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!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Dinner by Chef Kid

Mama, sit down and don't worry about dinner. I'll
make you a dish.

Mommy, what's this cheese called? American? O.k.
first we're going to break this up into little pieces.

Visiting grandfather beats hasty retreat
to his car.


Now we need pepperoni, also broken up into little
pieces.

Now some peanut butter and top it off with cut
bananas!

Mom, doesn't this look dee-lish?

Mom? Why are you pouring so much wine in your glass?


Allison is not a cook and her children's "cooking" are
either the mark of incredible creativity or a
desperate attempt to make a feast. The three future
Julia Childs are nearly 7-year-old twin boys and a
three-year-old girl. Allison is usually winking over
at Soccer Mom In Denial , and that is
where you can find the lovely Amanda. Do check out
other exchanges at The Blog Exchange.

And for the record, she ate "the dish".

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Butterflies and Sparks

Eight years ago you we sat together in a field.
I told you I wasn't looking to make new friends.
You told me you weren't looking to get married.
Four years ago we stood beneath a canopy of evergreens.
Best friends saying "I do."

Today we are

Mom and Dad
Husband and Wife
The Best of Friends

I knew long before I could say it, that you were it for me.




Happy anniversary.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Soul Thirst

Avery has me under a spell from which I never want to escape.

A touch of her softer than silk fingertips upon my bare leg,
a throaty "Maw-mee" from across the room,
or the koala clench she wields at goodnight,
each brings me to my knee in its own way.

I tremble as I remember the time before she was born, the doubt that would hover around me, seeping into my bones like a damp October morning. I never wished her not to be, but I often wished for more time.

A little more with one child. A little more with Briar. A little more time to prepare.

Here on the other side of worry and wait, I find that she is more.

As Briar was new and miraculous, Avery is familiar and amazing.
She is the essence of evey thing I have ever loved. Her shimmering eyes bear reflections of summers past, late afternoon swims and early morning walks. Her laugh carries echoes of my childhood, the crack of twigs underfoot as we played in the day's last light. Her determination and her strength take my breath away. Strength of spirit, courage of heart and wisdom of soul.

Avery is my more.


One Hunded Ninety Two Dollars & F*ck You Cents

As if the indignity of cleaning up a soupy mix of aromatic sewage and funktified kitchen sink detritus wasn't enough, the plumber told me on several occasions yesterday that he wasn't sure what was happening, as if our mess was somehow so obscene that he'd never encountered anything like it before.

My ears are still ringing with the sound of the metal snake howling its way through our old pipes, the hum frequently interrupted with what sounded like an intestinal death moan. The sensation of liquid bursting up and through my toes from the soaked carpet keeps me from truly being able to eat more than a few bites at a time. The upside, and as god is my witness there will be an upside to yesterday's shit fest, is that the bathroom and kitchen are cleaner than ever before. I scrubbed the toilet, inside and out. Washed the walls (yes, it really went up that high in some areas), mopped the floors over and over again and used a knife to clean out little unreachables. I even scoured the louvred doors just outside the bathroom.

And with the following grainy, nasty, humbling photos I'll close the chapter on this experience. That is of course until the next time it happens.







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Monday, June 25, 2007

Knee Deep

Yesterday it was the beautiful, clean, northern stretch of the Hudson River that was up to my knees.



Today it is a river flowing from the blighted downstairs bathroom of our 100+ year old home. This morning as I moppped up what I can only imagine is cheese, I struggled to keep from adding a large puddle of my own vomit to the vile, wet mess. We have an intern from the theatre festival staying with us. I am gathering from her reaction to my apology that she would not be able to shower this morning, that she has never in her golden haired New Canaan, Connecticut existence had to cope with raw sewage.

I am teetering on the very edge as I sit here, unbathed, needing to pee, and desperate to scour, scald and steam away anything and everything I can but of course I am waiting for the plumber to show up...sometime before noon.

Stay tuned, I'm sure I'll be back to bitch about how expensive this shit is...get it...shit...cough, sputter, gag.

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Speechless

Our friend Anne is in town. She met us before we were a couple and has been with us through thick and thin, literally. The last time she was here I was heavily pregnant with Briar. We've spent the last few days playing and catching up. Lucky for us she's been taking pictures and capturing magic in every shot.





Here's to old friends, new memories, and falling in love all over again.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Quiet

No and know are keeping me busy and torn.
Briar with her knowing and Avery with her noing
It's not easy, this letting go and standing by.

I catch myself pouting, a little jut of the lower lip here,
a barely stifled whimper for just one more kiss.
I don't want to slow them down, or impose my needs,
but my yearning to luxuriate in this time of dimpled
bottoms and wet kisses is oppressive.

I read your stories- Jack and Ben, a guilty Nutmeg, a deliriously happy Chelle, an exasperated but charmed mama in the trenches and I take solace. Some walk a path parallel to my own, others are years ahead, yet each of you lift me up. I can see the beauty of 6, the complexity of 8 and remember the wonder of 3 months.

Even if you don't leave your name or offer a trail for me to follow back to tales of you and your days, I am grateful for you. This journey is made that much sweeter by the people I share it with, so thanks for coming along.

And Sarah, thank you for drawing me back time and again. You are as dear to me as that h is to you.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Through Grandma's Eyes

Usually behind the camera, I don't have a lot of pictures of me with the girls. Grandma managed to catch some moments that made this mama's heart melt.





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When I close me eyes

I can imagine they are still here. The visit comes back in a rush of emotions - transient traces of their presence waft unexpectedly by - the familiar scent of mom's lotion, a flash of Abbie's long fingers upon the refrigerator door, soft whispers behind a closed door, and the fuzzy glow that seemed to come over a room whenever Briar was near Abbie.

As I type this, I look through our door on to Grandpa's porch. Just beyond the steps he took as he embarked each day on a walk around the house, sits a sweet little bush. Its variegated leaves are the color of lemon sorbet and chalkboard, and they dance in the breeze, drawing my eye again and again. My mom planted it with Sean, they spent the day toiling together in the yard. I listened as they went back and forth, working and ribbing. Briar and Avery happily played with blocks at my feet while I gave in to the pull of a gratitude. I felt the enormity of this simple yet complex thing, this new branch of family. They did not choose one another, but in their devotion for me, they loved and worked. So as I sit and reflect on the visit and that little bush dances and flourishes before my eyes, I give profound thanks for the blessings in my life.

For the ginger steps my grandfather took.
The love of a sister for her nieces.
The hard earned bond between mother and husband.
The presence of mind to be aware of it all.





Sunday, June 17, 2007

Sean

Every day I write about our life - our love, our girls.
I share without fear and often without censor. Today I falter.
In a thousand posts I could never begin to tell the story of dad.
This little window could never be large enough for you.

Enchanted woods, talking squirrels and brave young princesses.
Strumming on an old guitar, reciting Frost, explaining Santa.
Swing dancing in the kitchen, slow dancing by the fire.
Holding hands and steering boats.
Blowing bubbles and skipping stones.


You are magic, my spark and my hope.

You are dad and you are perfect.

Happy Father's Day.



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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Lighten Up

Life is good. My girls are healthy. My husband is spectacular. And I have three fresh boxes of contacts.

After a week's absence I realize I returned with a blast of melancholy so, for your winking pleasure, some joy of which I have plenty. Truly.


Behold my girls and the mighty iTunes.





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"I just got called mister."

I think I got my first "ma'am" at the grocery store when I was about 25. I remember finding it somewhat amusing.

Tonight I was standing in the kitchen stirring an uninspired cauldron of Annie's macaroni and cheese when Sean made a loud scoffing noise.

"I just got called Mister," he said in something that bordered on wonder.

"Really?" I asked still stirring.

"Yeah, she's on the phone with someone and she referred to me as Mr. Magee," this with a laugh.

I stifled a snort as I watched him shake his head. The she he was referring to was the intern from ATF who will be living with us for the next 6 weeks. The sweatshirt she had on tonight said Class of 2005 (high school class as opposed to college)

"Mister, ha!"

"Feeling old?"

"No, it's just mister. Mister?" Little bit of resentment in his voice.

"Sean, you've been mister to her for a long time."

"It's just weird."

"You're weird."

"You are -

"Don't do it."

And the scene ends with an old 30 something kiss that'd make our intern cringe.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Home Again

A 10:20 flight bound for the West Coast carried my mom and sister home this morning. The room they stayed in this past week, once filled with yoga mats, books and puzzles, was neat as a pin. It sat empty, the bed made, the sofa bed turned in, no night lights burning or tapestries draped over chairs to create makeshift forts, not a single trace of Abbie and Gram, save the ineffable quality of no longer. Tomorrow it will be occupied once again, an intern for the Adirondack Theatre Festival. I know that as the sun sets tonight nothing will ease the hollow, soul deep chill of their absence.

This morning Sean held Briar and Avery in his arms, standing in the walk as we packed up the Jeep. "Don't go!" These words were howled from a face crumpled by panic and saddness, soaked with enormous tears of rage and hurt. "Please don't go, Abbie! Don't go."

Abbie called out through the window earnest promises to return. Then her hand touched her mouth and her dark hazel eyes turned to mine, "Help her," they seemed to say. I offered kisses and reassurances that I'd be back, but still she sobbed. The pauses between her cries were the most chilling as she waited for us to climb out of the car, to change our minds and let the glory of the last week continue. My mom sat in the back, nearly cowering as she winced with each cry, "Let me get in the car, please let me in."

There was nothing to be done but to leave. Their figures grew smaller as we pulled away, but we bore the unforgettable and exquisitely clear image of Briar suffering. We drove in silence, each battling her own saddness. The goodbye at the airport was more subdued, but Briar's cries still rang in our ears as we embraced.

Tonight we'll each go to sleep in our own bed. Seattle. Yakima. Glens Falls. Each home, not together. One day soon we'll look back on this and revel in the memories of this visit, but today they are too heavily cloaked in the heartbreak of a little girl.

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Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Picture it.

I'm standing in the downstairs bathroom. The girls are happily ensconced in pretty moving pictures - Backyardigans, princesses or Rascall Flatts, to be sure. Sean is showering, the animals are eating, coffee is set. And I, my friends, am free to primp. Inspired by my 30 Day Challenge I am going to put on make-up.
I have on a magnificent white t-shirt from the Banana Republic Outlet. It is that perfect mix of thin and stretchy, makes every curve look perfect. It'll probably only last a few washes, but today, perfect.

I take a tube of sunscreen, add a little bit of light foundation to it and apply it to my face. I can hear the glamorous woman at the Macy's make-up counter in my head, "See, just a little bit of color to even your skin tone." I pencil on a bit of eyeliner, dust a bit of shadow, couple swipes of mascara and I'm done. I feel on top of the world for taking the time for myself. I

I check the mirror.

A bit of mascara is smeared on my eyelid, the shadow looks more Vegas than office and my shirt, my glorious, crisp white shirt is stained. Splatters of barely beige foundation all along the v of the neck.

Damnit.
Breathe.
Be calm.
I give a listen, Sean is still showering and the girls are quiet.
No worries, I'll dab it away.
Dab, dab, dab.

Check again.

Barely beige, indeed. I can hardly see it, but perhaps that's because of the big ass glob of mascara on my shoulder.

Damnit.
Breathe.
Dab some more.

The mascara is gone, the foundation barely visible, but I feel the telltale prickling of sweat. I reach out to grab deodorant and my waist presses against the counter. Soaked. My pants have sucked up every last bit of water sitting on the counter. Within seconds the entire length of my spine is damp with sweat and the front of my shirt is wrinkled.

The dog barks.
Briar calls for me.
The cat wraps himself around my leg.
I grab a towel to blot my pants and I knock my make-up case into the toilet.

I think I hear the Macy's make-up lady laughing.

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Monday, June 4, 2007

Fatherhood, Part Trois

Today’s post is part of this month’s Blog Exchange and is written by PunditMom. You can find Amanda over at PunditMom’s place today as part of the exchange. Amanda, thanks for letting me hang out here today. I’ll try to finish with a wink!

By the time I met the man who would become my husband, he thought he was done having children. Soon it would be time to kick back, wind down and get back to the adult life he vaguely recalled.

But life is funny, and sometimes things happen that you don’t see coming.

Fast forward a couple of years, and that man was the divorced father of two teen daughters and dating me – a thirty-something professional who knew her biological clock was ticking.

There was no question we were compatible on a thousand different levels. It was stunning to us how much we had in common in light of our extraordinarily different backgrounds – city boy and country girl, competing religions and an age difference of a decade.

When things got truly serious, we knew the one major issue we had to iron out was what is often a big one for any couple – whether we would have a child together. I was ambivalent, but sensed I would have a need to be a mother.

But my guy was almost done – with one daughter in college and one in high school, he could see the light at the end of the parenting tunnel. And he was looking forward to that.

He knew in a way I could not what was in store for him if he became a dad for the third time and he wasn’t sure he wanted to get back on that merry-go-round.

But he did.

For me.

Willingly and joyfully, because he loved me.

It wasn’t an easy ride. At 37, I thought I still had some prime reproductive years left. I was wrong.

At 39, I was done with the relatively short journey we took down the fertility path and started plowing through reams of information and paperwork about adoption.

He could have said at anytime that in agreeing to father child number “trios” he had not bargained on all that would eventually be entailed, including a trip half way around the world.

But he didn’t.

Because he also knew how much joy he continued to get from his first two children, even as they embarked on their own journeys into adulthood.

As he became a father for the third time, he embraced all that that entailed and hasn’t looked back.

When I married him, I thought that there would never be a day when I loved him more.

I was wrong. Because on the day he became the father of our daughter, number three for him, I could feel my love growing even more for him.

As it continues to grow every day when I see him with our daughter. Our number three.

Don’t forget to check out all posts on fathers and dads from the other Blog Exchange participants, too!

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Sunday, June 3, 2007

Let the fun commence, damnit!

First thing Saturday morning we went to the market, on the way home Briar asked:

"Can I get in my swimmy pool?"

"No, today mom and dad and are going to take you to big water. We're going to the beach."

"And I'll go swimming in the beach?"

"You bet."

She dutifully took a morning nap and ate a hearty lunch in order to earn the trip to the beach and have energy for swimming.

"We going swimmin' soon?"

"Yup, almost time."

It wasn't until 4 that we finally made our way up to the lake. Briar sat perfetly still in the backseat, desperate to swim and eager to please. We stopped at three different places before finally arriving at the beach, the beach with no lifeguard on duty, this meaning we weren't to swim. First weekend in June in Lake George, no lifeguard. Give me strength. Or give me Sean, he stomped ahead, determined to walk far enough from the main beach to allow for at least a quick dip in the lake. I followed behind, nervous about breaking rules, but hellbent on delivering on my promise to Briar.

Me: "Honey, you think those clouds are a bad thing?" There was no answer, I shut up and walked faster.



Me: "Ok girls, let's go. Avery, c'mon honey, in the water, it'll be fun."



Avery: "Uh, mom, I don't think this feels fun. "



Me: "K, Briar, your turn. Come here sweetie. Hurry honey."



Briar: "I don't wanna swim mommy."



Me: "Honey, we gotta go. It's time to swim now. A big storm is coming."



Briar: "No, no, no mommy. Don't swing me in the water. I don't wanna be swimmin."

Avery: "On second thought, while you swing Briar maybe I will go in the water."



Me: "See, that was fun. You had fun. You swam at the beach."



We were in an out in less than 20 minutes, huge drops of rain pelting us as we made our bittersweet way back to the car. We shared a Diet Pepsi, it was filled with sand. Our sense of failure lifted like so many clouds as the girls made the trip home as happy as if they'd spent and entire day on a sunny beach.

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Friday, June 1, 2007

Little bit of hate.

Yup, got a little bit of hate stirring in my heart today. I know, I know, hate is such a strong word. I've really tried to come up with another way of phrasing it, but hate is going to have to do it, despite the very cute use of "mega-loathe" on Scrubs last night.

The other night I was putting Avery to bed, this ritual is spiritual for me, so sweet is the time and peaceful her room. A serendipitous selection of mossy green wall color seamlessly blurs with the panorama of lush, storybook leaves on the tree outside her windows. Ethereal butterflies on gossamer strands, flutter whimsically over her crib, their gingham and calico wings like quilts from my own childhood dancing on the line. Before I tuck her in, we stand bathed in moonlight by her window, the street dark but for a pool of light from the street lamp, I watch. Standing in her magical room, her body cool and relaxed in my arms I feel at peace. We have given her the best. Unabashed adoration from her parents, a wonderful, if at times challenging, home, an impish sister asleep in the room next door, devoted dog panting contentedly in the hallway and a dreaming tree outside her room.

The other night a figure came into the light on the corner. A woman walking her German shepherd. I smiled. Our neighborhood is filled with strollers, toddlers and dogs. Most afternoons we can entertain ourselves by watching the parade of passers-by, calling out "hello"s and "sweet dog"s. They were moving slowly, a lazy walk on a hot night. I felt so blessed to be living in our house, standing in this window, holding my sweet girl as she drifted off to sleep. Then the woman looked up, I momentarily worried that I might have spoiled her walk, an unwelcome witness to her moonlit stroll. I started to step away, but realized she had not seen me. I watched her take her left hand and place it on her back pocket. What was she doing?

The dog turned, his tail illuminated by the street lamp, bushy and wild, was curled up toward his back. She looked up once more and then down. Her hand moved away from her back pocket. The dog proceeded to drop a German shepherd sized pile of steaming shit in front of our house. The telephone pole that our cat uses to scratch, the patch of grass Briar picks dandelions from, now soiled, smeared as it was with the waste. The woman did not give a second glance as she walked away, an unused grocery bag silently mocking me as she sashayed down the road.

I cannot forgive this act of leaving their mess in a yard she has passed as my children have played. She has greeted us, talked to our dog, smiled at the girls frolicking out front. She knows this yard and its purpose. She took a walk, carrying with her a bag for the express purpose of cleaning up after her dog, and then, when presented with the opportunity to slink into the night without dealing with her dog's mess she took it. She paused to check if we were about, if one of us might witness this cowardly act of laziness.

I have been consumed by my fury over this woman's nerve. Each jangle of a chain outside, each bark from our dog sends me dashing out front. Part of me wants a confrontation, wants to tell her she is not welcome. I want to ask her if she thinks my children should have to bear the consequences of her inaction, but it's never her. She has not been back. I have fantasized about returning the mess, just scooping it up and walking to her house with it.

Knock knock knock.

"Here's your bag."

"Excuse me?"

"Well, it's not actually your bag, the bag is mine."

"I don't understand."

"This bag is for you. The shit inside? All yours, or rather your dog's."

"What are you talking about?"

"The other night you walked past my house, I watched from the window."

"I..."

"Yes?"

"Well, I, I..."

"Your dog defecated in my yard, the yard where my two young children play."

"Oh, I didn't have a bag, I was coming back..."

"When?"

"It was so dark. I was, um, just waiting for- "

"You were nothing, you just didn't want to deal with the shit."

It would be awkward. Damaging. Not at all satisfying after the walk back to my house. We seriously live 7 houses away from each other. I deal with shit of the literal and figurative varieties every day. It's just a little more, right? Apparently not, because I just can't figure out how to not hate what she did every time I am presented with more shit.

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In a minute.

This isn't a post about struggling as a working mom. I suppose it's better described as a post about a struggling, working mom and wife. The folks over at Parent Bloggers are having a contest - write a post about why you need a date with your partner. It's something they are doing with E-Harmony Marriage. I'm all for contests and harmony in marriage, what I'm not typically for, at least for me personally, is writing about flaws in my marriage. The idea of publicly airing why I need a date with my husband seemed like another way of complaining.

I think we get bombarded with how hard marriage is, the unrelenting lack of glamour in being a mom, the list of gripes is limitless. And it's not that I disagree, I just think the more important message is the other side. It's why I blog. Day in and day out I see little bits of magic. We are coming up on four years of marriage and three years of parenting. There are less "just because I love you" bouquets of flowers, fewer notes and cards of undying love and rabid passion, and the times we spend one-on-one are rare. Of course we argue and disagree, I huff and rant, he slams and stews, but we always come back. We always love.

Last night I slipped into bed next to Sean well after midnight. I had stayed up to write a post about our life. It was simple, born from something as mundane as parking the car. It wasn't particularly romantic, other than its message of love for our girls. This morning, going about my day, reading another post about the Parent Bloggers contest that I had no intention of participating in, an email came, the subject line said simply: Socks.

I thought about posting this on your blog, but decided
against it, for some reason. I waited for you last night,
as you moved the car. I watched from the window at
the top of the stairs.

Waited (and waited) until I started to get nervous—a
watched pot never boils—then your headlights swept
the street as you turned off Lincoln onto our block, then
into our driveway...where you sat.

I wondered what you were doing. Now I know. I watched you take your socks off when you got out, and wondered about that too.

Then you walked barefoot down the sidewalk and aroundthe corner of the house, out of sight.

Which is when I turned on the bathroom light.

xo
-S


Last night he watched me from the window...

Today I think I'd like to say that yes, I really need a date with my husband. Help us draw the sash and power down, so that we might spend an evening holding hands and looking at one another from across a table for two.

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