Sparkles

"I have two 'parkles on my nose," she grins into the mirror and at me.

"Sparkles?" I smile back. "You mean freckles?"

"Yes," my little girl says. "Do you have freckles on your nose, yike me?"

"Yep. I have tons of freckles. See? They're all over my face!"

She giggles. "Caed doesn't have 'parkles. Only me and you, cuz we are gi'lz, right? And I have two freckles and you have YOTS of freckleezes, cuz you are da mommy, right?"

"Right." I say.

And I kiss her, right on her sparkles.

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Drop Off In Aisle Twelve

We only needed a few items, and the race car carts were sopping wet. So we settled on a shopping basket. We hobbled through the store, checking items off the list while I carried the weight of the basket and she held on to the other side like she was running the show. As we headed up the last aisle to loop back to the cashier, a man pointed in the opposite direction, and shot me an "aren't-you-seeing-this" look.

I wondered for a second. But it all made sense when he called out, "Hey! You lost one!"

I turned around to see him pointing to a toddler who had wandered a few feet ahead of her mother in the next aisle over.

"Oh, you mean--oh--not mine," I replied.

And I laughed my way to the check out line.

It just struck me as funny that I got the raised eyebrow from a stranger for not keeping track of (or control of) a kid that wasn't even mine. And then it struck me as funny how silly he must have felt pointing out to ME that I lost a kid in front of the kid's REAL MOTHER, who had just rolled up behind him to witness the scene. Heh.

In the checkout line, I asked Dani a half dozen times to leave the basket. She kept saying "But it doesn't GO HERE!" I signed the screen and grabbed the bags as she explained, "We can't leave him here. He is lost from his ba'ket pamily!"

So we did what any mother does who wants to escape the store sometime before 2012. We took the blasted basket back to his blasted family. So rest assured, Random Guy in the Grocery Store, I can't even get away with leaving a shopping basket at the checkout, let alone losing one of my children in aisle 12.

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In which I face the fact that there is no pithy title to pull this all together

I accidentally gave up blogging this past week. I honestly didn't mean to fall off the face of the internet. I had every intention of replying to all of your wonderful comments and keeping up with Google Reader. Really, I did.

But there is a lot going on right now (Don't you hate it when people say that?), and it feels good to give the "a lot" my undivided attention.

Also, I need to 'fess up, particularly to those who might have spotted pigs flying past your house. I know it's not pretty, and it's entirely my fault. You see, I started researching the possibility of home education. (I'm not even going to tell you the list of things I said I'd sooner do than home school. The flying pigs will have to metaphorically suffice.)

I'm currently weeding through a stack of books and talking to home educators, elementary school teachers, and of course my mother (an elementary teacher by profession, a sounding board and sanity check by relation). I think I might have even casually mentioned it to the cashier at Target. Yeah. It's what you might call "top of mind" right now.

And when I'm not obsessing about schooling choices, I'm refreshing housing sales and rental sites every five minutes. You know, because a new property might have just been posted. And maybe it is THE ONE.

Sigh. Have I mentioned I tend to be a bit, um, high strung?

Really, Jo? You?? High strung? Naaaah.

(I'm also somewhat prone to sarcasm.)

Anyway, enough about me. Sheesh. It's enough to make you all wish for more weeks of accidentally giving up blogging.

Will you forgive all this rambling if I just end with pictures of these messy lovelies?


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Flashback Friday: Friendship

Last week while Dani and I were driving around town, she shouted, "You are my BEST BEST pwiend in da wor'd."

"Aw Hon," I replied. "You're my best, best girl."

"I not tawking to you, Mama."

"Well, who were you talking to?"

"To da o'der Dani. I say to her, 'You are my best best best pwiend, Dani giwl'."

"So I'm not your best friend?"

"Nope. You are my best Mommy."

I smiled. Her imaginary friend--the other Dani--may have scored top billing in the friend department. But I am her best Mommy. And you really can't top that.

::

This week's prompt is FRIENDSHIP; and clearly, my post was a bit of a stretch both in theme and in time frame. So please don't think twice if you want to link up a post that is off theme or that doesn't require you to cull through years of memory. Just join us by copying the permanent link to your post into the MckLinky form below. And if you have some time, please visit the other entries and comment generously.

Next week's theme: FREE FOR ALL / OPEN TOPIC




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For This Very Distance

I've been living in limbo since September.

People ask me where Caed will go to school next year and I say, "It all depends."

I sign up for the local CSA only after I'm sure I can get my money back, you know, in case we move.

I skip registration for Maine's most popular 10k because I just don't know where we'll be.

I stop recycling boxes and instead stack them against the basement walls.

I listen as one by one, my husband's colleagues announce their post-residency plans months in advance. And when the conversation steers toward us, it runs me over. "Still nothing final," I muster.

And I'm just so tired. Tired of running a long-distance race with unmarked mileage. I tell Larry I'd rather know for sure I have six more miles to go, even though I'm winded and weary, than be on the cusp of the finish and have no idea when the race will ever end. He nods. He knows.

But this week a mile marker popped into view.
I read the email and go weak in the knees. Not so weak though, that I can't bound down the hall to throw my arms on his shoulders and half-shake, half-hug (and fully-startle) the poor guy. "You got it!! You got Cleveland!!"

I put my hands on my head, clasping fingers through fistfuls of hair. I do that, I think, when I'm walking it out at the end of the race. Or when I just can't believe what happened. Or in this case, both.

So the limbo is over. We'll tackle three more years of medical training at his top choice program in a faraway but familiar city. Near family. Near family. I didn't realize how much this would mean to me until it became a real possibility. I cried a half dozen times today alone, just imagining the three years my children will have with their cousins nearby. And now I can't even type "my sister" without spilling saltwater on the keyboard.

But it's not just knowing where we're at in the race that invigorates me. It's knowing with certainty that we are on the right course. It's looking back and seeing how God separately brought my husband and I to the same conclusion. It's reading in my journal how my heart traveled 180 degrees to get to this starting point. It's knowing He's been coaching me all this time for exactly this race, for this very distance, for such a time as this.

::

Is this gift too big and extraordinary to unwrap with Emily on Tuesday? Let's take a chance and link it up anyway.

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I Can Sea Clearly Now (the rain is gone).

I just looked down, and out of the corner of my eye, spotted a palm-sized tarantula perching next to the keyboard. It is official. My son has entered the stage of Playing Jokes On Mom That Aren't Funny. You know that awkward boy stage--between five and six--when they are still cute, a little bit clueless, and 100% silly? I think that's where we are.

Strategically placing fake spiders isn't the only thing he does to scare me. Yesterday we went bouldering along the Atlantic as a family, and he insisted on jumping, leaping and climbing to the point of causing his poor mother's heart to palpitate. Every time he did a big jump, he'd turn around and say, "Hey Mom! Did that one scare you?" Oh no, Hon, not at all. You just keep right on almost plummeting to your death, and I'll stand here with a smile on face, mkay?

So, would you like to see some more pictures? I confess I've entertained a bit of camera envy lately. My BFF just purchased the mother of all Nikons, giving me just one more reason upon dozens to wish we lived closer. But for now, I hobble along with my outdated Powershot, grateful that I can at least burn these images into memory with the clarity, focus and color that no camera (especially mine!) can match.

So to set the stage, this was Larry's first weekend day off in quite a while. And it was sunny and nearly 70 degrees. In Maine. In March. A total eclipse of the sun is more likely to happen. So this was a special day indeed. Here's how we spent it.


Marveling at the tidal pools.

Posing for Mommy.
Holding hands with Daddy.
Playing chicken with the tide.
Taking a shoe's eye view.

Smiling. Lots and lots of it.What were the bright spots in your weekend?

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Flashback Friday: With My Son


I fumbled through the diaper bag doubling as a purse, knowing it had to be in there somewhere. We'd just come straight from the doctor's office. It's not like there had been time to lose the prescription, not even for a harried, sleep-deprived wreck like me.

Oh, there it was. Crumbled underneath the pampers and extra socks. Yeah, I shook my head to no one in particular. Like having an extra pair of socks is even slightly necessary. It's not like he wears them anyway. That boy kicks a pair of socks off in 10 seconds flat.

Thinking about baby socks made me smile. Thinking about filling a prescription for my infant did not. When I arrived at the counter, I felt an urge to explain to the tech why I looked like hell, why I was carrying around 15 pounds more than usual, why I looked 20 weeks pregnant. And oh, I wanted to say, we're struggling with nursing. And I don't want to give up, but I do want to give up. And I'm so very exhausted.

But all that came out is, "Can I wait while you fill this?"

And then it was her turn to ask me questions. Things like...

"Have you been here before?"
"No? Well, do you have an insurance card?"
"What is your birth date?"
"Who is the prescription for?"

And that's when it happened. It rolled off my tongue, and I heard it for the very first time.

"It's for my son." I said.

My son.
I have a son?
I'm a Mom?
He's mine? My son?


Yes. Yes I do.
I have a son.
And he's mine.

I am a Mom.

I paid, shoved the medicine into the dark corners of the diaper bag, and turned toward the automatic doors.

They opened. And I started for home. With my son.

::

You're invited to join in!
1) The prompt this week was "All Grown Up", but you can write about whatever you'd like, as long as the subject matter takes us back in time at least a little bit.
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 FRIENDSHIP. And remember, I'd love your ideas for future prompts. Please leave me a comment or send me an email including your ideas. Thanks!

::

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Reaching

"Make it the highest it will go, the VERY highest," he instructs.

"Okay," I say, hoisting the hoop just below the tipping point.
He shoots and scores on the first attempt. (The next eight attempts are a different story.) He doles out a few more instructions. "If I get it close and it's a great try, you give me one thumb up. If I make the shot, you give me two thumbs up. Okay? Make sure you do that, okay, Mom?"

I make sure. And I get the camera out of course. (And then almost drop the camera in my haste to give him two thumbs up.)

I look at my son. He's reaching.

::

"I going to try Caed's scooter," she announces. "Watch dis!"
I watch, snap a few shots. She's three. Not exactly the age of proficient scooter riding. It's a stretch, but she step-step-glides undaunted. I look at my daughter. She's reaching. (And making crazy faces to boot.)

I'm reaching too. (Reaching to make this post fit with Beth's You Capture theme of "Reaching", perhaps?) But really, I'm reaching.

If I ever expect to live a deliberate, deeply ever after sort of life, I have to reach up, out, over, beyond. (We certainly have our pick of prepositions here, and look, I ended the sentence with not one, but four of them.)

But really. If I ever expect to live the deep-down, true-to-the-core-of-me life, I'm going to have to reach.

Up. From whence comes my help.
Out. To grab the hands of those who join me in the journey.
Over. The obstacles real and imagined.
Beyond. My self imposed limitations.

So. (Deep breath.)
With un-hedged love and heart all in,
Trading flat feet for tippy-toes,
Here goes everything.

I'm reaching.

::

Join me?

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Flashback Friday Theme

I think we're on a roll with Flashback Friday. Your contributions last week were fantastic. Let's keep the momentum going, shall we?

This week's prompt is ALL GROWN UP. You can take any direction you like with it, but here are a couple of ideas:

  • The time it dawned on you that you were one of the grown ups
  • The moment you first felt like a mother (or a father)
  • A personal rite of passage
And as always, you don't have to stay on theme. The prompts are only meant to provide ideas, not to hem you in. So again, big haired, polka dotted pictures from the 80s are completely acceptable entries. Cough (Erin) Cough.

See you back here Friday!

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Put down the pebble. Pick up the rock.


I must have told her a dozen times. Put down the rock. Pick up a pebble. It will be so much easier! (And safer. Less risk of accidentally stoning a friend.)

But she persisted in her hunt for progressively bigger rocks, for the progressively grander splash.

She gets an idea in her head, and she simply won't give up. Sometimes we call it being stubborn. Sometimes we call it being persevering. In every case, we call it being just like Daddy.

These two, my little girl and her father, are cut from the same strong cloth. They see obstacles as opportunity, and they challenge me to do the same. To take risks, to pick up something I previously dismissed as too heavy for me, to make a big splash.

I sit typing by the light of the screen in this early Tuesday hour, nary a brave bone in my body, all of them weary.

But I see my little girl's determined face. And I hear my husband's wise words. And together they inspire me.

To put down the pebble. To pick up a rock.

::

My daughter and her daddy are wired so differently than me. And it's such a gift--one that daily stretches me into a taller version of myself (uncomfortable as that may be at times). I'm sharing this gift with the Tuesdays Unwrapped community hosted by Emily of Chatting at the Sky.

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Because Little Moments Matter to Me

5:00 a.m. - Alarm sounds. Familiar chords of "Who Needs Sleep?" by BNL strum us awake. Yes. I programmed the iPod to wake us that way. I thought I was clever. Now I hate that song.

6:15 a.m. - Larry gathers his pager, travel mug, adds another pen to the white coat pocket, doles out hugs to the kids. I confirm that the shift is just 7:00 to 7:00. He'll be home by 8:00 or 9:00 tonight, right? Not quite, he says. It is 7 to 7, as in 7 a.m. to 7 a.m. And he might be home by noon tomorrow. Not even coffee can help me now.

7:30 a.m. - Dani has unearthed some old, too-small slippers, and she insists on wearing them. She crinkles up her toes, finds a way to make it work. She brings me a Fancy Nancy book from the library, tells me she needs me to read "Pancy Pancy" after she finds some sun glasses to wear. Because "Pancy Pancy yikes sungwasses".

The morning brings a mixed bag of chores and play. A fort of disastrous proportions is built and destroyed. Dani is of course the culprit, and Caed, the victim. I endure an inordinate amount of whining and tears of insufficient cause before I lose my resolve (though not my cool--that would come later). I resort to a new DVD from the library to entertain them so I can read and drink my reheated cup of coffee in peace.

Noon - The kids are settled in with and showing off for the babysitter, and I pull out of the driveway all by myself. Five minutes into my 50 minute drive, I realize I do not have to listen to "Mouse in my Toolbox." I turn off the music and listen to myself think.

I spend the afternoon gorging on flatbread and brownies and adult conversation with friends old and new, writers all. We admit blogging is bizarre, and by default, so are we. But we sit there in real life, already connected by words, as if we have seen each other's faces many times before today.

4:00 p.m. - I am back home just in time to take the kids to a birthday party for a 3 year old friend. They cry when I make them take their helmets off. Well, Caed teared up and whined. Dani full-on screamed. They apparently wanted a chance to ride bikes in the bitter cold air, and hadn't had it yet. And here I came to interrupt them and take them to a party. It just wasn't fair! Wait. WHAT?!?

4:10 p.m. - After the babysitter is dropped off, I lecture them ad nauseam about gratitude. I require them to find five things they are thankful for at the party.

6:15 - 9:00 p.m. - We leave the party, recite our five thankful thoughts, pick up Thai food for Larry (a story of its own), drive to the hospital to say hello and drop it off, drive home, and take a gray-hair-inducing hour to finally settle into bed.

5:00 a.m. (okay, 6:00 a.m. with daylight savings) - Caed crawls into bed with me and proceeds to recount a half dozen dreams he had last night. All I can muster is an "Ok, go back to sleep now."

It's now 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, and Larry is still not home. Dani sits beside me enjoying her after-lunch lollipop, a favor from last night's party. Caed sits beside her, plowing through his math activity book, on a quest for a hundred stickers.

And I sit here to write it all down. Because, while it would bore most people to tears, it makes me feel better, this business of writing down my life. It should be obvious by now that I do not write to entertain or to impress.

I write so I won't forget.
I write because the little moments matter to me, because they add up to my life.
I write to talk myself into truth when I'm weary.
I write so the good will win. Because I figure the good will beat out the bad by a wide margin if I give it twice the air time.
But on the simplest level, I write because it makes me feel better. I write for me.

::

Why do you write (if you do)?
What small little moments of the past few days do you want to remember?

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Flashback Friday: Musical Memory

"When memories mix with music, they can create an explosive concoction of emotions. They become a potion to transport us from faded to vivid, from far away to yesterday. "

And yes, I just quoted myself. Welcome to a new low on this blog. Anyway. Moving along...

After shuffling through some of my sharpest musical memories in preparation for this week's prompt, I concluded, not surprisingly, that most of the songs and memories can be tied back in some way to Larry. Like the time in high school when we broke up were "on a break", and he gave me a mixed tape with Sinead belting "Nothing Compares to You". Or the many times in college when were still on a break and I would tear up every time I heard Depeche Mode exhort me to "Enjoy the Silence". There are about a dozen like that, but I will spare you.

(Because seriously, I can only write so many times about this love saga before you want to say, "Gag me with a spoon.")

So today, I will instead take you with me to 1985, to florescent lighting and an orange carpeted balance beam towering three feet over a squishy old mat. To a boom box atop a roller cart, perched along the edge of the royal blue square where the 11 year old girls like me lined up for tumbling runs.

Whenever "Conga" came on, it didn't matter if we were in the middle of practicing compulsories. You simply couldn't hear that song and not modify your chassé just a little bit. We'd add extra head nods and hand waves. And when we were really living on the edge, we'd scrap the routine altogether and start dancing like crazies with cartwheels thrown in.

And in the interest of my pride, I'm not going to tell you how long it was before I realized the lyrics were not, "C'mon chickabody baby do that Conga." Chickabody. Seriously.


Your turn! To participate, simply add the link to your Flashback Friday post to the MckLinky below. You're welcome to go off theme or to use a post from your archives. The only requirement is that you take us back in time a bit!

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It Was Quiet Lovely

This week, Dani and I joined a few of our friends for a walk along the rocky coast. (Before you leave in a fit of jealousy, take note of the coats. We will probably be wearing those puppies until the end of April. It's not exactly toe-dipping weather up here.)

Even amidst the noise of pebble-throwing preschoolers, I found--as I always do--such quiet inspiration by the sea. I might have lingered forever if it weren't for the wind picking up and the snacks spilling.





And I know this is a clear case of "one of these things is not like the other." But how can I not share it? This is the picture of quiet, and my daughter is actually in it. Wonders never cease.
Linking up with Beth at I Should Be Folding Laundry for the You Capture: QUIET challenge.

Photobucket

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Voices

I would be lying if I said I never tired of hearing them. Their little voices carve wrinkles. All the waking day, they perfect the furrows in my brow, the lines around my lips. And sometimes when the day draws dark, I sit beside them at the kitchen island, numb to the noise, piping in only a line or two about broccoli and dessert.

But. Those voices. They are more often the well from which I draw buckets of joy. Those wrinkle carvers make tiny lighthouses of my eyes. They turn me into a beacon, light my face. They etch arc-shaped creases that beam out from my eyes the way you draw sound in cartoon.

I hear their voices and open mine. I say, "Here I am. This is the shore. We are grounded. We are safe and dry."

And in hearing their voices, I find mine.
But I would be lying if I said they never leave me speechless.

::

Lately I have been melting at the sound of Dani singing. Here is a clip. Can I hear that and not feel full to the very brim? Of course I can't. (p.s. It's not a video clip--just sound, but I couldn't figure out how to add just a sound clip.)

video

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As Sure As The Sun Rises

I didn't take a picture. I should have. The minute I saw the sunrise (was it 5:57?), I knew it was a Tuesday gift in the making. I had been up since 4:30 a.m., a sick child to blame. But after he fell back to sleep, I stayed up, a Mama desperate for a quiet morning hour before the dawn of a long day.

And oh snap, here comes a poem. Because Lord knows we don't have enough poems about sunrises.

::

This morning it was sudden. Like the sky said,
"Let me just slip on a new shirt real quick."
And then tossed his black tee over the edge of the earth.
And stretched a tie-dyed top,
Pastel blue and chalky pink,
Over mid rift clouds,
Barely to horizon's belt.

And I heard the sun complain about the sky,
How he leaves his dark nights all over the earth,
As if it was somehow her job to pick up after him.

What an odd couple they make,
Those two,
How they bicker their way into beauty.

But as sure as the sun rises,
They are meant to be together.

::

So this was the gift--a simple, ordinary, quiet sunrise. All to myself. Let us never underestimate the power of quiet.

I'm sharing this one with the Tuesdays Unwrapped community gathering today at Chatting at the Sky.

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Grateful for the Usual Stuff

I started to write that this weekend was just the usual family stuff. And then I thought: How lucky am I that my days are filled with "usual family stuff"?

I truly don't take it for granted. Especially when I see a fellow Kindergarten mom at drop-off, wearing a bandana in lieu of hair. Or when I talk with a friend who desperately longs to have children. Or when I chat with a mom about her sweet grandson, about how acutely she misses his mother, her daughter. About the year she's lived since the crushing grief.

Sometimes I use this space to remind myself of the blessing. Not to gloat to others, but to admonish myself to choose gratitude always. Always. (Even when my little guy is puking his poor little tummy out. Even when my daughter is testing the feeling in my every nerve.)

So I will say it loud enough for my innermost self to hear. I am so very grateful.

For this.

And this.

And this and this and this and this.


What are you grateful for today?

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A Saturday Sampling

February is over. The days grow longer. Earlier and earlier the sun props the light up from beyond the horizon. Earlier and earlier the kids pop out of bed. Over and over they ask, "What are we going to do today?"
Saturday has come, and the world is wide open.
So tell me, what's with this overwhelming desire to go back to bed?

::

1) On the first Saturday following the end of the month, Elizabeth Esther hosts The Saturday Evening Blog Post, where we are invited to share one post from the previous month. I chose to share this post on writerly angst. I've found that the posts I structure and slave over rarely get the response I think they will. But the posts I throw together in less than 30 minutes and am not so sure about? Those seem to resonate the most. This was one of those throw together and wonder whether I should publish it posts. And when I did, I was so encouraged by the response, by the many "me too"s that chimed in.

2) If you're looking for ways to eat fresh, locally grown (often organic) food, check out my latest article in Raising Maine on the concept of CSAs. (Local friends, you can pick up a copy of Raising Maine for free at several locations around town.)

3) Thanks for playing along with me for Flashback Friday. It's been even more fun than I thought it would be. You guys are the best. Don't forget to email me or leave a comment with your ideas for future themes.

4) I just happened upon these words by Horace in the Writer's Almanac:

Happy the man, and happy he alone,
He who can call today his own:
He who, secure within, can say,
Tomorrow do thy worst, for I have lived today.
So off we go, to live today. A lovely weekend to all!

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Flashback Friday: Surprised by Joy


I've always felt most at home in the ordinary moments, in the wallflower hours that shuffle past in anonymity. Today was no exception.

Larry left before I was really awake. I vaguely recollect that he kissed me goodbye as I nursed Caed. I remember smiling when he offered his pinky, hoping his son would hold on, to prevent him from walking out the door. Caed caught the finger with his fist and swung his father's arm in their first father-son handshake.

"I don't want to leave." he said.
I nodded that I knew.

I pulled on a sweatshirt, pulled up some sweatpants, tied my old running shoes, and called myself dressed. I guided Caed's tiny arms through the sleeves of a blue and red hoodie, and when I placed him in the stroller his head nearly disappeared amid the fleece.

I walked.
Among the eager leaves of early fall.
Past the squirrels playing in the old cemetery.
Pulled downhill by the stroller, eyes half closed to avert the sun's brazen morning stare, I walked.
Past the stop where tourists hurried and commuters trudged.
Onto the brick sidewalks, past the row houses and store fronts.
Block after block.
I walked.

We stopped to pick up the dry cleaning.
I pulled back the stroller shade to show the clerk, to tell her he was just four weeks while she oohed and ahhed.
He slept with sweet rise and fall of tiny ribs, the fresh air doing favor after favor for the both of us.

I walked.
If ever there was a time for coffee, this was it.
So I steered the stroller wheels directly into battle with the stoop of the coffee shop, my pride perhaps the only casualty. "They should make these places new mother accessible," I joked to the businessman trapped behind me on his way to a double shot. He didn't smile. I didn't care.

I don't even remember how I got out of there, with coffee in hand no less. But I did. And within a minute, we were perched by the fountain in the courtyard.

I sipped with one hand, swayed and played the stroller like a bow against the brick. Back and forth, a soothing rhythm.

And then I stopped, sat, leaned in, listened to his sleepy whimpers, heard him sigh and grunt.

And I cried.

I cried so hard my shoulders shook.

It was a wallflower day, just another row of ordinary moments.
I never saw any of it coming.

I didn't expect the tears or the panic, the swells of emotion that left me scratching my previously level-head. I didn't expect the love that burrowed so deep so fast, or the peace that misted over me when he slept in the crook of my arm.

But on that wallflower day, in that ordinary moment, it was the joy. Yes, it was the joy that surprised me most of all.

::

Now it's your turn.
1) The prompt this week was SURPRISE, but you can write about whatever suits your fancy, as 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 MUSICAL MEMORY, the idea being to write about a song and what memory it takes you back to. Also, if you have a suggestion for a future prompt, please leave it in the comments or send me an email. Would love to hear your ideas!

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In Which I Refuse to Waste Today on Tomorrow

I will not worry about it.

I will stop stalking Craig in five different cities just to read through a list of maybe rentals on maybe streets in maybe towns, that all lie across the maybe bridge. The one we haven't crossed yet.

I will stop looking at the expiration date on the sour cream at the store and think, wow, by this date, we might know where we're going. (I will still look at the expiration date. Because that's just good grocery shopping).

I will stop talking in maybes, crossing bridges months away, keeping every household item on a watch list as to whether or not we'll take it with us if we move.

I will stop. I will be still. I will be here. And for goodness sake, I will stop fluttering around like it even matters where I will be next year. Tomorrow has enough trouble, enough boxes, enough square footage of its own.

I will not squander March on May, or throw away April in search of June. No. No. No.

I will not be THAT camper, the one who cries like a baby after three days because there are only two days left, because she doesn't want camp to end, because she doesn't want to go home yet. She didn't HAVE to go home yet. She wasted those two days crying about it.

No. No. No. Not me.

I will tell my crybaby self to knock it off. I will call my friends on a sunny afternoon to do the cliff walk. I will be glad nothing is forever. I will embrace the dynamics of ebb and flow, of fast and slow, of packing and unpacking, of contracting and expanding, of turning in and branching out. I will treasure it all and call it real life.

I will not waste today on tomorrow.

No.

No.

No.

Not me.

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It's No Surprise, But Actually It Is

A few of you have asked about the Flashback Friday prompt for this week. Apparently in the abundance of enthusiasm that characterized last week's effort, I forgot to pick a prompt.

So I picked one of Rebekah's suggestions, and I would have told you sooner, but I wanted it to be a SURPRISE. Oh there I go again. I must remind myself that it isn't a witty play on words if it requires bountiful explanation.

ANYWAY. This Friday's theme is SURPRISE. Write about a time you felt surprised, good or bad. Or don't. You don't have to stay on theme. The only reason for the prompt is to give you an idea to work with if you're stuck. If you're not stuck, write about whatever the heck you want. Surprise us.

See you back here on Friday!

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ARRGH! (Or should I say "Arrrff?")

"I am the good pirate and Dani is the princess."

"I not just princess. I a DOGGIE princess!"

"Oh yeah, that what's I meant. Her is the Doggie Princess."


"Come on, girl! Let's go look for treasure!"

"Arff arff!!"

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Facing Fear

His voice reached out from underneath the quilted airplanes, down the night-lit hall to find my ears. "Where are you Mommy? I need you! Maaaahmeeee!"
I found his clammy palms just as the third "Mommy" escaped his lips.

"I had a bad dream."

"It's okay. I'm here. You're okay Bud."

But he needed to tell me more.
"I was at C's house, and the cat got me. It got my eye with its claws. And I didn't have an eye, and I couldn't see."

"It's okay, Hon. It wasn't real."

"But I'm still scared. I can't stop my mind from thinking about the cat."

"Well, let's dream something happy. Like, maybe you are skiing super fast and you win an Olympic medal!"

"No, Mom. I am going to do the cat dream over again. Don't leave me until I'm asleep?"

The radiator kept time in hisses and clanks, and a minute creaked by.

"I did it Mom! I re-dreamed it, and this time, the cat didn't get me. I made him be nice in my dream and we watched cartoons and I petted him."

I could feel the curl of his smile on his cheek as I kissed him, called him brave, encircled him in my arms. Once his breathing grew deeper, patterned, I stole quietly back to bed.

But I couldn't sleep.

In all my years, I barely had the courage to dream, let alone to re-dream. When a dream turned to a nightmare, I abandoned it in search of an entirely new scene. I seldom returned to the fork in the road to try the other way, to live like a choose-your-own-adventure book, to write a new ending to the same story. Instead, I ran with all my might away. I started a new story and titled the old one sour grapes.

And yet my five year old, unprompted, looked his nightmare in the eyes and demanded a do over. He tamed the cat, restored his vision, and overcame fear, his bravery fueled perhaps by the safety of his mother's arms.

I thought of the only instance when I re-dreamed, when I dared to try again after my hopes were crushed and my heart broken. And I owe my marriage, this precious family, to that second (third, really) attempt at a dream.

Was the lesson this simple? That good things often come to those who are brave enough to try again? To those who are willing to go back to the beginning, to head straight toward the point of fear, to face it? And I wondered too, whether it wasn't just about being brave, but about being mindful of Who stays awake beside us as we try again, as we face the old fear.

I turned and closed my eyes, knowing it was simple, knowing it almost always is. And I drifted to sleep, knowing it's still difficult, knowing it almost always is.

"For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." - Rom. 8:15

::

Is there something you need to try again, a dream you need to do-over? Do you consider yourself a re-dreamer, or is your natural instinct to run away and start a new story?

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