Sunday, June 28, 2009

In this moment:: weekend seven

In this moment

I am:: finally finding the rhythm of summer. And it involves a lot of this

and this

and, of course, this.

I am:: still smiling about a week spent with friends, new and old and in between. Dinners and play dates, girls nights and coffee breaks. Also, am realizing I don't talk and shoot pictures very well, which is why I have no options to illustrate my point.

I am:: loving the morning-till-night hours spent playing outside that make falling asleep, mid-book, on the couch, a daily event.

I am:: probably gaining five pounds a week from eating ice cream cones. But when you live in a town where it is normal to see kids eat ice cream in their pajamas-- on Main Street-- well, it just. can't. be. helped.

I am:: remembering to be awed by the fact that this is my life. While there are reasons to think about leaving-- jobs, lower costs of living, less seasonally-driven work-- the fact remains: we are still here. We choose this place because of the way we become extensions of water, woods, fields, beaches.

We choose this place because of the colors sunsets splash across our children's faces,

the way sand is always in the sheets,

the way we know our roots have dug into the earth, deep and rich with gratitude.

Monday, June 22, 2009

In this moment:: weekend six

In this moment::

I am:: obsessed with baking, which I have never liked in my life, but suddenly adore, particularly when baking with rhubarb.

And chocolate chips,

although I've yet to combine the two.

I am:: loving the vintage finds I keep scoring, like these painted wooden folding chairs, the perfect addition to a long stored antique wooden bistro table.

I am:: sipping sun tea every day. Because there is something about sun tea, and summer, that make me sigh in the best of ways.

I am:: observing summer through the eyes of three ages: the wonderer;

the watcher;

the one who is beginning to understand it all.

I am:: noticing that all of these things take time. The baking, with its ingredient preps and kneading or stirring or waiting, brings moments of meditation. The thrifted treasures were around for many years before making it to our home, and still, they stand strong. Watching a pitcher of water seep into a deep amber as the tea spreads through it somehow feels like slow motion magic. And tastes that way too. And then, there are those three little people. Who have been doing a lot of this

this week, and testing me again and again on patience and parenting presence. But still. One look back at this week's worth of pictures, and somehow, I return to center. I remember this time will not last forever. And yet, I do so wish it would.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Talking about my girl

I'm going to be pretty much wordless today. Because this girl leaves me speechless (and smiling) a whole lot.

Sometimes, mamas feel things that are so big, and so raw, that I'm fairly certain there are, well, there are. no. words.

Quite simply, all I could do today was look through a lens and smile. Because I'm in love.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

In this moment:: weekend five

In this moment::
I am:: loving the long-awaited return of date night. Especially because it is summer, and we live where we do, and we found a sitter that can get all our children to sleep. On time.

I am:: amazed at the difference a year makes.

I am:: reaping the good foods of our local farm and even more, reaping the joy that comes with our children spending time there each week.

I am:: celebrating the return of eating every meal outside.

(sunglasses optional)

and of family bike nights.

and dirt. Lots and lots of dirt.

Ah, summer. Welcome back. We've missed you.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Sail Away

I don't write a lot about this guy anymore, not because he doesn't fill my world with stories-- quite the opposite-- but since he turned 10, and started making faces like the one above almost every time I pull out my camera, I've become so aware that his life is becoming his own. And that means I need to be careful when I want to write about Noah, to ask his permission to send my enthusiasm and awe out into this great abyss.

But I couldn't let this one go, and so, I was kindly given the green light by my little sailor man (who will, no doubt, be ready to string me up if he decides to read this..."Little sailor man" is not exactly a cool nickname).

I wrote a year ago about Noah discovering sailing (and sailing inspired Fourth of July floats).

He loves everything (but capsizing) there is to the sport. He talks about these things: how fingertips flutter instead of sink as they skim the water when under sail; the way it feels be called for skipper the first time; the smells of lake and wind and sun and stinky boat that melt from his skin into his sheets at night; the totally awesome teenagers, like Josh and Norm,

that he gets to hang out with every day, as if they are truly the epitome of a life well-lived.

This winter, while waxing poetic as only Noah can to a sailing legend who happens to live in our town, my child got a very big invitation: to sail with this wealth of knowledge every Tuesday night during the Yacht Club's race series. Justin, who, in a previous (aka pre-married) life made a living racing sailboats, heard this news like it was a gift from heaven. Noah, who knew Norm (the teenage hero) also crews the boat (as does his sailing school director) heard that he got to hang out with "the coolest dudes ever" for three extra hours a week. Me? I just heard sailboat. fast. child on board.

This Tuesday was Noah's first stint on Surprise. We were both nervous wrecks before he hit the docks. I ran around doing those things a mother does when she's nervous; I overfed him. I dressed him for the arctic circle, during a monsoon season, even though it was 50 and not raining. I checked and rechecked his lifejacket. I forced him to wear said lifejacket the second he stepped out of my car, in the parking lot, 200 feet from the docks.

(hence the "are you kidding me" expression, I think).

For Noah's part, his simply sat in the backseat, asked me to turn up the radio, and said in a quiet voice, "I'm nervous." and "You think I'll be okay, right?"

The minute we arrived, however, that fog of fear lifted (for him at least) and he was on the boat faster than I could unbuckle Lizzie from her carseat. I stood on the dock for a few minutes, feeling strange and somewhat ackward. He had not needed me to walk him down, to get him settled, to go over pick up times or safety rules. He was simply gone, learning the ins and outs of the boat without even looking back to see if I was still there.

So I snapped a few pictures. And tried not to cry.

For those of you who have older kids, you know this scene well. This moment when you understand that you've arrived at the day when your child feels independent enough to let go without looking back. I didn't know how to feel, so I concentrated on Lizzie squirming in my arms, the chill of the evening air making her bare feet search for warmth again my skin. She would point to Noah's direction and clap, nestle in against me, and then go back to pointing and clapping. I think she got it as well as I did.

Soon enough, the boat left its slip and began disappearing into the harbor.

I went home and began bedtime routines. The baths, the jammies, the snacks. Something kept pulling me back to the water though, and so I packed up Max and Liz and drove along the shore. My breath almost went from me when I saw this:

Do you see? How very far away these boats are? My baby! My first born! On the other side of the bay in a sailboat-- in a race no less-- without a parent's watchful eye. Tension leapt into my breathing. I stopped the car and starred. And then, from the backseat, Max said, "Oh, mom. Noah is racing! Way over there! He is the coolest dude ever." His envious sigh was so big and so reverent that it brought me back to reality. It brought me back to this amazing, beautiful truth: my baby is growing up. And he is one cool dude.

Sailing has been known to draw plenty of metaphors for life. I'll skip that stuff, since it's Noah that is the sailor, not me. Instead I'll simply say this, Noah did something all on his own-- without my protection or guidance or safety net. He's changing. He's learning his way and I'm so filled with respect and admiration that it the best possible sense of the word. This growing up stuff might not be so bad afterall.

Monday, June 8, 2009

In this moment:: weekend four (better late than never)

In this moment::

I am:: grateful for every giggle I can get out of my daughter. Cutting four top teeth at once brings little in the way of smiles, but for some reason, the camera always shows her shining.

I am:: finally finished obsessing over more than 2,000 pages of smut which I loved getting lost in, and yet, am too embarrassed to name here. Whew.

I am:: planning projects, both the kind that are tangible, and the kind that are anything but.

I am:: eating leftovers from last night's dinner with friends and marveling over how much easier it gets to feed nine children at once, as they get older and more, well, self sufficient.

I am:: thrilled for the onset of summer schedules, just two days from now. There will be sailing school and naps to guide our days, but little else to dance into our rhythm.

which is lovely, because
I am:: working toward transforming my view of time, aware now that each moment brings its own dawn, its own joy, its own space to simply be.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

And he rides.

I love this child.

Ah, Max. A middle born in every way, my sweet boy got a little bit older yesterday. A little bit more independent. A little bit more like his big brother. Yesterday, we bid farewell to his training wheels.

The idea was all his, as he sat around the kitchen table early in the afternoon and said, quite matter-of-fact in his four-year old voice, "I'm having dad take my training wheels off of my bike. Then I'm going to ride around in the grass. And after that I am going to just go really, really fast."

Really fast.

I remember late November 2006, Max's wispy blond locks blowing every which way, his sherpa patagonia vest (my favorite kid's clothing item ever) zipped up tight in the late fall wind. We'd just handed down Noah's old Red Flyer tricycle, and there was a look of sheer determination in Max's eyes. A look that said, "I don't care if my feet don't touch the pedals. I'm makin' this work."

And he did.

Now I find myself standing in front of that same Red Flyer, only it isn't Max messing around with the handlebars and pedals. It's Lizzie.

Max is zooming up and down the driveway, his training wheels wobbling and buckling under his speed. Yes, I thought to myself, he's ready. So soon.

Justin came home from work early and set about making a true two-wheeler. There was so much excitement in the air.

I found myself skipping between video camera and still frames, trying to hide my need to protect, to control the situation from behind the lens as I watched Justin run alongside, and let go, Max teetering and toppling over again and again.

My natural instinct was to run alongside yelling things like "Justin! Hold him tighter!" and "Careful, Max! Careful!" But everytime he fell, he had a face that said "I. Love. This."

So I bit my lip. I watched a group of ants scrambling in and out of a pile of sand along the side of our driveway. I took a breath and looked up as Max screamed out my name.

And this is what I saw:

I so, so, so love being a mama.