Monday, October 21, 2013

First Comes Love

A great light flooded my world the day Alistair and Emerick were born.  Two tiny cries. Two babies to hear my voice. Two sets of eyes to lose myself in over and over again forever. I fell in love hard that day. 

While there has been a great deal of happiness in this season of caring for baby twins, I've had a particularly difficult time pulling it all back together. There's that place when fresh slates were wrapped in swaddling blankets and laid in my arms to nurse for the first time and then there's reality. The reality of three kids, not just two babies. Laundry that does not jump in the washer and clean itself.  A three year old who whines, grunts and baby talks, desperate for my attention.  Waking my husband up at 2 am with an avalanche of naughty words to describe my feelings on night time rounds with two babies for the 5th month of never-ending nights in a row. 

This time last year I was adjusting to a new job, teaching at a new location after five years at a rural school.  It took me too long to realize those students cared little who I was or what I could do or how much I said they mattered.  Success skidded on minimum even when I crafted perfect plans, stayed stupid late or poured myself over new ways to reach them.  Here's what mattered. One thing. If and when I sincerely cared. The rest took second place.  There's no cheap trick to convince kids you care. They can see right through the guise. They won't buy in or sign up for the rest of the program.

And just the same, as I'm coming back to life here at home I'm making sense of what's important first. I'm chomping at the bit to do it all. The projects. The organization. The routine that's starting to unfold. The friends I'm making. The lists. The skills I want to teach the boys.

But first, there's love. Long hugs. Highs and lows at the dinner table. Spontaneously getting into the car to chuck bread at ducks. Pretending the one million pieces of paper my spitfire cut up at the table are money that we found at the park and need to grab RIGHT NOW! 

I've got one broken-hearted boy who feels lost among baby cries and a mommy who seems to always be nursing or changing diapers.  I'm trying so hard to reach him. Countless days I've hung my head and wrenched my hands in pain that I haven't got his world pieced back together for him. 

Some of it is coming together. A lot of it is two steps forward, one step back. By way of force, I'm learning to chill out a bit. Clean the kitchen if I can. Get all the laundry put away if I can. Touch up the paint and sketch the garden plans and print off that resource and stuff those diapers if I can.  But love, I must. Be patient, I must. Listen, I must.

No one will see these things.  These little tiny choices of love I'm seeing now, at 28, I really need to daily, hourly re-commit myself to. In fact, they'll see them less than the thankless window wiping and cabinet scrubbing I thought I was signing up for. 

But I will know it in my heart. And hopefully, maybe, if I'm really lucky my sons will know it too. 

That is when I remember to not scream "SPACE!! SPACE!!" and walk over to put his hands in theirs instead. When I remember, friends. Please, Lord, help me remember!

Excuse me. I tooted.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Seven Quick Takes

Escape pow wow.
I've taken notes on everything I've done since 6 am.  I thought maybe I would turn it into one of those A Day in the Life posts.  Maybe. Maybe not.  But I have noticed a couple things:

1. I'm much too hard on myself.  I do a lot and think I should be doing about five times more than I'm doing.  

2. I'm even more the introvert than I realized.  So far, the bulk of what I felt compelled to note was what I experienced internally like mental notes, feelings when playing with my kids, and the contrast between what I thought would happen and what actually did. What I experience in my mind seems to take on much more weight than what I actually do. I shouldn't be surprised by this, but I am.

Paul left this morning for a 4 day backpacking trip with a friend.  I'll be a tad more exhausted taking care of everything on my own, but I'm so excited for him to get a break.  I'm sure every wife is convinced her husband works the hardest so I won't even try to put my two cents in there, but seriously--he deserves every minute of a reprieve he can afford.

And no, I am no hero or liar when I write as if him being gone is no big deal.  Other than an emergency situation which would put me into full-on freak out mode, I am pretty much fine.  I'll miss him but knowing he's definitely not here is much easier than those nights he has to work late unexpectedly.  Plus, if you haven't heard me say one million kajillion times, I'm as introverted as they come.  Once I make it to 8 pm and all the boys are asleep and the house is quiet, I will be internally proclaiming over and over and over again that I'm experiencing the closest thing to heaven on Earth.   

I deleted the Facebook app from my phone last week sometime.  This Monday I went off coffee. Next week I might buy a dog and then we will all know I have completely lost my mind. 

Just kidding about the dog.  Never. Ever. Just 20 minutes ago, corralling 3 littles and myself into UPS I threatened urged Thomas to stay rightbymyside and poor kid ran right into a car's side view mirror.  That is to say: perfect illustration we are barely making it on standard errands and I consider showering an accomplishment.  I'm not about to add to the mix anything dependent on my care.

I'm happy it's October.  My favorite season, summer, got swapped out for fall sometime in my 20s.  I'm every bit the cliche swooning American on all things fall. Unsolicited photos of colorful leaves. Excessive baking of pumpkin bread. And a slow burning of my, from a purchase many moons ago, candles that only fall can claim--pumpkin pie, sticky cinnamon buns...okay, basically just more food I would like to be eating.  But there is one corner of life fall and I don't agree on: football.  I'll play it (granted anyone invites me to amateur hour), but you won't find me watching it on la t.v. It kind of goes against everything I believe in, that is being awestruck by someone else's dedication to the point of axing off whole days to revel in it. I would much, much rather be doing something and doing a super crappy job and all that comes with trying your hand at anything... than oogling at someone else doing that thing.  I'm just un-American like that.  Unless there's food. Then I'll be there.

Speaking of doing something myself even if I'm dong a "super crappy job", I made my 1st pizza crust a couple Sundays ago and again this past Sunday.  Other than pumpkin bread, because it's a quick bread and therefore totally doesn't count, I'm the world's worst baker.  Out of desperation for entertainment, I baked French bread during a blizzard a couple years ago and the result was something akin to the Lampoon's Christmas scene where they slice into the what-was turkey and find their fare to be little else than some extreme crust.  In college, I chucked zucchini bread off my apartment balcony into the sink hole below out of abject horror at my baking failure.  Sweet hubby put my hand under warm water, demonstrating temps which won't murder yeast, after coming face to face with a pizza this past Sunday that should have been advertised as The World's 1st Transparent Crust! 
Messy. Just like me.

Okay, that's all the time Magic School Bus had to offer. Check back with Jen for more and to wish her a happy ten more! 

* Just realized I was not totally truthful about #6. I watch hypocrite I am.