soul.

 

next door dinners

Bad neighbors are bad and ok neighbors aren’t much better. But wonderful neighbors will change your life. We got lucky when we moved here two years ago to inherit the absolute best neighbors I’ve ever known. They are there for us when we’re sick, when we need a babysitter, when we need a friend to talk to, and without a doubt when we’re ready to celebrate. And on Saturday night, we celebrated. No specific occasion, because none is needed when you just enjoy getting together with the people who can walk to your house. And the kids ran and played and the adults drank wine and ate delicious food and talked and I got so caught up I didn’t realize that bedtime had come and gone until it was nearly an hour later. And that is just how rainy Saturday evenings should be.

perks of not being a wallflower

I still remember the first comment I got on my blog. It was from a rather popular blogger and she commented only because I had linked to her in my post and I think she felt obligated. I felt immediately amazed and confused and self conscious and nervous. Someone else was reading my stuff. Someone other than my husband. It was scary.

Since then, this little space has grown. Not astronomically, I still feel as though I know each of you by name and, in many cases, your kids’ names. But it has grown. And I have grown. And I’ve found the capacity for digging deep and revealing more of myself and sharing more of myself. And because of that, I’ve met amazing people and enjoyed some truly lovely opportunities. This was one of those weeks of opportunities. Lots of places to write for and lots of things to write about and lots more people to meet and connect with and I’m just so grateful for it all.

for a cause

sevenly

This week’s cause at Sevenly is Autism Speaks. If you’ve never supported a Sevenly charity before, make this the week you start. I have to stop myself from buying something every single week and I cherish the Sevenly shirts I have like no other. This week, $14 of every item purchased will fund locating devices and other tools for low income families of children with autism prone to wandering. After reading Shell’s post this week on the same topic, we all have a connection and real life stories to remind us why it is so important to support this cause.

favorite words

This conversation between me and my girl:

me: Do you feel like a room without a roof?

her: No!

me: Do you know what happiness is to you?

her: Yes!

me: Good!

me: So… what is happiness to you?

her: Mommy and Daddy!

Don’t ever grow up, my love.

sandbox

Happy Spring weekend!

March 30, 2014
by Tricia
12 Comments

We worry

We worry.

We all do it. It comes more naturally than anything else in parenthood, doesn’t it? More naturally than breastfeeding or disciplining or all of the other things that are more essential. We’re parents. We breathe and we worry.

When our girl was smaller, we worried a lot. Because when children are small, worry is all you’ve got. You can’t see the future and you haven’t been down this road before to know that it usually all turns out ok. You don’t know what to do and fear making a misstep. So you worry.

swing sillohuette

When our girl was two and three, we worried so much about her socially. Painfully shy and exhibiting signs of textbook introversion, she walked into new situations slowly or, sometimes, not at all. She cried outside of ballet classrooms, sobbed on the way to school for weeks and months. I’ve watched several of her friends’ birthday parties with my back against the wall of the gym and her on my lap.

In the beginning, it was hard for us. We wanted nothing more than for her to be brave and confident and outgoing. To walk with her head held high into any new situation and just join right in, as unnatural as that really is when you think about it. We wanted her to have friends and experiences and fun. In those days, we didn’t know how to handle her fears and anxieties, and didn’t have any experience to tell us that she would really be ok. So we forced and cajoled. We negotiated and threatened. Go into ballet or we won’t go out for lunch. Go play with your friends at this party or we’re leaving. Have fun at this party, dammit, or we’re not coming to any more!

Even as we said those things, we knew they were wrong. But we didn’t know what was right.

boy play structure

Last weekend, we went to the park. We walked in and cut both kids loose. The baby toddled around, sometimes wandering, mostly sticking close. But sister ran. She found a friend from school who happened to be meeting more friends and the group of them ran off, climbing on the structures that she regarded fearfully last year, diving headfirst into tunnel slides and, at times, running out of our line of sight.

While M kept an eye on her, I followed the baby around and eventually we ended up on the swings. Before long, a woman with her daughter arrived at the swing next to us. The little girl was bigger than my boy, fully verbal and bordering on too big for the baby swing. But the mother loaded her in and began to push. Before long, however, I heard her trying to force the little girl out.

“It’s time to go play with your friends now.”

And the little girl would refuse.

“Push me higher!”

This went on for quite a while. The mother telling the little girl just one more push, then it’s time to go play with your friends. You’re missing the point of this playdate. No more swinging, you have to go play. The little girl’s response was always, only, to beg for more pushing.

Later I learned that the friends the woman had been referring to were the friends that my girl had been playing with since we got there. That the little girl’s parents had organized the playdate. That they had just moved here from California, just started at our girl’s school.

And they were worried.

I can’t even imagine all the things they worry about. The way a cross-country move has affected their little girl. That joining a classroom in the middle of the year is making things hard for her. That she isn’t making friends or joining in the way they wanted her to or felt that she should. That this is how life will always be for her and she’ll never make friends or walk into new situations with confidence. Maybe she won’t walk in at all. That she’ll always want to swing by herself and what kind of life is that?

When we worry, we paint a bleak picture as far into our future as our heart’s eye can see.

I didn’t say anything to that mother that day. I have not yet learned the balance between offering helpful or kind words and sounding like a stuck up smarty pants. I’ve actually begun to doubt that there is a balance.

But watching her made me more closely examine my own actions. We’ve come a long way since those early days and tears. Our girl more easily joins in now, most of the time, and we respect her process when she doesn’t, most of the time. We worry less because we see that she will be fine. Her process will serve her well and is not entirely different from our own. She is, after all, cut from our cloth. And because of that, I don’t have to worry. I know what she is feeling, what she needs. I know that if I can help her believe in herself, trust in her process, follow her own way, then she will indeed be ok.

Watching that mother made me realize that we worry. We’re parents. We breathe and we worry. But we’re not doing right by them when we worry. It’s what we do with that worry that matters.

girl on path and we worry

~~~~~

pour your heart out

show
 
close