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!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Today





Morning and night, I adore you.

Happy birthday Fin!

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Before Shadows

I don't remember when exactly it happened, but it did. I went from being just me, Amanda, insecure about the oddest things and questing for some sort of non-specific, constantly changing, unattainable perfection--

Was it a flatter stomach?

Tauter buns?

Smoother hair?

Whiter teeth?

I honestly can't recall, but in general it came down to: I am not good enough.

Then I looked up and realized that I was a mom, and not just a mom, but a mom of a daughter. I had no idea we'd get to three daughters, but even one meant no more bull shit. I never looked back. Sure, I have my days when I am frustrated or slightly envious of some thing or another, but it is not a constant hunger for transformation.

When I work out now it is to show the girls that feeling good is a choice. I run, jump, lift weights or tumble around not to look better, but to live longer and enjoy each moment more. They get this.

Last night we went to the high school and ran on the track.

"I want to be in the number two lines!"

"I want the 4, cause I'm four years old."

"Am I the fastest?"

"Did you see how I did that?"

After several laps we sprinted across the field, the turf was wild with red, yellow and white lines. Numbers bigger than the girls, huge arcs upon which they balanced, hopped and danced. My heart was bursting with so much- joy that they were having fun, pride that we were all together, hope that this would sustain them in the coming years when the shadows come lapping at their spirits.

Thinner.
Bustier.
Shorter.
More popular.
Different.
Someone else.
Somewhere else.

We tromped up and down the bleachers-

"Red and silver. Red'n silver. RED AND SILVER!" They chanted in unison as they stomped their feet. Finley watched from Sean's shoulders, eyes dancing. It was a perfect, exhilarating, unforgettable time, so simple. Unmarred by anything.

********

Avery: "Mom, where's the bunny's highchair?"

Me: "You mean where does the baby bunny eat?"

Avery: "Uh-huh."

Me: "Baby bunnies don't use high chairs, they just eat on the ground in their homes."

Avery: "Oh."

Briar: "Just woman babies eat in high chairs."

I smiled, woman babies. I am not a fierce feminist, but the idea that she considers a baby to be defined or described as a woman and not human or man made me smile.

Woman baby.

Me: "Yes, that's right. Just woman babies."

*******

I hope my girls stay proud of being woman babies and that they always see themselves as beautiful and capable as I see them. My woman babies.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

So I married a rock star



Actually, he's better than a rock star. He's more of a stubble and a bit of sunburn, tasting slightly of lake water and summer playing guitar 'round the campfire kind of guy. Saturday night he did it for a good cause and I still have chills.



Go show my baby daddy a little comment love, will ya?

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Familiar Pang

Finley will be 1 year old on the 30th of this month. Avery will be 3 on the 15 of next month and this fall Briar will turn 5 and begin kindergarten. I find myself laying the springs of the past five years over one another, deepening and or lightening the hues of my life depending upon they way I arrange them. Yet, even as they change, certain pangs remain.

Fin's newly discovered walking and running talent has me grinning from ear to ear, each step leads her closer to some victory, whether it's lifting and clutching a baby to her chest or latching on to my ankle. She teeters to and from, reminiscent of her sister's, but in a way that is all her own.

Avery is surging ahead, her quirks and talents becoming more pronounced each day. She declares that she wants a black cake for her birthday and that she wants to wear a tutu to an upcoming wedding. She dresses herself with great aplomb and triumphant declarations, but in the safe cloak of her pjs, she comes, sidling up next to me to sleep in the early hours of the morning.

Briar is a blur—giggly and flirtatious, stormy and petulant, inquisitive and closed off. We tread lightly, she and I, questing to find a place where we can satisfy the other's needs without embarrassment.

I remember as I traversed my first year as a mom, I tried to let Briar do everything for herself. I didn't want to set a pattern or precedent for doing things for her. It wasn't easy, so often I felt the temptation of fixing, of taking the easy route and stealing the glory. I did it, I still turn to the back of a book to peek at the ending, but I never did it with her. I let her strain for and ultimately reach things on her own. I was always there to catch her, but I let her do it. Own it. And each time I did the sense of accomplishment was just enough to conceal the shudders of, "I failed you, I made it too hard."

She was six months old when I knew I wanted to have another baby. We made the decision together, Sean and I, talking softly by moonlight about how she had changed our lives. I told him on a camping trip just before she turned one, that we were pregnant again. We spent a rapturous year waiting for Ave as Bri sat in my lap, her vocabulary expanding along with my belly.

Ave made us bigger, tighter and more in love than ever with the ride of life with kids. The roller coaster was still in effect, a lump forming in my throat as she surged past each developmental marker. Briar standing on the other side waiting tempered my ache, reassuring me that from my arms Ave was running to her sister. And there it was again, the pang of longing. My belly felt empty, and as I watched the girls it seemed as if we had one more player meant to be with us.

Enter Finley, our sweet, stubborn, meant-to-be-with-us player. Briar and Avery welcomed her into their circle with fierce pride, declaring to anyone who would listen (and many who weren't) "D'is is our baby sister, Finley Frostin' Magee." We'd smile, at peace with our girlie trifecta.

This first year has been a whirlwind, the transition to a family of five an admittedly difficult thing. Today we stand on the eve of a parade of milestones with a lone line of accomplishments behind us— 1st birthday and first steps, 3rd birthday and preschool, kindergarten and playground crushes, Friday date nights and working lunches. I am more satisfied than ever and yet I feel that pull, the longing for a baby and the wonder of pregnancy. I can imagine Fin kissing my belly and gurgling "bay-buh." Briar talks about a little brother and Ave asks about another baby in my belly.

Like every year of the past five, there are shades what has been. The girls are waking from their nap, Sean and I are working on the house, it's a classic Saturday. This year though, even as I feel phantom flutters in my belly, I know that we are done. We have our three and I think the truth is, like other moms, I'll always wonder what might have been, but that doesn't mean it's meant to be. What is meant to be is this sweet family of five of mine.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Walk of Shame

I remember one morning leaving Sean's apartment on Park Street someone called to me from the theatre-

"Mott, doing the walk of shame, eh?"


I was immediately red-face, but cocky at the same time.

"You bet I'm doing the walk of shame, have you seen Sean? He's a fucking Adonis."


I didn't say it, but I thought it as I replayed the night's events. I'd fought hard, not able to believe that this guy who looked as if he'd tripped from the pages of a JCrew catalog and into my lap would want pasty, padded me. We were surrounded by actors, many of whom used their looks far more than their talents. I felt a bit like a Hyundai at a performance car show. Yet he picked me.

There were as many brush offs as there were come ons, sometimes I even brushed him off twice, three times even. On this morning I'd stayed a little longer, the feel of his arms around me, the light as it came through the windows of his apartment and the overriding sense of belonging was too much to ignore. I wanted to be there, wanted to belong to him and for him to belong to me. I wanted to be a part of something, someone.

I let the words ricochet, plinging and planging down my back. The sun hit my eyes as I crossed the wide street beneath the roundabout. The theatre and production office were behind me. I imagined all the people that might see me. Flutters erupted in my belly and then the oddest thing happened- I smiled.

I smiled a big old cat-that-ate-the-canary smile and crossed the street and walked up the steps to the door of my place. It would be another year before we truly got up on plane and a year after that before we made it official, but looking back three daughters and 5+ years of marriage later, all I can think is that on a sunny morning in Williamstown I enjoyed a walk of pride as I returned home from a night with the guy I'd make a habit of waking up next to.

Excuse me as I head to bed, I have a dreamboat to wake up with tomorrow. Maybe I'll flash you a cocky smile on the way to the coffee shop.

Go kiss someone.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Never the same

I've come to this page more than a dozen times, hoping that somehow the world would twist on its axis and go back, back to a time when this screen hummed with stories of dancing eyes and bubbling giggles. It still does, but the memories are done, or at least their making is.

Madeline Alice Spohr, the twinkliest girl I ever saw staring back at me from this screen is gone. Panic, anger, despair and incredulity abound. She seemed too bright a star to lose.


In Memory of Madeline Alice Spohr
November 11, 2007 - April 7, 2009

Please give. Please.


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