Friday, September 4, 2015

It is completely quiet in my house. For the first time in over 16 years, there is no child here in my care. I mean, there have been days, hours that they were out for a while, but this is different. Tristan went to school today. Honestly, even as I cry, I think, "you are such a drama queen. FOUR hours. You're crying about leaving your four year old for FOUR HOURS." And in part, I'm right. But I'm also right to take a minute.

Years ago, when each baby took that first wobbly step, I celebrated. It's all captured on camera, with my ecstatic voice cheering them on and ruining the video. "Go!" we cheer, "walk to Daddy! walk to the couch! come back to me!" You don't realize that first step is the beginning of their OWN journey. And every milestone, you have to wait a little longer for the "come back to me" part.

It's a continual release against my own nature. "Go!" I say, while my heart is begging them to stay.

I knew today would be hard, because it's the beginning of a new chapter, which means it's the end of a chapter. The long mornings of diapers and Sesame Street and Cheerios have been over for a while, but today I am watching that door close behind me, with new doors opening everywhere. And the new world is brave and exciting and so different, for me and for them. But part of me is just dying to go back, to go back to the exhaustion of nursing them at 2 in the morning, the walks down the sidewalk with constant interruptions because they saw a a bug. "wait," I'm saying, "wait, I didn't know that part was really over, wait... wait, I need you to need me."

Tomorrow I will be better, I will be learning to embrace the change and celebrating all the NEW normal and victories. But I am letting myself cry today. Because change is hard,and letting go is not easy. And if I let myself sit here in the silence and feel this, I will be a better person in four hours.

It's a strategy I have for sadness, I make room for it. Because we feel deeply about things we love, and that's good.

So, okay, new chapter. Imma cry for a minute and then let's find the fun.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Today was a hard day. Not a hard day, like ones I've lived before, days that I woke up in the morning and asked God for more hours with one of my children before they left us forever. Those days are horrific. Today was just hard.

Today was one of those days when I feel like I made no progress. I grounded children and capitulated for the sake of quiet. I folded clothes, just to have the baskets upturned. I washed the dishes while a child poured rice on the floor. I argued, pleaded, put my foot down, won and lost.

One of those days when I look at my body, the bags under my eyes, my ponytail falling down and I wonder, "Who am I?" because the answer seems to be that I am just the answer. I am the answer to the injured child, the angry child, the hurting friend, whoever asks. I am the answer to the food and the clothes and the fears. I am the answer to who will teach these little ones to love. I am the answer and I just want to be invisible, sometimes. It's hard to be so essential and so ignored at the same time.

One of those days that I had to continually ask for patience, for perspective, because rumor has it that the years are short. I take some comfort in knowing I might forget these, the not-great-but-not-terrible mundane days. I won't remember, maybe, what it feels like to step on cold macaroni. Maybe I'll forget almost crying over a mound of laundry, of all things.

Or maybe I won't forget. Maybe I will just see clearly.


Maybe today was one of those days that is a building block. Maybe today, I am being built into someone strong, resilient and patient. I am learning, over and over again, to choose to love, and I am teaching by learning.

And I'm not the only one being built. Today is an unremarkable, but essential, brick in a wall of truth and consistency for my children. This hard day is another day that they were fed and taught and loved and seen. Some day we will look back at a solid wall, a strong wall built of ordinary days and occasionally, fantastic and awful days. "Look at what we built!" maybe we will marvel, even with the dings and the cracks.

My responsibility is to keep building, keep learning and loving and trying and failing, because what I'm building is much, much bigger than what I can see. Today was a hard day and I'm proud of it.

Monday, May 11, 2015


There are multiple safeguards that God built in to make parenting doable. For one thing, babies are adorable. Not at birth, mind you. A very select group of infants come out looking like humans, but the majority are more what my dad (RIP) often referred to as "boiled monkeys". The man had a way with words. But later, some time post-birth, they get fat little elbow dimples and ginormous Disney-eyes or what have you, and the cuteness gets significant. That is super useful, because they scream a lot and they don't really sleep, and the whole constant-poop thing- it would be a deal breaker if it were someone that just looked like a normal guy or a goblin or something.

There are other safeguards but I'm a pretty lazy blogger so I'll just skip to the main one.

This is a condition that occurs in childbearing women, often immediately after delivering a baby. I call it mom-nesia, which is an arguably unclever amnesia reference. Maybe I'm rusty.

Here's how it goes down, a lot of the time. (disclaimer: this is not how it goes down with me, because I am in labor for 4 full months and then give birth to miniature children. but this is how I understand it goes down):

Mother: (screaming, etc)
Everybody else: "Breathe, relax, push, etc."
Mother: "Never mind, I will just stay pregnant. I don't want to do this, I'm getting up and going home AIIIIEEEE *&*&&!!@ MADRE DE DIOS."
Childbirth: "LOL"
(general screaming, pain and blood, magic fairy dust and daydreams for the natural birth crowd)
Days later
Baby: "Waah."
Mother: "Let's have more children!"


I get momnesia every time I take my kids on vacation.

Me: "Let's go have a magical Amaro filtered beach trip with our 4 well behaved children."
the Man of God: "Vacation with kids is not vacation."
Me: (a lot of things, sounds of vacation beginning)
All of our money: "See ya suckas!"
(general sounds of our kids fighting and falling down and refusing to eat overpriced restaurant meals)
the Man of God: (not saying anything)
Vacation: "LOL"

Much later, in the last 30 minutes of vacation, we watch a sunset together. The children, sun-weary and full and content, sit beside us, and for a moment there is magic
Me: "Let's ALWAYS go on vacations!"


It happens everywhere. I ground them and forget they're grounded. I take them to the store because I forget about what happens when I take them to the store. "We can handle the post office," I think, because I have a disease. "What is your name?" I ask them, "you, with the hat." I let them stay up late because surely they will sleep in tomorrow.

I would think there was a cure, a pill or an amount of time that will heal me and I will remember. The cold reality is, momnesia is terminal. You will live with it forever.

My mom: "You kids never acted like that."
Me: "I have VIDEOS of us acting EXACTLY like that."
My mom: "Nope"
Memory: "LOL"

On the bright side, I think I'll get an Amaro filter for my old age.

Me, in my senior years: "We used to take magical vacations with you kids."
My Adult Children: (guilty) "We should take our kids on vacation, why don't we ever do that? It will be beautiful and perfect."
Life: "LOL"
Why am I not writing? It's not like I don't have anything to say. I am saying things all the time. It's rallying the brain space to put it in words - I'm not finding that space. Not writing feels like I'm missing something crucial, like I forgot how to breathe normally. I am finding that life is not slowing down any, so I guess I have to figure out how to process on the go. 

I tread lightly through these months. They are filled with anniversaries of promise and dreams and loss. In these months I cradled babies in my womb, felt them kick. In the months to come I released them to God, to live or to die. Some died.

I lost my innocence, I learned that life could be cruel. I said goodbye to my dad and tried to navigate life without a father. Many of the dates I couldn't pinpoint but I will wake with an ache in my chest and remember, "One time, today was a dream," and "once upon a time, today was a nightmare".

I am finding, as time passes, evidence of God in my memories. I remember the grief and then I remember Him, close at hand, a God who knew how it felt to lose a son, to ache. I remember my pain and my rage and my anger and I remember His faithfulness. I remember floating out to sea in grief, prepared to let the waves drown me- I remember my life preserver, my Faithful Steadfast who carried me back to life.

I still carry the ache of what-could-have-been, but it has been tempered by the beauty of what-is. In the midst of these gravestones, I see altars of remembrance. He carried me then and He carries me now.
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