Rejuventation: Not Just a Lipstick Color

Well, since my husband was home for the “weekend away” anyway, he encouraged me to go out and spend some time alone. All alone. Sweet aloneness.

So I did.

Downtown, I wondered what to do with my hands without a stroller- without someone clinging to my legs, or pulling my hands, or running away and giggling as I chased them… This was seriously something I was a little worried about. How sad is that? What will I do with my hands? Turns out it’s not such a big deal….

I met one of my favorite people at the shopping center, and we sat on a bench, both of us sans kiddos, and kind of stared off in the air for a while, glazed looks on our faces and maybe a little drool on our chins- what happens in the forest when two moms with six kids meet without their kids? Do they make a sound? Turns out it was positively lovely, and once we both acclimated to the relative silence and peace, we people-watched for a while, and decided I should never, ever cut my curly long hair.

At our leisure, we walked across the street and had a fabulous lunch at the new hip spot, and never talked about our kiddos- we talked about blogging, music, art, clothes and how fascinating it was to watch the waitress mix our little pots of sauce- but we never talked about diapers, tantrums, barf or poo. And we didn’t even realize it till later…

We looked at the darling, impractical, non-mom shoes in Nordstrom. While on the way to Kiehls- all I wanted was some lip-balm- the swirling, shiny glitter-studded vortex of the MAC counter sucked is in, and two hours later, we left with our sparkly selves and small, very expensive bags full of happiness swinging on our wrists.

My friend had to leave to pick her kiddos up, and I continued on my merry way, hitting a bookstore or two, a hair place, a boutique toy store and some more shoe places. I didn’t really get anything, just enjoyed the solitude and the quiet and being able to look without distraction…

When I left to head home, it was getting dark, and big, fat flakes of snow were falling from the twilight sky- but the snow was melting as soon as it hit the sidewalk- it was beautiful- the best combination… pretty snow, and no build-up.

*long, relaxed, relieved, refreshed, pretty sigh*

Time to get back on the horse, only now I feel like I can. Giddy-up.


Gently and tentatively, like someone who has been abused and beaten, I poke my head from the wreckage of this week. If I move to quickly, I fear drawing attention to myself and iring the FluGods to throw yet more my way.

The rhythmic thump and bump of the dryer sets the tempo of our house this morning,  and the washer humms and whirrrs as it ever so slowly and diligently chews though the mountain of towels, sheets and knotted clothes. Thinking on the  miracle of modern laundry machines, I consider them quite possibly a tender mercy of the Lord.

Sounds of my children float over the monitor, and gone are the painful noises of the last week, the spaces filled in with chirping, warbling, silver laughter. I hear my husband playing with Abby, growling and tickling her, as her giggling rise and fall with the bubbles he blows on her belly.

The best laid plans were laid waste this week. The holiday away was pushed aside, along with a great deal of disappointment, as I submitted my will to the needs of my family. It was hard as rocks, but I know I did the right thing. To everything there is a season, and all that.

Part of me wants to kick and cry like my children do- but I wanted certain things. I wanted my weekend away, I wanted to be with friends and play at being a grown up, intellectual for just the weekend. I wanted to have dinner uninterrupted. I wanted to pretend barf and poop were not major players in my life. I wanted. I wanted

And it just doesn’t matter what I wanted.

A big part of being a mother is subjugating what you want to the needs of others. I’m not talking unhealthy martyrdom- I’m talking the reality of life with small children who cannot care for themselves- who haven’t the faintest idea what to even do for the needs of their sick bodies. Children who cannot change diapers, clean or even feed themselves. All of these are needs, and they surely supersede any want I may have.

Certainly my husband is a capable, caring and wonderful dad. He’s been folding laundry and changing beds right along with me- he cancelled a business trip to facilitate my planned weekend away. Neither of us got what we had planned.

So here I am. I have three children and have been a mother for five years. And I finally understand what that means.

Oh $#%*!

6:45 this morning:

“Mama! Mama! Mammmmaaaaaaa! I pooped the bed…!” followed by my three year old crying hysterically.

You can guess the rest of the day. Yes, I am living a train-wreck. Watch and be amazed (appalled? fascinated? horrified? dumbfounded? mildly disinterested? whatever.).

Tomorrow was supposed to be the trip away for the weekend…

*sobbing* (really)


Four Elders tonight for dinner, all seated and eating away in my dining room. Cut to me, on the floor in the bathroom with a gigantic container of Clorox wipes, trying to scrub the barf from the wall next to the toilet. Jeffrey has Abby’s bug. Bless his heart, he really tried to make it. He missed.

 We had tacos for dinner.


Tummy Troubles

Climbing towards the light, I try and surface from the sea of laundry brought on by the stomach bug in a house full of kids…. can’t make it… can’t make it….

Someone will barf or have a butt-explosion in the two minutes this post will take… Rest assured. The washing machine has been brought to it’s knees, bath towels are blankets now, and clothing seems a waste of time…

Wouldn’t wish this on anyone.

First Words

This morning, as I was getting ready to take Jeff to school, I overheard him talking to Abby to keep her happy. But it wasn’t long before I realized he wasn’t talking to her at all- he was reading to her- and perfectly, from “Trucks”, a board book by Byron Barton.

This is one of the very first books we ever read to him, and to hear him reading it- carefully sounding out the words to his baby sister- was sublime. Leaning against the doorjamb, out of sight so as not to interrupt, I listened to his melodious, small voice read, and experienced near tear-inducing mama-happiness.

Valentines Jasmine

Last night, as I was making my way around the market looking for tidbits to show my babies I love them, I stumbled upon a bush of jasmine polyanthum. Since leaving California five years ago, this is one of the flower I most miss. It just won’t grow here- it needs a warmer, more tropical climate, and it blooms in the dead of winter.

My breath caught in my throat when I saw it. Pushing my cart thought the mess of people looking for chocolate and corny stuffed toys, I had my eye on this little bush, apparently unrecognized by most of the northwestern people holding their perpetual cups of coffee… All I wanted to do was inhale the deep, lovely fragrance of the tiny white blooms.

Already I knew I love the perfume of those blossoms, but I was completely unprepared for how it made me feel, where it took me,when I buried my face in the plant. I closed my eyes, and inhaled, oblivious to the market or the crowds or my cart in the way- I must have looked like a looney- but I couldn’t move. My eyes welled with tears and there was a lump in my throat so big I couldn’t have spoken if I had wanted.

You’ve heard that smell is the strongest memory trigger? They’re right.

It was 17 years ago, instantly. The cool ocean breeze is blowing off the marina, and the beach town I live in is deserted this February weekday. My hair falls in a tangled mess to my back, and the Indian ankle bracelet jingles with each step of my bare-feet, as I walk towards the waterfront to pick up some chai from Mr. Toots. My skirt is gauze, and catches the breeze, and as I pass a large jasmine vine, I pluck a handful of blooms to put in my car later. I am so young, 17- away from home for the first time, headed to meet my best friend-who will one day become my husband. We are meeting on the railroad trestle to have tea, watch the sunset and talk about deep spiritual things.

I opened my eyes,  back in a cold northwest grocery store the day before valentines day, with three kids at home waiting for me, and that very same spiritual giant who still loves me today. I wiped the tears from my eyes, and went to go get milk.

Happy Valentines Day.

Sugar Bugs

Jeff has his first (an with any luck, only) cavity. We went to the dentist the other day for routine cleanings, and our marvelous, grandfatherly dentist found a tiny cavity on one of Jeff’s molars, near his gums. Now, neither I nor my my husband had any cavities until we were adults, so pediatric dentistry, other than cleanings and fluoride, is foreign territory.

Dr. Dentist is suggesting we fill the little bugger- since it’s on a tooth Jeff will have until he is in his early teens… but he will eventually lose it. Dr. Dentist also says they usually knock squirrel-y little boys out with some nitrous oxide, too, instead of using Novocaine… And I’m a little nervous about the whole shebang.

Anyone have any experience with this? Anyone else been though this or have anything, pro or con, they’ve experienced with their kids?

On the up-side, Jeff is now paranoid about sugar, and even turned down a piece of candy at lunch the other day, because, in his own words, “The sugar-bugs will get me!”.

Sleeping in Seattle

I’ve never left my kids. Never, not even once, to go away for a weekend, or even a night. My husband was dense enough to suggest that they were, in fact, left when I was in the hospital having another one, but the withering, scalding look he got made him reconsider that idea.

In less than two weeks, I have been invited to go away for the weekend to Seattle. All alone. By myself. No kids. No husband. No one pulling on me, barfing on me, needing crackers or milk or to be changed. No one requiring my adoring gaze while they perform a cool new trick or draw a wobbly crayon heart. No one waking me up in the middle of the night wanting  drink of water, or a kiss or anything at all…

I will get to have dinner with colleagues. I will get uninterrupted adult conversation, meals in restaurants without clowns or large rats as their mascot, a night or two of completely uninterrupted sleep, which I haven’t had in over five years, and the ability to poke around in my free time in bookstores and cafes or wherever my whim takes me.

So why am I unsure of going? Why, when my husband is totally competent and encouraging me to take advantage of the invitation, am I hesitating?

Can’t Sleep

5:07 a.m. on a Saturday, and I’m wide awake. Why? Heck if I know, but I woke up about 3:30, totally wide awake, from a deep sleep, and that was that. I tossed and flopped for a while, then got up to check the kids- everyone is off deep in the Land of Nod, all breathing, all covered and all angelic looking.

Hmmm. After poking around the house to see if everything else was well, I figured I would take advantage of the rare peace and quiet and tweak with my header. Probably I should go get on the treadmill and really make good use of my time, but… naaaah. That would be too responsible and maybe I’ll try and go back to bed…

I know the kids are going to be bouncing on me in about an hour, and I’ll suddenly be very tired…  Looks like it’s going to be a Diet Coke kind of day.