hit the road

There is change in the air.  A melancholy feeling of nostalgia has hit me like a stone in my stomach.  This place here, this one that is full of sand gnats and mosquitoes all year round, this one that has isolated me purely on the basis of location, this one… I will miss it dearly.   For underneath the initial veil of flesh-eating bugs and stifling heat is true beauty.

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I heard on a recent ted talk that beauty isn’t something seen with your eyes, or heard with your ears, or even felt with your fingertips, but a feeling you get.  This couldn’t possibly be more true when it comes to the earthy scented south land.  She is draped in Spanish moss and coated in a candy blue sky.  Live oaks tower.  The world is blindingly green most of the year.  But its when you sit back and let it all hit you at once that you can truly know its beauty.  It fills my cup.

 

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And all in all I have found lots of beauty around here.  I have found the intense beauty in mother nature and I have found the soft graceful beauty of friends.  And the thing is they are not just friends I will have once known, despite what our distance will soon be, but friends who changed it all for me.  Some ladies who I miss so much already and I haven’t even left.  And I have been around enough to know it won’t be the same.  No matter what, these friendships will change along with my new location.  It may seem like a hopeful thought, or a little lie, but they will actually grow stronger.  I have seen three different states in the last few years, and three separate times I have left a piece of my heart with a sweet girl friend.  And its true, we still declare admiration and love for each other on a regular basis.  A sworn sisterhood.

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It is hard for me to see things in any different way. I believe in the powers of fate or the universe or the gods because I don’t know how else I could have found more perfectly matched girls to spend my days with.  For that I am so glad.

In less than two weeks we take one final trip up interstate 95 in hopes to find our forever home.  This is so hard to write.  There is so much involved.  So many reasons to rejoice, but so many to mourn all at once.  I suppose I can only take it slow, embrace them while I can, and know that finally the universe cooperated and I am going home.  Or as close as a forester will allow.  Holidays will be filled with familiar voice, familiar sights, familiar tastes.  My boys will get to know the places I romped as a girl.  They will get to grow up with a cousin or two.  They will live in four seasons.  

IMG_1985But I do hope a bit of this fern green wetland stays in them.  

I know it will be in me.  

its in the cards

Monday morning brings a special kind of doldrums to the mama who chooses to stay at home.  The solitude of the week is desirable in its own special way; The calm of the weekday morning is quite cozy, The luxury of choice in the day is the envy of the working partner, The opportunity to provide the background for the days work is exciting.  But, the weekend.  Oh, the weekend.  My smile is brighter on the days I get to share it with my husband.  Excursions are completed with an ease that is impossible to achieve while solo parenting.  In fact, they are enjoyed with such greatness and little stress (relatively speaking here), that I look forward to them starting Sunday night.

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And on top of this, occasionally I get the rare opportunity to just up and leave.  I took the advice of a persuasive husband, and though I had no partner in crime beside me (mama’s of young children are so hard to wrangle up for an evening out on short notice), I will admit, I took full advantage of the sweet southern city that lies north of me.

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I wandered, and window shopped, and really shopped, and drank good dark beer, and even got my tarot cards read.  I should quite like to report that I am now officially a true believer.  And why not really?  This whole life thing is so mysterious anyways, who is to stay a strange deck of color blotted cards doesn’t know what is next.  I sure don’t, so it is nice to know I can depend on something.

IMG_1861 IMG_1858 IMG_1852 I will admit, it is strange to sit at a busy bar, unnoticed and disheveled, amidst many groups of folks dressed to the nines, a few drinks deep, flirting and dancing and merry-making in general.  At first I sat amongst the crowds quiet and uncomfortable with a look of nervousness in my eyes, if not sheer terror on my face.  After a half a beer I realized this, laughed at myself and doodled on a napkin while indulging in some good old-fashioned people watching.  I recommend this for all mama’s and papa’s who perhaps feel boxed in at the moment.  All the different people doing all their different things makes you feel tiny again.  Not so… in charge… so grown.

I got the best of both worlds at this weeks end.

Though I yearn for more of these days, I am refreshed.  I am relaxed.  But most of all, after all that, I am me.

a floral reminder

When I was a little girl our yard was lined with forsythia bushes on one side and a large patch of pussy willows on the other.  My sweet mama would gather some up in the doldrums of the coldest months and plop them in vases of water scattered about the house. Sometimes she would even include a few branches from the magnolia tree which was so kindly planted the day I was born.  Within a few days these beauties would burst into bloom, reminding us that the sun would warm our backs once again.

It is funny to think that when she began doing this, when she was my age with two small babies of her own, she probably felt as lost as I do.  Everyday I wonder if I am doing  all this parenting stuff right.  If I am perhaps screwing these two up so royally they will forever discuss their mother horizontally on a leather chaise lounge to an over payed doctor.  Do I yell too much?  Do I play with them enough?  Do they get enough social interaction?  I have the whole mommy guilt, worrying thing down pat.

These days there is a lot of information about exactly how you should parent.  There is research done on research proving that every word you say, food you touch, diaper you use, school you choose (or don’t choose), clothing you adorn, show you watch, way they sleep… you name it… is just plain old wrong.  Or right.  Or both.

It is terribly overwhelming.

But somehow, these small memories of ritual from my youth give me a sense of normalcy that makes me believe its going to work out.  I think of my mama, digging in the earth in our front lawn all those years ago.  Knowing of roots and stems only from the houseplants she carried from apartment to apartment, and the tomatoes her father dutifully planted each year.  Now, thirty years later, it is a legacy of a garden that draws visitors from afar, and for some reason this alone, comforts me.

Here I am deep in the south.  This variety of magnolia I marveled at as a child is already past bloom and its only February.  But that’s not all that will open in the coming weeks.  We will see every hue of the rainbow.  It seems I have endless choices of things to gather up and force into bloom indoors around here.  So, I started with the pear tree.  Its tiny white flowers look like they should be edible; like I should candy them and decorate a cake.

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Isn’t that nice?  Now quick go try it!

(PS- Don’t put the pussy willows into water, unless you want leaves.  But they will remain soft fuzzy little rabbits feet for an indeterminable amount of time just kept in a dry vase.)

oh that magic feeling… nowhere to go

I can be honest.  The first time I laid eyes on the man I know reside with, I fell.  I mean it.  I tried to do some sort of handstand (in the bar he worked at mind you) and crashed.  I am sure this was my juvenile attempt to impress him.  Thoroughly embarrassed, I didn’t let this stop me.  He may have wanted little to nothing to do with me for many months to come, but eventually I wore him down and he was able to see clearly- there is no one like me.  Whether this be a good thing, or bad, it is what it is.

Shortly after I convinced him to not be afraid of my stalker like courting techniques, he asked me to move in with him.  (Woah, he is an all or nothing guy huh?)  And this wasn’t just any move.  It was a move from one end of the country, clear across to the other.  What did I do?

I thought, hell, what else am I doing?  I was waitressing.  No, I wasn’t.  That’s right, I had recently been fired.  I had a cute apartment?  I drank loads of coffee at the local coffee shop?  I played pool?  None of these reasons were enough to keep me where I was.  So, one morning, I sat on the hood of my bright blue Toyota Tercel, feeling the warmth of the spring time sun fall on my face, and just decided to go for it.  Just like that.  I mean really, when it all boils down to it, I had nowhere else to go anyways.

And it was magic.  That cross-country road trip was gloriously fulfilling.  We had more fun in those four days than I knew what to do with.  We made fools of ourselves in Nashville and Amarillo, and many other cities along the way.  We ate candy bars until our stomachs hurt.  We smoked cigarettes.  (sorry dad, its true- it was that kind of road trip… blame it on Lee)  We sang along with every classic rock station loud as can be, the windows rolled down and my toes hanging out of that giant moving truck.

Oh, that magic feeling, nowhere to go.

Today, I was sitting cross-legged by Rowan’s crib holding his hand, lulling my boys to sleep, singing the entire white album for the one millionth day in a row, when I came across those words.  I paused.  I had to smile.

It is now the end of a long day and my house is nothing if not filthy.  I just ate a half a lion, each bite dipped deliciously in apple pumpkin butter- still hot from cooking.  I checked on my little cherub faced boys soundly sleeping, and the cat is curled on my lap.  Lee is still studying in his cold office faraway I am sure, my hard-working saint of a husband, and quite frankly my brain is fried.

And I have nowhere to go.  Even if I wanted to go somewhere, I could not.  But still, not a place to go off to.  Back porch maybe, to peer at the giant chunk of cheese glowing in the sky.  Or to the coop to close things up.  Sure, there is always the dishes or the laundry or the sewing machine.  But instead, I just sit here.  Quiet and content.

How different things are now that I am a mother.  How clear-cut obviously and drastically different they are.  And then all kinds of similar too.

I suppose what I mean is, by up and leaving my cozy little apartment in a tiny town in the south, just to travel all the way across this big old hunk of north america, I had to trust my ability to be completely open and present.  To be content with my choice, and see what it would bring.  And now?  On day three of a sick boy at home, with literally not a footstep off our property, I once again have to believe if I open my eyes wide enough, and dust the fog from my brain, I will be able to feel that same sense of peace and joy.

So, I notice the weight of my growing boys head on my lap while we rock on the porch swing.  I let my little sick man eat every meal from the only place he feels solace- cozied up close to his mama.  I hear the sound of my Rowan vroooming every little stick and leaf and acorn through the dirt.

I feel that same warm sun on my cheeks that I did years ago, and for some reason that similarity is all I need.  

three years of love

To go back in time and re-live the day your first child was born year after year, going through each step, tearing up at the marked time on the clock that they entered your life, is so sweet it is painful.  My little boy, for that is just what he is now, no longer a baby boy, but a little boy, is three.  Oh, how he has taught me.

There is no change in my life that that I can envision doing more good for my soul than his presence in it.  He has given me the grace of mindful living, the slowness and beauty of discovery, the letting go of expectations needed for ultimate patience, and the compassion and power of love.

Three years and three very different lives we have lived in his life span.  Each year somehow brought us a new home, in a new state, with what felt like a new child.  His growth and spirit seemed to morph each day as I am sure it will continue to do so.  From the high desert in Arizona where he was just a babe aweing us with first words and first steps, to the blustery lands of northwest Pennsylvania where he made snow angels and friends, to the southland where he has become so incredibly aware and fascinated with the world around him.

Each year on his birthday, we have had a small celebration with the friends we have made in the short time we have lived in that particular location.  

And each year I feel the strength of the universe in those friends.  We have had the pleasure of meeting so many people, good people, through our boy.  Having children doesn’t stop your social life, I promise you.  It changes it, but in no way does it stop it.  The bond that you make with a mother, as a mother, is something I could not have predicted would be so utterly important and undeniable.

And oh, to see them play.

Three is certainly bittersweet.  I love him growing, but does it have to be so fast?  

  Happy Birthday my boy.  I love you more than roses love the sun.