Flashback Friday: First Job & A Mixed Bag

I was barely ten years old when my I pedaled my way into the newspaper business, delivering door to door headlines. My older sister and I shared an afternoon route, which made it nice when it was time to collect from the crazy old man who thought we were solely responsible for the unconscionable price hikes on the Dayton Daily News. But not so nice when we had to split the chocolate bunny that the sweet old lady gave us for Christmas.

And no, I'm not mixed up on this. I think she must have stocked up on them in a price-slashing-after-Easter sale. And no, it didn't bother me that the chocolate was at least eight months old. I was 10. And it was free chocolate.

On Sundays, when the papers weighed more than we did, Dad would wake us up before dawn, drive us down the street to pick up our share of the comics and coupons, and we'd load up the Radio Flyer and make our way through the neighborhood. And almost every Sunday, my sister would barf. Usually right before we started the route. She wasn't much of a morning person.

My parents used to threaten to take away the paper route. Seriously. Isn't it supposed to be the other way around? Like, be more responsible with your things, kid, or I'll make you get a job to pay for that!

But no. Not me. I was already a bit of a workaholic in the fifth grade. By the time I reached junior high, I had saved and scrimped enough to buy those super cool Ocean Pacific shorts at Elder Beerman. And oh, I had a Field Day in those shorts. Literally. I had a Field Day, at school. You know, where you did all kinds of fun outdoor games and McDonalds supplied the Orange Drink in those bright yellow barrels with the little white taps? Yeah, that kind of Field Day.

So there you have it. My first job.


I feel like I ought to let you know that I wasn't feeling the Flashback Friday enthusiasm this week. (As if you couldn't tell.) In fact, I typed out my little spiel in about 15 minutes last night, and just as I typed "there you have it," we lost power. I thought I'd lost the whole thing, and I didn't care, which is a pretty clear indication that my heart wasn't in it.

Last night I laid in bed listening to God's storm crew power washing the house. I jumped up twice in the dark hours, ran to the window to see if the swing set was still right side up. I noticed the grill turned 180 degrees, hanging on for dear life by the gas line. I shivered, debated whether to bring both kids into our bed to keep them warm. I ran to their rooms, lowered my cheek to hear them breathing, repositioned kicked-off covers.

I sipped a strange cocktail of worry and thanks, of fear and reassurance. I tossed and turned.

This morning we woke to sunlight, to clean siding, to shimmering pavement.
We also woke to no power, no warmth, and no coffee.

I carry this mixed bag around, sometimes wishing I could just put it down for a few hours, sometimes clutching it for the dear life it is. Is it possible to be grumpy and grateful? To be anxious and calm? To be hot-headed and collected? I think it is. And I think I am.


If you survived my disconnected rambling, I'd still love for you to link up here for Flashback Friday. Grab the FF button on the sidebar, include it somewhere in your post, and include a permanent link to your post here. See? Easy peasey.


Organic Panic: In Which There is Smoothie Sailing

I've been making my own yogurt for a while. Lest you assume it's because I'm super crunchy, let me state for the record that I only started doing it after Larry guilted me into it. He's gone all Dr. EatRight on me, and is pushing me to do as much food as we can from scratch. Which is good. But also annoying.

Anyway, I only recently switched to using organic milk for the yogurt. (Three cheers for me! And at least four dollars for the organic farmer guy!) Before I switched, I was using plain old milk, the kind that swears on the label the cows aren't on growth hormones (rBGH), but stays suspiciously silent on whether or not the cows might have smoked weed. I mean, these are Vermont cows. It's possible. Just sayin'.

Anyway, I figured if I was going to make yogurt from scratch, it might as well be organic so I could get Good Mom points, and also so it would cancel out all the french fries we ate on our road trip.

I am happy to report that the yogurt came out beautifully on the first try. But I might have been a bit too smug when I poured the freshly blended smoothies into the kids' cups for breakfast yesterday morning. I might have even thought to myself that June Cleaver could eat my freshly blended organic dust as I smoked by her on the Good Mom train.

Because no sooner did I think my haughty thoughts then we had what you might call a crash.
The kind that involves a smoothie. And a laptop.

And a Good Mom on the verge of a panic attack.

Five hundred paper towels and deep breaths later, I am happy to report that both the laptop and the children survived.

But I learned my lesson. Just because it's organic, doesn't mean it won't almost kill you. Or your computer.


Also? I am aware of the close-your-eyes-and-groan puns in the title. My siblings will attest to the fact that all corny jokes and wince inducing puns are entirely my Dad's fault. And he will have to assume all liability for any wince-oriented-wrinkles you may pick up from regularly reading this blog. End of disclaimer.


Family plus Laughter Equals Extra Strength Medicine

"Not so great, actually."
It is my honest answer to my sister-in-law's "How are you?"

She pours me water, finds me tylenol, tells me to relax, just to catch up with my brother.
She predicts the cousins can entertain each other with legos and trains and heads toward the kitchen to get homemade pizza going (sauce and all, our family recipe).

I feel like crap. And the next day's 10 hour trip home weighs heavy on my shoulders. But there isn't anywhere else I want to be. In these early evening hours in a DC row house, though miles from home, though hours from needed rest, I am among my people.

We sit around the table, raise a glass to family and to Trader Joe's $4 buck chuck. Laura dances the up and down, more milk, more pizza (cut into bites or slice?), need a napkin dance. She gives me the night completely off. I want to hug that girl. (Come to think of it, I did. A few times.)

I watch my baby brother (Aaron) be a dad, watch his 20 month old (Sammy) be a pill. I see my brother make the same face our Dad used to make--the one with the authoritative eyebrows--and not even know it.

Aaron takes Sammy to put on PJs, and all the kids follow. Next thing I know Aaron calls us to get the camera. I open the door and there are the four cousins posing like stuffed animals, as lined in a row as we'd ever hope to get them. They pay rapt attention to the bizarre story my brother is telling from behind the crib with pig puppets. They giggle, speak in silly tongues to the puppets. I watch my baby brother be an uncle.

I try to just pause myself at being thankful, to not fast-forward-wish for more time before the time is even over.

The time we spend is short, ordinary, messy. I am achy, tired, spent.
But the time we spend is sweet, extraordinary, connected. And I am at ease, renewed, content.

I drive back through the city, accidentally take the long way past my old office, through Georgetown, across the Key Bridge. Caed prattles from the back seat for the entire stretch of M Street:

I wish Gus was my brother so I could teach him things all the time. Like did you see how I showed him the way to jump from one couch to the other? And he didn't think he could do it, but I told him to be brave and try his best? And then, even though he was littler than me, he DID IT! Because I really, really helped him. I was so su'prised. I mean, it's good that he's my cousin, but I still think if he was my own little brother, it would work out nicer.
Yes, I say. I understand. There is something very special about having a little brother. Even when you're all grown up and too big and too tired to jump on couches. There's something very special, indeed.


My Tuesday gift came a bit early, I admit. On a Friday to be exact. But I saved it for today, because honestly? I just love sharing this stuff with the community gathering at Emily's place for Tuesdays Unwrapped.


It's Good to Be Home

A friendly green sign on I-95 points me in all white caps to "Maine and Points North." I relax my shoulders and sigh a yes in response. My blood pressure drops and my high-five hand rises to pay air-homage to the first sign of hope on a long stretch of highway.

It's not that we didn't have a wonderful trip down south. We did. It was well worth the drive.

It's just that after being on my own for 9 days with two children, 24/7, living in a hotel room that continued to shrink with each passing noisy moment, I grew eager to be home.

Home, where the mess is. And the heart too. Let's not forget the heart.
Home to tackle a long list of errands, an empty fridge, a laundry pile with its own zip code. (It's funny how the presence of a washing machine became such an attractive amenity during our nine days away from home. I promise I won't complain about doing laundry now for at least a week.)

It's good to be home.

Home, where when Daddy takes a study break to watch a few minutes of hockey, Caed begs to watch too. Where he "calls for the white team", even though it's the Russians. And Daddy doesn't have the heart to tell him it's not the USA or that it's "root for" not "call for". Because it's so darn cute how he yells, "Come on, come on, win it! WIN IT!" And how he flops himself backwards on the couch when the goal isn't scored. How he says, "Oh man, we almost had it!" (And how by we he means himself and Alexander Ovechkin.)

Home, where Dani can wake up at o-dark-thirty without disturbing her slumbering brother. Where she can squirm in my lap as I type the last words of this post, determined to get a word in on the keyboard.

Home, where the coffee isn't instant and the milk doesn't come with a straw.

It's so very good to be home.


What comforts of home do you treasure most?


A shout out to the many friends who made our trip worthwhile! To Becky, Danielle, Laura, Aaron, Milyn, Libby, Jim, Cappie, Bill, Jen, Hugh, Scott, Mark, Natalie, Barbara, Brian, Dave, Amy, Erin, Carla, Kristen, Lisa-Jo, Kendra, Lisa, and Stacey! It was such a treat to see you all!


Flashback Friday: How I Met Your Father

I was the new girl in a very small high school. A shy bookish sophomore.
He was the life of the party, the soccer-star senior who had allegedly already dated half of the girls in school. (In his defense, it was indeed a very small school.)

He took the seat in front of me during study hall.

A few minutes into my trigonometry homework, a folded paper appeared on my desk and I swear my heart popped a wheely right into my throat.

To say I was socially awkward would be kind. I did okay making new girl friends. But boys? They terrified me. Much to my father's delight, I'm sure.

I opened the college ruled paper to find an innocent enough question. "Are you going to the game on Friday?"

I somehow shook the answer "yes" onto the paper and handed it back.

He followed up, "What are you doing after the game?"

If I wasn't writing it down, I'm sure I would have stammered. "I don't know."

"Do you want to go out after the game?" he prodded.

Before I could say "Yes!", or "No way!", or "Is this a joke?", Mr. H caught me note-handed.

Apparently I wasn't very stealthy with the whole note-passing thing. In my defense, I hadn't exactly had much practice.

But the boy knew precisely what to do.

He grabbed the note, crumbled it up, and put it in his mouth.

Mr. H played along. "Well then, I expect you to chew and swallow it. You can sit down when you're done."

Now I suppose I should have swooned at the thought that a big bad senior saved my honor with the consumption of our contraband correspondence. But I was too freaked out to swoon.

After class, when he asked again, I told him to call and ask my Dad. (Oh yes, I did.) I had just passed my 15th birthday, and I figured my parents would hold fast to their rule of no single dating until 16. (Oh yes, they did.)

When I came home that evening, I told my dad a boy might call. And I made sure he planned to say no.

I just couldn't understand why a popular, good looking guy would waste time on a goody-two-shoes brainy girl like me. And to be honest, I hadn't ruled out the idea that he only asked me out on a dare. Or that he had just run out of girls to date. And neither scenario boded well for my fragile little heart.

He called that night.
My dad said no.
He offered my dad chocolates.
My dad said he didn't like chocolates. He was more of a hamburger guy.
He offered him a hamburger.
Tempting, my dad said, but still no.
(Way to stay strong, Dad.)

And that, my dear children, is how my father met your father.

The boy didn't give up. He kept asking. And though I was determined not to get my heart broken, thankfully, the boy out-determined me. He broke my heart a dozen different ways, and I fell forever in love with him before my sweet sixteen.

Six and a half years after that fateful study hall, I married that boy.
And between the two of us, we kept every note we ever passed. Well, except for that very first note of course. The one that he, uh, (how do I put this delicately?) passed twice.


It's your turn! Today's prompt is SCHOOL DAYS, but as always, you don't have to stick with the theme. Just post a picture, share a memory, or tell a story that takes us back in time, and then link up here. Remember to use the permanent link to your post, and if you'd be so kind, include a link back here in your post. (You can copy the button code on the sidebar and paste it in for an easy way to link right back to Flashback Friday.)

Next week's prompt: FIRST JOB



I just wish they lived closer...

I warned them. I told them (and I quote), "Y'all know this is sooo going on the blog." (I like to say "y'all" when I'm in Virginia. )

That was my way of asking permission to post their lovely faces for the 15 people who read this blog world to see.
Pictured above are some of my neighbors. (Several others escaped before I could make them pose for a picture.) These are the neighbors who live oh, only 550 miles away.

They are the people who can read my nostalgic poem about home and know exactly what I'm talking about when I say a tree rang the doorbell.

They are the people who look at my kids and say, "Oh he's grown so much, but he still looks just like Larry." Or, "What happened to this baby girl? How can she already be three years old?"

They are the people I think of when I hear the word community. The ones who mowed my lawn when I was pregnant and my husband was ill. The ones who fed me dinner when my husband was deployed. The ones who welcomed us home from the hospital, who were among the first to meet my babies.

They are the people who served as my emergency contacts, as the backbone of my back-up plans.

They are the people who make me feel, after nearly three years away, as if I never left.

They are my neighbors, the Real Deal.

I just wish they lived closer...


For Family Reasons

I live an easy drive away from some of the best ski slopes east of the Mississippi. I live a crazy long drive away from some of the most mediocre ski slopes in the foothills of Pennsylvania. Guess which slopes we hit this past week?

Yep. Pennsylvania, baby!

But I have a good reason. A VERY good reason for enduring highway hades.

His name is Max.
We joined our dear friends Max and Becky for an afternoon of skiing, during which Caed and Dani both stepped into skis for the first time. (Again, I know. This is our third winter in northern New England, and I go to Pennsylvania to put them on skis. I'm sure it makes sense in some alternate universe.)

Caed was old enough to do an afternoon camp with Max.

But Dani, having just turned three, had to settle for a private lesson. She smiled with the first click of the boot, and literally didn't stop laughing and smiling for the entire hour.

Her instructor reported after the lesson that she had taken a spill early on and came up cackling. "She's fearless," he told me. Yeah. Ya think?

After wearing ourselves out on the bunny slopes, Becky and I took our crazy kids to dinner, where I'm quite certain the waitress felt sorry for us. The whole "oh they'll just crash after skiing" theory didn't quite pan out. Unless by "crash" we meant into things. Like glasses. And condiments. And plates. You know, things that aren't at all breakable or messy.

We made our way down to Virginia that evening, and woke up the next morning ready for an action-packed day with Max. As we walked out of our hotel, Caed remarked, "Oh it's so good to be back in Virginia." Yes, indeed, Bud. Makes you nostalgic for those lazy, train-obsessed days you spent as a 2 year old, doesn't it?

He also wished out loud that Max could be his brother and Becky could be my mom, so we could be like one big family.

But we don't need DNA to decide whether we're family. I think this picture serves as proof enough that we are.
So really, driving all this way to ski Mount Rinky Dink (no offense to Pennsylvania), makes perfect sense. We did it for family reasons.

Today I'm unwrapping the gift of new experiences with old friends, and sharing it with the Tuesdays Unwrapped community, hosted by Emily of Chatting at the Sky.


I CAN Wait To Get On the Road Again

Road trips were easier when my children were too young to talk.

And I’m not even slightly kidding.

I am tempted to skip right over the road trip part, the packing and schlepping from hotel to hotel, the power struggles over potty breaks, the piecing together of meals on the run that are at best 50% high fructose corn syrup, and at worst, McDonalds.

But in our latest round of mileage versus Murphy’s law, there was one moment of sweet tears (as opposed to the many moments of frustrated, tantrum-ish tears).

I sat in the twirly chair, sipping an iced latte, fully acknowledging how low this self-admitted coffee snob had fallen to resort to caffeine under the golden arches. The kids had already inhaled their toxins nuggets and had moved on to squeal and climb and shake out four hours worth of wiggles.

Caed began playing with another boy his age, who innocently encouraged him to run away from Dani. After spending 10 minutes trying to catch up with her brother to no avail, Dani came back to me.

"I can't pind by bro'der! I need to p'ay wid him!"

I pointed her in his direction, and off she went. "Caed! Wait for me!"

And then off he ran.

So I called him down. He came right away, told me he and his friend were pretending Dani was chasing them, that they were having so much fun. I told him how sad Dani was about not catching up to him, how she wanted to play with him. He didn't hesitate.

"Ok," he said, "I didn't know it was making Dani sad."

Then, he turned back to the play area and shouted, "Dani, come on! Let's go up to the top slide!"

"OKAY CAED!!!" she shouted, and tumbled after him.

I looked over and saw Dani climbing up, Caed bending back toward her, lending his hand.

"I couldn't pind you, Caed." she said.

"It's ok. Now we're together." he said.

Aaaaaand......cue the sweet moment tears.

That moment alone refueled me for the next 250 miles.


Flashback Friday: Love (in the time of Typhoid)

I headed straight to her cabin after I hung up the phone, but Kristin wasn't there. She had probably escaped to civilization with the other counselors for our one day off. I thought maybe if I could say it out loud, it would sound crazy, and I could return to my senses. But I never had the chance.

Instead, I wandered up the mountain, further from my senses, fingers fidgeting inside my pleated pockets, Sierra Nevada soil stowing away in the tread of my knock-off Birkenstocks.

My sister had no idea how she'd sent me spinning with the news. He was my high school boyfriend, my high school best friend. But we'd called it quits a year ago, just days before my graduation speech. She must have figured I was over him by now. Really, I had figured I was over him by now.

I had figured wrong. Because after news like that, you could put a bonnet on my red head, puffed sleeves on my shoulders, and call me Anne Shirley. (And I don't mean the breaking-a-tablet-over-Gilbert's-head Anne Shirley. I mean the oh-I've-been-dreadfully-wrong-and-I've-loved-you-all-along-Gil! Anne Shirley.)

My Gilbert had succumbed to typhoid fever on a medical missions trip to Bangladesh. My sister assured me he was okay. Better than okay, really. She said he returned more mature and full of purpose. She even offered the approval I'd always hoped for back when we were dating. "He's a really great guy. Are you guys totally 'over' or is there something there? Because he's been asking how you are."

I walked, one thought in front of another until I was years ahead of myself, until the sun slid behind the sugar pines.


Six weeks later I woke to my 19th birthday, an invisible sophomore transfer student lost in a university of thousands. The few I'd met thus far knew me as the flannel and bead-clad girl that came from California. I liked that label, but still I struggled to answer the question that came with it. Why trade sunny skies and beaches for icy winds and corn fields?

I walked downstairs, stared at Box 427, pleaded with it to prove I was known and possibly loved.

It answered me with a slip, a 1/10th of a millimeter sliver of hope. I traded the slip at the window for a package with my name on it.

I saw his unmistakable cursive J, my name in his handwriting, and my heart launched four floors high. So when I made it back up to my dorm room, package in trembling hands, my heart was already there waiting.

I opened the card first. His words were friendly, full of good wishes for a happy birthday and a year of growth. He told me again to "dare to dream". (He was always telling me that.)

And then I opened his gift.

And maybe I read between the pearls. Maybe he didn't mean to say it wasn't over. But when I felt the bracelet smooth and cool across my fingers, slid it to my wrist, it was like trying on a possibility I'd long dismissed as a fairy tale. Like this dream of mine--that my first love might be my true love--could be real, if I dared.

I draped those Bengali pearls around my wrist this morning.

I can barely believe it's been seventeen years.


In case you're wondering, yes, that's a picture of the card he gave me. And yes, we have no less than six comprehensive years of correspondence stored away, starting from the first high school note we passed. (Well, not the very first note. He had to eat the first one to save my honor. But that's another story for another Flashback Friday.)

So now it's your turn! Just copy the permalink to your post into MckLinky, and leave a comment to let me know you've joined the Flashback Friday party. The theme this week is LOVE (mainly because I wanted an excuse to be a total sap on the old blog). But you're also welcome to write about any topic you choose, just as long as you take us back in time a bit.

Next week's theme: SCHOOL DAYS


Snoozing, Literally

"Dani, you better not be falling asleep on your Mommy!" I belted toward the backseat in the perkiest, silliest voice I could muster.

"I not fallin' as'eep on you. I fallin' as'eep on my car seat," her dazed little voice answered.

"Well, don't do that either, mkay?"

Around here, we take snoozing very seriously literally.


So, just a reminder to any of you out there who might have fallen asleep on me, Flashback Friday is ON for this coming Friday. The prompt this week is LOVE, but you don't need to stick to the theme. You can write about anything that suits your fancy as long as you take us back (at least a little bit) in time. Also, you're welcome to link up a favorite from your archives. Just update it, if you don't mind, to include a link back here.

Now, feel free to hit snooze again, but make sure you wake up in time to join us on Friday!


Is Grossdorable a Word?

You know that thing they say about a dog's mouth being clean? I'm banking on it being true.

For more Wordless Wednesday, go here or here.


A Confession: On Writerly (and Personly) Angst

Sometimes I feel like the pit of my stomach is an airtight word container, precariously latched, desparately shoving against my heart to spill onto the open page. Sometimes my soul must labor to breathe because of thoughts lodged in my lungs, freed only in the coughing compulsion of tippity-tapping on the keys.

I don't always feel it, but when I do, it nags at me until I can't think of anything else but letting it out. And most of the time, I don't even know what it is I'm unleashing, until it is there in front of me in words I can finally read.

But that's nothing new, right? Just a common ailment of a writer? (Or in this case, of a girl who is still reluctant to call herself a writer or even admit that she wants to be one.)

What troubles me is how this feeling gets in the way of my daily life, how it diseases the moment I'm in. And what troubles me more is how in my melancholy, I savor these symptoms as if it is soothing to be sick.

I despise how easily I can disappear into my head and miss the rich flavor of the moment. I know I won't be offered another taste of those sixty seconds, yet I persist in fasting from the present.

It strikes me at the library, surrounded by foam puzzles and board books. It strikes me at a party, surrounded by friends and frivolity. It strikes me on a run, in the car, in the middle of a conversation. It strikes me, and I think, "I must start writing, or I will explode." (I am wrong about this. I will not explode. All that ever happens is that I grow weary of feeling on the verge of explosion.)

And here is the bottom line, if I'm really confessing, if I'm really naming the fear. I'm afraid that if I don't let the container spring wide open and write, then I will never know what the deep-down me is trying to say. And if I don't find out, if I (the daily I) do not listen to her, then no one will. She will never be heard.

And the thought of that fate--of never being heard--torments the writerly me.
And the thought of the waste--of squandering the present pining over my desire to write--torments the daily me.

Hence the angst.

Do you ever feel this too?


Once a Mommy, Always a Mommy

"When you grow up to be a Daddy, how do you get a Mommy?" Caed asked.

"Hon, I'm always gonna be your Mommy. You don't get a new one when you grow up."

"No, no, like Daddy has you, Mom. How do you get a Mommy like that?"

(Insert temptation to break out into Jesse's Girl...Where can I find a woman like that?)

And so I explained:

"Someday (when you are MUCH MUCH older),
You might meet a girl you like, and fall in love,
And decide together to be best friends forever.
And after you get married, maybe many years or just months later,
You might be blessed with a baby.
And when you are,
You become a Daddy,
And she becomes a Mommy."

"And did you know, Bud, that Daddy wasn't even a Daddy and Mommy wasn't even a Mommy until YOU came along?"

Caed laughed. "Oh man, that's weird, Mommy, because I thought you were always just a Mommy."

Yeah, sometimes it seems that way to me too, Bud.


Saturday Evening Blog Post

On the first Saturday of the month, Elizabeth Esther hosts the Saturday Evening Blog Post, giving us an opportunity to select and link up our favorite post from the previous month.

I chose to submit this post for January, in which I veered away from my usual kids-say-the-darndest-things, shiny, happy (unless it's a poop story) mommy blogger voice. That said, I did manage to tie back to motherhood the topic of historic injustice and the people who fought against it. So I didn't go totally off the ranch.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go break up an in-progress squabble about school semantics. (Dani is insisting she goes to Kindergarten. Caed is insisting she is just a toddler. Aaannd....here we go.)

Have a great weekend!


Flashback Friday: Siblings

My mom tells me this photo was captured during one of our traditional Christmas plays. The matching dresses do smack of Christmas Eve attire. But I've got to be honest. I just don't see Miss Piggy stooping to the role of barn pig.
That said, I do like the idea of a red head in the nativity. It's about time people of hair color got some face time at the manger. (As you can see, Raggedy Ann and I were pretty tight. We red heads have to stick together.)

My little brother isn't pictured, and my guess is that's because he was (a) not born yet, or (b) being forced to play the role of baby Jesus in the grand finale. (Mom, do you know? I have no idea how old we really are in these pictures.)

And also, because I'm slightly obsessed with tying everything back to MY CHILDREN, I need to point out that this is the first picture I've seen of myself that reminds me very much of my Caed. Not so much in the face, but in the facial expression. It's the coolest thing to finally see a piece of me in my son--the one who has been his Daddy's doppleganger since day one.

Now it's your turn!
1) The prompt this week was SIBLINGS, but you can write about whatever suits your fancy, so long as the subject is in the rear view mirror.
2) Use the Mcklinky below to paste in the permanent link to your Flashback Friday post. (Make sure it's the link to your Flashback Friday post and not your home page).
3) Next week's prompt is LOVE (sweet love). I know, totally original, huh. Whatever. It will be Valentine's weekend. Who am I to fight that kind of current?


Paralyzed by Possibility

Startled by the sound of the screen door and its unmistakable closing number, "buddumb, bump", I zig-zagged from one room to the other, looking for evidence of an intruder or an escapee. Armed with words of admonition for my three year old NOT to let the dog out without asking, I stepped into the mudroom and saw....

No one.

I peered outside. It was not my three year old boy, nor my six year old dog.

It was my daughter, a few months past one year, barefoot in her polka dotted pajamas, standing seven wobbling steps into the front yard. She teetered in the same spot, as if engaging in a solitary game of freeze tag, grinning ear to ear.

The day was as much an infant as she was. The sun spilled highlights onto her wispy strands as she glanced at me, squinted down the driveway toward the splintered mail post, and looked back at me once more. Then, knowing not her next move, she plopped down, smushing the clover poking through the pavers.

She had fussed for that very freedom nearly every day, clambered incessantly for a chance at independent outdoor exploration. Now she finally had it, and she didn't know what to do with herself.

It can be paralyzing when the possibilities are endless.


Up until now, the choosing was easy. The path was narrow, and the forks in the road few. I stumbled into wet career cement in my early 20s and wasted no time becoming a corporate fixture.

The ladder I climbed too quickly for comfort was the bunk bed variety. With each leadership rung, I came closer to the claustrophobic top bunk and further from the carefree, arm-spreading space on the carpet. And there was nary a night when I didn't toss and turn in that teeny space between the ceiling and the sheet, feeling terribly afraid about where I was ending up. This isn't me, I would insist, equally fearful of falling to the floor as I was of staying at the top.

Then came motherhood. This was my chance to shimmy down the rungs without looking like the girl who had climbed her way to the high dive and then chickened out. I took it. I slowed down so fast I felt sick from the motionlessness. I was barely past the shock, still chipping away the cement from my shoes, when a part time consulting opportunity knocked. It was the best of both worlds, and I wouldn't say no. That was nearly three years ago.

Today I scheduled my last billable hour. In two weeks time, I will no longer toggle between career and family. I will officially be a full-time, stay-at-home Mom.

Suddenly I'm standing in the middle of the yard, sharing streaks of sunrise with the daffodils. I cried and clambered for this scene for years; but now that I am here, I am strangely desperate for someone to whisk me back inside to what I know, not because it is better, but because it is familiar.

I have been securely trapped in time constraints for as long as I remember. It seems I always had towering tall, career-oriented excuses to hide behind when the meal was barely edible, or the garden wasn't producing, when I didn't read much more than email or feel curiosity beyond my field.

As that veil of excuses is removed, I see my fears for what they are. I don't know where to start. I don't know how to choose. I'm afraid I'll settle for survival instead of improvement. I'm afraid I'll waste time in little starts and stops instead of finishing one thing strong. I'm afraid I'll get the same mediocre results on the domestic front, even after I step up my effort.

But most of all, I'm paralyzed by the endless possibilities. I've often wished for the privilege to be a stay-at-home mom. So why is it, now that I'm finally standing here in a wide open yard with the morning dew on my cement-free toes, I somehow don't feel ready for it?

Originally published February 18, 2009


April will mark one year of being home full-time with my children. Sometimes I feel as though I've never done anything else. Like these babies, who have moved me to places I never thought I'd go, have always been here with me. And even though it's only a chapter, it seems like my entire story. Even more surprising, all of this is a good feeling.

I was worried I wasn't cut out to be a stay-at-home mom. I was afraid I wouldn't enjoy it, and even more afraid of having to admit that to myself. But with almost a year under my apron, those worries have been put to bed. And now, when I lie awake at night, it is not fear, but thankful wonder that keeps me company.


He's Fairy Skeptical

Before my first sip of coffee this morning, Caed began the interrogation.

"Have you heard of the tooth fairy, Mom? Hunter said it's real."

"Yes, I've heard about her." I replied. "In fact, I think she put a quarter under my pillow whenever I lost a tooth as a little girl."

"But how can she be real, if she's a fairy? Because fairies aren't real, just like fairy tales aren't for real, right?"

"Ummm...uhhh...well, maybe she's an exception. So, do you want some grapefruit for breakfast?"

"I think my tooth might be a little bit wiggly now. Once I lose my tooth, then we can get to the bottom of this."

Look out, dear Tooth Fairy. My five year old is onto you. And Santa? You might want to watch your back. Because you're probably next.


Flashback Friday: This Just In

Thank you all so much for joining in with me for our very first Flashback Friday. Seriously, you guys put the retro in retrospect. I really enjoyed hosting, particularly since people actually came to my party. (It's not as fun to host when no one shows up. Ask me how I know.)

So, not only are we going to make this a weekly series going forward, but I've got a new button to prove it.

The little boy on the bike is my dad. And this is quite possibly one of my favorite photos ever. Plus it's super old (like my dad), so you know, it fits perfectly with the flash-as-in-way-way-back theme.

I will provide a theme or prompt for each week, as long as you all agree not to be dissuaded from participation by my limiting or cheesey prompt. Remember, regardless of what the theme is, you can write about anything that takes you back a bit in time. And if you aren't in the mood to write, a few pictures with snarky captions will serve just as perfectly.

The theme for this coming Flashback Friday is SIBLINGS.
So please come back on Friday ready to link up!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
All Rights Reserved - ©MYLESTONES 2007-2012

  © Blogger template Shush by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009

Back to TOP