Thursday, August 18, 2011

another shift

I feel another shift coming on. I feel it as I watch the sun lay her luxurious head behind the hills and it's not even 9:30. I feel it when I put on my sweatshirt when I have my coffee, that sweet chill in the air. I feel it when I make a faux spread sheet on a piece of Eliana's drawing paper while the children sleep. Monday through Friday, smaller boxes mark Saturday and Sunday. A.M. and P.M. the sections read. Lots of colons. Headings like: Drop-off and Pick-up. Dinner and Clean-up. Sol and Elie. Yoga and bike rides.

I'm not exactly a spread sheet kinda gal (which is why I used folded boxes and a pen). But I am a gal who anticipates change. And wants to make it positive change. God knows I just finally settled into my summer gig. Staying home with the kids, making the most of it, appreciating where I live and the gentle nature of my community and surroundings. The sweet ease. And I've been doing alright with park trips and ice cream cones, doctors visits and play dates. And suddenly I'm staring down the last week of summer, meeting with Sol's daycare, buying Eliana markers and a box of number twos. Deep breath. Big sigh.

So back to the spread sheet. I had one of those serendipitous Missoula days today. The noon class I was supposed to sub was cancelled. After shlepping the kids to the park to be with a babysitter, I decided to take the hour for myself. Which meant, at least today, running into an absurd number of people I know who I actually wanted to talk to. So I didn't exactly get a lot done, but I like to think that I ran into that motley crew for a reason and that they all had something important to say. Or, at least, for me to take.

One of those people was a fiery, bright, organizer type of friend. Lovely dancer. Fellow mama of two. She started talking about the spread sheets she and her hubby made up to navigate the rocky waters of parenting, working, socializing and trying to be their darndest selves. You even put who does the dishes on the spreadsheet? You even put who makes the kids lunches? I was mildly incredulous. We are just not that organized around here. But homegirl had a valid point. Dial it in. Have the expectations. Set the bar. Raise it.

So when we're in the right place, I'll bust out my creation for my husband. We'll talk about why it's important to me. At least in theory. At least in attempt. Because lord only knows, there's way too much that I want to do. I want to be teaching my yoga class but I really want to feed my children dinner and I want to choreograph this piece that is building in my busy brain and I really want to finish my insanely awesome book and I really, really want to build another fort with Eliana and watch Sol try his hardest to climb to the top. Want to watch the way they love on each other. The way he cracks her up. The way she takes care of him. The way they get older and smarter and more beautiful every day. I want to meet my girlfriends for wine and talk fast and furious and deep. I want to walk my dog in the hills and listen to new music. I want to go on a date with my husband and not be interrupted when we enjoy our food. I want that full, rich life every precious and layered day.

So, gosh darn it, I'm setting up the spread sheet. We'll pencil it all in. We'll attempt it all.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

getting out

Sometimes going away is the key to unlocking the present.

The gift of time away together is one of the most tremendous gifts I can give our family. For whatever reason, when away from the intensity of our day to day, our best selves shine. The transitions and naps and hours logged in the car feel almost effortless. The kids are so darn elated to be with us all day. We're so happy not to have anything more pressing than our next meal to worry about. There's an unprecedented presence to it all.

There are the unexpected activities (or rather, things you never expected you'd be a part of).

Things we've never tried. That we'd love to try again.

Things splendid in their simplicity.

Simple beauty. The beauty in repetition.

When all we have is the sun and the sand. The dunes and our ratty array of sand toys. A giant kite. A couple of bikes.

Sweatshirts and sunscreen. The rhythm of the tides, sunsets, happy hours.

When moving from alone time to kid time to recreational time is so seamless because they are all so appealing.

And where would be without our friends and family. The way that they so wholly embrace our loud, ecstatic, unpredictable set. Roll with us.

Encourage us to actually eat without our children. How simple this concept is! How much I've pushed the chaotic family dinner on us all. But when we spend all day together the dining table is trumped. Let the children meander through their meals, toss their food, dunk them in the tub and call it a night. Salmon and steaks await. A big glass of wine. A table full of ideas and thoughts. Adults. What a concept.

So here we are. Back home. Staring down the last few weeks of summer. Trying to not get too engulfed in the idea of another seasonal shift, another dramatic shake to our attempts at ebb and flow.

And so many questions to bring to the table. How to stay equal players in it all? How to stay present when we go back to living by the school bell. How to not worry so intensely about everything? When I bring Sol to day-care for, gulp, the whole day. And Elie has a new classroom and a new daily routine. I breathe deep and look up from the computer. The sky is perfect above the north hills. The sun just warm enough. My coffee finally cold. It's time to press forward. To bring our lessons back into the day. To stop pouring over these insane and gorgeous images. To surrender to change. To the blessings in every detail.