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Archive for the ‘love’ Category

Recognizing Love

I am not sure how to title this post but I am definitely sure that I want to share this. 

As a parent, my highest priority is keeping my child safe, healthy, and aware of how much she is loved. These are things that I am OK with her taking for granted for now because I don’t want her to realize yet how different things are in other houses for other little children around the world.

The other night we were doing our usual which consists of hanging out watching some random cartoon after her bath and before her bedtime. Sometimes we do this on the couch in the living room. This time we were propped up smack in the middle of my king sized bed watching The Wonder Pets. Its a favorite time of day for me hanging out with my pajama-clad cutie, smelling like Johnson and Johnson Baby Shampoo. Like I sometimes do, I snuggled Sophia into me, right in between between my right arm and the right side of my body. I gave her a squeeze and leaned down to kiss the top of her head. In response, she said to me , “I love you, too, Mommy.”

:::::sigh:::::

That little girl can melt my heart faster than anything else on this earth. I never said a word. I did not tell her I loved her. She just knew by my actions that I loved her. That she recognized this blew me away.

It is my greatest wish that she always remember how much I love her. She is close to three years old now…but she will be 13 and horomonal one day! I need to save this blog for when she thinks I am trying to ruin her life just by breathing the same air she does.

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We had a very stressful Saturday morning. My little Sophie is a very stubborn child who is prone to do what she wants, when she wants, and not a moment sooner. Since she gets this from mommy – we tend to bang heads a little bit quite often. Saturday morning and three pairs of wet panties within an hour time span (after a great poop success first thing in the morning) put a strain on how we felt about each other. She was frustrated with me for continuing to ask her if she had to go pee-pee to the point that she started answering me with, “No-no-no, Mommy!” I, of course, was frustrated by this but trying my best to paste a patient smile to my face – which I did not think was fooling my smart little miss.

When my hubby suggested a trip to BJ’s to get us all out of the house I grabbed it like a lifeline, got us all dressed, and zoomed us out the door. Halfway through the store my husband and I separate and I am pushing Sophie in the cart when suddenly she looks up and says to me, “Mommy, hug me so much!” which just about melted me on the spot – we hugged tightly and while hugging me she says, “Mommy, I love you so much”. To which I could do nothing more than hug my little two-year old even tighter, respond in kind, and try to stop myself from melting into a puddle on the spot because (hello!) someone needed to push the cart.

I remember when she was an infant wondering how it would feel when she could respond to my “I love you” with an “I love you” of her own back at me. I can sit here know and say that being the recipient of the first I love you, without any coaxing, is breathtakingly magical. It’s these moments, these heart melting moments, that make you forget the pull-your-hair-out-by-the-roots moments and make everything worth it.

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My baby sister is having a baby!

(Warning: This could get sappy)

This blog has been a long time coming because my sister is already 20 weeks along and will actually be finding out the sex of her baby on Friday. The reason it took me so long to get around to blogging about it was that being that this was her first pregnancy, my sister was a little nervous about shouting it from the rooftops too soon. I can understand that. I was well over 20 weeks pregnant before I started this blog.

However, now that I have given myself the green-light to talk about it online its like I just found out about the pregnancy all over again! This is such an exciting time for me. While I actually already have two nieces through marriage whom I love very much – this baby will be my sister’s baby and I am not sure how I can explain the difference that will make for me. My sister is one of the people who know me best in the whole world. We shared a room for literally half of my life. We told each other secrets. We told on each other. We shed each other’s blood in fights – and would shed blood for each other. The bond I have with my sister is unlike any bond I will ever have with anyone else – simply because she is my sister, my only sibling. I fully believe that the special bond I have with my sister will pass on to her child because I see the bond that my sister has with my daughter. Its amazing to watch and I cannot wait for the opportunity to have the same kind of relationship with “the little bean” when he or she arrives in July.

I am sure I have never blogged about this but I have a recent favorite memory of my sister that occured the day my daughter was born. I ended up having a c-section so was stuck in recovery for hours and hours until I could wiggle my toes and lift my legs. The whole time I was there, impatiently waiting for the chance to hold my new baby, my family – including my sister – was plastered to the nursery window watching Sophia get weighed, measured, and given her first bath. I know that this was an amazing experience for all of them because I have video of their oohs and ahhs at the slightest yawn or smirk that Sophia made while regulating under the heat lamp. They were so immediately smitten by her that their reactions are all pretty funny to listen to in retrospect.

When I was finally given the OK to leave the Recovery Room my family reluctantly removed themselves from that window and followed me to my room.  A million years later, or so it felt like, Sophia was wheeled in and finally placed into my shaking and waiting arms. I spent what felt like hours greeting her, kissing her, and introducing myself again before I looked up and the first face I saw was my sister’s – very much drenched in tears at the sight of me, her older sister, cuddling her child for the first time. 

It is beyond amazing and miraculous that a lifetime of squabbles all of a sudden have no meaning. I felt at that moment like my sister and I were re-born as sisters the way my baby had been born just hours before. I have never, ever had a relationship with my sister as solid as I do now that I am mother to her niece and am positively giddy at the thought of her as a mother and all that (and her or she) will add to our lives and relationship.

I love you, Alisha!

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As one gets older Christmas kind of loses the all-encompassing magical spark it had when you were a kid. At least it did for me. While its still the best time of the year – its over too quickly. The spirit is in the anticipation and then once its over…there is this sad little residue in the air. Parties that were planned down to the smallest details are fun but over quickly by comparison to the planning that went into them. Gifts for friends and loved ones that took months of thought and care and nights of wrapping and labeling are opened and oooh-ed over in minutes. It just seems that everything happens so fast and before you know it you are packing up ornaments and decorations until next year.

This year was different. Christmas Eve was about the same – fun filled with family and friends, munchies and brew, gift cards and wine. Christmas morning, though, was magical. Christmas morning was the first time I got to watch my toddler walk into the living room and explore the wonders that Santa had left for her. What for the past few years has taken almost an effort to pro-long and enjoy, this year took almost all day. Her painstaking unwrapping of each present almost a square inch of paper at a time. The time she spent to enjoy each new toy or gift before we presented her with a new one. Playing with the toys as they were unveiled. I know that she did not quite get the moment (okay she didn’t at all) the way we adults did but by just being there and smiling and playing – she lit that spark of magic right back into Christmas morning. There is something to be said about see the world through your child’s eyes and as cliched as it sounds it really is so true.

While to Sophia Christmas was a day of wondrous new toys and adventures – to me (and I think I speak of most of the adults there) it was a new beginning. The first Christmas of many where Santa Claus really exists all over again.

Here are a few photos from Christmas Eve and Christmas Morning. Enjoy.

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The Roaring Mommies

I was thinking the other day about what it meant to be a parent. My mother and I have this conversation a lot and, not surprising as she is the one who raised me, we agree on many levels that becoming a mother causes irreversible change in a woman. Well, at least is should. I am not going to lie and say that I have never met a mom whose children are more of a hassle than a gift – but thankfully most women I know do all they can to cherish and protect their children rather than make them feel like a hindrance. But I digress. As usual.

I was blog surfing this morning and came across a blog I had visited a few times. I almost always end up nodding my head at what this fellow mom has to say and today I was not only nodding my head, I was grinning from ear to ear because, really, its so true. Once I finished reading it I knew I had to share it.

A Mother’s Love

Before I had children, I had no concept of the power of a mother’s love. Truly, it can overcome almost anything. The example I am about to give is mundane, and many of you will laugh at me, but I’ll risk your ridicule and relate it anyway.

I am not afraid of snakes, or mice, or rats, or spiders. Anything that slithers or crawls is a matter of no concern. But I have a fear of flying insects that is nothing short of pathological. It’s worse if they sting, but I have a horror of even those flying insects that don’t. My phobia is so extreme that I start in horror even when I see a photograph of a wasp or jellow-jacket. When the boys in my grammar school class found this out, they delighted in leaving the science book on my desk, open to the page with the close-up of a bee. When I read that part of 1984 where Winston Smith’s darkest fear, his dread of rats, is used to break him, I broke out in a cold sweat, knowing just how O’Brien could make me love Big Brother in a heartbeat.

Before I had kids, if there was a bee or wasp in the house, I would just trap it in a room that had a door and not open the door, or, failing that, leave the house until my husband could come home and kill it for me. I’m not kidding. But now, with my husband out of town a lot, and four little ones who have only big, cowardly me to protect them from wasps, that isn’t an option.

A couple of weeks ago we started had a wasp infestation in the house. I was killing two or three of them a day. I had cold sweat, felt like Winston with the rat cage on, but my little girls were trusting Mom to fix things, so I had no choice. I had to be like the bug-slaying soldiers in Starship Troopers instead of like Winston Smith melting down in the face of the Beast.

I lit fires in all the fireplaces, thinking they might have a nest in one of the chimneys, and possibly they did, because the enemy in the Great Wasp War retreated. Then yesterday there was another incursion, albeit a small one. And you know what? The fear wasn’t as great. I had that initial stab of panic, that sick feeling, but it wasn’t as strong as it used to be. My heart wasn’t racing quite as fast as before when I killed it, cleaned up the Raid mess, and went on with my day.

It may not sound like a big deal, but to me it was. I still don’t like flying insects, but I feel as though I’ve taken the first step toward conquering my irrational, paralyzing fear of them. And it’s motherhood that did it. Because you know what? When you’re a mom, you really only have one fear, and that fear trumps all other fears of snakes, bugs, rats, high places, whatever. I speak, of course, of the fear that something bad will happen to one of your precious children.

I am the Great Bug-Killing Mother. Hear me roar.

Moralia’s blog brought me back a few years and reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend of mine, another mother of four, who lives in the wilds of the Northwest. I am not kidding – Monica lives in a canyon near a town with no stop light. Coming from this city girl – that is the Wild Wild West. Back then we had much more time and had weekly catch up phone conversations and boy did she have a story for me. It was canning season (I know, right?) and she and her kids were outside doing whatever it was you do during canning season when they were interrupted by the horrifying sound that came from the tail of a rattle snake. I have no idea how big or small this rattle snake was all I know is that the end of the story had my friend pulling out a shot gun and shooting the snake dead.

I had never seen a real shot gun in person at that point – never mind a rattle snake – so this story conjured up images of my friend as Calamity Jane or a sturdy pioneer woman protecting her young. I was most impressed at the time and find that I still am.

Roar on all of you snake shooting, wasp killing, roach stomping mommies.

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I am a voracious reader. My husband is a voracious gamer. Before baby this worked out very well with us. When we each needed to feed our obsession I would pull out my latest novel and he would beat some zombies senseless on his PS2 or XBOX.

Something has changed within the last few weeks. It started with audio books. He decided that instead of killing zombies with his XBOX he would listen to books about them on his hour long commutes to and from work. I thought it was a great idea. He started with something called World War Z and then moved on to the novel version that lead to the movie I Am Legend. Now we have actual books being delivered to my house from Amazon.com! I feel like I have stepped into an episode of the Twilight Zone or an alternate universe. Instead of my hubby bugging me to turn off the light and stop reading…he is laying in bed next to me with his own book. This is getting increasingly bizarre for me. My husband is asking me for book recommendations. Dean Koontz? John  Saul? Michael Crichton? Laurell K. Hamilton? Hey, what about that Twilight series you liked so much? Seriously? Yes.

I arrived home from work yesterday with our 11 month old daughter to find my husband in the kitchen cooking dinner while the Twilightaudio book blasted through our house. I recognized Bella’s “voice” as she recounted Edward’s avoidance of her immediately and was pretty well shocked that he had gotten that far into it. Considering the fact that I am currently in the middle of the final book of the series, my feelings of the hubby’s new reading/book obsession has turned into excitement. I am seeing a whole new side of him that I am really enjoying. Now I can understand his excitement as he lured me into a summer-long marathon of every season of Babylon 5. The more interest I showed in the show, the more excited he got. I swear he fell in love with me all over again. His new-found love of books has me feeling the same way. It adds one more connection between us. One more point of interest. Another piece of common ground.

I have a friend who reads this blog who used to despair over her boyfriend’s obsession with World of Warcraft. She knows who she is. They spent weeks, months, years arguing over the time he spent on his computer playing his “stupid” game. One day she decided to join him and in doing so literally gave new meaning to the phrase, “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” Its been years since she has complained to me about his WoW obsession and their relationship is stronger than ever.

Is this all it really takes? Am I saying that wives all over the country who complain about their husband’s sport’s addictions should just sit down and enjoy the game with their men? Sure! Why not? It worked for my sister. She did not know a touchdown from a home run before she met my brother-in-law and now she yells at the TV with the best of them – much to my astonishment because I still barely know home base from the end zone. It beats yelling at him to get away from the TV. Yeah, sure, I know the dishes won’t wash themselves and the clothes won’t get folded on their own – but there is time for that.

I think its time for married couples around the country to decide what is more important? Mowing the lawn right now or maybe finding a little extra time and a little common ground with the one person you pledged to spend the rest of your life with? A little compromise never hurt anyone. I cannot count the number of times I have seen or heard of a couple “losing” each other. Losing sight of the person you fell in love with. Work, children, finances – all of that can take just as much from a relationship as they give if you let it. It seems so much easier for some men and women to get into new things with their friends rather than looking for something you can get into with your spouse. Give it a try – you never know – you may find you like Viva Pinata or boxing or football or laying together on the floor listening to an audio book. How hard is it to be just as ambitious in your relationships as you are in the workplace or on the basketball court or on the PTA. Try paying just as much interest in your spouse as you do in your children, friends, or pets. Its amazing how easy it can be to take the person you love most for granted.

Interests, like beauty, are all in the eye of the beholder.

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Do you remember seeing those sexy black and white ads where a girl is laying on a bed with a white comforter and her very sexy boyfriend, shirtless of course, is painting her toe nails? I always remember wondering, “do guys really do that?” And I also remember wondering why the photo was so appealing to me.

Fast forward to last night and me painting my toe nails very carefully in bed. I cannot seem to find the time to go to the nail salon as much as I used to between work and Sophia so I decided to take matters into my own hands (and feet). Once done with my toes, on a whim, I painted my left hand. And then I was stuck. I am right handed and have never, ever, ever been able to do even a half way decent job on my right hand with my left hand. So, I turn to my husband and ask for his assistance fully expecting him to look at me like I had 3 heads and immediately say no. Well, he looked at me like I had 3 heads but then agreed to paint the finger nails on my right hand.

Can I just say that there was nothing sweeter in recent memory than watching my husband paint my finger nails like he was painting a wall? Seriously, I probably could have done a better job as clumsy as I am with my left hand but regardless – watching him carefully paint my finger nails and cuticles and a few finger tips my heart just melted. Without even realizing it, he made my whole week. I will definitely have to ask him for a repeat performance in a couple of weeks.

This is something I don’t want to forget – which is why I am blogging about it. As a friend told me today, “Aww, its not all about the cute babies”. Sometimes we just need a little reminding.

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