Monday, August 27, 2012


I'm not a huge fan of transitions.  I'm not sure who is.  My kids certainly aren't too into them.  I remember in our wild and sometimes dark early twenties, finding Melissa at the end of a long day.  She'd exclaim with tears or disdain, "I'm transitioning."  I remember how valid those words were.  Transitioning.  A time for the gamut of emotions to run amuck.

Last week I was transitioning.  I left California, left my family, left my gorgeous, perfect little niece.  The week was full, as they always seem to be.  When we felt the wheels of our airplane lift off into the sky, Eliana looked at me with full, sad eyes and said, "Mom.  I just miss them all already."  I know exactly how she feels.   Eliana and Sol have twenty cousins in California.  Twenty!  There is an enormous amount of fun to be had.  Some highlights include the three of us (that's me, Elie and Sol - we've become real tight like that this summer...) racing like landlocked fools into the Pacific Ocean, the 76 degree water like a giant, soft welcome home.  It was one of those moments when I marveled at where I come from.  Do people really live here?  With this amazing blue, watery thing in their backyards?  

Holding Mazzy.  That probably should move even before the ocean.  Her perfect little breaths.  Her tiny nose.  The way my sister watches her, feels her, moves with her.  Her squeaks and squawks.  A miracle.

And watching the generations share that miracle.  How we all wanted our turn.  The way Sol gave her a shout out at the dinner table. (Eliana is way into dinner table questions.  Her question that night, "What is your favorite part of nature."  Sol's answer, "Mazzy.")  Watching Wendy rock her quietly on her front porch.  The way my mom can sit still forever with Mazzy in her arms. 

 More generational love.  Watching my parents (long divorced), reading to Eliana together, propped up on pillows like they used to, just hanging out. 

The way Eliana and Sol and Piper can play and play in that special cousin way. 

The way Eliana wanted to practice all of her cousin's names so that she didn't confuse any of Tim and Laura's girls (which isn't easy, as there are six).  It was solid time.  I was solidly present with my babies the whole time.  Present in that elevated way that comes when you are the only parent.  The only parent and traveling.  Present personified. 

Then we transitioned back home.  I saw Jeff at the airport and I felt myself breathe a huge sigh of relief, felt my feet plant a bit more firmly on the earth, felt my heart rate slow.  I love where I come from, but golly moses, it wears me out.  Do it single mama style while my two babes are at the top of their wild game, and it makes for a wee bit of tension in the old shoulders. 

So I took a big breath in of dry, hot, Montana August air, the brown mountain backdrop, the low, dark, end-of-summer rivers.  The rest of the week was a slow savor of the last free days.  Long jammied mornings.  Lots of hot water pour overs for me and the french press.  Awaiting daddy's arrival home so that we could all venture out to a park or a meander around the neighborhood.  . 

The slow was extra appreciated as we anticipate the next transition.  The next transition that we entered today.  Soli's first day of junior preschool (that my friend, Jeremy, hilariously labeled, "JPS").  My first day back at work, full-time.   Elie's last week before kindergarten.  We're all grown up around these parts. 

The kids were exhausted after their respectively full, kiddo centered days.  A random, freakish storm shut down the power, so we bathed by candlelight and went to bed early.  As I was reading on the deck, watching the red ball of sun grace the smokey sky, I felt the presence of a little person.  Eliana needed a little q.t. before bed.  I poured myself a glass of wine, poured E a glass of milk.  We toasted to kindergarten, to sunsets, to change.  We watched the sun disappear.  Then mourned how quickly it was all over.  Then celebrated that it would all happen again tomorrow. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

impromptu vacay

 Life landed us an impromptu vacation last week.  With all the ins and outs of Morty's arrival, we put our scheduled two week camp out plans aside. But once he was settled and Jeff felt good about his set-up, we sprung away for a last minute trip to the coast.  The kids are amazing travelers.  We high tailed it to Portland and made it there in time for tacos at my favorite Portland taco shop.  It was so good to see family, especially in light of all that's going on.  Being at Kelli and Jack's is so comfortable for all of us and watching cousins together is absolute, pure love.

Somehow our random plans landed us in line with my girl Melissy's family vacay as well.  Melissa and I talk almost every day and she probably know the ins and outs of my day to day better than anyone.  All that talk, yet we never, ever see each other.  I hadn't even met little Lilit, aka, Lulu, my absolute favorite red tutu wearing little mama. 

 Being able to spontaneously meet up with Miss Malarky three times in one day was absolutely rad.  It breaks my heart that friends and family have to be all split up but it sure does make it sweet when we can swing some together time.  I love this girl.

Speaking of love, there was lots of love between a coupla other girls too.  Miss Annabelly and her big sister cousin were way too sweet.  Eliana loves the big cousin role and was all about taking care of the littles.  Annabelle is growing into such a sweet, chatty and long little lady!  Loved watching their madness.

It was quality time in the city followed by quality time on the coast.  The weather in Seaside was unusually hot and sunny making for lots of time to play in the sand.  Kelli, Jack, Jeff and I stayed up late talking about life and love, family and friends.  I am such a junky for meaningful conversations and that one was way up there.  You can't plan for them, but when they come, what a gift!

 As tends to be the case on the Oregon and Washington coast, our dose of sun was followed by some cooler days.  We found our campsite in the little Washington fishing village of Westport and settled in for five days of surf, campsite goofiness, lots of make believe beach games, and a ton of fresh seafood.  Matt and Amy were there to provide their fill their roles as raddest playmates ever.  As always with those guys, our groove was pretty mellow.

 I am so thankful for the time I am given with my family outdoors.  We had no toys at the beach.  Annabelle's old pail, a shovel we found on the beach, a couple of books.  That was it.  So much of our normal day to day feels so overwhelmed by stuff.  It drives me wonky.  The way one tiny little piece of "plastic crap" (as Jeff loves to say) can wreck such havoc on a seemingly normal day.  Being outside with them is absolute bliss.  I feel so present, so ready to engage, to go wherever they want to, figuratively, go.  Why is that?  What is it about vacation that makes parenting feel so much easier?  Is it that we are together as a family, all equal players in engagement?  Is it just the obvious -- that we are free from the day to day grind of work and school and schedules?  Chime in anytime, as I'd love to figure it out.  All I can say is a week away from it all puts me in such a place of peace.  All of us.  I have nothing but gratitude for this time. 

Tomorrow we say goodbye to daddy and continue our travels, heading south to Cali to meet, finally, baby Mazzy.  I can hardly wait.