Monday, April 22, 2013

Love is Yellow

Secrets were whispered under the magnolia tree as I kept watch from afar, not wanting to interrupt their moment.

Soon she came running over, hands full "because she loves me".

Later, as I lay on the couch blowing my nose and wondering where the thermometer was, she carried the little jar carefully to the side table "to make me feel better."

Love, in Technicolor yellow.

Friday, April 19, 2013

End of an Era

This girl...she is so excited to start school.

Pulling on our arms as we walked up the hill to the Open House.
Shaking hands with a teacher and spelling her name with confidence.
Bouncing with excitement as we pulled out of the parking lot in the big yellow school bus, exclaiming over every big turn as we bounced and tried to stay upright.
Claiming her packet of new crayons and scissors with pride.
Orange mouth, "it's gluten free 'cause it's made from oranges", courtesy of the welcome to school popsicle she got to walk home with.

She's ready, even if Mommy and Daddy are dragging their feet at this new era they're about to embark on together.

Monday, April 15, 2013

When I'm Three

Every random once in a while Sweetpea informs me that "when I'm three I'm going to French class." These kids, in such a hurry to grow up...

Bear and Sweetpea, taking notes at The Princess' latest class program.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Santa Barbara

I got a notice the other day "SB on DVD" started following me on Twitter. That would be the soap opera Santa Barbara, from the 1980's. This triggers many questions... The primary one being how did I get on THAT "friend/follow" list? I think Santa Barbara was off the air before I even knew what a soap opera was. So, you'd think that there is no connection whatsoever.

But, SB on DVD must have some powerful marketing researchers because they found a connection I'd long forgotten.

Part of my college education was a semester spent in Ivory Coast, West Africa. I was part of a group of about 20 students living with African families in various neighborhoods of the capital Abidjan while taking language and culture classes for six weeks before being relocated to various communities throughout the country to live with African families and participate in daily life - farming, working in local clinics, teaching in local schools, working with refugees... (this story could get long so I'll leave it there... Suffice to say I'm not going to run out of stories anytime soon!)

A huge part of living with families was learning the language, French. (Another story - Ivory Coast was a colony which means French was the "trading" language, not the language spoken at home when tribal languages worked just as well with a longer history and grasp...) Each day we'd take classes and struggle our way through the intricacies of trying to learn a language that was interspersed with multiple tribal languages, up to 2 or 3 additional ones spoken in the homes we were staying in. Then we discovered one common learning tool.

At 7pm each night, regardless of the neighborhood, rich or poor, the world stopped for 30 minutes and everyone tuned in to the national past time (or so it seemed to us as we compared notes each day in class.) The melodramatic strains of the Santa Barbara theme music would play and it was time to catch up on the latest antics in Hollywood (no need to worry that the episodes were 15 years old...just the fashion stereotypes being solidified is staggering!) The love of this show was so universal that you could hear the music from anywhere in my neighborhood. Open the windows and the show was broadcast in stereo, emanating from every house and corner store. We were late coming home one night from the tailor but we didn't miss a second of the show as we passed one house after another playing it full blast.

Each morning we students would gather to piece together the plot from the dubbed show none of us had ever seen in its original form but was adding to our eclectic french vocabulary. 1980's Hollywood glamour, intrigue, and scandal, translated into french for African families with tribal connections 100s of years old.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


The Princess picked out her favorite piece of work from her Aunt's most recent show. No hesitation, she knows exactly what she likes.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Pearly Whites

Parenting is not a tool to use if you're looking for an ego boost. There's nothing like finding a brown spot on your small child's front tooth to make you question your ability do basic parental functions - like keeping teeth clean. No matter that you scrub that child's teeth twice a day, never let a bottle find it's way into her crib, don't even buy fruit juice, and work hard to limit the amount of sugar she eats - one little brown spot and I'm questioning every parenting decision I've ever made and envisioning a two year old with a mouth full of silver caps whenever she smiles. (Anyone seen James Bond, "Moonraker"? Yeah, that guy)

Luckily, it turns out that she isn't making enamel. See that? My first thought was 'Oh thank goodness, I'm not as bad of a parent as I suspected' THEN I started asking questions about how to save her teeth until the adult ones come in (Let's hope the adult teeth get the message about the importance of enamel, no guarantees!)

Ugh, two year olds. They're so small in very large dental chairs, holding onto their bears and periodically doing a little self talk. "I'm okay, Mommy. I'm okay at the dentist."  And I'm there trying to be all positive and calm and freaking out inside about how tall she's getting and how tiny she is in the enormous chair that seems cool because it lays back into a bed but we all know what happens when the dentist lays you back and says 'open wide!' and she has no clue.

Brave Survivor!

Monday, April 1, 2013


“This has been a particularly lenty Lent,” I read in a blog I frequent.

Yes, that’s exactly it.

I haven’t paid as close attention to the church calendar as I normally do. Christmas ended, Epiphany strolled by, I blinked, Ash Wednesday blipped and I vaguely registered that we were in the season of Lent.


I didn't mark Lent with sacrifices of candy or caffeine. I didn't come up with crafts, snacks, or thought provoking lessons for my children to deepen their faith as we waited for the Resurrection and the Bunny. There was no formal Lent for us this year because my own season of waiting has coincided with the calendar and, rather than an exercise of intellectual learning and insight, it’s been a day by day struggle, an unwanted lesson in waiting for an answer to come – maybe soon, maybe never, maybe clearly, maybe opaque and clouded and as agonizing as the wait itself.

Burdens, they are multiplying around me in staggering numbers that settle, not on my shoulders but deep down, burrowing to my bones so that I wonder if this time the phrase is wrong. I won’t be stronger; the weight is so much that I might break instead.

They are my own and those that I care about. Relationships; thin, stretched, and hanging by gossamer threads. Illness, the kind that makes you halt, the anxiety of now battling with fear of the many possible futures for a parent, spouse, child or sibling. Lost finances, lost dreams of every variety, lost innocence and belief.

But, now it’s Monday morning, the day after Easter, the day after Resurrection. This is my comfort.

My Lenten season hasn’t magically ended, we’ve passed the 40 day mark and I don’t know how long it will last; neither did everyone waiting in a little room. But hope is alive. The waiting, questioning, crying, screaming and sitting in quiet agony because anything else would just be too much, that season is defeated. Though the world we emerge into is utterly changed from what we knew, it is richer because of the victory over every kind of death.

I’m holding those burdens – my own and all of those entrusted to me. I’m cradling them as my sacrifice and my offering as I wait.

Even as I chafe at the waiting.

And while I wait, trying not to rush, I will listen in the quiet and the roar for the Still Small Voice that never steers me wrong, that has traveled through the muck already and knows that the way out is through. The Voice promises to hold my hand with each small move - breathing, small shuffling steps, giant leaps, bone-crushing goodbyes or eye-opening, unexpected hellos.

The wait is part of life but so is the Resurrection and I hold onto that Truth with white knuckles and a faith built of stubbornness and experience.