Carnival Tree

Spontaneous Car Conversation June 19:

Asher: Mama, is it Spring or Summer right now?

Me: Well, actually, this week, it will be Summer. There’s a day called the Summer Solstice that is the longest day of the year. That means that the moon won’t come up for a really long time that day, it will stay light until after bed time, and it’s the start of summer.

A: No! It won’t be summer until we decorate a Carnival Tree!

M: A what?

A: A Carnival Tree! We have to decorate a beautiful tree and then it can be summer.

M: Is this something that you guys are doing at school?

A: No! It is something that I know about. We have to decorate a Carnival Tree for summer or else summer can’t happen.

M: Ohhhhhkaaaay. Let’s choose a tree outside to decorate on the Solstice, will that work? We can decorate a part of it and maybe hang some treats for the birds?

A: NO! We have to decorate a WHOLE TREE or else IT WON”T BE BEAUTIFUL ENOUGH. <<getting upset>>

M: Of course we have to decorate the whole tree! We will find the perfect tree to decorate outside. The perfect [previously unheard of, totally fabricated by your amazing little brain, unknown] Carnival Tree. And we will decorate it for summer. Obviously.

And so, I give you our very first annual Carnival Tree:

Aren’t you relieved that it can be summer now?

 

**I highly recommend the $1 section at Michael’s for all of you Carnival Tree needs. The $1 section, and a ball of brightly colored yarn from a basket of random stuff that you’ve miraculously held on to since college for just this moment. Clearly.**

Number 8.

Yesterday morning I collected books, a fleece and an assortment of coffee cups and tupperware from the car as Drew buckled Asher in the backseat. I crammed them all in a reusable grocery bag and as Drew walked around the car, I passed him the bag and asked him to stick the tupperware in the dishwasher. He said he would, gave me a kiss and started to walk back to the house. It was all very normal, us moving through the normal motions of getting started for the day and doing the things that we do to keep moving.

“Hey Drew? Eight years tomorrow. Almost a decade.”

“Yeah, eight years. That’s crazy. Love you.”

And now it’s today, eight years ago today that we made promises to help each other get our mornings started, make our days work, braid our lives together. There were people sitting in chairs bearing witness then, now there’s a child in the backseat watching our every move, one in my stomach thumping into our lives from the inside out.

We had a fight last week about the garden fence, but not about that at all. And maybe it wasn’t even a fight. When we talked about it more we realized as we always do that we were pretty much on the same page the whole time. We just weren’t listening to each other. Or we weren’t doing a very good job talking to each other. We apologized, talked about going forward, talked about continuing to evolve and recognize that in one another. I cried because I’m pregnant and a little crazy, and Drew nodded and smoked a cigar while he looked at the stars in the black sky around our house. I wasn’t upset, I was aware that it’s been twelve years with him, eight years of marriage, and we’re still figuring it out, but we’re so much better at figuring it out than we used to be. We’ve learned how to get frustrated and move on, how to get to the root of the problem and not just think that we don’t agree about a fence. How to fall asleep in peace.

We collect laundry, tupperware, toddler laughs, long looks, dishes, what ifs, bills, stories, people, books, each other, we collect all of the things and moments of our life and pile them into our shared basket. We revel in the normalcy, delight in the consistency of days spent with someone so familiar. We’re each other’s bare bones, at once the best and worst versions of ourselves because we can’t hide anything. We’re still finding out that marriage is knowing someone when they’re stripped down to the core and exhaulting that person not to get them out of that place, but because of it. We’re still finding out that being married is the most serious work of our lives, and also the most simple. We’re just here for each other, the sun sets and rises, and still we’re happily here. It might be a little too When Harry Met Sally to say, but he really is still the first person that I want to talk to in the morning and the last person that I want to speak to before I fall asleep. And I do, I literally talk him into sleep most nights because he falls asleep easily and I’m talkative, but also because there are still more words. More years. More of this. It’s common and it’s exceptional.

We sat on the porch last night and talked about baby names and schedule things and projects for the house, and had a little champagne and looked at the moon coming up. Drew made me laugh, as always, with his unexpected observations. It was the perfect way to acknowledge where we are right now, where the tide of our years together is taking us. We remembered the wedding, and I still get surprised by how unpredictable it is to make promises about an unknown future and how still, somehow, we keep arriving here. Together. Eight years and counting.

Revisiting

Hiya.

In (belated) honor of Mother’s Day, I thought that I would share a post that I wrote in 2011. I think that Asher was about 18 months old when I wrote this, but I’m pretty sure that I will be thinking about these car window down moments when he’s 40.

Car Windows Down

Yesterday when I picked Asher up I instinctively reached for the AC button, not wanting the car to be too hot or too cold and started to roll the windows up.  Before I clicked the button though, I looked in the backseat to see Asher’s downy red hair blowing straight up in the wind and he had both arms up in the air feeling the wind move through his fingertips with his eyes closed and the biggest grin on his tipped up face.  He was feeling the world, I could see it.

He was so beautiful in that moment.

So instead of rolling the windows up, I rolled the other two down and we drove on for 35 miles in the noisy sunshine filled cabin of our car singing the ABCs a little too loudly (me) and waving arms wildly in the wind (him) and as I was cruising down the highway a thought filtered through my mind that was so striking I had to stop in the middle of L-M-N-O-P to catch my breath.

I’ve known my whole life that this moment with my child was coming.

My mom used to pick me up from Mr. Ron’s (if you want to see my mama get all atwitter, ask her about Mr. Ron sometime) where I spent my preschool days doing the things that kids in Montessori preschools do.  One of my earliest and most distinct memories is of one of those afternoons in the car with my mom, or most likely a lot of those afternoons mashed into one golden moment; memory is broad-sweeping in its desire to distill.  Anyway, she worked as an educator in the hospital and so her workdays were marked in my mind with skirts and suit jackets, but in this memory I see her as I so often did, driving down the highway with all of the windows down in our blue Toyota Tercel (later dubbed the Blue Goose by my brother) both of our hair flying, her skirt pulled up over her knees, jacket off and in the passenger seat, fingers claiming a little of the blowing hair with her left hand and twirling it absentmindedly with her elbow crooked on the rim of the open window, her right hand on the steering wheel.  And that’s it, that’s the extent of the memory, but there we are, two women at opposite sides of the female spectrum, and I remember how free I felt, and I remember thinking how free she must have felt too.  I remembering thinking, we’re in this thing together.

Yesterday, in my own car, with my own son in the backseat, I could see the images of my mother and myself superimposed over the joy-filled bodies of Asher and me and it was one of those halting full-circle moments.  To feel that long-ago formed memory from the child’s perspective, I see my mother that I loved, confidently driving us home to dinner and bedtime kisses, patiently listening to me rattle on about all of the things that I never stopped talking about as a child.  To feel that memory now from a mother’s perspective, I think about my mom knowing that she was going home to an unraveling marriage, that she would have to cook for us, get a little girl settled for sleep, and a budding teenage boy settled from his own brand of divorced heartache, and I wonder what thoughts swept through her mind as the wind filled our car and blew us on home.

Just a couple of years after those car window down drives home, my mom would fall in love with her life-long partner, my brother would disappear into the world of college, we would settle into the house that I came to know as my childhood home, and the car window down drives would be replaced with my adolescent desire to control everything with air conditioning and radio stations.  But.  I can’t help but think that I can still remember a little of that acute observance that young children possess, and that my 4-year-old mind was watching my mom closely to figure out how to be a woman one day.  I can’t help but think that the beautiful abandon that I witnessed twenty five years ago reared its head again yesterday.

Part of parenthood is falling madly in love with your child, falling in love with parenting your child, learning your own thoughts and watching them change as you start to think like a parent.  But another astonishing (and I mean that, I’m not being cute here) thing about becoming a parent is seeing your parents for the first time.  It’s not like I didn’t know that was going to happen as one of the clichéd rites of passage into claiming a child as your own, that I didn’t know that I would one day empathize more with my parents than I ever believed possible, it’s just that I couldn’t have possibly known what it was going to feel like until it happened.  It overwhelms me.  Feeling what my mother in particular felt towards me, feeling the shame of abusing that love 1,000 times throughout my life, having an acute awareness of how potent it is, how fierce it is, how all-consuming it is to love a child, and finally understanding that I am on the receiving end of that love is overwhelming.  It overwhelms me because it’s such a powerful gift, and because I realize that Asher may not ever know the depth of my feelings for him unless he decides to one day have a child of his own.

One of my wonderful friends has been talking recently about her strong desire to be able to genuinely and effectively express the breadth of her gratitude to her husband as they’ve become parents together.  I’ve been thinking about that a lot because the truth is, there’s no gift that says thank you well enough when those are the kinds of the things on the table that you’re trying to thank someone for.  What I’ve come up with is that the biggest expression of gratitude is in our actions, and in this case it’s in the way that we love.  The kind of partner or parent or child or friend that we are and the level of thoughtful respect and care that we charge ourselves with in those roles.  I will never know how to say thank you adequately enough to my parents, all four of you, but I do know how to love my child as much as I possibly can, and I can pledge part of that love as a devotion to all that you have given me in your own ways.  I know that I will make mistakes as a mother, but I hope that in my triumphs my parents see a reflection of themselves and know that they are being honored and that I am, in my way, always whispering thank you.

My final thought is this: when Asher is in the backseat thinking his thoughts, is he observing a woman?  Someone who rolls the windows down and sings badly and looks so grown up?  Does he also see a skirt pulled up to free knees, an arm draped casually, a level of confidence that children assume comes with height?  Sometimes I think he might, others I’m beyond sure that my shortcomings are palpable. In either case, I am reminded of what my little brain knew way back then, which is that if nothing else we’re in this thing together, wind blown hair and all, and then I just turn the radio up a little louder and marvel at my beautiful child and the inevitable truth that we are marching forward, steadily on.

A day for heart

This year in honor of Martin Luther King Jr, I was thinking about all of the words that we whispered into Asher’s ear on the day that he was born…the world is here for the taking, little man, you can be anything. Even in the most dire of circumstances, I believe that every child hears some version of this on the day that he or she enters the world. If not from a mother or father, perhaps from a nurse, a family member, a social worker, but I think that nothing inspires hope like the face of a child taking a first breath. If even only for a moment, I do believe that we all start here.

We forget that as we age. We forget that we were all that baby once, that little vessel of possibility. We start to see color, money, differences, dogma, fear, selfishness, pride, partisanship and power. We forget that there was a moment for each of us when it was possible to become anything, love anyone, learn everything, become triumphant, all simply because we were born. Yesterday I was thinking about all of the children that Asher has brought into our lives and the way that their curiosity erases stigma, the way that their openness invites smiles, and the way that their intensity brings parents and people together because children are so thirsty for the experience of this world, not the divisions within it. We see examples every day of people taking one step and then another in a steady march toward this narrow brand of forgetfulness, but yesterday there were words all over the United States that were about hope and love and equality. Words that helped me to remember that every person is created equal. That every single person, every person, all of us, are created equal. Yesterday reminded me that I can be doing more to be working toward acceptance in my actions and with my words, that I too am forgetting our universal starting point and sometimes seek out what separates from us one another before looking for what is common between us. It reminded me that there is still work to do and that equality is not something that is to be earned, it is a birthright.

And on a lighter note, Asher is deeply absorbed in Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things that Go. Heartwarming to look in the backseat and see that on a chilly Tuesday morning.

afterglow

And because why not…here’s my post from 2010 on the subject. Little has changed.

Back to It

I’ve let this slip again, haven’t I? Well let’s see if we can back to it with a promise and a confession (two of my many favorite things). The promise is more to me than anyone that might be reading (Bueller?…Bueller?…) but I promise to post at least twice a week between now and March. That seems reasonable and it’s a good exercise for me. So there’s that.

Second, the confession. 2012 became a hard year to rattle on about round about June of last year. In some ways it was just because life got so dense, and pardon the tree-laden pun (for those of you that have been following along) but I couldn’t see the forest through the trees. Or is it for the trees? Well, the point being, our cup did runneth over, mostly with heart-filling stuff, but with some heart-tugging stuff too. And because confessions are supposed to be honest, I’m going to come on out and say it. 2012 kind of kicked the shit out of me. If there is a delicate way to have such a thing done, then I’ve been on the business end of a delicate butt kicking. It was good for me. Sometimes it hurt.

So here we are, 2013, right back to it. My backside is recovering, my ego is humbled, our home fires are burning, and in the scope of the first world universe, even a tough year was undeniably a good one. As with most people, we’re setting our sights on patterning for a good year ahead, but unlike many years in the past, Drew and I both seem to be at a crossroads where the work that we want to put in this year isn’t dedicated to a trimmer waistline or a more frequently cleaned bathroom (though, let’s do those things too), but really we’re focusing on life in terms of decades. One turns 30, one starts thinking about What Comes Next. The word that I would like to give to 2013 is pivotal.

In the dreamy summer that I spent in Madison, Wisconsin nearly ten years ago, my dear friend Nelle and I would steal away with a canoe and paddle through the locks between the two lakes that hug Madison. We would paddle into one, sink down with the water, have the lock open up and glide through safely to the other side. Something big was happening around us, we were dwarfed by larger boats with big engines, but even in the narrow little canoe, we were able to stick our paddles in the water and row to what felt like the other side of the rainbow. It was thrilling and a simple enough mechanism, but one that was ultimately transformative. This year feels like that adventure. perhaps 2012 was the distance that I needed to travel between my twenties and thirties, a slow and discreet move between the prolonged adolescence that America is so fond of and my arrival into womanhood. It seems though that right now, on this day, and this point, I’m sitting in the locks watching the water slowly drain, waiting to see the gate in front of my little boat open. It seems like I might be about to paddle through to the next phase of my life.

You see why I haven’t been blogging? I’m like the weird weepy aunt at the family picnic that everyone wishes would go wandering off to find the nearest man selling a horse. Perhaps if I get all this I’m-on-the-threshold business out, I can go back to telling you things about wanting to build a chicken coop and my concern for Tuesday’s dinner. I don’t know though, there’s something different here. I needed that delicate butt kicking. It made my heart grow.

So there we go, a new year, a promise, a confession, and a long winded boat metaphor. It’s as though no time has passed at all. Happy New Year!

Rocket Man

Despite our deep love for Halloween, Drew and I took it a little easy this year and let Asher do the majority of the heavy Halloween lifting.

Asher’s school had a parade for the kids on Friday before Halloween, so here is Asher walking in the parade with Miss Betsy:

And here he is a couple of days later hanging out at a Halloween party with his buddy Austin:

Don’t you just wonder what they’re chatting about there?

My adorably wonderfully dear darling little sister Julie Claire and her charming boyfriend Joe took a weekend off from college life to visit and we rang in the Fall spirit with fires and pumpkins and chili and hot cider and board games. I keep trying to convince her that it’s not lame at all to move in with your sister and her family, but I think she sees through my scheme.

Here are the perfunctory pumpkin pictures:

(Asher believes that ALL letter A’s are for him, so I couldn’t resist making an A pumpkin for him. He and Drew (Drew) carved the silly face on the left)

Joe’s pumpkin was definitely the winner for details and thought, but of course I don’t have a picture of the completed pumpkin so here’s a process shot:

We weathered Hurricane Sandy just fine in these parts, although Drew and I definitely had our eyes, fingers, and toes crossed for all of the (remaining) trees on our property. Our efforts were rewarded with only one small tree snapping and a loose shutter. We’ll take it! Asher got to come to work with me one day, and then we taught him about the very best thing about lousy winter weather: blankets, a movie, and hot chocolate. He took to it like a champ.

Lucky Number 7

I told my friends that if he and I would just have one conversation, I knew that the magic would happen. We orbited around each other for 6 months, bumping into each other at parties or somewhere on campus–I was a baby, 18, it was my freshman year, he was my first serious college crush.

We finally did have a conversation and once it got going, it lasted until sunrise. Drew’s beloved grandmother had just passed away and he had returned from her memorial service only days before. We sat in his tiny little dorm room and he showed me pictures from his sister’s wedding the previous fall because he wanted me to see a picture of his Grandmother Jean. He had a classically gross college couch, it was white with blue stripes, but I distinctly remember thinking that the casual dirtiness of a 20-year-old boy’s room was a threshold into the next stage of my child-adult life. We talked for hours about our families and told funny stories and hashed out what we believed about life and death. It was a conversation that only young love can tolerate, but the big words and thoughts, the big ideas, the instant intimacy of wanting to absorb as much as possible about another person is the apoxy of love. The sun was coming to get us, there was a kiss, and then the footprint for our future started to take shape.

***

“Maybe we’re making a mistake.”
“You think? But what do we do? The wedding’s in 2 months, we can’t just call it off. ”
“We can. We should if it’s the right thing to do. We don’t have to do this yet. We can still get married, but do you think we should wait?”
“There’s 150 invitation in the back of this truck right now. They say May 21st. They say that we want this.”
“We do want this.”
“What would tell our parents?”
“That we talked about it and realized that we’re too young. That marriage doesn’t make any sense. That we haven’t done enough. That we need more time.”
“And then what? Do we break up?”
“We could? Could we? Can you imagine marrying anyone else? Are we afraid of marriage or each other?”
“I don’t know. I don’t want to marry anyone else though. I want to marry you. I don’t even know what that means, but I know that it has to be you–we’re freaking out because we don’t know what we’re doing, but even if I don’t know what marriage is, I know You. Do you want to call it off?”
“I don’t think we can–I don’t think I could do this with anyone else.”
“So we’re doing it?”
“We’re doing it. I love you. I want to marry you.”
“Me too. We’re being ridiculous. We know that this is right.”
“Should we still go inside and rent a movie?”
“Sure. Do you think the invitations will be ok in the back of the truck?”

***

When we pulled up to the Grand Canyon, it was weeks before my 19th birthday. Drew looked at me and said, “no matter what happens, you will always be the person that I saw the Grand Canyon with for the first time.”

My mind flashed to him pulling up to the canyon in 20 years while a wife and two kids got out of the car. They would be looking at one of the world’s natural wonders and Drew would be staring into that space and thinking about that girl, Amelia Uffelman, the girl he saw the Grand Canyon with when he was 20 years old. He would be thinking about an ’88 Toyota Camry and the surprising number of rainbows that we saw as we made our way across the country, and eating out of tin cans, and digging a moat around a tent to survive a storm. No matter what happened, I would always be in this memory.

I shivered and thought, what if it’s me that he shares all of this with in 20 years? What if I’m the one that gets out of the car?

***

I didn’t do any kind of big romantic surprise to tell Drew that I thought there was a baby taking root in my stomach. We’re too familiar for secrets, and even if I had tried he would have known right away. Instead, I was surrounded by sticks with faint pink lines, but I needed proof. I am a woman who exists in a world of words, not shapes. I needed a word.

“Hey! So…on your way home, will you pick up a pregnancy test for me?”
“Yeah?”
“Mmm Hmm. But it needs to be digital. It needs to be the kind that will say pregnant or not pregnant. It needs to actually tell me, ok?”
“Ok, digital, got it. Hey babe? Are you telling me that you’re pregnant?”
“Maybe. I think so. Maybe?”
“I’ll be right there.”

***

We broke up for a little while. He had graduated college and we couldn’t see each other through the dim light of being young and getting older. He moved to Colorado, I went to India, we needed to step away so that the tiny dots could turn back into a picture. We dated other people but instead of calling friends after those dates, we called each other. Drew checked out CD after CD from the library and made me mixed tapes or sent me whole albums. He wrote long letters on index cards telling me about snow capped mountains and frying sausages next to a lift house. Soon he started writing about love, about ideas that he had, about our future. Soon I was writing back and we were making plans and starting to tell each other ‘I love you’ when we hung up. Soon he was getting in a little red truck and driving over a mountain pass and across the country to come back. Soon I was jumping off of a couch to run into the driveway and literally fling myself into his arms. We refer to this as “that time we tried to break up”.

***

“My stomach isn’t feeling right.”
“Ok…so you just said that four minutes ago.”
“I did?”
“Yeah, and you said it four minutes before that.”
“I did? You’ve been watching the clock?”
“Of course–isn’t that my job?”
“Drew, do you think I’m having contractions?”
“Well, let’s keep watching, but I think so.”
“Oh my God, are we going to meet our son today?”
“We just might.”

***

We got married on a Saturday in May. It was 3 months before my 23rd birthday, four months before his 25th. I am astonished by how young that sounds, how young we were.

We wrote our vows to make promises about a future that seems to always be upon us and always still ahead. Drew stared at my forehead because he was afraid that if he looked in my eyes he would cry too much to speak. I kept pressing my lips together because I was nervous about wearing lipstick. The birds and the bees were literally all around us, humming and chirping with the inherent knowledge that life goes on, reminding us with their confident song that there are constants in the world no matter how much we press forward or slip back.

It’s been seven years since that day. We are still standing by our promises, although we’ve had to think on our feet and revise  this or that as we’ve gone along. We created a child together and fell in love in a new way that humbles us and forces us to keep our roots growing together. We work hard at this. We laugh a lot. We get to say, seven years ago, I married my best friend. We talk a lot about being young and getting old. Sometimes we yell. We forgive and figure it out and do a lot of really normal married stuff. We’re growing up together.

I love you, Drew.

About Place

When I was in high school one of our poetry writing exercises was to write a Where I’m From poem modeled, I believe, after George Ella Lyon’s poem of the same title. I loved this exercise at the time, probably because it gave my 16-year-old voice an edge of highly coveted authority, but over the years it has stuck with me as something of a daily mental status update. I’ll pass something in the car, and my brain will automatically say, I am from the land where chicory and discarded wrappers tell their own stories on the sides of the road. These little quips ground me and comfort me, and importantly, never seem to leave me.

We traveled to North Carolina this weekend for Easter, something of an annual pilgrimage, to two of the farms that I really am from, and all weekend the little I Am From lines were popping up left and right in my mind. We all know what Easter does or doesn’t mean to us, but for me, this time of year is really about returning to something. We get excited to be going back to the farm, to the places that I tromped around on in cowboy boots as a child, to the place that we said I Do, to a little nook in Western North Carolina that you can look at every day and still get caught off guard by its beauty. Although we go many times throughout the year back to these places that have been home for us, there’s something about this time of year that carries a compelling reverence for the world anxiously blooming forward and simultaneously calling us back. Although we don’t live in North Carolina anymore, it holds our hearts firmly and wholly, and getting into its mountains is a lot like secretly bumping knees under a table with your first true love.

In an explanation of her original poem, George Ella  Lyon says, “Where I’m From grew out of my response to a poem from ‘Stories I Ain’t Told Nobody Yet’ (Orchard Books, 1989; Theater Communications Group, 1991) by my friend, Tennessee writer Jo Carson. All of the People Pieces, as Jo calls them, are based on things folks actually said, and number 22 begins, “I want to know when you get to be from a place. ”

I love this question. My rural heritage has taught me that I have no true rural heritage because I doubt we’ll ever be from somewhere until at least 4 generations of our people have entered and left the world there, but let’s remember that I’m nothing without my nostalgia, so I don’t think that I can bear to be metaphorically homeless simply because I have a measly first generation birthright to the part of the world that my family loves. Stubbornly then, this weekend I realized that I know that I am from something because I know where to go to find it, and I know what will be waiting for me when we get there. The land will change, and in one case may no longer be ours, the people will change, the parties will change, the relationships will change, but what will endure is knowing that I am who I am because of what I come from, and in that way, we will always be able to go back. That is, in my mind, when you get to be from a place.

I’m rattling on about all of this because I have chattered about Easter over the years and wanted to make sure that I’ve recorded that this tradition of our annual get-together is not about new dresses and dyed eggs, but it’s about my brave family opening up their home to all of us so that we can say, I Am From…

and so, so, so much more.

(those last 3 pictures were taken shamelessly from my Aunt Vicki, check her out!)

I Wanna See Dat Easter Bunny

Dying Easter eggs is such a an awesome thing. Eggs are already a nearly perfect natural creation, a perfect source of protein, a gentle and evocative sloping shape, a pale rainbow of delicate colors that call to mind all that is strong and clever in nature. I’m sorry, but I’m something of an egg fanatic (although I intend to only keep about 5 chickens one day, not the 180ish that my father tended) and while I’m luke warm about chickens, I’m so thankful for the eggs that they produce that I’m willing to make peace with the bird-brained birds.

Quick aside? My dad, a seasoned farmer, has always said that the two places you never want to fall down and stay down are the chicken house and the pig pen, as both creatures will make quick work of anything in their path. Keep that in mind next time you need to dump a body, ok? The evidence will be gone-zo. Just something to keep in mind. Aren’t you happy you stopped by to read today?

So wait, where was I? Yes! Easter! Let’s see if I can recover from that aside with a couple of pictures of our boy coloring his first eggs:

We went for the traditional solid colors because Asher has the attention span of a two-year-old and I think there’s something incredibly charming about simply dyed eggs. The bulldozer had to help because, you know, bulldozers are pretty helpful like that. After we dyed the last egg, Asher said very affirmatively, “Ok! You tell dat Easter Bunny to c’mon now? I wanna see dat Easter Bunny!” and then I laughed a lot and tried to explain that it would be a couple of days. (We dyed our eggs last night because we’re going to NC for Easter this weekend.)

Ok, so let’s just go for broke and do another quick aside since I’m already talking about funny things that Asher says. The other night I was putting on his pajama pants and he looked up at me and said very seriously, “Dose jambo pants good for me”. When I asked him why, he said, “Dose other dinosaur [footed] jambos not good for me. Dey hurt my wittle toes-ies!” with a look of such concerned sincerity while nodding  appreciatively about the foot-less pants that I was putting him in. Apparently he’s outgrown his dino pajamas and they’ve been hurting his wittle toes-ies! Do you think the council will be taking this into account as they prepare the Mother Of  The Year nominations?

That was the last aside, I promise.

So we also had a little impromptu egg hunt for Asher and his little buddy Austin last week to try to give them a leg up on the competition this coming weekend. (I kid, I kid…at least I do. The egg hunt is Asher’s first ‘competitive’ event, we’ll see how Drew “The Coach” Walton conducts himself on the field this weekend.)

They had a serious case of the cutes.

We told them to close their eyes while we hid the eggs, and this happened.

The boys wanted to use ALL the baskets.

Louie did as good of a job watching as a gigantic six-month-old puppy can be expected to. What he lacks in calm, he makes up for with his photogenic ways:

And while Austin’s little sister Cassidy wasn’t quite ready to participate in the hunt this year, something tells me that this little miss is going to be a formidable opponent for these boys one day soon.

So that pretty much covers it…we’ve discussed one of nature’s finest creations, dumping bodies, the funny things kids say, and holidays as a contact sport. That’s what it’s all about!

Happy Easter!

More fun with Children

It’s Valentine’s day which means that the internet is swamped with words about love and un-love and grumbles and cheers–wait, maybe every day is Valentine’s Day on the internet?–but we’re mostly all cheese around these parts. I know, I know, the shock is overwhelming.

The thing is, all of this stuff, the holidays, the festivals, the stuff that we learned to roll our eyes about at some point, it’s all SO much more fun when there’s a kid to share it with. This morning we woke up and smothered Asher with kisses and told him that he was our Valentine and let him have a little chocolate before breakfast and it was just so much more fun than the average Tuesday morning. Asher is really excited about giving out the Valentine’s that he made to his friends today and I’m really excited about being able to come to his classroom with my mom this afternoon and just be in his world for a little while. If that’s not the definition of celebrating a day about love, I don’t know what is.

We typically make things for each other for these kinds of holidays to make it more reflective of what we want it to be about. Last year Drew gave me a a gorgeous painting that he did of a heart (of the anatomical variety) blooming into a flower. I gave him a little collage/shrine box made with some of his words to me. This year I can’t tell you what we’re getting and giving, but I can tell you that I stitched together a little red felt heart with an A on it to slip into Asher’s pocket. He’s obsessed with the letter A (can’t say that I disagree, it is a pretty awesome letter) and runs around pointing out all of the A’s that he sees, so this morning he was very happy to point to the A on the heart because “A is for Asher!”.

I get it. I get why Valentine’s Day (or as our cousin Daniel aptly called it–Singles Awareness Day) is an easy target for cynicism. But I also get that I am going to be an old lady one day, closer to the end of my life than the middle or the beginning, and I am almost certain that the only potential for regret that I might have in those days will be wishing that I told the people that I loved how deeply I cared for them more often. Having a day to reflect on this doesn’t seem like such a bad idea at all, now does it?

Here’s to thinking about all of the ways that love and un-love and deep love and lustful love and compassionate love and empathetic love and graceful love and ugly love and motherly love and self love and so many other loves has changed our lives. xoxoxo