4 kids in 3 years: reflections on motherhood, art and life.
My family is in town, my sister and her husband, my brother, my mother. Right now my children are running around outside playing with my sister’s dog (because I plan to never get us a dog, thank you very much) and they are showing my brother the huge widow-maker tree that leans precariously about thirty feet above the ground and that they climb up every single day (because as children my siblings and I never really climbed any trees to speak of.) And later this week my in-laws will join us, Santa will come in all his wrapping-festooned glory. Wine will be drunk, stories will be told and I will yell at everyone to stay away from me when I’m in the kitchen.
But before that, or in the midst of that, or because of all that, or as a remedy to that, I am joining some blogger friends dear and far in a celebration of happy and grace and gratitude and beauty. I am setting a timer and letting the love flow. I am inviting you into my ten minutes of joy. Because we all need joy. We all have things to be joyful. Because you reap what you sow and I need to sow joy. (Timer begins… now.)
1. I am thankful for the skin that wraps my children’s bodies, for it’s soft peach-fuzziness and how it is pearly in the light, how it tastes and smells.
2. The fact that they still let me kiss them and rub my face in their hair. Even in the school lunchroom, even my oldest one.
3. The things they can do like play the piano and read a book and ride a bike and swim across a pool. When did this all happen? Why did I want them to mature so badly? Because a tiny bit I miss their neediness, too.
4. And for their good health.
5. And the strength of their little muscled bodies.
6. And the crazy amazing things that come from their brains like Minion drawings and princess drawings and sculptures made from trash.
7. For my husband and the velvety skin of his shoulders and the heft of his arm when we spoon at night and the way he cares for the family and suggests we have a dance party even when I’m lousy with tired and in the end sometimes I even smile despite my better judgement.
8. My mother and her voice in my head even when we are not together and the way she gets excited for my little accomplishments even when she doesn’t understand them. And my mother-in-law and her best rabbit who parent me when I need a parent in my zip code.
9. And my siblings and the way they love me enough that I feel like the treasured baby sister still.
10. I am thankful for my friends who stand by me when I need them, who sit in the front seat of my car with me as we spew words of complaint or wonder or mourning or celebration over hastily eaten soup before we rush off to our next great adventure.
11. For friends who teach me things, who celebrate me and let me celebrate the amazing things they do.
12. And for new friends, too.
13. And friends far away who know me better than I know my hand because they knew my hand when it was wrinkle-free and holding a lacrosse stick.
14. For college roommates who I only see every once in awhile but who see me as this powerful thing I don’t see myself as.
15. And for people who care for my children, mostly amazing young women and one cool dude (you all know who you are) who teach my kids and cuddle them and read to them and drive them to soccer practice or do crafts with them when I can’t. Who are more patient than I am on most days.
16. I am thankful for Maine, the whole damn state, the ocean parts especially, and the salt air and the bridges that span pine trees and inlets.
17. My paddle board and the freedom that comes when my mind opens up and releases.
18. I am thankful for running (even though I can’t right now) and that feeling of flying.
19. Harry Potter. I am so very thankful for Harry Potter and the voices I get to do while my children pile around me in my son’s bed listening in wonder as magic unfurls.
20. And the Penderwicks that we listen to in the car, so thankful for these amazing authors who I share with my children.
21. I am thankful for red wine, too,
22. and chocolate
23. and bacon
24. and NPR.
25. I am thankful for Pandora solo piano radio
26. and NaNoWriMo
27. and the people at Mabel’s Label who picked me to win their contest so now I’m one of their writers in 2016. (Also Mamalode and Scary Mommy for publishing me, too.)
28. And actually, I’m thankful for Mabel’s Labels, the actual tags that help me not lose stuff
29. at my kids’ school, which I love.
30. I am grateful for amazing teachers who love my kids more wholly than I could imagine possible.
31. And I am so thankful for the people my husband works with, for this place that has welcomed our crazy family.
32. For our minivan which is so dirty and disgusting, and the sliding door doesn’t work, but I love that damn thing anyway.
33. I am grateful for art in the world.
34. and art I get to make
36. I am grateful for the bird sanctuary,
37. the playgrounds,
38. the pool,
39. the places my kids ride their bikes with me,
40. soccer seasons
41. (but not Little League. I was never grateful for Little League.)
42. I am so thankful for my crockpot
43. and that when I go to the grocery store I get to fill my cart with whatever my kids need or want. This is a miracle in this day and age.
44. That I live in a place where we get to choose, where we can get what we need and also, what we want.
45. That I am free to practice religion as I choose (or not)
46. and free to love people who live their lives like they want to, too.
47. I am grateful for clean water,
48. comfortable beds,
49. that I can send my children outside to play on their own (or with their Aunty and Uncle) and know that they will run around wild and free and be safe and sound except for an occasional cut or scrape or otherwise minor flesh wound. That they will imagine anything for themselves and their future. That anything is possible for them.
(Moment of honesty. I gave myself three extra minutes of writing because I was interrupted four times. I had to stop the timer four ding-dang times. So I stood up and jumped up and down like a three-year-old in frustration because is ten minutes so much to ask for? Ten minutes?!
50. So I am thankful that you all will forgive me for giving myself three extra minutes to get back into the groove. Plus a moment to spell check. And also, that my family forgave me for the temper tantrum. It happens.)
To join the bloggers who have come together for this project: 1) Write your post and publish it (please copy and paste the instructions from this post, into yours) 2) Click on the blue frog at the bottom of this post. 3) That will take you to another window, where you can past the URL to your post. 4) Follow the prompts, and your post will be added to the Blog Party List.
Please note that only blog posts that include a list of 50 (or an attempt to write 50) things that made you feel Happy or 50 things that you are Grateful for, will be included. Please don’t add a link to a post that isn’t part of this exercise.