Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

The hour draws will soon be the day ofPilgrims and Indians, turkeys drawn from elementary school kids' hands with construction paper feathers, a parade through New York City ending with Santa, football games, the smell of pumpkin pie, the aching feeling of eating too much too quickly...oh, Thanksgiving - we love thee, o American holiday that serves all of our lazy, happy indulgences. (Of course, that statement is really for the men and children who do not have to cook or clean up after the biggest meal of the year. Bah, humturkey.) Still, I do like a chance to think over my particular blessings of the year. I have many. They're probably innumerable. So here are some things I am grateful for, the trivial and important...

The Trivial (just 11 points.)

1. Television Without Pity, for it makes me laugh and revels in my own loved television. And, quoting Carrie, the six degrees that lead from there to all the other stuff that I read on line for fun.
2. Friends on DVD. All ten seasons.
3. French Vanilla Creamer in my coffee. Coffee Mate brand. It's the good stuff.
4. A big bathtub to take bubble baths in.
5. Heated seats in my car.
6. Scented candles.
7. Charlie Brown. All the year long.
8. I have to say it. Milk and cookies. Or milk and brownies. Either will do.
9. Diet Dr. Pepper. You knew that was on the list, right?
10. My couch that is wide and pillowy and comfy.
11. Curling irons. For without it, there would never be a good hair day.

The Crucial

1. God's grace and love. Without that, everything else would drain down the pooper.
2. Christian and Sean - two healthy, amazing, happy boys. With all of my mistakes and uncertainties and paranoia...they still seem to be just fine. I'm so so so so unbelievably happy when I see their faces.
3. Neil. Because even with all of our ups and downs, we're still in love and can make each other laugh. He can still make my stomach jump with that certain wink and when he sings, I still feel that 'I have a crush' sensation...
4. Our house. :) I never expected to have a house, complete with a yard and garage and fun Narnia like street lamps so soon...
5. Carrie. It is so amazing to have a friend that understands...pretty much everything. We can send random emails, create alternate universes, commiserate over boys, ruminate the God-matters, squeal or yell over movies/tv/music/books...I'm grateful to have someone with whom I can relish all the good moments and make it through all the bad ones. For all the chocolate, for all the conversation, for watching grown-up shows on a Mickey Mouse tv, for letting small boys drool on you and pull your hair and chase your cats...thanks.
6. My family - my mom, whom I can call and talk to for forever about anything (sometimes in a little too much detail :) ) and my dad, with all of our random debates and deep questions, and just everything that they've given me - they shaped who I am and enabled me to handle this world. My sisters, who are fun and let me borrow clothes and cds and who put up with my crazy brother, who is sweet and talks city-like and is the best 8 year old uncle in the world.
7. The public library. Seriously. For letting me read so many books for free. With that - literature and writing. Without the world of books, I wouldn't be the person that I am.
8. Good jobs. Particularly my job that allows time for #7.
9. Music. I read something somewhere that we are essentially creatures of noise - down to our heartbeat and breathing in and out...and music touches that core part of us. It's a wonderful way that God gave us to express and feel our emotions.
10. Health and the beauty that is nature and food and medicine and America.

And finally....
This Thanksgiving, I hope that you do not...
Go onto the roof to see a giant cartoon dog balloon loose over the city and lock yourself out of your apartment with dinner burning, accidentally try a piece of pumpkin pie with Mockolate cookie crumb, get roped into a football game with a troll trophy prize that will last until death or frostbite, spend the day in a large box or kiss your ex-boyfriends son, reveal the truth about why you cut off your secret boyfriend's toe and have to put a turkey on your head to make up with him, make an English truffle with a layer of beef sauteed with peas and onions, make a bet that you will not eat dinner until you name all fifty states, have dinner with a guy from high school that founded a club - with the father of your child - based on hating you, forget to ride on the Macey's Parade float or have a fist fight with your sister or break a full box of wedding china reserved for the queen of England, arrive so late to dinner that you're locked out and then get your head stuck in the partly opened door and then when you're set free, don't knock Thanksgiving dinner onto the floor.

I do hope that you laugh a lot and eat a lot and smile. A lot.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

catch it and pass it on!

The temperature has finally dropped. Saturday night I wore my pea coat. I've a few decorations on my mantle and I've done a bit of shopping in preparation for my favorite holiday. I've done all of this cheerfully, but not with the Christmas glee that usually hits me at some point during the season. And Sunday night, the Christmas spirit arrived at the most unlikely moment.
I was annoyed for various reasons, had put the kids to bed, and was washing dishes. My mom had called earlier to ask if I had borrowed her Jessica Simpson Christmas CD. I did borrow it, in the middle of the summer, and had forgotten about it. So I put it into the cd player to listen while finishing up the kitchen duties. And somewhere between Jessica and Nick crooning 'Baby, It's Cold Outside' and my favorite Christmas song, 'O Holy Night,' it hit me. The tingling sensation that you first feel as a kid and love to feel as an adult. Good will to earth and peace to men and such...angels and sparkles and the smell of scotch tape. Then yesterday I walked through a lot of real trees ready to be taken home...and that piney smell was almost enough to make me swoon. I busted out the Mariah Carey christmas cd - one of the best ever made. I've been listening to it, literally, every year since sixth grade. This year is even more special because Sean can say 'Jesus' and point to the baby in the manger in all of his Christmas books...he knows how to say 'snowman' and I'll let him eat a christmas cookie or two...and this is Christian's first we get a new ornament and stocking...we get to decorate our new house...we're having a decorating party with aunt Carrie...I'm just blissful with the holiday season. It's a celebration of Jesus and it's a celebration of family and friends. I guess that's why I love it so much. Everyone is supposed to be together and happy and loving. It's the rule. That's the way it should be all year long, but the time to do that just seems to disappear. I know I am rambling and sounding all Seventh Heaven...but that's just how I feel today!
So you're infected now. Whether you like it or not.
Tomorrow I'll get my holidays back in order and focus on Thanksgiving...(yay parades!)....

Thursday, November 17, 2005

A Mommy Moment

From the moment I arrived home yesterday and was told that Sean had not yet had his nap, I was in mental preparation. I strategized. Feed the babies, bathe the babies, lure the babies to sleep. They were tired. It would, for once, have to work. Therefore, they were just the cutest doing all of the above. Christian gave me his toothy, appreciative grin with each bite of peaches, every spoonful of rice and broccoli. Sean started the meal with a 'yet's pray' and kept his squinchy smiley face on as he dove into his plate and ate his way back out of it. They were splashy and giggly through bathtime and semi-cooperative as they were wriggled into pajamas. I turned off the light in their bedroom, switched on the nightlight and snuggled Sean into his finding Nemo blanket. And (I admit it) turned on good ol' Monster's Inc. Nothing like a movie about monsters to get my two year old to snoozing. Christian and I sat there by Sean's bed on top of the kiddy table until, sure enough, Sean's hazel eyes closed and he started emitting the heavy breathing, slightly snorish sound that signals his slumber. As a bonus, Christian was rubbing his eyes and looking a little dazed. So I rushed to make him a warm bottle of milk, snuggled him into his bed, and ta da - out like a cute little light.
What to do? Two babies in bed and one mommy alone to do as she wishes. And then it happened. I did exactly what I wanted to do. I made hot chocolate and snuggled into my couch with a blanket and a book. This may not sound earth shattering to most people, but for was like a little slice of heaven right there in my living room. Peace reigning in the house. I'm sure there were angels singing lullabys into my ventilation system.
And for about 15 minutes, that perfect moment endured.
After the 15 minutes? Well....Neil came home for work, I cooked dinner, Christian woke well rested and ready for action, and Sean woke up screaming like he was being attacked by five eyed, horned, winged elephants because he was SO mad to have opened his eyes, and I had to lie down beside of him -our backs touching, but only barely or the screams would reignite - to get him back to sleep. Total peace, total chaos.
As I was rocking Christian, I realized how much more I appreciate those peaceful moments now - and how much I appreciate the chaotic ones. Because as crazy as it might be sometimes, I know that one day these years are gonna' be like that perfect 15 minutes in my memory - and probably, I'm gonna' want them back.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Keep Walking

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way.
~J.R.R. Tolkien

There is nothing like...

~Watching a two year old being alternately afraid and fascinated by cats....touch and run, look and leap!
~eating brownies and criticizing television with your best friend...
~a ten month's old laughter echoing through the house because he is SO thrilled to be standing up beside of his big brother
~that same baby boy being sat in a tiny yellow chair and swinging his feet back and forth like a big kid, so excited!
~ when in the middle of Target, your own child goes boneless so that he is pure, immovable weight and then when you pick him up, screams out 'Help! Help!' Like he is being kidnapped.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

appropriate quote

"Man is born broken. He lives by mending. The grace of God is glue."
~Eugene O'Neill

Mr. Clean

Sean discovered over this past weekend the joy of writing on the walls. When I took the stray crayon away from him, he proceeded to pick up a toy of some sort and pretend it was a crayon. Thus creating scuff marks all over the place. So, I picked up a magic eraser made by Mr. Clean. Thinking, yeah right. No way it's as easy as the back of the box advertises. But sure enough, some water and a few swipes later, the damage had been repaired.

What I really, really wish is that someone could invent a magic eraser for the heart. I've been trying to sort out why it is that letting go of things is the most difficult feat we must master. Is time the ultimate healer, really? When touched, those briars clinging to my emotions still sting just as much now as when they were first stumbled into. When it comes to the hurtful things said to us or done to us by the people we love the most, is there truly a time when it doesn't hurt anymore or is the healing rather the ability to endure those remembrances and keep moving forward? Because there are certain things that - no matter what - will always, always hurt me. Will they always be gut-wrenching?
What I need to know is how to not let those things hinder who I am and the relationship that I have now. What is God's role in this? To help us deal with the pain or to take it away completely? Is it my own static cling that stops him from making it disappear?

My little journey is making progress, I think. If only to let me see myself honestly.
I see that to get anywhere I must surrender all things. Not just the convienent things, but also those that I would probably like to keep. Those that I justify.

I want to want to be like Christ. Step one, right?

Late Fragment
by Raymond Carver
And did you get what
you wanted from this life even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Pilgrim's Progress

The last few weeks have been a wasteland of medicines and fevers and tissues and an intense longing to lie down. Always. And that means babies and me. We're on the upside now. At last. Breathing through my nose has ceased to be a constant struggle and the coughing only comes at the inconvienent times. Such as answering the phone, trying to sleep, or rocking a child to sleep. Or eating. Or now. Ok, so I still have a cough. But that's better than wishing to rip my head off.

So. I had a nice long talk with myself last night. It's no secret that I've been an emotional weeble-wobble over the last few months...year....years....whatever. It's just been getting worse, though - the inner angst of frustration, anger, weird sadness. It's just too easy for me to lose the happy spin on things. So last night I really said, ok. What's up with this? Where's that happy, peaceful, annoyingly optimistic girl that I used to be??
Here's what I figured out.
I realize that a lot of unexpected things have whirlwinded through my life in the past 3 years. I also know that my life has never been perfect. Though on a different emotional scale than the new stuff, I still had to deal with things....but here's how I dealt with it. I had a real, tangible relationship with God. And of course, I have a nodding acquaintance with Him now but it's not the same. I pray with the kids and whisper those 'please please help me' prayers through the day. And I think about God-stuff, especially when I write. But back then...I could unload my heart. I could write out prayers or sit in my bed and talk to Him. Like crying, ranting, telling Him what hurt talks. And I read that Bible. And used it. There was a real peace there - there was strength for the taking - and I took it. I truly experienced the way that God can sustain even through crap. There's that inner peace beyond understanding. It is totally possible for a circumstance to suck and yet be okay about it. It's the attitude towards the circumstance that matters.
I'm not sure when I lost that knowledge. Or at least stopped making it a part of my life. Probably about the same time that I started crossing the line of my standards in college and was plagued with a little monster named Shame. And since then...there have been things to happen that I can't change. Circumstances beyond my control that affect everything about me. And I haven't been able to deal with it because I've been unable to use the source of help that is RIGHT THERE.

I don't have a real, unchanging joy because I've been treating it vegetables. Like I eat veggies every day because they're pretty good and I know I should. But I'm not head over heels for carrots. God-Time should be like chocolate, fudgy, warm, whip cream topped yum and a huge perfectly flavored French Vanilla coffee. In a bubble bath. With candles. And a fantastic book.
Basically, the thing I long for always.

So this is the time. The time to reacquaint myself with the God that I claim to live for and yet keep in the back of my life. It's time for a pilgrimage of sorts. I'm claiming this month as the month to concentrate on all of this.
And quite likely...quite possibly, get the most important part of myself back. Because, as it's been said a million quadrillion times, we are most ourselves when in tune with the one who made us who we are.

And here's something that I thought was funny. Euguenia Price was talking about how we expect God to fulfill our desires that we have come up with in our own twisted, not God focused ways...

She says: "God will not satisfy your neurotic longings.
He would be a fiend if He did."

But rather He fulfills like this...."For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell..."

He is enough. And in Him we find the other things that are good and pure and beneficial for us happening...we find our real dreams realized.