All Basketball, All Day

image

The offspring and I spend quite a bit of time together. I classify all our time together as quality time. It doesn’t matter much what we are doing. As long as we are together. We are pictured here at my nephew’s basketball tournament. We had to sit on the floor since the gym space was that of an overstuffed sardine can. But we are troopers. We enjoyed ourselves.

image

image

Mama Bear

the offspring enjoying the first snow of the 2012 winter season

the offspring enjoying the first snow of the 2012 winter season as I watch from the kitchen window

The darkness of this season feels like a continuous tug at my spirit.  I straighten my back, lift my head and attempt to shake off the mood of depression that hovers over me.  My children wonder why I want to sleep so much and stay inside.  It’s such a change from the hustle and bustle of Spring, Summer and early Fall.  But I persevere because they need their mama WHOLE.

I miss MY mama. I want her to come and make me soup and give me toasty wool socks and a flannel blanket.  I want to curl up under her and just rest a little bit. But I straighten my back, lift my head and attempt to shake off the mood of depression that hovers over me.  My children wonder why I don’t laugh so much anymore. I persevere because they need their mama whole. They need their mama happy.

Winter time is when I make a very concious effort to get out of the house with my children and visit family and friends. My first thoughts as I wake in the morning are “I want to go back to sleep, it’s too cold and dark to wake now.”

Perhaps in a former life I was a bear that hibernates and bypasses this dreary, useless season.

For now, in this life I am mama to two Winter loving children.  I’m going to straighten my back, lift my head and shake off this mood. I’m going to curl the corners of my mouth into a smile and be WHOLE because they need their mama.

Peace Within

My home is the sanctuary of my family. Although the man-child seems to be on a life mission to avoid being here, he finds comfort and rest here.  I protect the peace in our house as I protect the lives of my babies. 

Sure, I enjoy filling our space with beautiful, warm colors and pretty things. It is all part of the aesthetic.  However, the energy that surrounds us when we step foot on the property must remain loving and welcoming.  And it matters not if our guests feel the same love when they are here. But it is evident, or so I am told, to them when they arrive.  I protect the peace in our house as I protect the lives of my babies.

Peace is easy to come by, but difficult to maintain.  That is, if we allow the wrong type of energy to enter our lives.  Daily, I retreat to my home. Away from the world of anxiety and restlessness.  In the evening silence I sit in my room expressing gratitude to our Creator for this space that we call “HOME”.  It serves as protection for me and my babies.

 

Reflections

Looking back over this summer I realize the value in spending some serious quality time with my children. And just how difficult this task can be from day to day.

Working in the educational system certainly has some benefits. The possibility of having 2 months off during the summer was equally appealing as the possibility of effecting change in the life of a child when I accepted this position. I envisioned many summer days spent working on things around the yard, riding around the lake with children in tow, and taking a dip in the community pool. Most of that happened this summer.

Reflecting back, I spent my days lugging baby girl from errand to appointment, visiting friends and family and volunteering at the man-child’s summer program. Baby girl was enjoying the one on one attention, but also longing for more social time with other little people. Because of this I had to improvise.

I found it much less stressful to set up regular play-dates and allow the children to entertain each other. I realize the value in daycare programs when it comes to the socialization of our babies. It reminded me that my village extends out to the youth service organizations.  Which is well beyond the close network of family and friends.

I feel blessed to have a taste of both worlds. Those worlds being: stay at home mama and working outside the home mama.  Both are equally tough jobs even for mama’s unlike me who have the help and support of a spouse.  And yet I still feel like I could be doing so much more with and for my babies.  A lesson I have to relearn from time to time is to cut MYSELF some slack.  Even in the leisure of the summer days my mind worries that I am not doing enough.  When I really should be patting myself on the back for doing all that I can.

Daydreaming

The summer heat covers me creating an electric blanket of warmth not felt any other time of year. Sweat pools on my scalp and slowly drips down the side of my face as I’m hunched over, hand pulling weeds. Sweat pools on my back and soaks my shirt ensuring that I will need to peel each item of clothing off. I smile and dig, and mow, and work my land to make it beautiful and grow things my family can eat.

I imagine the plump tomatoes, sweet cantaloupe, savory greens, fresh basil all harvested and eaten in the same day.

This

Is

Life

Standing tall, I survey the land.  As the heat rises from the ground and envelopes everything around it in waves… I smile with pride.  Teeth shining, tongue dry, reaching for water to coat the desert forming in my throat.

Then my mind drifts to the flowers moved from the back yard to the stone bordered flower bed in the front yard.  They need moisture.

With every step I make toward the water hose, the ground responds faithfully and pushes back with grass blades tickling my ankles.

Grasshoppers jump around my feet, butterflies flutter across my face.

Luck… Transformation… “Yes, tiny totems I hear your message…”

I water the flowers and daydream.

A Moment of Honesty

The mornings are so quiet before the little ones awake.  It’s one of my favorite times. Much like the evening prior, once they have drifted into a slumber.  I call that my “ME TIME”.  It is sacred.  Any other moment it is elusive.  I cherish it.

The “ME TIME” is a well shared secret among us parent types. We tell each other all the time not to neglect setting aside some of this, “ME TIME”.  Many of us do not heed the warning. And we fall victim to the crazies. And we blame our little ones for the onset of the crazies. But how are they to know they are unaware thieves of the “ME TIME”?  We cannot blame them.  We can only cherish it once we have it.  And keep it a sacred moment in our lives as mamas (and papas). 

Let no one take it from you. Guard it with you sanity. Or else the crazies devour what good sense you thought you had.

How do you spend your “ME TIME”?

Speechless

Baby girl has everyone fooled. Everyone except me and the man-child, who she lovingly refers to as “Brother”. She is not a fan of strangers. She is not always a fan of familiars either. So don’t expect friend conversation from this particular toddler.

When we are around strangers she refuses to talk to them. She won’t say a word. And she shuts down completely if the strangers comes too close. She gives THE STARE. However, at home she is a chatter box.

She.won’t.stop.talking. At this point I think she says several new words each day. I can’t keep up anymore. I can have a full on kid conversation with her. She’s really good t giving orders.

“Mommy, sit down”
“Brother, stop talking to me.”
“Mommy, want cereal.”
“Mommy, she spilled. Need towel, clean it up.” <– that’s her speaking in the 3rd person
“Baby, sleepy. Go night, night”

And on, and on. But as I said, this is not the case when she is outside of her comfort zone. So I was a bit nervous when we headed to the zoo today.

We decided to park and ride the shuttle. All was well until we were on the bus. At that point she sat on my lap and hugged me for dear life. She refused to look up from my bosom. I felt sad for baby girl. I figured she was afraid of all the strangers in close proximity. Brother also tried to console her. But she wouldn’t even look at him. I hugged her back, kissed her head and told her we would be ok. Once we reached our destination and exited the bus her mood changed.

She sat happily in her stroller, eyes wide open. From the moment she saw the first animal she lit up. She immediately began talking to them. The animals, that is. Every two-legged creature was a duck and every four-legged creature was a cat. Well except the lion. THAT was a dog. No matter how much I insisted the lion was a big cat she disagreed and would say “No mommy, that’s dog!”

I couldn’t continue disagreeing with such an animated and excited toddler so we moved on. The animal that she will probably forever remember was the polar bear.

That was the only animal she did not say a word to. She just stared. Pointed and stared. She was mesmerized.

I let her stay a bit longer, just to stare at the massive animal. Because it appeared that she was connecting with it somehow. Perhaps they communicated in another way. Because she didn’t yell at him like she did to the giraffes.

One day I will ask her if she remembers the first time she met a polar bear.

Plant a Seed

We have already started our gardening for the coming summer. Some think we jumped the gun in planting our seeds a few weeks ago. But I’ve learned that I have favor when it comes to cultivating the earth. This gift extends into all areas of ideas.

It seems that I have a way of making things happen without doing much more than planting the seed of thought.

My new position is titled Special Education Assistant (SEA). I work specifically with a 2nd grader who is autistic and then with a 1st grader who has behavioral and sensory issues. I love my job. I also love the opportunities I have to work with students through out the school.

I mentioned to one of the directors that I would be interested in teaching a financial literacy course. And lo and behold I have been given the space and opportunity to do just that in the after school program.  Initially I felt overwhelmed since I was just beginning to fall into the groove of the SEA position and everything that comes with that.  But I had to remind myself that this was part of the Divine plan.  Though I may not know the exact plan.

I have drifted back into my yoga practice after a multi-month hiatus.  It has embraced me like an old friend.  Yoga gives me the time and space to BREATH and RELAX and remember to stay in the moment.  It also helps me sleep.

The children are growing and changing. I realize their pace is a few steps ahead of mine. So I find myself running to keep up.  I look forward to the moments they pause and allow this mama to rest and enjoy this stage in life.  It’s how I catch my breath.  It’s how I reflect on the lessons they teach me.

The spinach, oregano, turnip, onion, corn and cabbage have all pushed forth through the dirt.  I look out the window and see how the Divine plan meant for us to plant early.  The tomatoes look out the window, waiting to join their friends. They lean toward the window, perhaps to get a good look at the raised bed they will call their home in a few weeks.

Or, perhaps they are  just stretching toward the sunlight.  Smiling.