Wednesday, October 27, 2010

You Happened.

Tomorrow morning, I will speak to a room filled with women in honor of The Day Of Remembrance for Pregnancy and Early Infant Loss.

And so today, I am in a place of remembering.

Remembering ...
counting days,
pregnancy tests,
spilling joy,
hearing a heartbeat,
seeing a blinking white light on an ultrasound screen,


frantic phone calls,
the silence of no heartbeat,
spilling heartache,

I have two boys who play at my feet, with their imaginations, matchbox cars, and ever growing friendship. They're happening, right here, in the kitchen with me.

And I have two other children. They happened too.

If your heart grieves with a mother's lost love, know this: It happened. The life, the love, the truth of it all. It happened, no matter for how long.

And if you've never lost one, but if you have the honor of walking closely with someone who will, help her to know, beyond all doubt: It happened. It matters. No matter for how long.

Sweet babies, you happened. I miss you today.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

One of a Kind

Tucker pointed across the table to me.

"Mommy, I'm counting. Let me count you. One. There is one of you."

You bet, kiddo. Just one of me.

And just one of you.

And just one of your brother.

And just one of your daddy.

Just one.

Let's love that way.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Finger Painting

Finger Painting is a decision.
One does not enter this journey without careful planning, thought, and decision.
But who can pass up a keepsake like this?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

It IS a Liquid. I'll Give Him That.

"Mommy, I'm thirsty. Can I have a drink, please?"

Enjoying my last minutes of solitude in the shower before I started the day in their presence, I gave the verbal nod.

"Yes, help yourself. I'll be down soon."

And when I came down the stairs, I found Tucker drinking maple syrup straight from the bottle.

He held a washcloth in his other hand, since he was feeling slightly sticky.

Perhaps we need to more carefully define 'beverages' at our house.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Lowercase Shower

Tyler asked if he could please take a 'lowercase shower.'

That's his word for 'bath.'

The boy speaks in literary terms.

Be still my heart.

Friday, October 8, 2010

"Party of Three."

They seated us on the patio, just under the speaker from the hostess stand. And thus their every announcement guided the boys' conversation, for the entire meal.

"Dave, Party of 4."

"Dave? Who's Dave?"

"He's probably the guy who just walked in."

"Where is he?"

"He probably just walked in. Over there. Inside."

"Steve, Party of 10."

"Hey, what's that noises? Who said that?"

"The girl at the hostess stand. Inside."


"She has a microphone."



"There?" Pointing to the speaker.

"Sure." I know, I know. It's a speaker, not a microphone. But I suspect you'd have given it a perfunctory nod, too.

"Robb, Party of 7."

"Robb? Is that Daddy?"

"No, Daddy is here with us. It's another Robb."

"Another Daddy?"

"Maybe." Not really. But who can answer all these questions with accuracy?

"Chris, Party of 6."

"Chris? I know him!"

"Is it him? Is it our friend?"

"I don't know. Could be."

"Steve, Party of 10."

"Ten? I love ten!"

We talked about every single family. Every-single-family.

Riveting details occupy the dinner conversation of a family of small children. Riveting.

Let's Make a Deal.

"Tyler, please pick up the cheese you dropped on the floor."

"Um, no thank you."

"Let's try this again."


"Tyler, you may have your lollipop after lunch or never. When do you choose?"

"I choose never."

"I'm pretty sure you don't know what that means."


"Tyler, you may play for ten more minutes."

"No, I'll play for six minutes. Or three."



A master negotiator, of sorts, this three-year-old. Or so he thinks.

A Thousand Gestures of Delight

"To make conversation,
to share a joke,
to perform mutual acts of kindness,
to read together well-written books,
to share in the trifling and the serious matters,
to disagree though without animosity --
just as a person debates with himself --
and in the rarity of disgreement to find the salt of normal harmony,
to teach each other something or to learn from one another,
to long with impatience for those absent,
to welcome them with gladness upon their arrival.
These and other signs come from the heart
of those who love and are loved
and are expressed through the mouth,
through the tongue,
through the eyes,
and a thousand gestures of delight,
acting as fuel to set our minds on fire
and out of many to forge unity.

This is what we love in friends."

~ Augustine, 397 A.D.
(Quoted from Externally Focused Quest,
Rick Rusaw and Eric Swanson)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

When the Lights Go Out

Robb was traveling. Let's start there.
After dinner and playtime at Chick Fil A,
(which are no longer baths and also new evidence God's goodness in my life),
we settled in for the last part of the day:
Between the Lions,
a bedtime show for all the children in our house who are ready for bed
and for their Momma, who was ready to send them.
And then... Bzzzt.
No electricity.
None. Zip. Zilch.
So, you know, this does not bode well for the bedtime routine.
I had one boy in terror, who immediately began pacing.
(Insert: a certain firstborn.)
I had one boy in love with adventure,
who immediately began listing the rules that were now
null and void since the lights were out.
(Insert a certain free spirit.)

I declared: The First Ever Mother/Son Book Party. Flashlights all around.

We read lots of them.
LOTS of them.
And still no electricity.
I called Robb in Wyoming, who called Excel Energy in Denver, begging on my behalf.
"Please, help my wife. You can add the special favor to our October bill, if you must."
Apparently, we were one of 250 in the blackout zone.
So, no special treatment, single mom or not.
Bedtime did not go well.
The electricity came on and off.
Flashlights were mildly helpful, in the sense of light source.
Not so much in the sense of monstery shadow source.
Tucker chewed his fists and fingernails,
praying in earnest for God to deliver us all.
Tyler asked questions about Buzz Lightyear and Woody,
and he explored every perameter of his bottom bunk by means of escape.
I sat in their bedroom, clicking away on my battery powered laptop.
Because momma's gotta work, and deadlines don't wait for electricity.
And there's something soothing about a laptop keyboard.
You have to admit.
We found a formula that worked:
1. Flashlights turned on, placed high on the shelf, lighting up the ceiling (but not moving or creating shadows).
2. Battery powered iPod, set to lullaby tunes.
3. Clicking of the keyboard.
4. Humming from the mommy.
An hour later: Sleeping Boys.

We made the most.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

In Another Life

Tucker is learning more and more about writing his name as well as other letters, and I'd like to give him a few helpful pointers on pencil grip. He seems to think I know nothing about this, that I have no expertise to bring to the table.

I said, "Tuck, did you know I had a job before you were born?"


"Do you know what I did every single day?" (Waiting to wow him with my professional background that matches his kindergarten aspirations.)

"Yep. You were a princess."

From the kitchen, my husband grumbled sardonically, "Yeah, she was."


Times change, people change. Now, about that pencil.

Grand Proportions

The new phrase at our house: " the whole world."

As in:

"Mommy, you have the best boys in the whole world."

(Indeed, I do.)

"Daddy, you make the best pizza in the whole world."

(Easy to please, straight from the freezer.)

"My seatbelt isn't making this the best day in the whole world."

(Wear it anyway.)

Hey, sweet boys:
You are my whole world.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Metaphors and Idioms

Equipped with heaps of new stickers, stamps, and art supplies, I said, "Boys, would you like to make a poster today? Something new to put in your room?"

"Oh, yes. I want to make a poster. And what is a poster?"

"A poster is a big picture you can hang on your wall. You can decorate it anyway you want. Stickers, stamps, markers, the whole deal. You can go to town."

"But will you go to the town too?" Tyler asked.

"Well, it's not a real town. I didn't mean we were going anywhere. That just means have a good time. 'Go to town' means have so much fun."

"But I don't want you to go to the town without us."

"Right. I won't. I just meant have a good time."

"But you're going to go to the town and have fun? Can't we come?"

For crying out loud. (And he was quite nearly doing just that. The whole plan was lost on him, as far gone as the matter of the idiom.)

"Let's start over. Wanna make a poster? Let's do it. It'll be fun."

Friday, October 1, 2010

Life Lessons

We arrived at the park alongside a large van of adults with special needs. They gathered around the picnic table with their packed lunches, and they shared a picnic with one another. They played on the playground, they laughed with one another, and they enjoyed the sunshine, right alongside us.

My boys were very interested. Who were these children, as tall as Mommy and Daddy, who played with hearts and minds like small children? They watched, implicitly noticing a difference.

One girl, Michelle, took an extraordinary interest in them. She asked for High Fives; she ran with them and played their games. It was impossible to know how old she was, since she was as tall as I am, but her motor skills and emotional capacity seemed comparable to three-year-old Tyler.

From a nearby bench, I watched. I said nothing.

I wasn't sure what lesson I wanted them to learn. Should I teach them to be friendly, warm, and compassionate to others who have different needs? Or should I teach them that this is the exception, that unknown adults are not always safe, and that distance is generally safer, even if her fun loving spirit was absolutely safe for them?

I said nothing.

And then their game of Follow the Leader took them straight up the climbing wall. Tucker first, Tyler right behind. Michelle followed after them, her wiry frame working hard to manage the climb.

My children stood at the top: Encouraging her.

They showed her where to step, they coached her where to grasp, and they reminded her to be careful. And when she made it to the top, they cheered for her. High Fives all around.

Some lessons don't need me at all. Some lessons teach themselves.