Wednesday, September 25, 2013

My Little Ham

This little ham of mine has been a busy girl.

She's getting ready for her third Buddy Walk this weekend and a couple days of being spoiled by Grammie and Grampie.  She is waiting for her Favorite Auntie Mira to give her a new cousin in a few short weeks.

And she is practicing putting her new walking skills to good use.

Life is busy and life is good.  In the absence of deep thoughts from me, I will give you a glimpse of my happy little, attention-loving girl.

No really.  She's not usually this happy in the car.  Don't ask me. 

Fist bumping Daddy.  Always good for about 5 minutes of fun.

She spends half of her teeth brushing time smiling at herself in the mirror.  Can't say I blame her.

Practicing her fine motor skills and good oral hygiene all at once.  Her new OT and her new dentist would be proud.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

One is Silver and the Other's Gold

With as busy as life gets, it can be so easy to put things aside and really miss out.  I feel that way about my friendships so often.

A couple of my very best friends live right here in Portland.  These are the kind of friends that feel like family. I remember years ago talking about how we'd all one day live in the same town on the same street, watching our kids grow up together.  Yet inevitably, too much time passes by between visits.  And I know that I am so lucky to have them here so close, and that it may not always be that way.  Our friendships have already survived years of living in completely different parts of the country and even one long break.  So I should know not to take them for granted.

I am so happy that after all the "shoulds", we finally got to have some wonderful time with a couple of them over the weekend.  The few of us packed up our tents and drove out to Mt. Hood National Forest, where we camped along a beautiful little creek.

We spent our time lounging by the fire, sharing food and conversation, throwing rocks in the creek, and taking a hike up to a tiny mountain lake.

And one of the best parts was watching Cora make friends with 5-year old Samara.  As I've talked about in the past, Miss Beanie has always been very shy around other children.  Usually she spends her playdates safely hiding in my lap.  Her past visits with Samara have usually involved Cora hiding or crying.

But sweet Samara was so patient.  And by the end of the weekend, she got this to show for her efforts.

Photo by Libby Randles

Seeing Cora beginning to make friends and bridging that connection to a next generation of friendships... it's exciting and so endearing.

So thank you to my friends. You mean so much to me.  I can't wait for our next visits.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Nothing to Say

A mostly wordless Wednesday offering....

My pretty, pretty girl, tearing things up.

My two favorites.

No caption needed, but I think she may be giving me a glimpse of Halloweens to come.

A silly little goose!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

For Both our Sakes

I've been feeling a bit uninspired here.  We've been trying to soak up the last weeks of summer by getting to the park every day before the rains return.  Together we've been going through the motions of the days and weeks in between visits from family and friends and trips out of town.  Somehow I've been neglecting the camera, neglecting my writing, neglecting myself, even.

Sometimes being a mother makes me feel so disconnected from myself.  Spending days wrangling my reluctant child in and out of clothes and diapers, attempting to feed her through yet another hunger strike when nothing finds its way into her mouth and everything is thrown on the floor, going to and from outings, errands and activities, most of them involving cajoling, if not full on mommy-toddler wrestling matches.  It's exhausting, as any mother knows.  There are no lunch breaks as I squeeze work into the minutes that she actually naps.  I breathe sighs of relief when she is finally down for the night, even as I know that we'll likely have to put her back down a couple times before we turn in ourselves, and then inevitably a couple more times before the 5:00 am wake up call.  The day-in and day-out can kick your butt and kick it good.  And it definitely leaves me feeling a disconnect from the self I'd always known, the me that has always needed down time, quiet time, alone time.  But alas, there don't seem to be any real vacations for mothers.

Yet in the midst of feeling depleted and unmotivated, I had a wonderful moment of connection this weekend.  A moment where the mama-me and the missing-in-action me seemed to coalesce and I felt so whole. 

We were up on the Olympic Peninsula at a beautiful garden wedding.  It was past Cora's bedtime and she was worn out from the day.  Instead of packing her up and heading off to bed as we always do, we kept her out a bit longer.  I wrapped her in the carrier as the dancing began.  With Cora snuggled against my chest, I took off my shoes and danced in the grass.  I barely felt the extra weight as I moved, clutching Cora's head against my chest and moving us both through the night air.  We danced together until the party began to slow, when my quiet girl began her own little shimmy to mirror what I too was feeling.  Neither of us were ready for our dance to come to an end.

And during those moments I felt so much like me.  Me as myself, dancing out my own desires, yet with my girlie curled against me.  The mama-me and the lost-me danced together.  I was struck by such a pure knowing... a peace... where I didn't feel pushed and pulled by the needs of my child, but felt that rare feeling when her needs and my needs perfectly converged, pulling the pieces of me back together.

Later  as I tucked Cora into the hotel bed, my heart ached with love for the little girl that has stolen my heart and re-written my life.  I wished that I could hold onto that feeling as I navigate the moments that seem to make up my life and that feel like such hard work.  I want so to not lose touch with myself as I devote my life to my child.  I want to be able to find these moments when I need them, to find them in myself and share them with my girl.  I want for her to see me as a whole person, not so much a harried mother going through the motions.  As important as maintaining that connection is for me, it's just as important for her.

And so with that reminder and the memory of our sweet dance beneath the stars, I will hopefully start these days a little bit fresher.  Maybe with a little more patience, and a little more forgiveness.  And I hope to be able to hold onto it as we move through our days, for both our sakes.