Monday, June 28, 2010

A Listening Exercise

I heard him before my eyes opened, the heavy patter of feet down the hall.  "Maybe if I lie really still and keep my eyes closed he'll let me 'sleep' a few minutes longer," I thought.  Experience tells me that if Griffin sees my eyes open in the morning, he considers me fair game, and so I lay, eyes closed and ears pricked.  I listened for clues of other awakening life.  There were no sounds from the baby's room, and from the absence of bickering I concluded that Logan, too, had yet to stir.  I peeked out from one eye:  Griffin was no where in sight.  Possibly he had already gone downstairs to munch on bread and entertain himself in the playroom.  Again I listened intently.  No sounds of distress.  I rolled over to catch just a few more minutes.  He was soon to get bored I was sure.

Two minutes later I heard the sounds of the TV clicking on.  What was still a mystery, however, was what program he was watching.  The only sound I could make out was the deep voice of a grown woman.  The animal planet, perchance?  That was the only thing I could come up with.  No...something didn't seem to fit.  After listening a few moment more there was definitely a lack of interest-pricking background music.  What was he watching?

Unable to be sure, I slowly I made my way down the stairs rubbing sleep out of my eyes.  As I turned the corner I rubbed my eyes again, this time out of sheer consternation.  It wasn't Nickelodian, or the Disney Channel, or Animal Planet.  No.  It was a yoga class on BYU TV.

"What are you watching?" I queried.

"Stretching," he replied his head dropped between his knees, his fingers touching his toes.

"...and hold...breathing in and out..."the voice from the TV calmly suggested.

I shook my head, giggled, and joined him for a downward dog.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

This One's for the Moms

Most days I feel like I'm waging a losing battle.

1.  Teaching/getting/cajoling/forcing the kids to stop bickering...lost battle.

2.  Convincing/forcing Griffin to stop arguing with me...lost battle.

3.  Keeping a clean house...lost battle.

4.  Keeping my cool...lost battle.

I say this out loud because I think most moms feel this way.  Even when we are doing a pretty good job.  There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think, "That could have gone better," or  "I could have handled that better."  And I think we need to say that out loud so that we don't feel like we are all alone.  So that we know that struggling is just part of the gig.

And just because we lose some/a lot of the battles doesn't mean we'll lose the war.  I really believe that if kids know they are loved, deeply, deeply loved, just about eveything else is forgivable. 

And I love my kids. 

And I know you do, too.

Monday, June 21, 2010


On Saturday, as we were shopping for Father's Day:

Logan:  ugh...we're not going in there! (Seeing Bed, Bath, and Beyond.)

Me:  No.  I've got to go into the next store and see if I can find some shoes for Daddy.

Logan:  Shoes?

Me:  Yeah.  He said he needed some new shoes.

Logan:  Can we get some with taps on them?

Yesterday, while watching a History Channel program on the Revolutionary War:

Griffin:  C'mon!  We just gotta' win!...Mom, do we?  Do we win?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Hey Diddle Diddle, That Cat can Still Fiddle: Friendship Then and Now

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, the stars aligned in the heavens and the dish ran away with the spoon, and on that night, a group of young people were brought together by the cat and the fiddle to sing and dance and generally make merry for the entertainment of others.  I call us young people because we were just that.  No longer children, and still not quite adults either.  That magical period when we still believed that everything is possible.
I can not explain what happened.  Magic is funny like that. 

But did you know that a group of people can fall madly, deeply in love with each other?  I didn't.  Yet we did.  All of us, all at once.  Maybe it was the music--that language of spirit--that drew us close.  That was part of it.  But I lean more toward magic.

Magic, by definition, is inexplicable, and I do not understand how our hearts instantly knew one another.  Some people call it soul mates.  Some, kindred spirits.  At the time I didn't know better than to call it anything but normal.  See, that is the problem with youth.  Sometimes we get so accustomed to magic that we don't recognize it when we experience it.  But magic it was.

And in that place of pixie dust and delight, we played.  Oh, how we played.  It was enough to make the little dog laughed to see such sport.  We played on stage and off.  On the bus and across 12 states.  For two years they were my best playmates.  We shared the same inner light--the same joy in living--and when we were together that light was magnified.  We glowed all the brighter and the world did, too.

But moving on is simply a part of life, and so I did.  On to the next adventure, I fully expected the magic to come again, foolishly thinking that those kinds of relationships would happen repeatedly. 

Then I grew up and found that they do not.  Impermance is the creator of magic.  Things that are rare and evervescent are, because of their fleeting quality, special.  Unique.  And, oh yes, magical.

I wish I had known that then, on that trip over the moon.


Once upon a time, not so very long ago, the stars aligned again.  They must have because five of those same women, now fully adult and becoming aware that not all things are possible--at least not all at once--were able to arrange childcare, vacation days, carpools, and travel plans to spend a weekend in Breckenridge, CO together.  And happily, the magic returned.  Some people call it soul mates.  Some, kindred spirits.  Now I just call it blessed.

We are, as one girl commented, like the butt of a bad joke:  a Catholic, a Protestant, a Methodist, and a Mormon.  All from various backgrounds and histories, but all still sharing a common light.  And over that weekend that light was magnified again.  We glowed all the brighter and the world did, too, at least our little world inside a rented condo.

We felt no need to go out, for everything we needed was right there--the need to be really known.  The need to be understood.  The need to be loved.

When I was a girl my father used to say, "Laurel, in the end, you'll find that your real, true friends will fit onto one hand," stretching his fingers wide.  I used to think that was sort of depressing, but I understand now so well what he meant.  To be really known and understood, to be really known and still loved--maybe even loved all the more--is an exceptional experience.  Magic.

We friends spoke without limits for three days straight.  We only slept out of necessity.  Women who have known each other for  19 years, who know almost everything there is to know about each other, who, in all practicality, helped shape one another...well, those women have a lot to say.  We compared notes on child rearing and aging bodies.  We talked about men and sex and faith and cooking and music.  We told stories.  We confessed secrets and dreams, hopes and fears.  We solved at least three of the world's problems.  We laughed.  We cried.  But mostly we laughed.

We laughed about who we were, about who we are, and about who we are becoming.  The most magical thing about these friendships is that they are not trapped in the past but are living relationships, still growing and maturing.  Enduring, I hope, forever because our hearts still know each other.

We've all grown up now, and we may not hear that fiddling cat so often as we once did.  Sometimes it may be easy to believe that magic is gone.  It's hard to hear its tune under the roar of responsibility, but when he plays, my oh my how he plays, and it's good to be reminded that the dish can still run away with the spoon.

Then: 1991-1993                                                                                                                                                                                  Now: 2010*

*Thanks Jen for letting me lift the photos. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What are the Odds?

Scorpions are sort of a fact of life here in the desert.  I guess.  No one really told me that before moving here.  We get them sometimes.  Like 8 inside the house during the six years we've lived here.  That's some for me.  I don't like it.  It creeps me out completely, but what are you gonna' do?  Move out?  Umm...if I'm totally honest, sometimes I think about it.  But then my logic comes back.

Either that or I talk to my brother who tells me to suck it up.

But what are the odds that tonight, when I have a number of women over for a movie night, we have to see two of them!  Seriously??

When I opened the front door to welcome my first two guests, their first words were, "Uh, you have a scorpion in your driveway."

Now doesn't that just say "Welcome to my lovely home?"  Super great first impression.  I was so proud, but...C'mon.  It's outside.  Nature's a drag.  What can I say?  So I killed it and didn't think much about it.

But then, when I reached in the back of the cupboard for the big, plastic, popcorn bowl that I don't use very often, and found a scorpion inside it?!!!  Now maybe some people could handle that kind of situation quietly and subtlely, but I'm not one of those people.  I called a code red to Mr. Wicke--loudly and repeatedly--which he did NOT answer!  Something about changing clothes up in our closet or some such nonsense.  Anyway, one of my brave friends fought the battle with me.  She's a native Arizonian.  Turns out Windex kills scorpions.  Who knew?

Anywhoo, everyone was a little jumpy after that despite my assurances that we really hardly ever see those nasty things in the house.  Really we don't, but  I'm not sure they believed me.  I wouldn't.  I mean those are some crappy odds.

Why doesn't that surprise me?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Trouble with Summer

The messes they can make!

The trouble with summer is that you have double the work and half the time.  I actually broke a sweat mothering yesterday; I'm not kidding.  Up, down, in, out, over, under, in the car, out of the car, back in the car, dishes, mopping, dishes, vacuuming, project, swimming, laundry, laundry, refereeing, laundry, dishes again, project, project, reading, crashing.

That's how it went.  I'm actually a little stiff and sore today.

P.S.  If I can ever find the time, I'll tell you about my worst parenting day ever.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Oh, What do you do in the Summertime?

How do I know it is summer?  We have already had a family BBQ and swim party.  We have already taken a family cartrip.  We started swim team.  My daughter is already begging for a sleepover with her best friend in the whole wide world.  ("Pleeeeeeease?") We are all a tiny bit sunburned.  I'm wearing my swimsuit.  I'm sweaty.  And tomorrow is the beginning of summer movies.

Those are the signs of summer around here, and it's only been a week.  Whew!

And somewhere, amid all that chaos, we already created a favorite memory for me.  On Friday, when the kids ran out of things to do and began bickering, I called them into the dining room.  "Come here, kiddos and bring the book!" I insisted.  Logan dutifully grabbed Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh, and I convinced a mopey Griffin to participate with the promise of something special. 

I handed him all the blankets out of the ottoman, and then he and I hung them over and around the dining room table.  Then the three of us, armed with snacks, pillows, and a good book, climbed into our little "rat's nest" underneath and read an hour away--with no bickering.  Imaginations only allowed.

And imaginations at work is the best summer sign of all!