Tuesday, July 21, 2009

in this moment:: weekend eight (or nine...I've been slacking)

In this moment::

I am:: spending a lot of time in our rocking chair.

I am:: trying to soak up the simple pleasures of summer, like reading outside in a warm breeze

and taking time to notice the beauty of bubbles that climb the stems of pansies in glass

and watching my children watch the rain come down.

I am:: all about the mini dress. Because, well, just look!

I am:: grateful for the abilities Noah and Max and Lizzie have for reminding me how to play.

I am:: amazed that it is almost August.

I keep coming back to this awareness or understanding or prayer, this knowing of life gliding by so quickly. Because of that, we must be willing to stop and notice-- no, more than notice-- to stop and breath deeply and appreciate the simple and lovely, like the dance of wind on a blade of grass.

Saying goodbye

A few nights ago, I sat at the edge of Noah's bottom bunk. His sheet was curled around him, a shroud covering even his head. He was so still, like he was already asleep. I waited, listening to sounds outside; the slow buzz of a bee at dusk, the building winds whispering rumors of a storm sitting somewhere on Lake Michigan; a motorcycle revving miles away. I waited, because I knew at some point the rock still lump beneath the sheet would give itself away. There would be a shudder or a swallowed onset of tears.

One of Noah's best friends moved away on Sunday. And by away, I mean a distant island called Unalaska, in Alaska.

Google it-- distant is probably an understatement.

We did the sleepovers and the as-much-time-as-possible play-dates in the weeks leading up to Liam's departure. We did the reminders of emails and skype accounts and summer-time visits. We even got a blank book out and had them start writing a story together, to be mailed across the miles and written in by each of their hands.

Still, the first time you have to say goodbye to someone so important is never easy.

Slowly, the sheets began to rustle. My boy's sandy blonde head appeared, tears welling in his eyes.

"I miss him already," was all he said.

Curling up beside my firstborn, I tucked his head beneath my chin and sighed.

I said nothing. I just tried to get our breathing in sync, a trick I learned was so calming to him as a baby. His legs stretched so far down the bed our toes almost touched. I realized just how big he was getting. I realized how soon I might be grieving miles of separation with those I am raising to go their own way. And I tried my hardest to let those thoughts pass with the billowing clouds outside. I tried to go back to our breaths, to be there in a way that said nothing, and everything.

Because sometimes, it is the silence we need the most.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Upon Returning

Today, Max and Lizzie both curled up with me-- one on each leg-- and rocked on the front porch. The air smelled like rain and felt like the after steam of a good bath. Weighty clouds hung lazy in the air as pockets of blue began opening around them.

We were waiting for Noah to return from sailing and stretching the post-nap wake-ups with the rhythm of the chair and the sound of its rocking against the wood boards beneath us.

It was quiet. It was unhurried. It was just enough time for me to listen to both children, their breaths and slight sighs. I noticed the way Max's legs nearly reached the ground as they dangled over mine. I smiled at how Lizzie's hair was indistinguishable from my own. We rocked and we watched the world without a place to go or a thing to do.

And that, my friends, has been our motto these last few weeks.

Where I live, the Fourth of July draws more folks into town than any other time in the year. We have parades and art fairs, huge fireworks and lots of friends from afar in town. It is a non-stop party, for the kids and adults alike, and by around July 7, we all very nearly fall apart.

So we go on stay-cation.

We hunker down, we hang out, we make last minute plans and plenty of trips to the beach. The laundry piles up and then dwindles down. The dishes get done in the morning, maybe. We eat with friends and we let bed time roll around when it seems right-- which sometimes means 7:30 and sometimes borders on 10 p.m.. For me, this deviation from routine can be tricky. I've been known to fret about what it says about my mothering or my ability to stick to the rules.

And then it only takes on evening of flipping through photos from the last few weeks to realize that these are the moments that are defining our lives. Little laughs and late nights, quiet glasses of wine on the porch and noise-filled evenings with friends-- this is the stuff of being, the joy of raising a family.

Just take a look:

These pictures make me realize that my children are so in-tune with stay-cation rhythms. They know when to speed up.

They know when to slow down. Um, okay, that might be a stretch.

They know when to go wild (as in, bumper cars a-la cozy coupe action)

and when to hang out with a board game or a book.

Nothing stands in the way of them living in the moment and they remind me of the bliss that comes with doing the same.

It makes you smile, doesn't it? It makes me celebrate the choices we make, big and small, that allow us to live in this place. It makes me look forward to what tomorrow will bring-- but more importantly-- it makes me soak in right now (soaked is a very literal term, as I've just returned from dinner via a friend's boat and am truly sopping wet. to. the. core. Presently am ringing out my ponytail. Thank you, Lake Michigan).