One could go on and on forever talking about anything, but I'll just touch on it here.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Slowing Down to Live

The artsy family in disarray appeals to me. Like the Cassons in Hilary McKay's children's books, I want to live with paint on my face and a happy child making messes all over the house. I want my husband at home with us being creative and earning money at the same time. We should be able to rush off to the zoo or the museum or the mountains without writing an excuse for Geddy to stay out of school for the day. We should be able to embrace each adventure without guilt about the "matters of consequence" we didn't attend to.

But that just isn't right. American houses should be tidy, kids should go to school, parents should work outside of the home, there should be a perfect yard adhering to the neighborhood guidelines, and dinner should always be on the table on time with the dishes done before bed.

So I try to follow what I should do, and I fail.

OK, I can't entirely blame the country or culture in which I live for squashing my dreams. I make my own choices to place my to-do list above my passions that whine away locked inside my heart's cage. But there is something to be said for how difficult it is in this setting—in this particular part of the world—to live and work free from incredible job stress and cultural "noise." And even my favorite book family has parents with a less-than-ideal marriage—they disagree on how loud the noise should be and thus mostly live apart.

But thankfully my childhood had a bit of wild in it and so did my husband's. Even though adulthood requirements still throw us for a loop—we often look at each other and realize with panic that we are the grownups now—we can draw on those memories of childhood in the dirt and the woods and gain courage to live in the moment.

Now more than ever before we want to shut out as much noise as we can because we want our son to grow up without guilt for not living the way "they" say he should live. I want him to know what it's like to spend hours watching clouds float by, to climb trees, to read whatever book he is interested in regardless of the reading level slapped on it, to be responsible and hardworking but not ruled by a time clock or controlled by a paycheck. I don't want him always eating fast food because he believes there is neither time to cook nor joy and pleasure in doing it. I don't want him waiting to travel the world until he is retired. I don't want him believing that happiness is in getting.

It's tough to let go of all the demands life weighs on us because we have to pay the bills. We like living in a house, driving a car. But I'm encouraged by more and more blogs and webpages and books I read that show me other moms, other families, right here in the U.S. of A slowing down and taking time for what really matters and not letting go of their dreams. I see what can be done to live intentionally, and I'm ready! Little by little I'm going to work this year on slowing down, breathing deeply, learning to cook, learning to simplify my home, and seeing what my son can teach me about how to spend our time.

In my quest to slow down I'm finding inspiration from the personal experiences of Tsh Oxenreider and family in her new book Notes From a Blue Bike. She's the founder and main voice of The Art of Simple. (Find out how to get a copy of the book here.) This post is part of the Blue Bike Blog Tour, with information about joining found here. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


Let there be laughter dripping from the icicles
Let there be shadow puppets dancing on the wall
Let there be pennies in my pocket
Let there be zebras in the backyard
Let there be blanket forts in the dining room
Let there be a touch of blue on the wall
Let there be a gentle sigh in your sleep
Let there be nonsense in the library
Let there be an accidental party at my house
Let there be a chorus of hallelujahs
Let there be cinnamon dust on my applesauce
Let there be a child’s handprints on the windowpane
Let there be less clutter in the closet
Let there be mud spattered on my blue jeans
Let there be a kite flying in the clouds
Let there be neighbors greeting in the streets
Let there be owls after midnight
Let there be an ocean swelling out the window
Let there be tickles sprouting from your fingertips
Let there be volcanoes spewing snowflakes
Let there be books toppling over books toppling over books
Let there be snail mail stuffing the mailbox
Let there be time slowing down
Let there be joyful noise
Let there be silence
Let there be stillness

Let there be more hope, more compassion, more love

Monday, January 6, 2014

What I Want to Say

I don't want this post to be about motherhood. Or my baby boy. Or housekeeping. Or dreams. What I want to say is wrapped up with the Christmas decorations and put away in the garage. It's high on a shelf, waiting, waiting for someone to open it up and smile and sing and take in it like one long delicious breath in a forest after being cooped up in a dirty, smelly city.

My words want to mean something to you. They want to sink in and come back again here and there as the words and tales in a dog-eared paperback. Maybe a little full of themselves, but they have earnest intentions. They don't wish to be photographed, headline news—at least they say—but the special note tucked in your pocket, folded and unfolded throughout the day. They want to matter in a way that makes you think about your own words and how much they can matter and how much they can hurt.

Sorry, sympathetic, eager, and giving—my words hold back a chuckle, bite their tongue, blush. They long for recognition, optimism, hope. Ignore the ignoble utterances from the past, these words want to refresh, restore, renew, revive, redefine.

But they blabber instead. They splash and flash on the page, in and out of focus. They count themselves and aim for more. More! They try to climb the mountain and trip on their clumsy feet.

What I want to say fails me. This page stays open

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Geddy's Hands

Cold and sticky and plump and white like dimpled marshmallows, my son’s hands mash into me. Like tiny tree frogs his fingers splay across my face and suction onto my nose, my lips. They refuse to release hold of my dry and cracked fingers as I try to slip away from his crib at night. Strong baby muscles pull my hands over his face, suggesting I caress his cheeks and rub his forehead and stay.

As a newborn, my son had difficulty keeping his little fists away from his mouth while nursing. My husband used to have to hold back the hands while I helped the little guy get a good latch. Older now, my sneaky baby boy likes to wriggle a little finger into his mouth while he eats, as if I won’t notice. And sometimes, when he’s feeling particularly witty, he’ll try to sneak his finger into my mouth. Or my nose.  

I remember the first days that he discovered his hands. He turned and turned them this way and that in front of his face. He still does this when, upon lying down for a nap in his crib, the morning light streams through his window. He experiments with the shadows and light patterns that play across his up-stretched hands. 

One time as we sat in my chair, Geddy discovered the shadow my hand was making and reached for it. I moved my hand and he stared at the spot of light on the arm. Then I waggled my fingers and he reached for their shadow twins again. Then we started doing shadow puppets on the wall. I see a lot of this in our future.

When his teeny tiny nails scratch and claw and tell me that it’s time for trimming, I lightly pinch each dainty finger and try to hold an entire squirmy body still with that pinch. Only a distraction and his tummy full allows me to finish the task but I dare not do the toenails too. Another time. (Speaking of toes, he's discovering that his are not as tasty as his fingers. He sometimes makes a little face after removing a toe from his mouth!) 

His little hands teach him so much about his world. The texture and temperature of an object. The cause and effect of his poking and prodding. So amazing to observe as he watches his hands learn.