The Wink is a labor of love, occasional source of ire and constantly influenced by the toddlywinks in my life- my daughters. There's also the HunkyWink. You'll read all about them as The Wink unfolds. Please feel free to wink back!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Fine Print

I definitely missed a disclaimer when we bought Briar this shirt. See, I thought it was just a cute tom-boyish shirt. I had no idea it meant that I would have to deal with worms. Worms! Ew! I take back every blasphemous thing I've said against the princesses. I'll practice kindness, demure servitude and never leave the house without lipgloss and baby kitteny goodness if I can just please never have to deal with another worm being thrust in my face.*

* I realize that to you moms of boys one worm is no big deal, but I ask you to think back to a time before you were indoctrinated into the world of penis discovery and then later bathtime penis grabbing. Understand for those of less familiar with little tiny penises, worms are awful little things. Let's play nice until we really need to lean on each other as our kids hit puberty.


Monday, May 28, 2007


I would need a few extra hands to count the number of times I have wasted a 3 day weekend. You go into Friday with the best of intentions, but by 2pm Saturday it's too late to go anywhere and then Sunday is spent like a Sunday instead of a Saturday, which means Monday is really a second Sunday. Great, a Saturday and two Sundays. Did I lose you? Doesn't matter. It was a meandering way of getting to:

We had a perfect weekend.

I honestly can't recall the way the whole thing played out, though I distinctly remember Friday morning calling Sean and saying, "Funniest thing, turns out Memorial Day is in fact this weekend." The date book abhorring genius that I am had been insisting for several weeks that Memorial Day was a week later. Sean, familiar by now with my unique gift for mixing things up any time I try to be organized, was very calm about it. He came home at 4 and was just excited for some time off. You see, somehow we missed the caveat in the guide to becoming a small business owner* that said, "You ain't never gonna have free time again, suckah!" It's been 3+ years of late nights, early mornings and weekends at the office. That's why seeing him like this:

Makes me about as happy as anything else in the world, like say, this:

Yes, we had a perfect weekend indeed. We had fresh pasta salad by the lake, sitting on a striped quilt (Thanks mom!), and eating with our hands (Thanks to me, I thought to pack extra socks, but no silverware). The water was much too cold for a dip, so we made do with an awkward mom-swing, meaning I took Briar in my arms and let her bare little feet skim the frigid waters of Lake George.

This morning we packed up and headed over to Glen Street for the Memorial Day Parade. It was the first time in four years we managed to get there before it was nothing but streamers and horse droppings on a deserted street. You simply can't know how triumphant that made me feel. We slathered sun screen on both girls to mixed reactions:

Watching the parade reminded me why I've never really liked parades. A bit boring, tedious even, but watching the girls watch the parade was another thing entirely. I'd wager that any member of the Queensbury or West Glens Falls Fire Departments would be willing to do just about anything for Avery who captured many hearts with her enthusiastic clapping and waving from her perch on my shoulders. Briar was less effusive, but no less riveted by the small town spectacle:

We walked home in a sea of other parents with strollers and wagons carrying sleepy children, all of us a bit smug for having accomplished such a toddler dazzling feat before 11am. A job well done with the kids well tuckered.

Like I said, a perfect weekend. How about you?

*By the way, on this spiffy new layout, I have taken the liberty of including a link to the business that has cost us so many late nights. It's also brought great joy, allowed us to work togehter and seen us through two kids (so far) so I'm rather fond of it. Check it out.

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

A day to remember

She's taking steps.

So are we -- to the lake.

To new memories, and to living in today.

Have a wonderful weekend!


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Goodbyes Beckon Hello

Last night my longing for my grandfather clung to me, sticky like honey, and refusing to budge. I wept and rocked. I savored old memories, closing my eyes to conjure the sounds and smells of Grandpa. It was no use, last night was heavy with his absence and no amount of wishing on my part was going to change that.

Today I am still missing him, but the air has changed. Lush blankets of light are washing over all that I have, chasing away the hazy shadows of what I have lost to another place. Two girls fill the frame, wide open faces, each with a set of dazzling blue eyes, punctuated emphatically with irresistible ringlets, some dark and some golden. They fill me with wonder and hope. They seduce me into living with the unbridled enthusiasm of children and of my grandfather. The original twinkler.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Keep Searching

The past few weeks have been odd. I've been moving along, trying to get through each day without letting too many things fall through the cracks. I've tossed a lot of balls up in the air, and damn near all of them have stayed aloft. Yet at some point on an almost daily basis I have a sense of having forgotten something. I quickly run through the things I was supposed to do -

Send emails to x, y and z

Take the meat out of the freezer

Return calls to the guy from that place

Replace the upstairs tp roll

Follow up on more x, y and z

Take diapers to the sitter

Drop the things off with the guy

And on and on. I often remember things I had forgotten to do, but I never find the relief from the thinking I've forgotten something. Tonight the girls and I were walking downtown to meet Sean. My mom had called just before we left, and before that my friend Deb had called. I crossed the street in front of our house and guided the bright, red double stroller over the crumbling curb and onto an unusually high side walk.

"Great for superball races in the rain."

I haven't raced a superball in at least 25 years, but there it was, a little voice letting me know what was captive alongside that sidewalk, just waiting for the right rain and me.

We kept walking, passing heady clouds of lilac perfume and gazing at puffy white clouds passing overhead like a parade. At the next block I heard a squaek, it was the squeak of a backyard swingset. I could just imagine the feel of the seat, pinching at the tender skin just beneath the cuffs of my shorts, the metal in my hands leaving a print and the smell kids and summer, and good old fashioned dirt.

"Mama, are you hear it?! Das da mu-swik truck! He's singin' Twinkle Twinkle."

"That's right honey."

"We hafta find it, the mu-swik truck. Ok? Ok, mom? We find him now."

"We can sure try."

I smiled at her euphoria at the mere thought of the truck. Such passion. And so infectious. I should-

And then it hit me. The forgetting. the struggling to remember. The passion.

Grandpa is gone.

I've wanted to call him. I've wanted to share with him the wonder in the dawn of a new spring.

I want to tell him that teaching Briar about leaves and buds, and growing and flowers has taught me to see things in a new way. I want to tell him how I am living this spring, devouring each experience, inhabiting each moment. I want to tell him how we touch the buds, kiss them and say, "Hey buds, how are you doing? You gonna grow so big. If you get hurt we'll give you some be ok. Are you hungry?" He would love hearing what a mimic Avery is, how she kisses me with her whole being.

I want so much to be able to make him smile, hear that laugh. I want to pick up the phone and find the number that patches me through to the time when he wasn't gone.


Monday, May 21, 2007

It's happened to meme again.

The wonderful Slouching Mom has tagged me for a meme.

The instructions are to write several statements beginning with "I am"; this, by the way, is not unlike one of the most widely used personality tests known as the "sentence completion" task. I’d recommend not drawing conclusions about personality on the basis of the sentence completion task, because as an assessment tool it is neither valid nor reliable. And with that I’d like to conclude today’s lecture on personality testing.

I am soothed by a well stocked cabinet of toilet paper.
(Soothed and delighted.)

I am an incurable cuticle biter.
(My own.)

I am unable to name more than 10 US Presidents or identify states that are not on the coasts of the US.
(I fear appearing as one of the stupid people on the street on Leno.)

I am intoxicated by the smell of the skin just beneath Sean's hairline.
(Can you tell I was afraid "forehead" would be misread as...something else?)

I am one of those obnoxious people who believes that everyone can feel better by sweating.
(Exercise induced, not stuffy, train on a hot July day sweat.)

I am, and always have been, preoccupied with the untimely death of those I love. (This is strongest in times of joy.)

I am a believer in Santa and things that are meant to be finding a way to be.
(Life is too short not to.)

I am tagging Trina

I am done.


Saturday, May 19, 2007

Is it cheating?

I have a confession to make. I'm a little embarrassed, I probably should have shared this with you all sooner. I've made no secret that I have second blog called Tumble Dry, but there is another place. Another blog. I's not permanent, just a place that I go to from time time. It happened innocently enough, a quick email, ego boosting compliments, and then a phone call. I hadn't realized how much I needed this. The blog I'm talking about? It's for The 30 Day Challenge. I'm over there a couple of times a week chronicling my experience working with a life coach. In classic Amanda Ask me if I could make that up fashion, the life coach I was assigned is on vacation. Yup, she lives in Hawaii and is on vacation. Despite the Challenge starting on the 15th of this month, she and I will be speaking for the first time on Monday. The way I'm choosing to look at it is she is going to be one relaxed and eager to get back in the saddle again coach. Pop over and read about my goal: Going to bed with the dishes done. I know, I really shoot for the moon.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

My daughter

I was checking an all but obsolete Hotmail account I used back in college.
Hi Amanda
That was what the subject line said. I hesitated for a moment, spammers have gotten so crafty, but I decided to click it anyway. I know, I live on the edge.

It was from a guy I went to school with, back when I was very, ahem, unfocused, and he was, well he was focused. He was more than that, he seemed to be operating on a different plane. He had a calmness, a wisdom and an ability to accept things and people in ways that the rest of us in the department simply did not. He was mature (Ok, let me amend that because he doesn't sound human. He actually had an impish, immature sense of humor sometimes) and he was kind, and if ever he erred and was not kind, an apology quickly followed. Through the years we have exchanged the odd email, but never anything with any consistency. Yesterday's email was nothing more than this:

Hey, are you still at this address?

He signed his name and below that was what I think must be something that is attached to every email he sends out.

Thousands of people (mostly girls) around the globe have Rett Syndrome, including my daughter.
Find out more about Rett Syndrome at: Rett Syndrome

I had no idea what Rett Syndrome was and was actually a little confused. Did he send this to me to let me know about it or is that just there? I clicked the link. I went immediately to the FAQ section.

What is Rett syndrome?

Rett Syndrome (RS) is a unique neurodevelopmental disorder which begins to show its affects in infancy or early childhood. It is seen almost exclusively in females, although it can occur rarely in boys. It is found in all racial and ethnic groups throughout the world.

The writing was clear, but the material was a bit too dense for me as I tried to keep an eye on my work computer, a hand on Avery who was nursing and calling out the occasional, "Yes, baby, that's right," to Briar lest she think I was ignoring her. I'll come back to this later, I thought to myself.

Later came when David sent another email.

"Did you watch the video on the web site (at the bottom of the page) with Julia Roberts? It's a very good video to watch."

I clicked again. I watched the movie. It is indeed very good. The message is one of hope and of strength. Roberts does an incredible job of using her celebrity and her status as a mom to make her impassioned narrative credible. Something happened during the movie, as I watched all those little girls, all those daughters and remembered David in college.

Something clicked, the way it clicked for me when I read this. The difference between my daughter and his daughter is but a couple of letters. Whether you are a mom in Denver, a dad in Washington, or a family in Nova Scotia, every story out there could be your story. Every daughter or son could be yours.

I've never met David's daughter, or his beautiful son, but I know that they are wonderful. Wishing I could do more, I am doing what I can. The purple hands down there will, if you touch them, take you to the Rett Syndrome website. I think we all need to do a little more clicking, a little more touching hands and a whole lot of counting our blessings.

Go kiss your kids, go hug your parents and when you get a chance, touch some hands. It helps.


Monday, May 14, 2007

The One

I've tried to write this over and over again. There is so much I want to tell you. I want to tell you about the sound of your voice, the throaty whisper you have. I want to tell you about how you wait to answer questions, almost as if gauging just how much we want to hear you say something. You call Briar "bawbee" and are fascinated by donkeys. You love cucumbers and carrots, but you hate tomatoes and strawberries.

I want to tell you about brushing your teeth tonight. You wanted to touch the light, so I let you. Somoehow you made the center bulb work again, it hadn't in months. We were both so surprised by the light. You laughed and looked at me, making sure I saw, making sure I enjoyed. Your face could have lit an entire town.

I guess the easiest thing to do would be to say that I am like that bathroom light. The day I Iearned I was pregnant with you, the day they laid you in my arms and every day since, I have shone as bright as that bulb.

You are my joy and my light.

I love you sweet, sweet Avery.

Happy Birthday.

Z'at poop?

Lately it seems as if I cannot keep the kitchen stocked, either the bread is moldy after 2 days, the tomatoes are rancid because I've forgotten I bought them, or we're out of milk because my ability to consume liquids is matched only by giraffes and their 10 gallon a day chugability. After a not incredibly relaxing or pampered Mother's Day* we stopped at the grocery store. Briar was asleep and Sean was only too happy to stay in the car, thereby avoiding what is my preternatural ability to attract the slow-moving aisle blockers, coupon clipping, price debaters and startlingly chatty checkers. I unbuckled Avery and plunked her on my hip as Sean leaned back for what looked like it would be a nice Sunday afternoon nap in the sun.

We headed toward the store, Avery squinting here eyes to the point of closing them as the sun shone down. Each time I tried to guide her face from the sun she would do a reverse jack knife and thrust her upper body backward, away from me and into the sun. Ok, then, blind yourself contentedly in my arms strong one. Done. I chuckled as I watched her adjust to the light in the store, no longer squinting, but happily craning her neck, the better to hone in on the flirtworthy. We quickly made our way through the produce section filling the cart with wholesome, brightly colored fruits and vegetables. All the while I thought that for each bag I filled with more precious than diamonds priced organic produce, another would go bad and make for a stinky $7 weight in next week's garbage. Damnit, but a girl's gotta try.

Pushing the cart I tried to remember what I came in for:
Got the fruit and the vegetables. Now get the Coffee Mate and milk. Beer, Corona Light. Ok, ooh, yes, I need mustard. The Coffee Mate, don't forget the Coffee Mate. And balsamic vinegar. Here are the bars. Great. Ok, Coffee Mate. Oh, wait, jam. I'll go get the jam. Ummm, ok, I think I need taco mix so let's go down here. Shoot, going to need lime for the beer, let's go back. What was the other thing?

If viewed from overhead I am pretty sure I'd look like I was having some sort of fit. 15 deliberate steps forward, 5 steps back, pivot to the right, stutter step left, then back and then move to head forward again only to dramatically swing the cart around and reverse direction. Again. And of course talking to myself.

Remembering to get the Coffee Mate by the skin of my teeth I steered us to the check out desperately hoping to quell the ineffective compulsion to attempt to inventory the kitchen from 5 miles away, a feat I cannot master when standing smack in the middle of the kitchen armed with pen, paper and a digital camera. Sigh.

Avery was babbling away as the woman in front of me predictably contested the price her meat rang up for, the price that was, by the way, plainly printed in bold black letters on the label. The checker was prattling on about how she doesn't understand why anyone would bother buying all the non-fat, low sugar stuff since something like a globalistic terrorism occurrence was likely to do us all in before fatness or diabolics ever could. The bagger went about her job, placing one item after another in the bags, at times looking at the three bags she had going while holding one item in the air, a look of confusion on her face as to where she ought to put the next item. Luckily, her gum chewing seemed to jump start the synapses in her 16 year old brain every so often, ending the confusion. And then finally it was my turn.

I made the gleeful two steps up to the place of glory at the card swipe machine. Avery was tapping on buttons as the checker started her rant anew at the sight of my unlikely to be eaten before it began to rot organic produce. I smiled that smile you do when you realize you are completely at the mercy of the famously fickle supermarket gods. Then I smelled it. Poop. I looked at Avery smiling ang kicking and grimaced at the thought of getting to the car and finding an annoyed Sean tired of sitting in the car and an antsy Briar doing an Irish step dance on hi slast nerve.

"Hey guys, it'll be just a sec, I have to change Avery."

"Mommy I want out. I want OUT. Eeeeh, uhhhh, AAAAA. Briar wants out now!"

"Did'ja get bread?"




"Mommy I want out. I want bread! I NEED BREAD!"

And then the pathetic wimper of a not really a baby anymore sitting in her own poop. No, I just couldn't handle that.

I leaned forward and peeked down the back of Avery's pants. No poop. I did a surreptitious front of the pants peek for a sneaky, can't see me from the back poop. Nothing. I leaned forward and sniffed, gas? No. Ok, someone else's baby. I craned my neck. There were no babies for as far as my eye could see. I checked my shoes. Nothin'. Ok, maybe I imagined it I thought, but then it came again. It was most definitely poop and the facts I had were that it wasn't me, it wasn't my baby and everyone else around us looked like they had no business doing that kind of business. I swiped my card and made my way back to the car, grateful to be away from the smell, grateful to be able to unload and go.

*The Mother's Day bit was punishment of my own choosing. Can someone explain the syndrome of decrying a big to-do and then, upon waking to no to-do having a big old pity party? I loathed every moment of my disappointment. Sean, being the amazing husband that he is, has not only forgiven me my insane self-contradictory ways, he has valiantly proposed a rain check celebration Friday.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Real Moms are Everywhere

I briefly considered going with a touchy feely approach, but ultimately decided that I'd go with irreverent and inappropriate as I think that we are all Real Moms and to say otherwise is un-momlike.

Real Moms don't hide the knives.
Real Moms keep the whiskey handy.
Real Moms believe in protein rich diets.
Real Moms let their kids fend for themselves.
Real Moms offer entertainment for Thanksgiving guests.
Real Moms find more time for family by eliminating silverware.
Real Moms take a European, stand while you eat approach to meals.
Real Moms make fun of themselves in the interest of making other moms smile.

Posted for the Real Mom Truths contest. The winner will receive this amazing 4G iPod Nano and Chocolate gift set, plus a link to their post on True Mom Confessions on Mother's Day.

The rules: Complete the statement "Real moms ..." along with an original photo.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Going to the chapel...

For Mir on her wedding day.

Going to the chapel
And we're gonna get married
Going to the chapel
And we're gonna get married

Gee I really love you
And we're gonna get married
Going to the chapel of love

New is not over and the fun has only just begun.

I had no idea how much more was waiting behind my husband's kiss.

There was more laughter to share as we wiped away tears
and clutched at sides sore from the ferocity of our laughing.

New adventures and nights under the stars.

New love.

New confidence.

And still more love.

Congratulations. Have a wonderful day and a beautiful life!


Wednesday, May 9, 2007

All Thumbs

And ain't a single one of 'em green.

Briar and Avery watching me pose very unbelievably as a person who gardens. In my defense, the backyard is pure canine urine art.

Psst, CCE, you have a willing subject in the Adirondacks if you ever need a new, low budget, high degree of technical difficulty landscaping/salvaging job.

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Life Before Knowing

Two and a half has me thinking.
Thinking about before and after.

Before becoming a mom and after meeting my children.
Before husband and wife meant mom and dad, and after Sean wept holding our first daughter in his arms.
Before knowing and now.

I used to think being a mom meant having the patience of Job. Calm in the face of whatever was thrown at you, figuratively of course, because a real mom wouldn't raise a child who threw things. I knew good moms wouldn't snarl at their kids in public, or private for that matter. They wouldn't delete pictures because they thought they looked fat or that their children looked less than adorable. And they certainly wouldn't wish that their kids would just go away, if just for a moment.

Before becoming a mom I thought standing at that alter in Saratoga was love. I thought sleeping on the right side of the bed was sacrifice. I thought joy was the first, second and fifth cups of coffee. I thought I knew what kind of mom I'd be.

Standing on the other side of knowing I have to chuckle. She was so smart, so self assured, that pre-mom me. She looked around and saw who the real moms were. She could identify immediately who the women were that didn't deserve to have the kids they growled at in the grocery store or who criminally berated their children for not listening. Truth was she didn't have a clue, but really how could she. She didn't know, couldn't know.

I won't say that childbirth is what made me a mom. I've read too many accounts by truly incredible, authentic moms who have found their way to being a mom through paperwork and transatlantic travel. I think at some point as I caressed skin softer than the softest sheets you could imagine, pressed my lips against hair that warmed me to the core, and welcomed the touch of tiny fingers on my lips, in my eyes and over my ears, I realized that I was taken. A magnificent line had been drawn that forever bound me to another soul, that for whatever the future might bring, we belonged to one another. All of my days, every breath that I draw are for this person, these people in fact.

The essence of what makes me a mom is the understanding that all my actions impact my children. There's no taking off, no bailing or denying. No breaking up. There are just decisions and moments. A hope that when faced with a decision I can base it on the best information I have at the time and balance it with wisdom and emotion.

More and more I am learning what makes me a better mom is forgiving myself for not always allowing wisdom to beat emotion, or emotion to trump wisdom.

The other thing making me a better mom (Ok, when I'm not giving the girls the semi-mommy, let-me-type-for-one-more-sec-mommy) by entertaining and challenging me, places like PBN and LightIris. And of course coffee, lots and lots of hot, fat free, sugar free, vanilla Coffee Mate drowned coffee.


Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Memories Coming

Spikey grass and fuzzy, wild mint poking out from beneath a weathered split rail fence. The sweet perfume of milkweed just beyond a shed, and then lilac, artfully edging itself in, overpowering the rest with its thick, heady scent. The rhythmic rustling of birch leaves, a whispering shimmy under a warm breeze. Plums on pavement, slick nearly black splatters blanketing orphaned pits. These are the memories I have of walking home from school.

Tee-ball reveries come to life with a mixture of grape flavored Big League Chew and McDonald's Orange Drink from a massive yellow barrel. The unrelenting dryness of hands stamped with infield dust, the aroma of oil softened gloves and cigarette smoke over stale popcorn wafting in from the bleachers.

It's funny what awakens the memories of days gone by, and of people who have passed.

About a month ago a package arrived. It was my grandfather's computer. The computer that for so long was my lifeline to him. I would send pictures of the girls and he would respond with brief exclamations of pride, adoration or both. I have hundreds of them, too precious to throw away, too painful to revisit. I hated the sight of the box. The assault it carried in its message that forever more my connection to him will be through memory alone. There will be no more calls. No more emails. There will be no more Grandpa outside of me. I tried tucking the package away, not ready to face the finality of its being, its existence there in my living room.

When I did finally open the first box there was an accordion file inside. Once standard issue manila, it was now muted from months and years spent beneath a window, the southern California sun baking it down to a soft buff. Bare. The corners of the file softened and fuzzy from thumbing. When I lifted the flap to peek inside it was as if my grandfather and all the moments I had with him came rushing back at me like the whoosh of air from a door slamming. Dark wood and books, the aroma of grand old furniture and the insides of book cases. Whiskery kisses and soft skin on elegantly tapered fingers. Waking to the gentle sounds of piano through the floor overhead.

I tried to close the file but a slip of paper had made its way out, resting on my wrist. It was smaller than my palm and was covered with my grandfather's hand. A play list:

Talk of the Town
On the Street Where
I've Grown Accustomed
All the Things You Are
Be Still, My Heart
With Every Breath
You Go to My Head
Don't Blame Me

The list went on, and each line broke my heart a little more. His sentimentality, his joie de vivre, his effortless charisma, once so vibrant and pure now seemed delicate. How could it be over? I tried to breathe him in again, to take myself back to sitting beside him at the piano, to watching him from across a room as he spoke, or listened, or slept. But I couldn't get back in. Each moment the file sat in my lap, felt as if he was being carried farther away. It was only then, more than a month after he died, when the tears finally came. Holding the fragile slip of paper in my hand, my tears fell on faint stains along the edges of the paper.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
Someone to Watch Over Me
Try to Remember
I Married an Angel
I'll Never Smile Again
Blame it on My Youth

I gave into the collapse with everything I had and everything I had lost. The release of acknowledging, if not accepting, he was gone gave me peace, followed quickly by a vast emptiness. Gone. Quiet. Still. And then the ache of knowing that this sadness will in fact dull. The computer still sits near the door, bundled with care by ancient hands which mourned him too. I'll open it soon, but for now, I hold his slips of paper like snowflakes in my hands, willing them not to melt, not to flutter away and become but another sparkle in a blanket of crisp white snow.


Monday, May 7, 2007

Front Bottom Barbie

Not having ever had a Barbie of my own, I am unschooled in the finer points of Barbie play. What I do know: At our house, blondes rock the bottoms up front.

If Briar can fit two Barbies in each of my back pockets, does it mean my ass is too big?


Saturday, May 5, 2007

No thanks, I'm all set

Avery the baby is slipping through a crack in the door, a sockless foot zipping out of view and then, a musical giggle around the corner. It's been happening for a while now.

Having been down a similar road just over a year ago, I thought maybe I'd handle it better- knowing how excruciatingly powerless we are in the rate at which the sand passes through the hourglass. Some days go by in a moment, others slow, as if held by some benevolent hand, allowing a little more, one last touch.

This time as I feel the breeze upon my face, the scent of baby growing fainter with each new morning, I'll try to breathe deep. Try to capture this time, inhale the passing spirit and hold her in my heart. I know that what's ahead is every bit as sweet, but the ache still rings through my soul. No amount of door holding or emotional bracing prepares you for the moment when you realize that your baby is essentially saying, "No, thanks Mom. I'm all set."

The dimples upon her knuckles are being shed like a rainy day fairy costume as slender fingers and strong, broad hands emerge. The contours of a face I wept for are changing, she is still there, that magnificent creature they placed in my arms one May morning a year ago, but there is another too. She pierces me. Lips once slick with drool and waiting for my tending are now a deeper red and arranged in for what looks like all the world to be a wry smile. Wry! At a year.

Echoes of others who have tread this path tickle my ears. They soothe me as they whisper of new beginnings. Memories blur and experiences may fade, but the touch of this time stays, a lover's kiss on the soul. And though time may shift the needs and wants, their hands will always reach, perhaps for help, perhaps for love, but always for mom.

I love you, Avetastic.


Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Cycles of the Heart

Labor Day Weekend 2005
Lake George, New York

We were camping. Briar was two weeks shy of her first birthday and my sister was in town. I'd known for about a week, but hadn't known known until that afternoon. I remember the pads of my fingers slipping under my shirt, they hovered over my belly button. I smiled. Briar had staked her claim upon this part of my body, tracing with her fingers as she nursed, rubbing my belly as she filled her own. Then past the waistband of my pants, I caressed my abdomen, a feeling of intimacy already present, a life was growing inside of me.


Sean and I had talked about wanting another child. Briar had surprised us, not in the way of being unplanned, but what she sparked. I had not imagined how much I would love being a mom, how dear it would be to parent a child with a man I adored. I remember looking at him and realizing how much I had not seen in him, how much more there was to love. And then, we three fell in love.

Sure, there were sleepless nights, rants and maybe not oh dear god what have we dones, but I distinctly remember screeching, "Well hell if I know, I've never done this before!" in the middle of the night and one isolated instance of Sean asking me if he needed him to slap me (the first choking cough in the night'll bring out the hysterical hand wringer in any first time mom worth her salt) but there was also peace. She grounded us. Everything but the most important things in our life just slipped away and we were left with only that which brought us joy (or paid the bills). Soon that joy seemed to be begging for another little one.

The morning after our first night at camp I watched Sean. I remember feeling as timid as could be. How would I tell him? Forget the fact that we had talked and, ah, actively worked on it. Together. Suddenly I was so aware of this little life inside of me. I wanted to find out all over again and have Sean there. It didn't seem right that I knew what was happening, that as we sat there, Briar sleeping in the tent a fire crackling in front of us, our family was growing. We sat across from one another in the sun dappled clearing, smoke wafting through the air and the smell of the lake still on my skin. I waited for something to happen, a shift that would create the opening for my announcement, but all that came was a snap from the fire and the distant call of a bird.

Then his face changed. And it came.

"Briar is going to be a big sister."

She's two seeks shy of her first birthday. We are in love again, this time we are four. And yes, there have been slepless nights and rants and oh my gods, but there has also been magic and laughter, loving and tears.

No, this isn't an announcement that I am pregnant. But I am feeling a tug. Another cycle in my heart. But mostly I am feeling blessed.