Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sick Puppies

This sickness has descended on us once again. 

Freddie started it.  He woke up with a low-grade fever on Saturday morning.  This turned into a very high fever and full blown yuckiness on Sunday.  But I took him to the doctor, no ear infection, no strep.  Must be a virus.  Wonderful!  Nothing you can do for a virus but just wait for it to go away.

So Monday I stayed home.  If you're keeping count, that is 4 sick days in the 10 weeks I've been working at this new job.

Monday his fever broke, so it was back to daycare on Tuesday.  When I picked them up, Ainsley had a runny nose and I was informed that Freddie had not been himself all day.  But no fever.

Yesterday morning, I woke to find Freddie covered in a rash.  Ainsley, meanwhile, had picked up a cough to go along with her very runny, watery nose. 

Freddie stayed home with Nanny yesterday.  Doctor says he doesn't need to be seen and he's not contagious - Roseola.  He was contagious before the rash broke out.  Lovely!

Last night, Ainsley was up most of the night coughing...know what that means?  Clif and I were up most of the night.  Clif more than me.  I had spent the previous three nights up with Freddie all night, so he took the bullet on this one.

So today, Ainsley is home with Nanny.  Thank goodness for Nanny.  Otherwise I would have been out of work all week.

And now, Clif and I...not feeling so hot.  Maybe we're just tired.  Maybe if the weather got over it's whole bi-polar disorder no one would be sick.  Maybe this weekend we'll catch up on sleep. 


Hope you all are feeling well.  Happy Thursday.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Pretty Toes

I sit in the small green chair with my feet planted firmly on paper towels.  I know I'm just asking for a mess, and Clif shakes his head when he hears "yes" escape from my lips.  I just hate always saying no.  Sometimes life is messy and you just have to embrace it so your 3-year-old can have a little fun.

But nail polish?  Maybe we shouldn't go there yet.

Ainsley leans over my unkempt toes with the polish bush held tightly in her unskilled hand.  The bright pink drips from the brush and lands on the paper towel.  Paper towels?  Good idea.  Bright pink nail polish?  Well...

She works quietly for a few minutes.  I resist the urge to correct her or instruct her.  If I'm going to let this happen, I need to just let it all go and let her do her thing.

"Ooops."  She looks up at me.

I look down and see that she has missed my nail completely and painted my knuckle.  I smile and say, "It's okay.  Keep going."

She does and I don't hear another word out of her until it's done.

"Dare you doe mommy.  Is it pretty?"

I giggle and say "It's the best pedicure I've had in a long time."

Friday, March 25, 2011

Banana Splits

The display case is filled with beautiful goodies; miniature tarts stuffed with glossy fruit, tall cakes decorated with tiny flowers, thick donuts covered in colorful icing and over-sized cookies littered with giant chocolate chunks.

Grandma orders her sundae and looks back at me.

You ready, babe?

I leave the case and join my grandmother at the ice cream counter.  

Can I have a banana split?

Her wide grin spreads slowly across her soft cheeks. Well, it is your birthday, so I guess you can have whatever you want.

The excitement rises in my cheeks.  Mom never lets me get banana splits.

One banana split for my oldest granddaughter.  She winks at me, pays the cashier and leads me to the small table along the wall.   We sit and wait for our gooey treats talking about my new shoes, Sunday school, Grandma's garden, baking pies, little siblings, anything that comes to mind really.

I love my Grandmother.  She always listens to my stories but never makes me feel silly or babyish.  Today is always our special day.  Every year, near my birthday, I get to spend one day all by myself with her.  That's not easy with so many cousins and siblings.  Seems there's always some other little kid around.  We shop for brand new shoes and get ice cream.  She does it with all her other grandchildren, but i just know she loves my day best.  I can feel it.

The man working at the shop delivers our ice cream.  My banana split is huge, I've never seen so much ice cream.

I thought maybe you were going to get that pink donut?

I shake my head.  No way.  It's too hot outside.  Ice cream is perfect.

She nods in agreement.

I take bite after bite, watching the ice cream begin to melt.  The three colored sauces swirling around one another, turning from their distinct hues to a brownish gray.  

Grandma finishes her sundae, How you doing?

I sigh, Getting really full.  But I keep eating.  Wasting food is not allowed, especially when I've chosen so extravegantly.

Babe, you don't have to finish it.  Just eat what you want.

I smile and put my spoon down.  Grandma really is the best.

This piece was written in response to a prompt at the Red Dress Club: write a piece, fiction or non-fiction, inspired by the delicious shot. Word limit is 600.


Like I said yesterday, I'm having trouble organizing my thoughts into stories lately.  As soon as I saw this picture, I knew what I wanted to write about, but I'm just not sure the story came across the way I wanted it to.  Constructive criticism welcome...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Stuck Maybe

Lately, I haven't been feeling myself.

I've been a little bit down, tired, worn out and...I don't know.  I can't quite pull the right word.  I can't quite hone in on the problem. 

I'm feeling guilty for how much time my kids spend in daycare.  We leave the house around 6:45 in the morning and don't get home until 5:30, at the earliest.  It doesn't allow me much quality time with them.  I feel like I'm just this schedule keeper...

Get home...
Get fed...
Get bathed...
Get to bed...

And if the schedule goes awry, I get stressed and worried that I'll miss more time, which only leads to me being short tempred and rushed.  They're not getting the best of me.  They get what's left at the end of a long, busy a string of long, busy days that start before the sun is up and end long after it's gone to bed.

I'm feeling stressed over real estate and finances.  Our Richmond house is on the market and I just keep hoping we'll get the phone call that we have an interested buyer...but we don't.  I know it hasn't been long, but I just need it to go away.  I need that one thing to be taken care of.  It's priced higher than it should be, but we can only go so low.  There's not much of a financial safety net left after 18 months of unemployment.  I thought all of our financial troubles would disappear once Clif had a job, but instead it seems that the universe planned it exactly so that he would find that job right as our savings was gone.  And now trying to climb back to neutral is proving harder than expected.

I'm feeling inadequate about living in someone else's house.  Not having our own space.  Trying to cram everything that makes it home into a basement.  I've been independent for a long time and I don't do well asking for favors or leaning on someone.  In fact, I hate it.  I'd rather sell my left arm.

I'm feeling bored and unfocused at work.  This probably isn't a great thing for a 3 month old job.  I have to force myself to stay on task, because the task on hand is not exciting.  And even though it's a new job, it's the same seemingly pointless industry I've been in for 6 years.  Six years of filling your mailbox with junk.  No one ever dreams of this career.

On top of it all, I'm having a hard time writing.  This is something I love to do and it usually makes me feel so much better, but the words just aren't coming.  Everything I spit out is jumbled and random and confused.  I have a few stories I want to tell but I just can't organize them in a creative way.  Instead I just jump from topic to topic with no obvious sense.

So until I can figure it out...this is what you get.  Me feeling, I don't know, stuck maybe?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Monster Mash or How My 1st Birthday Parties are Jinxed

To truly appreciate my jinx-i-ness, read this post.

Then come back and read this post...

Preparations were in full swing on Friday the 18th for Freddie's big birthday party the following day WHEN...dun, dun, dun...the laundry room flooded and we had to shut off the water.  So instead of making food and cleaning and decorating cupcakes...I went to bed, because of the whole no water situation.

Really, I just had to laugh about it.  I was very busy the next day once the plumber came and the water was turned back on, but we managed to get everything done and ready before the first guests arrived.  I was even able to shower and have myself ready before anyone showed up.

We did a monster theme, since Freddie is a monster.  It was a great time and I'm so glad that so many friends and family were able to make it.

These are the cupcakes and mash cake I made.  Denise baked all the cupcakes and I decorated them.  It was  a lot of fun and I think they turned out really cute.

Freddie loved the cake but was not thrilled with the messiness of it all.

Happy 1st birthday Fredder-monster. We love you!

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Weight of One Year

Dear Freddie,

For you, it's been your whole life so I'm sure it seems much longer than a blink of an eye.  But for me, that's exactly what it is.  A blink and you went from this tiny, screaming baby, to my sweet big boy that you are today.

You have taught me so much about myself.  In the depths of my imagination, I could never picture myself mothering a boy.  But then there you were, waiting to be mothered and somehow it came so perfectly easy.  And now, when I think about all I get to teach you and show you?  I'm so excited.  I'm so happy that Daddy and I get to teach you to be a man.  That we can show you how to treat a woman and how to nurture your own children one day.  What a gift you are to me.  What an awesome responsibility you have placed at my feet, to mold a tiny little baby boy into a good man.  I am up for the challenge.  I know that one day I will count helping you along your path as one of my greatest accomplishments.

Your big sister Ainsley made me a mommy, but you made me a better mommy and a stronger person.  Ainsley was pretty easy.  As a baby, nothing bothered her, she rarely cried, she smiled all the time.

You?  Well, you were not quite as easy.  You had terrible reflux that made you quite cranky at times, unable to rest from the burning in your chest.  You were bothered, you were cranky, you cried a lot.  But somehow, all that made me love you even more.  It showed me what a fierce personality you had...and you have not disappointed.  Once that reflux subsided and you came into your own a little more...all that crying and crankiness became the best belly laugh I have ever heard.  You demand to be heard, and I just love that about you.  I know that these demands will lead you in great places.  This need to speak and be heard will make you stand your ground and fight for what you believe in.

You have changed and grown so much in this last year.  I can't believe that you're walking and starting to talk.  You amaze me every day. 

Thank you for coming into my life.  Thank you for who you are and who you will be.

Happy Birthday Little Boy!


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Don't laugh...

...but here I am one year ago.  Wowser!!  That is not a good look.  I am not one of those cute as a button pregnant women...more like cute as a beached whale! 

This was just about 12 hours before Freddie made us a foursome.  I can't believe he'll be a year old tomorrow.

Maybe the Plumber Caused the Flood...

Last fall I bought Ainsley some new clothes.  Jeans, shirts, dresses, etc.  I bought most things on sale, which is normal for me.  I don't spend a lot on things like that.  I can't spend a lot on things like that.  Eighteen months of unemployment will drastically alter your budget on things like that.

All of the pants I bought Ainsley are too short now.  As I was dressing her this morning and her jeans brushed between her shin and ankle, I wondered if it was warm enough to roll them and pass them off as capris?  Probably not.  So the poor child looks like she's awaiting the spring flood season with anticipation.

I have two problems...

First, I'm pretty much broke most of the time.  And when we do have free money, it usually is already allotted to something.  Which I guess makes it not free.  So it's pretty hard to carve out even $50 for a new wardrobe.  I can remember wearing hand-me-downs and too small clothes as a child and I so often complained to my mother.  But my parents were also broke most of the time.  So mom...I'm so sorry.  I know you must have hated hearing it and not having the money to fix it.  Ainsley doesn't even complain and I feel bad about it.

Second, they do not make clothes for a child of Ainsley's dimensions!  At least not where I shop.  So listen up children's fashion world...not all children are plump.  Ainsley is tall and skinny.  Her 3T jeans are all at least an inch too short on her...yet they fall off of her.  So not only does the child have highwaters, she also has plumber crack!  So I can't very well buy her 4T.  They'll be even wider.

I guess I see a lot of dresses in our future.

Happy St. Patty's Day all!  Ignore the short pants and focus on the cute socks and bows.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Stuff Dreams are Made of

I'm in Chicago.  Which is cool, because I've never been to Chicago...only, I'm not really IN Chicago...I'm near Chicago.

I'm visiting mailshops in the Chicago area.  And, if you know anything about mailshops - but really why would you unless you work in the industry - they are not in fancy places.  They do not take up space in the penthouse with an amazing view.  They reside in the bowels of a city.  Usually in a warehouse, lost in a sea of warehouses.

So I have not seen the sites of Chicago...instead I've been driving around the industrial gut of Chicago...places like Burr Ridge and McCook and Palos Hills.

But still, it's a nice change of pace to get out of the office and I was treated to an amazing dinner and I got to stay in a hotel by myself!

Do you know what that means?  If you are a mommy of young children, then staying in a hotel by yourself is the stuff dreams are made doesn't matter where it is.

I got a bed to myself.

I got to take the longest, hottest shower.

I got to watch whatever I wanted.

I got to go to the bathroom by myself.

I got to read.

I got to blog and visit blogs without feeling any guilt.


I didn't get to rock Freddie to sleep.

I didn't hear "I love you Mommy" from Ainsley this morning.

I didn't get to cuddle.

I didn't get to watch Dora or Tom and Jerry or Phineas and Ferb with an excited little girl.

A hotel is a very quiet place...and though a little break is nice, I miss the noise.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Morning Peace

I buckle my seat belt and back slowly out of the driveway.  All the cars parked along the street make an oncoming vehicle difficult to notice.  I've been honked at before. 

I safely bounce into the street and head towards the main road.  I sigh and think about the children I just left behind.  They cry every day.  I know they stop the moment I'm out of sight, but it's hard to leave them teary eyed and begging for my return.

I know it will be a bad commute.  The rain is starting and I'm running a bit late.  I stop at a light and lean back on the headrest.

I'm so tired.  I close my eyes.  Freddie has not been sleeping well.  The molars are killing him.  I didn't even have time to shower this morning.  Hope no one notices.  And Ainsley?  She hates mornings.  Getting her up can be like wrestling...

The horn from the car behind me yanks me from my thoughts.  The light is green and now I'm holding up traffic.

The rain is coming down hard as I pull on to the main drag.  I am immediately met with brake lights.  I feel my blood start to boil.  I could have never imagined it would be this bad.  And then it begins, the crawl, the start/stop, the aggressiveness, the irritation.  And it will continue all the way into DC.

I hate begining my morning this way.  I'm angry and annoyed.  Irritated that I have to drop off crying children in order to sit through this misery.  I despise the other drivers.  They are all out to get me, all destined to be in my way.  Just drive!  I think with each passing moment.

The clock ticks closer and closer to eight, so I make the dreaded call.  I'll be late I record onto the voicemail.  Traffic is horrible I spit out.  I'll be in as soon as I can I say just before hanging up.

I continue on my slated path, no where else to go, no where else to turn, just trapped in this long snaking line of red brake lights glaring through the heavy rain.  Red lights...they're so harsh.  I wonder if it's actually the color that projects that feeling, or if the feeling of sitting behind so many red lights has altered the color's hue.  This is what you think about in traffic.

I finally see the flashing lights ahead.  An accident.  I'm sorry to say that my first thought is Well, at least there's an end in sight.

I inch slowly past the fender bender on my left shutting down that lane.  It makes me even more annoyed.  I'm able to speed up the approaching hill only to be met by another stop light.

But as I sit at the top of this peak, I see it.  My favorite part of the commute.  The Arlington skyline is visible and clear.  The buildings pierce through the gray sky at different heights and shapes.  And then as I proceed through the light the sky clears for just a moment and the sun peaks through the shredded cloud.  The light reflects off the mirrored windows of the building, and for a small second I smile and enjoy the beauty of the urban artwork. 

The skyline disappears quickly behind the rooftops and before I know it I am submerged back into the sea of red brake lights and swishing wipers.  I am again surrounded by the gray and misery of this commute, but for a moment there was peace.

I'm writing this post in response to a prompt at The Red Dress Club: This week we asked you to write a piece about something ugly - and finding the beauty in it.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Run of the Mill Update

This week has been sort of crazy...aren't they all though?

But in particular, I've decided that I need more stability in my life, so I've been pushing myself to get things organized at my in-law's house.  I have not made it very far.  Also, I'm doing a bit of contract work for my old company.  So that hasn't left much time for blogging.  I love my blog, but money's always going to win out.  So if anyone wants to pay me to write my blog every day...speak up...PLEASE!!!!

See, although we moved here 2 months ago, I don't really feel like we've moved.  You know?  We've been in Richmond every single weekend of those 2 months getting the house ready, packing, moving stuff, etc.  Now, that we're past that stage, I feel the need to become a bit more settled.

The basement, which is basically where my little family has it's living space, is a wreck.  I mean we have the main area set up nicely, but the kids toys are everywhere - awe, just like home :)

The storage area of the basement is nightmarish!  As we unloaded our cars each week, the stuff that needed storage just kind of got tossed in a pile.  So now that needs to be a bit more organized and neat.  Especially if Ainsley every wants to use her trampoline again.

So that is my goal.  To have all that cleaned up by Freddie's birthday weekend.  Ahhhhh!  Lots to do, and very little time to do it.

Speaking of birthday party...can you believe it?  I can't!  I can't believe that my little monster will be 1 next Friday!!!!  Where has the time gone?  So in honor of the approaching birthday, here is a little update on all that Freddie's doing these days...the good, bad and ugly.

The Good
I always heard that second children don't talk as early as the first.  So, I gotta say, that I'm a bit blown away at all that Freddie "says."  Here's a list of his most common words:
-Baaw - Ball.  The kid loves a ball.  The only thing that excites him more than a ball is the song "Baby Beluga."
-Baa Baa Baa - Baby Beluga.  My MIL has this song on a CD and Freddie asks for it.  Ainsley learned this song right around her first birthday.  Freddie will say Baaa, Baaa, Baaa while he rocks back and forth and tilts his head to the left - BUT only the left.  He doesn't go right. If you don't believe me, watch this...

-Nigh Nigh - I believe this is Night Night.  But I think he also uses it for Nanny.  He always says it when we're saying good night to everyone.  He also says it when I have gone past bedtime.  But I also randomly hear him say it when Denise is around.  So maybe it has a duel meaning.
-Ahhh Daaa - All done.  I'm trying to teach him signs, so he says this with great enthusiasm while vigorously shaking his hands in the air.
-AHhh DoTT - He says this a lot, I'm thinking it's "What's that?"

-Uhhh Ahhh - Uh Oh...everyone's favorite
Then of course we have the Muma and Daada which are always wonderful to hear.

Freddie can also wave bye-bye, clap, do the sign for "all done", I think he may be trying to do the sign for "more" but it looks like clapping, dance, play patty-cake, feed himself, drink from a sippy cup and stomp around the house.  He is not graceful (see the ugly section).

The Bad

-He LOVES the toilet paper roll.  Don't turn your back on him in the bathroom because in less than 5 seconds he can empty the roll of toilet paper by spinning it with is fat little hands.
-He bites.  I have the bruises to prove it.
-He hates any activity where you are forcing him to be still: diaper changes, getting dressed, getting undressed, strapping him into his car seat/stroller/highchair, wiping his nose.
-He doesn't really like the dogs to be near him - probably because they either knock him down or lick his face until he can't breath.  BUT, he loves the dog bowls.  Sometimes I'll look over and see him concentrating very hard with his mouth closed.  That's the sign for "I just put a piece of dog food in my mouth and it's really hard and I'm not sure what to do with it, but interesting flavor."  Also, I have to hide the water bowls or he'll soak himself.

The Ugly

He did this while walking.  Really.  He falls, randomly.  I know that he just started walking, but I don't feel like Ainsley was this klutzy and she was pretty brave at this age.  She wasn't really apprehensive about walking.  But then again, maybe I was just more on top of her all the time.  Who knows the reason.  But he literally was walking towards Ainsley's doll house when he fell face first into it, broke one of the windows and was stabbed in the head with the jagged end of the wood.  I saw the broken window first and I gotta say that I was sure we'd be making a trip to the ER.  But he's good.  I think it looks worse than it is.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Blown Away

So this morning when I opened my email I had a bunch of comments on one of my posts.  It wasn't my most recent post, it was from a week or so ago.  It was a a very personal post and it wasn't easy for me to write or publish.  In fact, it took me months to finish it and another month to actually post it.

I was surprised that I had so many comments and then as I read through them I realized why.  A blogger that I LOVE featured the post on her blog!  Click here to read her stuff and see my featured post.  She is amazing.  I read her posts every day and they always leave me laughing, thinking or crying.  I was just so shocked and honored that she had picked me as one of her weekly featured bloggers.

And then a bunch of her readers came here and left wonderful, heartfelt comments.  I am so grateful to her and all of her readers for stopping by and reading.  It really made my day.

So thank you, to all of you who have been reading since the very beginning, to all of you who just read your first post and to all of you who comment and say such sweet things.  Much love to you all.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Anything Else

I plunge my red, chapped hand back into the bucket of gray water.  I guess I should change it.  The baseboards would probably be cleaner if I used clean water, but I've already changed the water three times and I'm just tired.

I never clean like this.  To me, cleaning is picking up all the kids stray toys, running the vacuum and clearing the kitchen sink of dinner's dishes.  Oh and laundry.  Laundry takes up a lot of my free time.  Life is too short to clean like this all the time.  If I made it my life's mission to have sparkling white baseboards, a hair free bathroom that smells of bleach and a kitchen floor that doesn't stay with the knees in Freddie's pants then I'd never have time for anything else.

Anything else is what I love. 

Anything else is spending summer afternoons on the deck with Ainsley as she splashes in bowls of water.  Her curly locks wet and clinging to her cool skin.

Anything else is rocking Freddie to sleep each night.  Watching him as he nurses and drifts off so easily.  Humming softly as his eyes get heavier and heavier.  Breathing in the baby soap from his recent bath.

Anything else is cuddling with Clif and Ainsley on the couch for a good Disney movie.  Sharing a bowl of popcorn and watching Ainsley's eyes widen as Ariel and Flounder dodge a shark.

Anything else is taking Ainsley and Freddie on a walk through the neighborhood just as the rain is subsiding.  Ainsley bouncing ahead with her ladybug umbrella and Freddie mesmerized by the passing clouds.

Anything else is all four of us in bed together listening to a thunderstorm roll overhead.  The thrill and fear of it all too electric to sleep through.  But tomorrow is Saturday and we can all sleep in.

But today, Ainsley and Freddie are with Clif in Fairfax.  I'm spending the day in Richmond, making sure the house is ready.  Ready to go on the market, ready to show, ready for the open house, ready for another family, ready to move on.

I am alone and the absence of squeals and laughter and tears and crashes and toys and howls and conversation is noticible.  It's been a long time since this house heard so much silence.
I scrub the last foot of baseboard before dropping the rag in the cold, gritty water.  I look around and I'm pleased with the house.  I never cleaned like this for us, there's no time to clean like this when you're wrapped up in anything else.

This post is in response to a prompt over at the Red Dress Club: "Water gives life.  Water takes it away."

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Ainsley's Day

Ainsley: So...How was your day?

This question always makes me smile.  I flash back to this little tiny baby, now trying to participate in the grown up world by asking such a grown up question.

It was fine, Ainsley.  How was your day?

Umm, it was fine.  But Miss 'Onya and Linda and Deba dot sooo mad at me and Telly.

I glance up at the rear view mirror.  She is staring at the head rest in front of her, already re-engrossed in Aladdin.

Ainsley?  Why did they get mad at you and Kelly?


I wait.  No response.

Because why?

Ainsley does not yet understand "why?"  Her brain, though always working and moving around some new piece of information, does not quite wrap around the idea of consequences and cause and effect.  When you think about it, "why?" can be pretty tough even for a grown up.  To explain the reason for something is not always simple.

Because.  She continues to look at the small TV in front of her.

Ainsley...Because is not an answer.  Did they get mad because you were bad?


Again, I wait for an explanation that does not come.

Well, what did you do? I finally ask.

Umm, me and Telly just run and get water so we feel better and then we det soooo bizzy.

And your teacher's got mad because you got water and got dizzy?


Did you spill the water?


Did you throw water on Kelly?


Did you do this while you were supposed to be napping or having quiet time.


So why did they get mad?

Deep sighs come from the back seat.  She meets my gaze in the rear view mirror.  If she knew how to roll her eyes, this would be the perfect opportunity.  Instead she gives me her newest look.  The one that says "I can not believe I was born to such an idiot mother.  Why do you insist on bothering me so?"

I already told you.  BE - CAUSE!

Because why? I'm not really sure why I don't just end this now.  My curiosity is just too big, but my frustration button is definitely stuck.

Mommy?  Do you know what because means?

Did she really just say that?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I Think He May Be the ONE...

Every family has "the ONE."  The ONE that's always in trouble, the ONE that's always in the ER, the ONE that's always up to no good.

I think Freddie may be our "ONE."  I love him to death, but the child is down right rotten.  He has such a temper and he's pretty much "yelling" at me or someone all the time.  Don't get me wrong, the boy is sweet and cuddly and cute as all get out...but he is demanding and rough and tough.

He's a boy...all boy.

He'll toddle over to me and put his arms in the air and say "a muma, a muma," and if I don't respond in what he believes to be a timely fashion - like 3, maybe 4 seconds - he starts growling and grunting.


Louder and louder until I do as he asks.  Then he lets out a giant squeal and cuddles up to my chest.  So how can you not love that?

And he hits.  And bites.  And smacks.  And pulls.  All the while with that big, mischevious grin on his chubby little face.  I take his hand and say "soft, gentle, soft, gentle" while stroking whatever, or whomever, he was beating a moment before.  He laughs and scoots away.

Also, he's always falling, tripping, climbing, bumping, etc, etc.  Remember this post?

But he's just so stinking cute, you can't help to fulfill his every want and desire.

This boy is TROUBLE. 

Speaking of the big grin...

Why yes, that is a chipped tooth.

Don't ask, because I don't know.

Heaven help me...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Just a Dream

The path in front of me curves around a lake.  The weather is perfect.  I can feel the sun heating my face.  I'm not wearing sunglasses but I'm not squinting or shading my eyes.  The brightness is pure and glowing, not blinding and harsh.  There is a slight breeze gently whispering past my ears, but otherwise it is quite.  There seems to be no one in this park except me and the stroller filled with soft pink blankets.

As I proceed around the bend, the lake is to my right, and up ahead on my left is a small clearing in the trees.  There sits a bench and on the bench sits a woman.  I can't make out her features but I know who it is and I can feel her warm smile even from this distance.

In a moment I am standing in front of her.  She is looking up at me with her wide grin and she looks the same.  Wonderfully the same.  She is not the sick woman with a swollen face and bald head.  She is not that fragile being I remember hugging all those years ago, not knowing it would be the last time.  She is strong, like I remember from my youth.  She is the woman who baked spaghetti sauce all day on Sundays, who made jam on her back porch from the berries we had picked, who canned the sweetest corn.  Even now, all these years later, I can close my eyes and recall the precise smell of that sauce, the exact sweetness of that jam and the firm texture of that corn.

She is beautiful and she is looking at me like I am her everything.  It is exactly the look I remember from her, the inviting smile that always made me feel safe and special.  I never doubted her love for me.  I never doubted that I was special to her.  So much so, that sometimes I'm convinced she loved me the most...thought I was the most special.  Right now, I need that confidence.  I need her to hug me and make me feel like everything will be okay.  Reassure me that my world isn't crashing.

The baby is crying now.  She stands and touches my cheek.  Then she turns and gently lifts the pink bundle out of the stroller.  She stares down into the blanket and smiles.  The sobs fade as the small being melts into the creases of her elbows and softness of her chest.

I open my mouth to protest, but she stops me.

It's okay.  I'll take care of her.

Knowing what that means forces hot tears out of my eyes and down my face.  I lean in to look at the small baby in her arms, but she pulls her close, shakes her head slowly and takes a step backwards.

She'll be safe with me.

I take one step back.  Her smile grows as she floats further and further from where I stand until all I can make out is the bright light in her eyes.  I want to remember this moment.  A moment that isn't quite real. I want to remember this light, this smile, these promises.



The sun is peeking in through the window and playing across my eyes.  I squint and blink away the sharp edge of the light.


Ainsley's nose is almost touching mine.

Mommy?  Why are you twying?

I wipe the tears from my cheeks and force a smile.  My grandmother's sweet face still fills my mind and though my doctor's appointment is 2 days away, I already know.  The vision of my grandmother provides a small sliver of peace.  But the sadness and the fear are heavy on my chest.  The knowing is hard, like a knife pushing deep in my gut, relentless and without mercy.

Why are you twying mommy?

I pull her into my lap and hug her close.  I close my eyes and breath in her soft baby scent, slowly it is being replaced with the aroma of childhood. 

I kiss her soft curls and say Just a dream, baby.
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