Friday, August 24, 2012

first grade

The house is uncharacteristically quiet for a weekday morning... Remy is off running errands with his daddy, the baby just went down for a nap and you Quinn... my biggest of big boys... you are at school having your first day of FIRST GRADE.  My mind is a swirl of worries about how you are doing, while my heart knows you are just fine.  Yesterday afternoon when we went to meet your new teacher & to check out the classroom, for the very first time I saw you being shy.  You have been stubborn & not wanted to talk to people plenty of times, but this was different.  This was a hold-a-little-tighter to mommy's hand and chin-tucked kind of whispery thing.  You know this is kind of a big deal, first grade and all.

First grade.
It feels so big, so grown up, so much the beginning of things.

In the early days when you were first born, I could not believe there would ever be a day when I would forget your baby smell.  Or how it felt to hold ALL of you in my arms.  These days your body is so long & strong & so very much your own.  Sometimes I think you must have hatched fully formed because there is no way my body could have ever contained you.

But still, on those restless nights when you just can't sleep, I squeeze myself into your narrow bed and snuggle up close.  Tangled together, my finger traces the contours of your face.  Willing to memory the slope of your forehead to nose, the gentle rise of your cheek & soft curve of your chin.  Locking it safely away for the not-so-far-away day when you will declare your need for more personal space.  When the mere presence of me no longer has the power to calm, soothe, sedate.  I only wish I could know beforehand when that last sweet good-night snuggle will be.

But now, you are in first grade.
You are smart.
You are capable.
You are at the beginning of a path that leads away from home.
You are exactly where you need to be.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

fate, love & cosmic pinball

I have always been a collector.  It's in my blood.  Auctions, antique shows, garage sales, thrift stores, even the occasional dumpster score... the thrill of the hunt never gets old.  From the "around the world" dolls when I was a kid, to cobalt depression glass during high school & vintage sheet music in college... throughout my life I have loved hunting, gathering & enjoying things that need a new home.

So one day, when a colleague told me about an amazing monthly antiques fair with over 500 dealers of all things vintage, I could not have been more excited.  I started going each month, and over the next three years decorated my little studio apartment with all the things that caught my eye & fit my limited budget.  I looked forward to that first Sunday morning each month.  Rising before the sun, driving easily through a sleeping city, across the water to treasures waiting to be discovered.  Little did I know, that on one such outing, I would change the course of my life.

Very early that still summer morning, the sun just peeking up from the edge of the world, I rounded a corner and saw my future husband in the distance.  A tall, dark and handsome stranger who felt instantly familiar.  My breath caught, and the sensation of the wind being knocked out of me stopped me cold.  My friend & fellow treasure hunter thought for a moment I must be having some sort of attack.  She quickly realized what I was looking at & urged me to go talk to him.  The direct approach was not something I felt comfortable with in the dating world, so I shook off the idea & quickly walked the other direction.

Thankfully, my heart trumped my brain that fateful morning eleven years ago, & I did go talk to the handsome stranger.  I sit here now, typing with one hand, as the other holds a squirmy eight-month old, the third in the line of children I thought I would never get to have.  Just weeks before meeting my husband I had made the decision to leave the big city in favor of a smaller college town in the mid-west.  I had interviews lined up with the local PBS station & had started the search for a new place to live.  Feeling the need for something different, I made plans. 

I never did make that move.  For three years we had both been at the same place at the same time, and yet had never met.  With one chance encounter, the possibility of staying put suddenly got much more interesting.  Although I would not change a thing if I had a do-over,  I can't help but wonder sometimes what my life would have been if I had made a different choice.  If I had stayed home that morning, or not found the courage to approach him.  Would I be married to my job & living with ten cats?  Married to someone else with three other children?  Or does the exact right love find us at the exact right moment, no matter what we think we control?  Throughout our days we make choices, big and small, that ripple out to alter the course of our lives, and others, in ways we rarely ever get to know.

My beliefs vacillate between deep surety in a grand master plan for each of us, to we are all just random bits of breath bumping around in a cosmic pinball game.  I am mostly a believer in Fate.  I see her as an often kindly, sometimes cruel, unseen force guiding us to "choose" whatever will keep us on our destined path.

When two people come together who are so clearly meant to be, well... together, there is no sweeter place to be.  I thank my lucky stars each day, even on the difficult ones, that I found my person, my love, my home.  Sometimes taking a chance with your heart is the best choice of all.

Celebrating two people who have chosen to love each other for the rest of their lives, is one of my very favorite kind of celebrations.  Combine that with a huge extended family, great food & a mid-west summer and I am over-the-moon.

I love seeing my babies be loved-on by those I love...

Cousins with endless energy plus a strong, young back... my boys are in heaven too.

Two of my very favorite people on the planet.  xoxo!!!

Sisters.... it took me awhile but I finally got one where you all have your eyes open.

And the wedding?  Perfection.  Every detail was beautiful... the home-grown flowers, gorgeous bride, care-packages for all of the little guests... and did I mention the cheesecake?!?  Ah-may-zing!

Congratulations you two!  Please come visit us very soon...

This little guy had a big crush on the bride... didn't want to let her out of his sight.

Soren has his first sink bath

Fishing at the pond on the farm

Um, got cute?  Why yes indeed.

Hello chickens!

With my beautiful cousins... I remember them both as babies... when did I get so old?!?

Seriously the world's worst group shot... who got a good one?!?

Hoping cousinpalooza can be an annual tradition...

One of my favorites...

Epic country sky on our last night at the farm

Traveling with three little ones is quite a challenge, but was worth every minute.  Feeling so grateful we could make the trip to be with everyone.