Tuesday, April 24, 2012

twirl and swirl

The integration continues.  Spring is here.  Spring in this mountain town means an explosion of color and scent and light.  Within days, the intense sunshine yields soggy green buds, electric lawns, hillsides sprinkled with larkspur and shooting stars.  I love this place.  I love this life, these seasons, this circle.  I love the first sip of my perfect cup of coffee.  I love the first sight of my children when they wake in the morning.  Or, more honest, more lately, when they awake at any god given hour of the middle of the night.  Sol's monkey snuggle.  Eliana's hot breath and intensity.  How innocent and simple it all is when she's groggy.  I love the challenge to stay present through all the absurd and gorgeous details of a day.  The search for a pair of socks that match, Tupperware lids, car keys.  The insights and love from the kids I teach.  A short break from work that finds me walking Lu in the park.  The river races, signs warn of flood damage.  Green all around.  Overnight.  Quite literally.  Overnight.  It takes my breath away.

Tonight I find myself here alone.  I'm listening to Brandon sing, feeling his intensity meld with the shifting clouds, the fat raindrops that pour through the sunshine.  In a few weeks I will go back to LA for my twenty year high school reunion.  Between now and then, Solomon will turn two.  My current life and my past life will continue to do their little swirly life dance, their all-is-beautiful-in-its-complexity routine.

I've been reconnecting with my Osho Zen Tarot deck.  I actually had a really intense afternoon with it the day Brandon died.  Before I knew he died.  But that's another story.

So I don't really believe in this stuff, but I do believe in this deck because it's magic.  It just is.  It's never let me down.

So I keep getting this same card.  The same card!  It's called New Vision and it's all about embracing the dark and the light.  All about the Integration.  If I weren't so tired, I'd get up from my chair and grab the book and quote it.  But my feet have served me so darn well today.  And now they just want to stay up.

My son turns two.  It feels so right.  They are so damn hilarious.  Tonight they were singing a duet of, "A Whole New World" in the bath.  Just like Brandon and Anna, the ridiculously bad recording that my sister made during a school assembly and sent to me up in college.  The tape I'd listen to as I'd log mile after mile on the stinky stationary bike, my body trying to beat out heartbreak.

So there are my kids, so appropriately singing the same song.  Eliana would just belt it our while Soli would get the longer notes, the "eeeerld!" of "world".  He'd punch the volume just to be sure we knew he was really into it, even though he can't string that many words together.  They were so hyped up in that overly exhausted way tonight. 

Jumping naked on the bed and tackling each other like wild monkeys.  I finally got them in bed and came out to eat my potstickers.  I love potstickers.  I used my body a ton tonight teaching my yoga class and was way into my cabbage salad and soft dumplings.  I'm mildly obsessed with raw cabbage.   Anyway.

So my hearings been extra bad lately.  I had a bad case of swimmer's ear that I had cleaned up at the doctor's the other day.  After he pulled out a few huge balls of black nast, I could hear a major difference.  That said, I still feel like things are muffled and strange.  I think it's my hearing aide, but I don't want to admit it because my warranty has expired.

Back to dinner.  I am finally sitting in the quiet space of my kitchen, all alone, all calm, all perfect bites and attention to detail when I begin to hear strange sounds coming from the kids' room.  I figure it's Eliana being bad and out of bed, and wait for her to come and ask for another glass of almond milk.  But she never comes.  I finish my food and move to the computer to go into my weird, private (yet public and right here on this blog) world of processing.  More strange sounds coming from the room.  I know it's Elie and imagine she's just messing around.  I don't want to go in as I might wake Sol.  I assume she's fine.

The strangest sounds!  So I open the door.  And there is my little guy, all innocent and rebellious, looking up at me with his bedroom eyes.  I guess he can get in and out of his crib now without a flesh wound.  Super.

He was playing with Eliana's accessories.  He had little rubber bands up his arm like Madonna in Borderline.  I scooped him up and took him in for the cuddle of a lifetime.  I wish I liked the word cuddle more.  The double d's have always bugged me.  For the hold of a lifetime.  I could kiss that head forever.  Touch those cheeks.  Rub the sleepy curls that are finally appearing on his formerly barren head. 

There's something about thinking about Mother's Day after emailing your dead friend's mom while listening to your dead friend's music to then inhaling your own child that makes for a mildly intense evening.  New Vision! reads the card.  I think I have to go get it. 

...Now you are presented with an opportunity to see life in all its dimensions, from the depths to the heights.  They exist together, and when we come to know from experience that the dark and the difficult are needed as much as the light and easy, then we begin to have a very different perspective on the world.  By allowing all of life's colors to penetrate us, we become more integrated.

I'm so with this card.  They do indeed exist together, those depths and heights.  I feel so full of grace right now.  I'm so in love with my husband.  So appreciative of how he loves our kids, loves me, works to bring his best self to the world each day.  Feel so connected to my parents and in-laws.  The elders in my world with their quirky, heart-felt goodness.  My children are other worldly in their equal parts brilliance and frustration.  Eliana and I are at one moment the picture of mother-daughter perfection to just as quickly  caught in another struggle about something unimportant and absurd.  Her headband snaps and it's all my fault.  Even though I told her not to wear it around her waist.  But she insisted.  Until.  Snap.  And I didn't even say I told you so. 
What is so healing and sacred about sitting and typing on a computer?  Tomorrow I get to have dinner with my girlfriend who will any day have her second child.  I remember life before kids as so simple.  I remember life with just one kid as pretty simple.  After Soli came, simplicity left my vocabulary.  Simple was replaced with tremendous.  Overwhelming.  Beautiful.  Exhausting.  Amazing.  I've been in that space ever since.  My new vision.

Friday, April 20, 2012

almost there

I picked up Solomon from day-care today.  As I looked at him playing from across the room, all sturdy and confident, just hanging with his peeps all independent-like, it hit me.  Sol's about to be two.  My baby.
I lay him to sleep and then went into my room to grab something off the dresser.  On the corner of the mirror, still where the midwife left it, is the little carbon card with his footprint, the footprint she took minutes after he came out of my body.  Two years ago.

Just yesterday during lunch, some colleagues and I were sharing birth stories.  I'm very proud of both my births, very blessed to have had gentle experiences.  But Sol's birth, the way he made his entrance like it was nothing at the end of a spring Monday, well, it just makes me beam with pride.  Pride for him.  For how he's always done his best to fit into our groove.

He's saying so many things these days.  Beginning to put sentences together.  He looked at me over breakfast and said all knowingly, "Pizza Friday!"  I said, "Well, it's pizza Friday for Elie, but you get to go to Hudson's house."  He said, "Pizza, Eleeannna.  Hudson's house."  Process, process, process...

We had a great week.  My dad drove out in a car that my nephew gifted me.  Love the pay-it-forward concept.  Love it when your 24 year old nephew can gift you his car.  It was one of the best visits my dad and I have had in a long while, full of delicious dinners and late night wine chats.  Everyone who met my dad made comments like, "Wow! Your dad is so cute!"  or "Your dad is the nicest guy ever."  He is pretty cute.  And he's always been pretty popular.
My children are in constant motion....
Spring is officially here and Missoula is busting out in hues of green.  I so love this time of year.  Every fleck of sunshine is like a gift.

Solomon is obsessed with all thing musical.  He's especially fond of drums.  When I visited Brandon's room a few weeks ago, I took a pair of his drumsticks.  These are Sol's new favorite tools and he wakes up and asks for his, "Real drumsticks?"  Nothing like integration.  Old and new.  The many shades of heartbreak. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

a return

Oh how I love to be away. And love to return. And then, after a long, wild Monday, long to be away again. Me and me and our little push pull. It's a new theme.

So Mexico was tremendous, as she always is. The weather was perfect, our house luxurious, friends full of light and love. Travels were long, as is the case when you choose to drive 7 and a half hours with two small kids before you even embark on the first plane. Of which there are two. But kids roll much better than us grown ups. Though Eliana, much to my chagrin, has finally found the phrase, How much longer? I so remember asking my parents the same thing. Then Hilary and I would go back to some weird, footsie/slam our bodies around in the backseat game. Funny thing. Sol and Elie know the exact same game.

So after a bit of a trip, we found ourselves back in our paradise. I felt everything slow. I felt extreme presence. I felt deep calm. And depth. A rooted-ness in all the intensity that has been the past two weeks. And gosh, we can even go further back. Because before Brandon died, life was still pretty intense. He just kinda trumped it all in that big, life and death kinda way. I was talking to my friend Hollace today. She was comparing death to the end stages of pregnancy, into birth, into the extremely new mom days. How everything is so bright and so intense and so real. You have no choice but to be in it.

That was how the first days in San Pancho were for me. The sun was so electrifying, the ocean so clear, my children so wild and baffling in their unique beauty.

Then I'd have a moment alone and need to dive into the dark. To listen to one of Brandon's songs. To check in on his blog. To carry on a conversation about his funeral service, seeking solace in every last detail.

And, just like that, it would be time to take off my headphones, hop from the rooftop deck, and re-enter my dazzlingly bright world. I'd make a perfect margarita. Head to town with Eliana for a scoop of mango ice-cream.

Pop Soli on my back and mosey to the beach for sunset. And their beauty would shine even more intensely than before. I'd feel supremely present and supremely blessed. Put my arm around my relaxed and kind husband. Watch Eliana and Sol interact with their silly and loving Auntie and Uncle.

Watch another show. Sticks make a perfect bow, a set of drumsticks. Eliana and Soli make a superb band, all wild beats and tremulous rhythms.

Sunsets and fish tacos. Climbs to the top of the lifeguard palapa. Soli's footprints in the wet sand as he races back and forth and back again, hours of endless laughter and motion. Eliana's games were a bit more focused. The building of a stage or a castle or a sand pit. The assembly of a perfect beach outfit. The gathering of shells. Or violins. Soli's more of a moment-to-moment guy. All big waves and stone throws. Matt said he'd never met a kid who liked to play fetch almost as much as a puppy.

By midway into the week, I'd begun to choose the light almost entirely. My last rooftop session was extra fierce and I was able to conjure up memories that I didn't know were still there. I was able to feel Brandon. Feel my past. Feel the part of me that loved him with such intensity. That raw, deep, purity of young love. It was so lovely reconnecting with him like that. I woke up the next morning in a new space of The Process. It's all integration. It's all process. I so am not a fan of random capitalizations, but that's what this all feels like. Part of the process. Part of the process of understanding myself. Understanding my story. Understanding the light and the dark, the real and intangible, the depth and the honesty.

The depth and the honesty of Eliana's curls after they mingle with the sea air. The intensity of emotion in her violin song about The Feelings. Solomon's call of, Bye, Ocean! each day when we left the beach. The way he'd monkey wrap his arms around me in the morning and plant a kiss on my face with his big, fat lips. Or his mastery of the phrase, Shut up, Elie! always said at precisely the right moment, her mouth running like an incessant little motor of comments and questions. Jeff and I can't even take credit for passing that phrase down, as it's one of my least favorites. But he's got it, and he uses it well. Funny little duck.

Today was long. But sitting here and taking some time makes it all feel a lot more manageable. We can't be on vacation all the time. I can't mourn all the time. I can't process all the time. There's lots and lots of space for the moments. Thank goodness for the moments.