Waiting and Watching

I had completed all of my errands and found myself sitting in the school parking lot. With not enough time to drive home and be back in time I parked my car and waited.

A parade of little people soon trickled out followed by the soccer coach. My dad, sister, and brother all loved soccer and I so desperately want my son to like it, too, so he’s signed up for the after school session.

I couldn’t place him; he blended in so well with all the other parent hearts disguised in preschoolers.

I watched as he ran and stretched and played what he would later describe to me as the “cape game” which was the soccer coach’s attempt at organized chaos when directing 12 four year olds with soccer balls.

I know it was him, even from far away. I recognized his outfit that we had laid out together so carefully the night before. He was so proud of his new shark shirt that lifted a flap to reveal that shark ate pizza. (It’s actually quite adorable.) I recognized the new blue corduroy pants I just bought for him and his red hair that shines brightly in the sun. I recognized his run and his attention span and his mood.

He would tell me later that he liked soccer but it made him too tired and maybe he shouldn’t go back next week.

He didn’t know I was watching from the car. He didn’t know I saw him follow directions, and run with a grin stretching from ear to ear. He didn’t know that I saw him give the cape to another friend and that I watched him stand close to the coach so he could do his stretch just right.

He didn’t see my smiling from far away as I watched him laugh and play and that watching him made my heart swoon.

I don’t always know every detail of his day, now that he’s older and growing up and has his very own piece of the world. But yesterday I got to glimpse a small part of his life. His life separate from mine; his world that he’s learning to navigate all on his own.

I was watching him and finding myself in awe of this amazing little person I get to call my child.

Sick Day (A Belated Mother’s Day)

He sits parked in his “rock rock chair” as the morning sunlight fades to noon and it begins to rain, again, for the 5th day in a row.

We haven’t left the house in 3 days, he and I.

I feel a bit stir crazy and a bit at peace all at once.

It’s nice to occasionally forgo the trouble of getting dressed.

I walk barefooted into the kitchen collecting granola crumbs as I go. Living with a toddler makes crumbs become a part of daily life.

I methodically count the cups of water as I pour them into the pot. Even though we are doing a CSA, we still have a bag of Bear Creek soup left that I am so thankful for. Though a more seasoned cook would not count the cups, my specialty of non-cooking allows me to find comfort in exact measurements and package directions.

As I count, measure and pour I think back to my own childhood. Days of fevers and coughs, breathing treatments and inhalers. I spent may days spewed out on the blue microfiber couch eating chicken noodle soup, watching tv, and soaking in the scent of White Shoulders perfume from my mom.

I don’t have to do this with him too often. Days of nothing and sick and chicken noodle soup. But today, a 101.5 degree fever keeps us home and leaves school and to do lists waiting.

I’m not sure I’m very good at it. My mom always knew how to comfort me and just the right remedies. Sick care is not my specialty.

I spent childhood in and out of hospitals, frequently missing school, always having an inhaler on hand and years of nightly breathing treatments. Severe asthma and allergies makes frequent sickness a part of life. As miserable as it was for me, I can’t fathom the toll it must have taken on my mother.

I am so thankful that, for the most part, our little guy is healthy. There are not many days spent on the couch with soup here.

I think about how thankful and in awe I am of my mom, who spent many hours cuddling a sick child, wringing wet wash cloths and spooning medicine in between caring for two more little ones and working night shifts at the hospital.

The soup finally takes boil on the stove and I survey the pile of dirty coffee cups decorating my counter top and laundry piled in the basket on top of the washer. Didn’t I just do dishes and laundry yesterday? I am so often bored by the monotony of my job description.

“Here you go, sweet boy,” I say as I place a bowl of soup on the coffee table for him. We are breaking the rules and eating in the living room to a background of Peter Rabbit.

“Mmm, soup!” He says as he stirs in his ice, his favorite method of quick cooling.

I cuddle up next to him and take a sip myself.

And then it came full circle, the cliche you always hear about, how you will never know your mother’s love for you until you have a child of your own.

For such a long time I’ve felt like this was just my journey, me finding my footing on the path of motherhood while my son teaches me what he needs. It’s taken me a long time to fall comfortably into this role, even though I know I’ve done the best I could since the beginning.

I know, intrinsically, that it is my mother who taught me everything I know about being a mother. How to care and love and comfort and sacrifice.

I watch my son spoon his soup slowly.

“Mommy, why do you always look at me and smile?”

I continued my gaze, unaware that I was softly smiling. “I just love you very much.”

And I’m so thankful for the person that gave me that gift.

 

Happy Belated Mother’s Day to the amazing woman I’m lucky enough to call my Mom.

 

My Mom, Noah and I at the White House for a Friday Night Mother's Day dinner

My Mom, Noah and I at the White House for a Friday Night Mother’s Day dinner

 

My son and I at the Botanical Gardens on Mother's Day

My son and I at the Botanical Gardens on Mother’s Day

 

My very favorite Mother's Day Gift: a card written by my 3 year old

My very favorite Mother’s Day Gift: a card written by my 3 year old

 

 

 

Home

Home used to exist in a house on Macedin Drive in a sleepy Georgia town.

It remained there throughout my college years, throughout my various apartments. The spreading of my wings was still grounded in an old blue house and with the realities and memories of the five of us.

And then home became elusive and undefined. The blue house was sold and painted white. It became a shell of what it used to be and though I would sometimes drive by when I was in town to visit, I knew it was no longer home.

Home became different from house.

My son and I have been traveling a lot lately. A big trip to Georgia to visit family. A trip to Alabama for a wedding. And most recently a trip to North Carolina to visit my best friends.

Lost in thought on yet another long drive I pondered home.

For over the past few weeks I have found home hidden in unexpected places, slowly revealing itself to me in tiny pieces.

I mostly find home now in an old house in Richmond, VA. We’re drawn to homes with character, my husband and I. I find home in this house’s creaky stairs and funny phone nook and the yard that sprouts clover instead of grass.

I find home in my husband’s smile and in toddler bear hugs. My son gives the best ones.

And then in our travels I found home again in the Georgia air. Ten hours south of where we are now, there’s just something different about the atmosphere in Georgia. Something comforting about old familiar roads and memories.

I always find home in the company of my mom and brother and sister. They will always be the first and best parts of my definition of home.

This weekend, I found home in my best friends. In memories of being young. In recalling how we met and who we used to be in the midst of who we are now as adults and mothers.

“Home is where the heart is” seems cliche and stagnant, though drenched in truth.

Home, to me, lies in memories and the comforting security of familiarity.

Home, it seems, exists not in a place, but in a collection of pieces of who we are and who we are yet to be.

And at every turn, it feels good to be home.

Tick Tock

It’s late. I can feel the clock judging me with its tick tock, tick tock.

There’s too much on my mind to give in to the taunting rhythm.

I’m listening to an opera right now, trying to soak it all in, because I’ll be performing it in just a few weeks. Yes, I’m going to be in an opera with a professional opera company. Just in the chorus, but I am excited and nervous all at the same time. This will be my very first opera and very first professional performance. I am honored and scared and haven’t even told that many people yet, because, well, I guess I just can’t believe it myself yet.

Tick tock.

I’m making flyers for Parent Council at my son’s school. This has turned out to be a much bigger job than I imagined, and though I don’t want to be the annoying PTA mom, I think I am. But in a nice way. I’m planning a fundraiser night at one of those places where you drink wine and paint. I’ve always wanted to try it. I’ve also booked a local children’s musician for a family fun night at the end of March, but planning a family fun night is starting to feel a lot like planning a wedding, which is a lot of fun at the beginning but then you really just start to look forward to it being over and going on the honeymoon.

Tick tock.

I hear my son upstairs. He is still not sleeping through the night. I am leaving my husband to deal with this late cry and nearing the end of my patience because we’ve tried all of the tricks and tips and we still have a 3 and a half year old that doesn’t sleep.

I am trying to write. Posts here, posts other places. I need ideas and time, both of which seem to be coming slowly or not at all.

Tick tock.

I have a list of blogging to dos. The most important one is to read blogs, but lately I’m having trouble finding time to read or write. I mostly just make it through the long to do lists of days which include mundane things like taxes, the post office and an oil change and lovely things like making magnet alphabet soup with my son.

Tick tock. My cat is meowing at me, even she is ready to curl up and surrender to sleep.

And I am too, if only my thoughts will stop chaotically dancing.

Tick tock, tick tock. Tick tock.

 

Dreams of These

“Mommy!” his voice lurched out into the silence as it broke the calm of the early hour’s darkness.

“It’s ok sweet boy,” I said to him while pulling him close and gently rubbing his back.

His wildly panicked eyes quickly faded back to closed and we resumed our exhausted slumber.

***

The dream was vivid, intense, real. It was me, living something. Something with an authenticity that left me in uncontrollable sobs in the dream; broken and gasping.

I woke up to tears rolling down my face and smudges of leftover mascara staining my fingers. In wiping away the dream I wiped away my real.

***

It’s strange when nights capture you like this and blur the line between reality and illusion. Dreams are the champions of distorting.

And so we woke this morning, my son and I, to our realities, ever so tinted with the scarring falsities of the night before.

 

The Lullaby

“Will you sing me a song Mommy?”

A smile flirts across my lips as I begin to sing a song I knew from long ago:

Toss a penny in a well

Make a wish,  you never can tell

Trust your heart and believe come what may

That anything can happen, 

If you let it happen

Anything can happen today

His eyes begin to flutter. His blinks begin to get longer.

His breathing begins to deepen and he curls up closer to my side.

Don’t be afraid to take a chance

Don’t look down each time that you dance

True romance comes right out of the blue

So anything can happen 

If you let it happen

Anything can happen for you

Heavy eyelids and peaceful breathing begin to fall into a sleepy rhythm.

Who knows maybe right around the corner

Your future is waiting for you

Don’t be afraid to take a chance

Don’t look down each time that you dance

Letting go is the only thing to do;

Then anything can happen

If you let it happen

Anything can happen for you

oo oo ooo oooooooo

He sighs as he moves in a bit closer and I watch as his final blink turns into closed eyes.

He is sleeping.

And I hope he is dreaming of hope and possibility and his very own happily ever after.

Good night my sweet little one.

*This song is called “Anything Can Happen” by Linda Eder from her album entitled “It’s No Secret Anymore.” I sang this solo my junior year of high school. There are many of my old performance pieces I have long forgotten, but this one has stayed with me. I must have been meant to remember it all these years so that I could sing it to my son every night.*