Tuesday, May 29, 2012

another month

This month has flown.  I tell myself I write this blog for myself and my flailing memory, for my kids, for my mom, and for Melissa.  I count on those last two readers to keep me capitalizing.  When Melis reminded me today that it had been a few weeks since I'd written, I listened.  So here we are.  It's been a wild few weeks.  I was in Cali for all sorts of big things - threw my sister a baby shower, went to a mega high school reunion, hung out with Brandon's parents - all things huge and milestone-y and meaningful.  Reconnected with sisters and aunties, old friends, best friends who I never get to see.

It was awesome in that my feet barely touched the ground, I flit and flew and, phew, was I pretty glad when it was all over.  I cherish all my time in the world that made me who I am.  Those almost thirty years of California, big city, shennanigans, but I certainly breathed deep as we flew down over a green Missoula, the rivers that dance, the still snowy peaks and warm, soft hills.  It is gentle.  It grounds me.  I think grounding is probably good.

I returned on Mother's Day.  Jeff and El had planted new flowers in my garden, scoured the house, made beautiful cards and drawings.  There was no where else I wanted to be.  The blessings inside our little home were vast and perfect.
Took a while off from socializing after my return, settling back into the last weeks of work, into my kids at school and at home, into the beauty and comfort of routine.  I relish this routine even more now as it's about to become nostalgic.  A few more weeks in the classroom, then a few months at home with my sweet ones, then back to work full time.  Full-time for the first time in five years.  Wow.  For a girl whose always worked, that's a long ass haul of part time.  And I'm psyched.  Will I miss impromptu hikes, morning dance classes, freedom to stop for coffee or move sorta slow?  Heck yes.  Will I be thrilled when that paycheck comes in?  Heck yes.  Trades and trades.  And my big girl is starting kindergarten which is huge.  She's huge.  She's so damn smart and funny and I'm beginning to see what she'll look like when she's a teenager.  She'll be a beauty.  A wonder.

And then there's little fireball.  So two and changing so fast.  Putting little phrases together.  Obsessing over shows and books.  Wiggles!  Otis!  Wiggles, please!  Otis, please!  Demanding in that way that shows he's finally found his voice. He can finally attempt to drown out his bossy better half.   They play and play and laugh and fight.  Eliana is beginning to really take care of him.  She calls him, "Sweetie," and loves to cater to his every need (even when generally they are needs that she creates for him).  She asked me tonight what the word, "produced" meant.  I explained it.  Then she said, "I produce Espanol and empanadas."  Es la verdad.

The integration continues.  The first little while after Brandon died, I only listened to his music when I was focusing on him.  Reflecting.  Feeling sad.  Wondering. It was a conduit for memory and emotion. 

But then yesterday I found myself on Mt. Jumbo after dinner.  The sun had finally come out after three straight days of rain and gray.  The sun was bright, my energy was high.  I was thinking about the energy in Bran, in his creativity, in the way he loved.  I decided to put him on my headphones.  Like my man Michael Franti says, I put my headphones straight into my heart.  I decided to take myself up to the sacred tree.  The tree I hiked to the day before I birthed Sol.  The tree that pops out of nowhere, alone, beautiful, wild on the side of the mountain.  I thought deep about all of his lyrics, trying to figure which girl which song was written for, analyzing phrases, appreciating the musicality, his gorgeous voice.  It was a new kind of reflection.  It was happy and appreciative and almost uplifting.  His ardent voice matched the bright green of the hills.  The river looked extra wild and wide, the mountains higher, the sun brighter.  I could have hiked forever. 

I reached the sacred tree.  And it had been cut down.  My gorgeous tree.  My birth and death tree.  All cracked and chopped and lying all sad and bereft on the green earth.  I denied it at first.  I hoofed it up to the next hill to make sure that perhaps this was a different tree before the sacred tree, one I'd never noticed, knowing darn well it was my tree.

So I stood and stared at the gnarled, chopped tree, hot and sweaty, Brandon's voice pumping in my ears.  Nothing stays the same.  Change is life is time is age is now.  Deep breaths.

I turned and made my way back home, glad to catch my kids before bedtime, glad to read the same stories again and again, fetch the same glasses of water, sing the same songs.  The routine of right now.  Before we have another change. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

the boy


I woke up a whole new mama today.  I had a bad case of the frumps all week.  The frumps and the angsty at bedtime and the woes me work is so exhaustings.  Not my best self.

But I woke up this morning, now that my boy is actually two, and I was back on my game.  I didn't realize how much was going on inside of me as I thought about his birthday.  When Elie turned two, it was all so clear.  It was all about her then, all about a milestone, all about my baby no longer a baby.  But Soli's always been part of the bigger picture.  I reflect on him, but it's a reflection on us all.  Eliana was a looney tune this week as she navigated her feelings about her brother being celebrated.  She was in control of all things birthday in an attempt, I imagine, to have some control over her emotions.

I think I may have been doing the same thing.  Because the highly effective mode of my birthday brain was a force.  I was in total control until I wasn't.  Like managing the sudden bursts of spring rain or cold weather.  Or knowing exactly how many cupcakes to bake.  How many packages of penne?  It was annoying.  I was glad to wake up feeling a bit more settled in my me-ness.  When I play highly effective turbo charge mama, it's not really the gentle-ist, most fun-loving gillie t.

But, even if I was turbo-charge, Soli's birthday was lovely.  We woke up and had birthday eggies and opened presents.  Soli got an arsenal of new instruments, a banjo and accordion from Gran and a guitar from mom, dad and el.
He was in seventh heaven.  His new favorite word is banjo.  He carries his banjo around like it's a second Softie.  He slept with his banjo.  His new banjo, his new plastic football and his new little elmo, all curled around him in their wooden, plastic, cumbersome goodness.  I love that boy.
I then turned him over the the birthday fairy, Caroline, who I know gave him nothing but extra love all day.  When we pulled up, all his little buddies were lined up, peering out the window of the door, waiting for us to come, waiting to celebrate their little Soli.  He was off with a flourish, off in his land of trains and books and balls.  And Caroline got a new piano.  Watch out.  Soli loves him some piano.
After an insane in the membrane, highly turbo charged work day, El and I raced home to decorate the cake.  Birthday boss insisted (that being, uh, her...).  After I tried not to get too type A as Eliana made orange blobs with icing all over my beautiful, made from scratch, trying to be too perfect mama homemade cake, we managed to move on to pick up.  Caroline does a tremendous job celebrating each child on their big day.  She makes them the cake that they want with nothing but the best ingredients, quinoa flour and organic fruit, perhaps a tiny hint of honey.  Soli wanted a football cake so Caroline rigged up an awesome football with nutella and some all-bran cereal.  It was incredible.

So we sang birthday song number one, ate birthday cake number one, and had birthday party number one.  Then we raced back home so mama could make noodles and salad and get frantic again.  Sweet Melissa talked to me in the heat of my birthday mania, got me to chill out, breathe, relax.  Thanks, girlfriend.  Then it was on to the park.  The sun actually managed to come out and a few friends gathered to celebrate Sol.  We set up a card table under a tree and had a little picnic.  As Jeff said, there couldn't be a more perfect place for Solomon to eat his dinner than off a big boulder in the park.


The party accelerated as the dark thunderhead above moved in.  We sang song number two, blew candles number two, ate cake number two.  Sol got some beautiful gifts and felt lots of love from his peeps.  We were all more than ready for bath and books and bed when we returned. 
I was more than ready to take a really, really long bath, finish, my novel, and sleep hard for the first time in a few days.  Until, of course, Soli joined me.  And then El.  So we did our night time shiftaroo, Sol with me and Jeff in the twin bed with El.  Lucky Jeff.  He's a good sport.

I loved waking up and knowing that I was on the other side of another mega-moment.  Life is pretty much one big, mega-moment these days.  So I took a cue from my lil guy.  I took a deep breath and dove right in. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

may first

I think May first acquired a new significance for me after Sol was born.  He was due today.  I was so, so ready for him to come today.  I hiked the heck out of the mountain today.  Took in the open smiles of the arrowleaf balsamroot.  Hoofed and pushed and pulled my feet up that trail.  To no avail.

I've felt scattered and unsettled today.  The weather is all over the place.  I'm all over the place.   Wondering what to do for Solomon's birthday.  Do we keep the party we planned with the rain and all or just bag it, reschedule, plan for a day when there's sunshine?  But I'm such a sentimental puppy, all about the actual Day Of.  It's all silly right now.  It will happen the way it's supposed to happen.  I so don't ever say that kind of thing.  I probably should. 

We had a hunker down, home sort of weekend.  The kids are so into one another right now.  So into me.  So into Jeff.
So into whose getting the most attention.  Sol and I fell into this goofy routine the other evening. I was on my knees in the kitchen (not sure why...).  He would run to the far wall as fast as he could, then run towards my open arms, jump on my knees and melt into my chest, open mouth kissing my nose.  It was awesome.  After a few runs I thought to myself, wow!  It's just the two of us.  This is one of those special moments without his....and before I could even finish my thought, in she came:   
I want you to do that to me!  It's my turn to do that!  Soli, it's my turn, get out of the way.  MOM!  He's not getting out of the way.  

Ah, the precocious older child.

So she did some wall to knee runs.  They took some turns.  The moment had shifted just as it should. Just, perhaps, like the birthday party plans. 

But before I try to take it down a notch in the bath, here's what I need to say about Solomon.  The little guy that I love to remind is almost a birthday boy.  He's soulful. He's honest.  He's hysterical.  He's physical.  He's strong.  He's a lover.  He's an explorer.  He's a goofball.  He's a snuggler.  He's still my baby.  But he's really a boy.

He's almost two.