Thursday, March 19, 2009

On Justin, for a change

Most of the time I sit down at my computer to write here, I’m buzzing with words about what funny thing Max said or how Lizzie just looks at me and giggles for no reason, or how Noah seems so suddenly grown. Tonight, though, as I sit in front of what may be the last fire of the season, I realize the only person I want to talk about is Justin.

My husband turned 39 today. As we sat side-by-side and had lunch today, I took a rare moment to just watch him. He was staring out the window, sighing in that big thought kind of way.

“Birthdays,” he said with a frown, “only remind us we’re getting older.”

This is true. I nodded and hugged him and said something cheesy, some cliché about him being like fine wine. And I went back to lunch and laundry.

Parenting is a funny thing. It is, in so many ways, the most intimate act two people can entwine themselves together to perform. Intimate, but also exhausting. Exhausting and weighted and worrisome and wonderful—and simply busy enough to make even the best of us (and I am by no means in that category) forget to stop and just look at our partners. To sit and just breathe alongside them and take five minutes out of our day to say thank you or I appreciate you or anything else that validates what they do to make us, well, us.

Thinking about the father Justin is always brings a deep sense of gratitude for me. He’s the kind of guy that can spend hours building sand castles or playing Legos or pick up soccer in the backyard.

He’s the kind of guy who would rather start an out west ski tradition with his eldest son rather than with his buddies.

And on such a trip, he's also the guy who suggests his son take the camera and get a picture of this:

(and a year later, his son is still laughing about it).

He’s the kind of guy who takes one look at his daughter’s toothy grin and just melts.

It’s a gift my children don’t even realize they are getting, because he just IS present when he’s with them.

I love that about this man.

And I love this too:

It is so true, that at some point, birthdays just remind us we are getting older. But maybe that’s okay, when we’re living and creating and being part such a central part of something as simple and profound as a family.

Happy, happy birthday J.

And speaking of birthdays, I am so very excited to announce the hatch of the new weblog Cluck and Tweet. It is a great one-stop gaggle of fun where you'll find everything from crafting and traveling with the kidlets to recipes and talk about, well, the breeding grounds of life. Please, please come over and check us out-- and say hello-- because my friend Alison is offering up the coolest necklace giveaway, and I just want one of my peeps to win it!

Lots to celebrate-- over on, I'm celebrating the return of spring-- and because of, I'm celebrating the fact that I can write off my lattes. So basically, I'm trying to be all over the web, and all up to no good. Hope you are having sunshine and above zero temperatures too...

Monday, March 2, 2009

Dance. It. Out.

When I woke up this morning, the thermometer hanging on my back porch read -26. I stood and stretched. I hummed and tried to ignore the cold seeping in through the glass door beside me. My body, however, was loud enough. There was the snap. And the crackle. And the pop-- all of which reminded me that the chill outside had found its way to the insides of me—in the way of bones, muscles, and joints.

March is here, and that means my annual wanderlust has hit full stride, my patience for winter is waning, and my undying optimism (okay, I never actually have that, but still) has been sucked into the vitamin D-less pit. Foul. That’s what I’m feeling.

At some point today, Max and I were getting into it about God-knows-what—maybe he took my turn in Sorry, or I said no to extra peanut butter on his apples—what I do know is that I was all sorts of irritated. And he looked at me, his wispy blond hair falling over his eyes.

“You are so beautiful mama," he said. His voice seemed so small, as he added with a giggle, "But that doesn’t really have anything to do with what we’re talking about does it?”

Ouch, in the most magnificent sense of the word.

I’m trying these days to be more aware of the moments I have with my children. Noah turns 10 (10!) in a month,

and as you can see, he has mastered the sullen tween self portrait already, which has me gulping for air and wishing I had, well, more time with him. Yet there are days like today, when I get cold and cranky and simply forget that there is sheer and utter joy in simply breathing the same space as these amazing little beings I get to watch grow.

Until, that is, we dance. it. out.

Cranking up our little silver radio and dancing (flailing) around the kitchen was a tradition Noah and I started when he was just old enough to shake it. And as you can see, Max and Lizzie have, as Max says, “got the music in the toes, now look out cause here it goes…”

My new motto might just be to live in the present moment, especially if that moment includes the phrase “Rock on mama!”