Monday, June 30, 2014


I've got a blueberry cream cheese pound cake in the oven and Hubs is out in the yard playing catch with the Littles and I'm sitting here reflecting on the past month we've had.  It's been outstanding.  We've been carpe diem-ing the crap out of life.  Summer is in full swing and the days are long in the best and worst ways possible.  We've gotten in beach trips, farmer's market excursions, dinners with friends, out and in.  We've had birthday parties, bonfires on the deck with smores, hiking adventures, park play times, star-gazing evenings, windows open with coyotes howling nights.  We went camping, bought a used mini-van, sold an old house, celebrated the end of the notorious intern year, and our one year anniversary of being home here.  It's been quite a month.

It is so beautiful, this messy life of mine.  We have these epic adventures coupled with drywall dust covering everything from the never ending home projects, and the laundry piles up and catches up when we come up for air long enough to see the mundane beyond the treasures.  And the food has been very, very good lately, which means we are all happy and maybe a little fat, but while cooking is a love, it's also a therapy for me.  And the Little Lady is wearing her favorite t-shirt today that says behind every cloud is the sun and I still can't help but wonder why some people seem to have cloudier skies than others.  But maybe for my Irish family, the clouds aren't all bad and how can I find symbolism in metaphors and sunburn and death?

We went on the camping trip just last week because Hubs had an unexpected break in his schedule.  And we packed up our 8 year old and 1 day-new minivan with all our things and I thought about how we finally had the perfect car for our family of five, if only we needed it now.  And we drove out of town and into the trees and left behind the house and the laundry and the drywall dust, just left it all covering the living room floor.  And we kept driving over the rivers and through the woods and we lost our cell service and we found ourselves.  And the skies poured rain and we hiked in the soup that was the trail.  And we found joy in the puddle splashing and the drinking rain and laughter that comes when nobody says no and stop and don't.  And everything was so alive and green and beautiful.  Overwhelmingly so.  There were trees growing out of rocks in the middle of raging rivers on the edges of waterfall cliffs and I looked and I told Little Man that life is always fighting and finding a way. 

And we hiked around a lake and thought about the last time we hiked around a lake on a camping trip when the boys were two and three and everything was shiny and new and happy and there were no clouds on our horizon, at least not any that could cover the sun. And we both felt the heartache watching Little Lady be just like her big brother that she'll never know.  How the memories can be so clear and so stunningly present  Until they're not.  And you're here again and everything is awesome except that it's not.  Because the sky is full of clouds and every time they cover the sun it gets cold deep into the bones, right down to your very core. 

And there's this never ending pull between the past and the present and how can there be both and still be any sun left?  Sometimes it doesn't feel like the sky becomes cloudy, but more like the sun has burned out.  And there's still a scorching pain in my heart and I feel both burned and cold all at once when it comes. 

And we're hiking through the woods and laughing and making memories and it's still raining but the sun peeks out ever now and again and the water is crystal clear and deep blue and world is so full of beauty that it takes my breath away.  And just when it can't get any more amazing, the Stellar Jay comes and lands right on the very branch we were all looking at and how can that not be a gift, this blue-winged Jay, from my blue-eyed J?  And maybe you don't believe in that silly kinda stuff like I didn't used to either.  And maybe I want it to be true because I'm so lost in a world where he can't be that he needs to still be here somehow, anyhow sometimes. 

We kept walking through the woods in the rain.  We walked and we looked and we laughed and it.was.good.  But just like we looked for the sun and sighed with pleasure whenever it came out, so we are filled with longing for the life we and he could've, would've, should have had.  And the shiver of cold runs down my spine just like the trickle of rain that snuck into my coat. 


Saturday, June 7, 2014

My Tide

I woke up at 6 am on a Saturday morning to write.  Naturally, Little Lady woke up screaming for mommy at 6:10 and had a 45 minute tantrum about which bed she wanted be sleep in, how I wasn't wiping her nose the right way, how she wants milk but not in a cup.  Ah.  She finally calmed down as long as I was lying next to her in my bed.  I laid there watching a spot of light on the wall fading and getting brighter as the curtains swayed, thinking about my coffee getting colder, the story I wanted to write running away from me once again, and how absolutely impossible it is to accomplish anything with kids. 

I get frustrated easily.  My Italian blood, maybe.  But I was lying in that bed watching the spot of light on the wall and listening to her breathing getting slower, knowing that the good writing wasn't going to happen anymore.  Just like folding the laundry doesn't happen because her goal in life is to undo everything I do, it seems. I fold three shirts and five seconds later the pile is hanging from a lamp, now not only unfolded but also covered in dust and/or dog hair.  Lovely.  Why do I even bother?  I wash the floors and I can't even turn around to see how nice they look before I can hear the splash of milk splattering across them.  Cleans sheets automatically mean someone will either wet the bed that night or vomit or sneak in a bucket of sand from the sandbox. 

And I'm still lying in bed listening to her breathing, and as she's getting calmer, I'm heating up inside thinking about all of the stuff that goes wrong and what's the point in even trying to make anything nice when every effort seems sabotaged every.single.time? 

But that spot of light keeps coming and going, and it reminds me of the beach and the waves that come and go and the tide, how it goes out and gives us this great place to be.  And we make our castles and digs our holes and leave our footprints in the sand.  And then the tide comes back in and tears down the castles and fills in the holes and leaves the beach smooth and seemingly untouched once again.  And where the tide doesn't reach, the wind does.  And every morning looks different than the night before, after the wind and tide have had their way with the coast.  There's always new beauty to behold in the way the wind and waves shape the sand, what they hide and reveal.
And isn't that really the way life is?  We build our castles and the world tends to level them.  Yet, we also dig ourselves big holes and they get filled in, too.  And maybe it's all as beautiful as the sand, this windswept life of mine.    

Maybe it really can all be beautiful.  The messy stuff.  The cold coffee.  The crying toddler.  The never ending laundry.  The tempers that flare so often.  The list of messy is long and ugly.  But maybe this world pushing against my every move is just my wind and tide.  And maybe when all is said and done, maybe after I've been worn in all the right places, maybe what's left can be beautiful, too.  Maybe it already is and I'm just not seeing it right.  And I once again find myself asking, what is it that I'm seeing?  Am I always overlooking the beauty in order to see the mess?  It's like adjusting the focus on camera, this joy seeking I try to live.  It's all always right there, but what is it that I'm putting the focus on?

The house is quiet now.  Now she sleeps.  I look out my hand-print covered windows and I see her life all over mine.  And I see now that it's not a mess at all.   There's a wind-chime ringing somewhere and the breeze is blowing the leaves.  The birds are singing good morning and all I can think is that she's just my tide.  Leveling me out and making my world more beautiful than I could ever do on my own.