May 29, 2009

the end of an era

I suppose I knew the time would come. When days of innocence would be gone... and the sound of fairy wings slipping under a pillow would drift away forever. Camden has been loosing teeth left and right. Once it wiggles, he works until it rests in his palm. He may be one of the last his age to lose these little teeth... making way for the adult version. My boy? An adult? The time will come... but I am not ready to let the thought pass... even fleetingly. I have held on tightly to these years... not holding him back, but maybe not pushing him to forge on ahead at a rapid rate either. Oh, the beliefs of little ones... their wide-eyed acceptance of all that is seen, and all that is painted in dreams. But if one illusion has to go... I do not mind that it is her. There are plenty of other children out there for her to visit... hoping upon hope that she leaves them a shiny coin in exchange for a tooth to add to her castle in the clouds. And there are plenty of other things to believe in...

May 25, 2009

splashing on a sunday

The clouds were closing in on our Sunday picnic… and as we sat under cover, we watched the rain roll in. The breeze was glorious… cooling us off from the stickiness of an almost summer day. Watching the rain, we realized it was more than just drops falling from the sky… there was a bit of hail mixed in as well. I don’t pretend to understand how there could be ice falling from the sky when the temperature was hovering at 90… and I really don’t need to know… because what was more important was the joy shining on the faces of my kids. Florida snow! Well… maybe not. But they would race out and collect a few pebbles of ice and admire them as they melted away… they set their plastic cups out in the driveway hoping to collect enough ice for a cool drink… they were amazed. Back and forth, into the rain, then back to safety. It continued quite a while… even after the ice ceased to fall and all that was left was rain. They were a little wet… but they were happy. Cam commissioned a ship, the S.S. Cam and floated it in a puddle… while Laura danced in her converse sneakers and laughed at her footprints.



t is for...





trees.

Trees... and my girl.
I suppose we started it when we perched her up in a tree before she had even celebrated a birthday... she loved it up there- with Daddy's strong hand behind her. She could see the world in different way. A couple years later we set her up on a branch again, in a Cherry Blossom tree by the Washington Monument... the same one her Daddy had loved when he was a little guy. She loves trees.

I will never forget that preschool year... when trees were removed from the playground so that a screen house could be installed. It was done during the day... while little eyes watched. On the way home that day there were tears as she explained how the trees were killed. Both she & Char came away from that with broken hearts... and I don't think they will ever forget it either.

Perhaps Florida does not have the best trees for climbing... and when you can find a good one, there are sometimes park rules that do not allow for such fun. Sorry, sir, we didn't know. But Laura has found her share of trees to play in... to dream in... to love.

Hope you are enjoying this A to Z Monday... Happy Memorial Day!

May 22, 2009

i hope

The sky was almost yellow this morning... the sun trying to show itself through clouds laden with rain. And now... the rain is pouring down... having sent the sun off to slumber. And I feel content to settle in and enjoy my warm cocoon. I do hope the rain will let up this afternoon... but for now... it is just what the earth needs.

Life seems a little more fragile these days... we seem to be living with a little more care... a few less harsh words. Circumstance, or ticking time... I'm not sure. But it is good. The calm that is settled over us here. The joy that we are finding without necessarily seeking... in a soft hand held... in toes covered by a shared blanket... the quick flutter of a goodnight kiss. I have hope that these days are not as fleeting as they sometimes seem.

Summer is right around the corner... the sticky days and the bright evenings... the freedom from written tasks and rushing out the door. I love the endless days of sunshine and rain and the unimportant hours in between... when all that is required of the day is a blank to-do list. While there will be plenty of days to-do... I hope there are equally as many not to-do days... when just playing is enough.

In every day... there are moments when I raise my face to the sun... and offer thanks to my Creator. The warmth of the rays feel like His hand resting softly on my cheek... and the still soft breeze that floats by, like His whisper of you're welcome. I could not live a day without Him... would not want my hope to be in any but Him. My desires are in His mighty hands... my small thoughts and my scraps of love and bits of my dreams... all dwarfed by His power of grace.


If everything comes down to love
Then just what am I afraid of
When I call out Your name
Something inside awakes in my soul
How quickly I forget I'm Yours
I'm not my own
I've been carried by You all my life
Everything rides on hope now
Everything rides on faith somehow
When the world has broken me down
Your love sets me free.

-lyrics from Hope Now by Addison Road

May 20, 2009

to be a part of something



When I think of the years my husband has given to our great country, I think of the honor and pride he served with. His ten years were scattered across fourteen... each time frame creating a unique life for our family. It brings along memories of a time that, in the moment, I would have wished away... but now, that the chapter has ended, I am thankful we were part of. Ten years ago Eric was one of the original members commissioned into the USCG Port Security Unit 307. A plank owner... which really doesn't get you anything more than this certificate... but is something special, nonetheless. Ten years. Even though he is no longer an enlisted Coastie, the Coast Guard will always be a part of him... of us. This weekend we went and visited old friends... relived memories of a time past. It was hard to be apart in the days, weeks, months and years after 9/11... but Eric's job was to be there... and ours was to be here, holding down the homefront. And we survived... because we were a part of something bigger than ourselves. If it wasn't for the lost time... he would probably still be drilling with his buddies. But I am thankful he chooses to be home not missing these years of our children's lives... the ones that can never be relived. He gave countless weekends and over two years of deployment time to the reserves... he missed t-ball games and musical performances... he missed bedtime stories and a first lost tooth. He missed the first day of kindergarten and a pinewood derby or two. He missed our life. Together. But it was all for the good of our life as we know it. Celebrating the anniversary of PSU 307 was special... the old faces meeting the new... the stories and the memories alive in the air... and coming together... creating a new history of something they are each proud to be a part of.

May 19, 2009

behind her tears

A little sad news came our way today... our dear friend Le` (Laura's Godmother) had to put her dog Kensal to sleep this morning. He was part of her life for just over 17 years... and I know how hard it was for her to make the decision. But Kensal was also a part of our children's lives... their whole life. And so it was hard to sit down this afternoon... and share the sadness. I could see the understanding pass over Camden's face... and his downcast eyes told their own story. But it was Laura I focused on. She is the girl who goes through life on her own accord... letting nothing bother her or affect her too much. But she is also the girl that cried a thousand tears two summers ago over our cat Emma. And so I held her hand, and carefully watched her emotions... concerned that she might have a thousand tears more to cry... and wanting to be able to pull her quickly into my arms if it was what she needed. She was almost expressionless... sitting there with her tea... her hand in mine. But I knew better. And I could see the tears begin to gather in her eyes. I realized what she was trying to do... she was putting up her wall... desperately willing the urge to pass her by. My girl... she knows it is okay to cry... and to let everything out... but I think she recalls, perhaps too vividly, what it was like that July. That fear that once the first tear falls, they might never stop. So I continued to hold her hand... and just sat there with her quietly as she quickly wiped an escaping tear away with the other. She may not often show her true emotions... but behind her wall of tears lies a heart as big as the sun...

numbered days


My Gramma is one special lady... and her love is something I count on and enjoy. In her 88 years she has collected so much history... stories and the like... and when she comes out with a little tidbit, I find myself savoring the information. She & I share bushels of memories... like dough-boys and frozen carvel ice cream... trips to Cape Cod... sunburns on the beach... Friendly franks and special dinners out when it was just us... hugs that could go on forever. I could go on forever... I am so thankful for so many happy moments...
This summer my Gramma will travel north to stay. She has come to a point in her life where she needs to have a settled life... one place that is hers. I understand that now... a few weeks ago I couldn't though... and my heart was broken. Now, I am happy for her... it is what she wants. But as the days pass... and her departure draws closer... I am feeling regret. That I didn't spend as much time as I should have... could have. But time does not turn back... and I will make the most of these numbered days. Tonight she pressed a treasure into my hand... for safekeeping... for me. I'm not sure what touched me more... her beautiful opal... or the scrimshaw box bearing the Scituate Light. Both will always be instant reminders of her... and both brought tears to my eyes. I don't want to cry though... I just want to be happy for her. And I am... and I will be. I know the tears will fall on the day of our last hug... but they will fall on my smile... as my heart reminds me of the special times we have shared.

We need not be together to share a memory. It belongs to both of us. ~Flavia

Unwrapping a Tuesday with Emily...

May 18, 2009

s is for...





smile.

I am thankful for the smiles that greet me each day... the smiles that are filled with laughter and love. And I am thankful that once in a while... I can catch the smile in full glee.

Visit Jen at Unglazed to peek in on more A to Z Mondays!

May 15, 2009

how did i get here?

One last look in the mirror before I headed out the door to work... Mmmm... okay. Looking like a stylish young mom today. I turned my face away, but then looked back... young? All at once it came to me... my age, and where I am in my life. I'm not just a girl anymore... so does a 37 year old woman still qualify as a young Mom? How did I get to this place? I no longer have to look closely to see the lines around my eyes and mouth... but are those lines not evidence of the laughter and the smiles that each days brings my way? Married to a man whose love astounds me... with two children- one whose eyes I have to look up to see into, and the other quickly closing in ... a real job and a real house... a settled life. It is what I have always wanted... and here I am in the midst of it. Are the best days behind me? Are there no dreams left for me to dream? Or perhaps my best days are ahead? As I step back to look around, through eyes now open, and see my life I realize something. My best days are right now. Today. And tomorrow... and the next. Somehow I have made it to this place... where my simple dreams have become a reality and I choose to make every day the best day. I choose to play penguins with my son at bedtime... I choose to put my arms around my daughter and whisper a compliment in her ear... I choose to act silly and make my husband laugh. I am living my life... every day. I am etching these moments on my heart... so that when darkness trickles in I can rely on love. So while the mirror might tell one story... I am listening to another. A story full of giggling and friendships and love... and life.


Life brings simple pleasures to us every day. It's up to us to make them wonderful memories.

-Cathy Allen.

May 14, 2009

here comes the rain

It has been a long delightful winter... cool days, crisp breezes and beautiful sunshine. But as winter fades it becomes more and more obvious that our part of the world is so dry... and the land is desperately in need of hydration. With each passing day we notice the ground becoming more brittle and the water levels shrinking. We have enjoyed the fair weather... but are waiting for the rain.

Yesterday it came with a vengeance. One minute all was quiet and the next there was a pounding on the roof... and it sounded... glorious. For a time, the skies opened up and offered refreshment to our parched patch of earth. Almost as quickly as the rain came... it was gone. But it returned today, in much the same way. And it will come again tomorrow. And before we know it... the grass will be green again and the world around us will once again be brimming with life.

May 12, 2009

still my little boy

It stared with a simple I love you to my son... as I was checking e-mail and he was headed to the TV. He turned back to me and just said... love you more. Wanting to play just a bit longer... I asked are you sure? He peeked his face back around the door frame, and as matter of fact as could be, he replied- If I stretched my arms out as wide as I love you, they'd reach all the way to Pluto. I smiled... and decided to let him win. My heart smiled... and I thought of our favorite little book we read together when he was little... Guess How Much I Love You. At the end of the story, the little bunny tells his Momma that he loves her to the moon... then, as the baby drifts off to sleep, that Momma whispers I love you to the moon... and back. Funny how ten or so years can zip by... and in a moment, you can be transported back to those toddler years. I am thankful for these times... and thankful that my little man still has his little boy heart.


See what other moment have been unwrapped this week at Chatting at the Sky.

May 11, 2009

r is for...




renewal.

Renewal of me.
Yesterday I stepped out onto the beach in the early hours of the morning... while the moon was still high in the sky. I was greeted by a splashing dolphin... a few osprey searching for breakfast... a snowy egret darting into the gulf... and sandpipers racing the tide. I was alone with my thoughts... and took time to breathe in... and out. I listened to the roar of the surf... and enjoyed the passing breeze. Just me... just living. After a bit I plopped down in the sand and chatted with my Mom on the phone... happy to invite her in on my time. We laughed... we loved... our Mother's Day celebration couldn't have been any more than it was in that moment. And then it was just me again... refreshed in the morning... renewed. Whatever else happens this day... it is well with my soul... I am renewed and ready to take on the world.

Visit Jen at Unglazed to peek in on more A to Z Mondays!

May 10, 2009

hand in hand

As little girls, we want to be like our Moms... and then as teens, we'd like to be not like our Moms... and then the times comes when we are the Mom- and we realize that she is the one who modeled and molded and prepared us for this most important job. Like it or not. I am thankful for this in so many ways...

My Mom has lead me to a place where I can be the Mom God wants me to be... or at least on my way to getting there. And my Mom is the one who loved me each and every day... and filled me with enough love to be able to pass it on. She has always been my example... my inspiration... the one I turn to in love.

This spring has brought us to another place in our relationship... one of seeking and finding Jesus. Yes, He was always right in front of us... but sometimes we need to wipe away the fog from our eyes... and see Him fresh and new. I have been amazed at the journey... where our paths have winded in and out and around... meeting up one day and traveling off in separate directions another. But I know that we will meet up in the end, once again... hand in hand in front of our Father.

This journey had meant the world to me... sharing one more aspect of my life with my Mom. We have been through a lot... my Mom and me. Maybe not the typical mother & daughter stuff... but the emotional journeys of our own lives... each of us taking a turn at holding the other's head above water... working in sync with each other- our own dance. But nothing has been like this spring... the joy and the tears and the clarity.

I love you, Mom... I love who you are... who you have been... and who you will be. And I love who we are together. Happy Mother's Day.

some insight from my kids


For your Mother's Day pleasure... here are some thoughts from my kiddos...
(Thank you Ruby Red Slippers for the fantastic idea!)

What is something your mom always says to you?
Cam: Clean my room
Laura: Clean your room

What makes your mom happy?
Cam: When I clean my room
Laura: Pandas

What makes your mom sad?
Cam: When I don't clean my room
Laura: When I don't clean my room

How does your mom make you laugh?

Cam: She reminds me about the evil chocolate chickens at Easter
Laura: Tickling

What was your mom like when she was a kid?
Cam: She helped her Mom at the ice cream parlor
Laura: She caught a little black snake

How old is your mom?
Cam: 35
Laura: Older than me?

How tall is your mom?

Cam: 5'10"
Laura: a few inches shorter than me

What is your mom's favorite thing to do?
Cam: Bake cakes
Laura: Take pictures

What does your mom do when you are not around?
Cam: She feels lonely
Laura: Blogs

If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
Cam: Her awesome delicious cakes
Laura: Photography

What is your mom really good at?
Cam: Baking cakes
Laura: Cooking

What is your mom not really good at?
Cam: Playing video games... except she is good at the Wii
Laura: Mechanical bull riding

What is your mom's favorite food?
Cam: Ice cream
Laura: Cupcakes

Where is your mom's favorite place to go?
Cam: Target
Laura: National Zoo... to see the pandas

What makes you proud of your mom?
Cam: That she never gives up
Laura: Her volunteering

What do you and your mom do together?
Cam: We play mini golf
Laura: Talk and have tea

How are you and your mom the same?
Cam: We both like ice cream
Laura: We both like to have fun

How are you and your mom different?
Cam: I'm younger
Laura: She doesn't like water rides as much as I do

How do you know that your mom loves you?
Cam: She tucks me in and says goodnight to me every night
Laura: I just know...

Hmmmm... so apparently I am a slave-driving Mom who only cares about clean rooms, cake and ice cream!! But this was fun... to watch a millions thoughts go by their eyes... to make them squirm... to make them guess. Most of their answers were pretty good... although Cam thinks I am younger and much taller than I am- perhaps he needs an increase in his allowance! But most of all... I love that my daughter just knows that I love her... that she feels it all about around her. That is what I want my home to be... so full of love that you can't escape it.

Happy Mother's Day to me... and all of you...

May 09, 2009

our fiesta!




My day started out with a sweet hug from my son... and a whisper in my ear Happy Ocho de Mayo... what is Ocho de Mayo? He is funny... and oh, so sweet!

At the beach with Amy, my sister wandered down on a break from work and told me she had tried to get us a couple of margaritas from the bar for Oche de Mayo... but it was too busy... it was only noon, so that was okay.

I tried my hand at making tamales... my new favorite mexican food... and they were... delicious! Happy Ocho de Mayo to me!

We shared dinner with old friends and new friends... a dinner with tamales, enchiladas and fajitas (I definitely made too much food!), and lots of laughter and fun... oh, and a margarita or two!

I think this Ocho de Mayo thing just might catch on!

another way to give


Sometimes I think about what I would do with my life if I didn't have to work... and money was no object. If I could do anything I dreamed to do... I think I would spend my life volunteering. I wouldn't travel far or start up an organization... I would just help out here and there around my city... lend my helping hands. I suppose there are a few people who would look at me cross-eyed and say I think you do that now! But not really... I was getting so good at saying no. Perhaps that tide has turned a bit, and maybe I am accepting a new challenge here and there, but my time is nowhere near as committed as it once was. And I like to be involved! It just doesn't seem like work to me if I'm happily visiting with a friend! Snow White sang about whistling while you work... but me? I'm just laughing! Whether I am reading with elementary school kids that need a little extra help, or chaperoning a high school band trip, I have a ball. And along the way, these people that I meet and work beside become woven into my life... become like part of my extended family. I was not thrilled that I was talked into being the secretary of our band booster organization... but my kids will be part of this program for seven years in total... why not be involved? Why not show my kids that what they do is important to me? Yeah... I may be a sucker... but I am a happy one!

This week the schools were celebrating volunteers... and sure... I now have three great new travel mugs... but most of all... I have been given the gift of appreciation.

There is no such thing in anyone's life as an unimportant day. -Alexander Woolcott

May 08, 2009

the joy in giving


Mother's Day is almost upon us... and one of my favorite things to do is choose the perfect gift (don't worry Mom, you can keep reading...) A gift that speaks directly from my heart to hers... and if there are tears, I know I've done my job! But once in a while, the gift is just something I know she would enjoy... and then I take extra time in choosing just the right card. Either way, when I give a gift, I love to watch the recipient's face... that is the part that fills me up... that is where I find joy. Whether the reaction is laughter, tears or surprise... the joy of giving is, for me, the anticipation of the torn paper and the delight that plays out in discovery of what lies within...

I heard something on the radio that struck my heart... an organization is collecting Mother's Day gifts for a special Pampering and Presents Day for Moms... widowed Moms. The Moms will be pampered, but the presents... the presents will be laid out so the kids can secretly choose their gift. As soon as I heard the idea, my heart began planning. Because I think of these kids... who don't have anyone to take them out shopping. As a Mom, I always tell my own kids that I'd love something they made themselves just as much as (or more!)than anything they could buy... and if they present me with handmade cards or little drawings, my eyes sparkle... and my tears begin. But I'm not sure most kids get that... and I know that some long to be able to go out and buy a gift for their Mom. So this idea was one I loved... I had a few trinkets stashed away... and my dear hubby was kind enough to drop them off for me on his day off.

I keep thinking about this event... and I keep imagining a room full of kids... light in their eyes... selecting a gift that they think is just right for their Mom. And it will be... because it was selected with love.

May 05, 2009

sombrero-less


I love a fiesta. Especially on Cinco de Mayo. My dear friend Suz knows that I could eat Mexican food every day, and she says she cannot eat it without thinking of me! Tex-Mex, Southwestern... I love it. The seasoned meats and the spicy salsa... crispy chips laden with salt... and you could probably talk me into a margarita pretty easily. Anything.... except Flan! (It just seems too bouncy for me to even try it!) Even my kitchen celebrates our love of this yummy food...

But this year finds me with no fiesta... no salty chips dipped in chilled salsa... and certainly no margarita! No... I'm on a diet. One more day in this ten-day round... and I just couldn't cheat. I feel in control and on the right path. So... the closest I got to celebrating Cinco de Mayo was admiring my new dessert plates... and indulging in a piece of pepper jack cheese. Ummm... Ole? Hmmm... not quite!

(But don't feel too bad for me... I'm definitely celebrating Ocho de Mayo!!)

he brings a smile


I love my marriage... my husband. It is something that I am thankful for everyday. Eric is my partner in every way... cooking, transporting kids... he even does laundry. But something else he does... is remind me that I am special... that I am his treasure. Last week he was in town at an appointment and drove the extra fifteen minutes to my office. Seeing his face at my door brought a smile to my face... but he had more than a smile to offer. He brightened my desk with flowers and a card... hoping to pick up my day. I love that he has these sweet thoughts... that his manly cop job hasn't changed his romantic ways. Oh yes... little things do mean a lot.



Thank you again, Emily... for opening our eyes to the little moments in life...

May 04, 2009

q is for...


quaint.

Our first house... it seems like a million years ago! It was nestled in the woods along a winding road... and it seemed like a patch of spring was cut away just for the house. Picket fence... weathered shingles... stone foundation... an arbor around the doorway. Quaint. It was love at first sight... I'm not sure we even looked at another house. It was tiny... but it was ours. And we made it our home. It was where we brought our first baby home to... it was where we laughed with her and cried for her. It was hard to pack up and leave... our first real home together. We had a lot of dreams for that tiny house... but some dreams are meant to fade away... to make room for new ones. For us, it was a Florida home... and here we are...

May 03, 2009

my olympian


He wanted his hair spiked... and if that was what he needed to make him feel confident, I wasn't going to say no. It was his day. His day to shine and have a moment in the spotlight. It is not something I could do... at least not without my stomach doing flips. But he wasn't nervous... not with his spiked hair. When his turn came, he introduced himself to the crowd, adjusted the piano bench and settled in... and then he played the piece he has, for weeks, been putting his heart and soul into. The Olympic Fanfare. He bowed, the audience applauded... and he reveled in his moment. I love that... that tangible moment in time when you can feel the world is on your side and rooting for you... when your best has been proven good enough.

May 02, 2009

the ugliness in me

Sometimes the breath in me sinks down... sinks so far down in me that tears pool at my eyes and there is a gnawing at my heart. I let it happen... I let the hurt and the disappointment and the loneliness and the anger overwhelm my soul. I know the way out... I know how to once again catch my breath and let my soul rise up again... but sometimes I don't, or won't, take those necessary steps. I might begin the prayer... but then I realize that I am not ready to let it go... I am not ready to put it in God's hands and I am not ready to forgive. And if I know... He knows. And the gnawing becomes stronger and the pain physical, instead of just emotional. My fault... I let it happen. I don't know why... I just do. Used to be I could fill that space... where my soul used to be. I could fill it with food or with treasures off of a shelf... but not anymore. I tried to wander the aisles of JoAnn's looking for something to ease the hurt.... but I know... that God has changed me and there is nothing there that would satisfy my need. No quick fix... and He calls me. There is a place though... where I can go to sustain me... until I am ready to pray with sincerity. I raced there today... asking God not for forgiveness to begin, but for what I needed to bridge my way there. Please, don't let me be to late... please... let her still be there... please. He must have known my desperation... must have felt my heart's most immediate need... because I made it... and there she was. My mother's arms set me free... to cry, to rage, to tumble down into a dark abyss, safely, and then emerge again. I don't want to be ugly and full of dirt and darkness... but there I was. And her arms helped me through it and helped me find a place where I was ready to travel the rest of the way... to God's palm... where I sit and confess. He has made me into this person... the one who can't find peace anywhere but here... and I am thankful. And also thankful for the rest stop along the way...

May 01, 2009

another may day



It is funny how some people are known for certain things... singing... a distinctive laugh... the endless ability to make people laugh... And so today, as I went around making deliveries, I was happy to hear Oh! It's the May Day girl! Another friend said- I thought of you and your May baskets as soon as I flipped the page on my calendar. It may be just a sweet token of spring... a basket containing a few candies (left over from Easter!?)... but it is a tradition I love to share. And if someone is going to call me a name... why not the May Basket Girl?