Introspective Insights

Introspective - adj: Examining sensory and perceptual experiences. Insight - n: The capacity to discern the true nature of a situation.

Streams of Starbucksness


I am at Starbucks with my sweet three year old Abby.  She’s been really cranky today, but she is
quiet right now.  She is eating a pink
cake pop and people watching.  We are
making the mermaids on our cups talk. I’m the mommy and she’s the baby.  She looks out the window and says, “The cars
are going fast!”  Jazz pulsates and
slides out of the speakers.

Abby is hunched over her chair backwards watching the
manager interviewing someone.  I’m
admiring my gold purse and pondering the purple stainless and ceramic mug that
is on my wish list.  I sip the sweet,
rich foam off the top of my latte – nectar of the coffee warming my
insides.  I look into her adorable face –
hair a mess, smiling, dimple shown, big blue eyes laughing. 
 

Abby plays a game, “Can you sit in this position, mommy?”
Leaning forward, on the edge, on her knees, legs spread apart, sideways with
legs crossed.  She says, “It’s a little
table!  That one is a little table!  It’s a baby!”

She climbs on my lap. 
She says, “You have to write, mama. 
Why?”  I say, “I must!” She says, “You
so cute.”  I kiss her still pudgy,
toddler cheek. How I wish all of my moments with her were like this – coming off
lunch time with her tantrums and my yelling. 
Night and day.

The music slows and saddens, tranquil trumpet.  This moment fleeting, the clock signaling the
end.
  She bonks my head with hers
grabbing my pen and clicking it so I cannot write – snapping me back to
reality. 

This Spot


I’m sitting on our small couch, feet up on the ottoman, lights
out, Christmas tree on.  From this spot,
I can see the TV, the fireplace, outside through one of the small windows, the
whole living room – all of those things now quiet and dark.  From this spot I have rested, nursed three
babies, cried, slept, laughed, worked, and watched.
  Gazed out at children running around the
room, the seasons changing outside, and my life passing by faster than I can
imagine.

From this spot I have sat very still with three sleeping
babies in my arms (each at different times), looking down at their cherub
faces, curled up fists, and listening to their sweet sighs.  As I sat here in this spot, I looked outside
and observed every season change.
  Marveling
at bare trees showing fuzzy patches of green, bursting forth in swaying leaves,
turning gold, yellow, red and blowing away. 
Squinting hard to find the first snowflakes of winter silently floating
down.  Gazing down at my youngest child –
messy toddler hair sticking to her sweet cheeks, thumb in her mouth, hard sleep
weighing on my arm. 

In this spot, the moments of my life are performed before me
as I struggle to grasp them.  Snapshots
in my mind play out – if I am still enough to capture them.  Yet I am not usually still.  I spend less and less time here in this spot and
somehow, I am sure that I am missing it all. 
Someone please tell me it is not too late…not too late to sit here
quietly, smiling, holding on to these three.
 
For in this spot – this quiet, comfortable, ordinary spot, I have
experienced more life than I have ever before and wonder if I will ever
again. 

90 Days

Like many of you, I’ve had my share of jobs in different industries, with different schedules, and with a myriad of different expectations placed on me. But one thing each job had in common was the infamous “90 day probationary period”. That critical time where the company is supposedly watching you to ensure that you are worth keeping for the long haul.

Here I am now at home; formulating my own job, schedule, rules, and expectations and that 90 days is looming on the horizon. I can’t help but asking myself, what have I learned during this time and am I doing this job well?

 I have learned that:

  • A young toddler on the potty is not likely to stay on the potty, and neither is what comes out of the young toddler.
  • An older toddler that is potty training will repeatedly have accidents even when he is given the “rules” for what to do.
  • Toddlers who like to climb and open doors are likely to fall and/or escape.
  • The smiles and laughs of my children are the most beautiful sights and sounds I can and will experience in a day.
  • It’s the little moments of focused attention with each one of them that keeps them happy and content through the day.
  • Coffee with my kids is fun and insightful. (And don’t worry, not too caffeinated.)
  • If I demand respect in a loving way from my oldest, she gives it politely.
  • Trusting the kids to go outside on their own builds my trust in them and gives them independence they need to succeed in life.
  • Anything that can go wrong in the kitchen will. (But it has always been that way with me anyway.)
  • Dishes will always be dirty, laundry will always need to be folded, and there will always be crumbs and hair where there should not be. But I will not always have this moment to hug and kiss and dance with my babes.
  • Each day is a gift and no matter how simple must be treasured and purposeful.
  • I need to be thankful for each moment as they are slipping between my fingers like sand.

I’m not sure if I were to be rated by an outside, unbiased source if I would fare too well for this 90 day period – I yell too much and I get angry over silly things, but I always apologize and forgive and seek to be forgiven.

These 90 days have been a wonderful gift – something I will treasure in my heart in the days ahead as the seasons change and new adventures in mommyhood unfold.

The First Week

Thanks everyone for being patient with me while I was quiet this past week. You see, this past week was the first week I was home with all three of my kids in this new stay at home mom role. And what a week it was! Now, you are probably thinking I’m going to tell you about the highs and lows of last week – well, sure – that is sort of the point, but the first thing you need to know is how peaceful and quiet it was. I’ve been home with the kids off and on for many reasons over time – vacations, daycare shutdowns and illnesses, but there was something very different about this time – this week.

I shutdown Facebook, kept email quiet, and tried to keep my normal distractions to the bare minimum and I concentrated on just enjoying them. Focused on taking these little people in my life as they are in each moment. When my sister Kim first came home to her kids about a year ago, she told me, “You know how people say that there is so much you miss when you are not home? Well, there is SO.MUCH.THAT.YOU.MISS.” Her words cut me to the core and I couldn’t get them off my mind for weeks.

Here is what I missed:

Big girl Kayla telling me I’m the best mom in the world along with “nothing was fun today” nearly every day last week. This girl dreams big and wants that “super fun thing” to do every day. She is so much like me, I can barely stand it. I can’t help but love her.

Three year old Zach’s little arms around me saying “I love you mommy” along with “I want daddy! When is daddy going to be home – I don’t want you!” He’s definitely daddy’s boy, but I won’t let him get away with it – he’ll always be my wonderful boy.

Sweet Abby’s head snuggling into my chest before naptime along with the screams of pain from falling hard into the ottoman. I’ve never seen a cut and bump so large on such a little chin. But this is Abby in all her glory – all girl, all wiggly toddler, all fun, no fear.

The endless diapers – diaper ping pong between Zach and Abby – I’m telling you – it’s a conspiracy!

Explosive diarrhea – somebody had to have it, right?

Daily dishes.

Mountains of laundry.

Coupons to be cut.

Littles to love and kiss and hug and comfort and read to and snuggle and just cherish – no matter what, just to love in each moment.

I missed all those things.

While I know none of it is glamorous – it doesn’t matter. It all means something – it is all significant, it is all eternal. This week is the beginning of our new life and I’m ready and willing and able and most of all HERE, fully. No distractions, no other priorities – just HERE. Quiet, listening, peaceful, thankful for this wonderful gift.

On to week two!

Holding On

She – round, dimpled face, messy hair, mischievous smile…running, squealing, trying so hard to talk.

Me – momma to three, watching my last baby growing so fast…each stage so bittersweet, holding on so tight…too tight, maybe.

Last few days…so.hard.to.face.

Not so long ago, she was born; so fast her sweet little head didn’t have time to become misshapen. Breastfeeding was as natural as if we had known each other our whole lives. The hours spent in my comfy place as she nursed…I watched the snow fall. Time slips through the hourglass and I’m in denial of what is so obvious…it’s all ending…one of the last glimpses of babyhood.

She would rather play and read her books…so opinionated in her arched back and fussing…toddlerhood embraced so soon…too soon…my heart hurts.

I swallow my tears…I smile and hug and kiss her…I let her go…those little wings starting to take flight…

My sweet baby, how I will miss our quiet moments in the half light, your content sighs, your sweet little face sleeping in my arms, so close…

I will never forget this time we’ve had together my little Abby. I don’t know when it ends, but I’m always here, my love.

My Sweet Abigail

To my Abigail – a very late birthday tribute.

I look in those deep, blue eyes and touch my fingertip to her dimple and watch her wiggle and shoulder sway across the room. This sweet, little baby is NOT a baby anymore, but a toddler?!?!?! I’m in disbelief…

I think back to last year at this time – sweet little bundle in my arms sleeping and nursing, waking me up at all hours, cooing, and snuggling, and smelling of sweet, newborn goodness. I look out at the same snow, quietly falling, darkness drifting in…

This little girl – the gift I didn’t know I needed…I can’t imagine life without her screeching and boisterous laugh, sweet little hands around my neck, pulling my hair, open-mouthed kisses that sometimes bite. So smart – pointing at what she wants, nodding and shaking her head yes at questions I ask – so staunchly opinionated about life.

My sweet Abigail, my life was not complete without you. I’m in awe of the gift that is you and I enjoy every minute we have been given together. In some ways I wish that time would stop, but it is so much more exciting watching you grow and become the sweet little girl God made you to be. I love you my sweet babe.

Kaylic

I’m sure those of you with small children eventually come to know their own native language. Ever since Kayla was old enough to utter sounds she has been making some interesting ones. When she was about 5 months old she started out by growling or heavy breathing as we liked to call it. For awhile she earned the name, “Darth Baby” because of the funny sounds she was making.

Most babies coo or razz, Kayla would growl in delight. It was the funniest sound we had ever heard. When she was about 18 months old and starting to say words she would sometimes break into a babble that we dubbed “Kaylic.” You could tell she was saying something very serious and she would look at us as if to say, “Why don’t you understand these profound things that I’m saying?”

Now that Kayla is older (3 years old) and consistently speaks in complete sentences, I thought it would be fun to update you on some of the new words she is saying:

Han-gahber – hamburger. (I think this is a childhood classic and just about every kid I’ve known has said this. Love it!)

Va-pora-tor – vaporizer.

Ma-zahgine – magazine.

Ma-gah-log – cross between a magazine and a catalog. I was pretty proud of her for coming up with this one.

She also likes to make up words with one of her pals at daycare. One of the words that seems to stick is this:

Schwapped – to set down or throw down forcefully. This seems to be the meaning of the word, but she uses it in many different contexts. Such as, “I schwapped down on the couch to watch a movie.”

Hope you’ve enjoyed your short lesson in Kaylic.

I Had Forgotten

I had forgotten the excitement of seeing the first robin of spring…

I had forgotten the sweet, heavy scent of rain coming in the distance…

I had forgotten the waxy tug on my fingers of the first green leaves pushing through the ground…

I had forgotten the wonder of seeing a duck just a few feet away…

I had forgotten the cool, damp feeling of grass between my toes…

I had forgotten the spine tingling excitement of hiding during hide-n-seek…

I had forgotten, my sweet girl, until I met you.

The Sweet Sound of Chaos

Yes, you read the title correctly. I’ve never been so happy to hear screaming and laughing and the pounding of running feet! After five days of being sick, Kayla is better. She is smiling and laughing and she asked me to chase her around the living room. Normally that whole chasing thing is pretty short lived for me, but I heartily chased her around for as long as we could handle it! Breathlessly she declared, “I feel much better!” Indeed!

I never thought I would be looking forward to the week coming up that her and I would spend together with the baby. The sick Kayla was much harder to handle then the well Kayla. I’m sure well Kayla and I will have a great time.

Note: I didn’t publish this post right away and am happy to report that our week together was great. We had our ups and downs, but overall it was a good. Thanks to everyone that was praying for us. In a way, I’m sort of lonely today without Kayla’s sweet face around. Just me and the little boy today.

Sweet Girl

As those of you know who have had children, the aftermath or “post partum period” can be a roller coaster of emotions. At times I’m happier than I can imagine and other times the littlest thing can make me cry. (Case in point, I am not a country music fan, but there is a country song on the Gospel Music Channel that had me in tears one day.)

One morning before Jerry and Kayla left for the day I was crying and Kayla came up to me with the receiving blanket she uses for her doll and said, “Mommy, don’t cry, don’t be sad” and she wiped my tears away with her blanket. Of course, this made me cry harder. How can a 2 1/2 year old know what her Momma needed so much? I’m so blessed to have such a sweet girl.

She adores her little brother and takes every opportunity to kiss him, touch him, and hold him when she can. It will be great when he can respond more to her. Thinking about this reminds me again of how blessed I am.