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A change in perspective

I used to spend so much time here, putting my thoughts to “paper” and publishing for anyone to see. My kids are only 6 and 3, and there are so many stories to capture about them.

Maybe things like Facebook have ruined that for me, where I can dash off a thought whenever, instead of composing something more … interesting … than I do now?

But I don’t even know where to (re)start. My oldest is in kindergarten and I don’t know for sure what’s okay and what’s not anymore. Will he enjoy my stories about him? Be mad that I put them online, opening both of us to criticism? (I got a lot of flack from attachment parents for that one.)

I used to feel compelled to write. Like something wasn’t quite right in my life unless I was putting pen to paper. Now, after I’ve hit 40, I’m just not sure I need to chronicle everything. Who will care in the end? My grandkids? My great-grandkids? (I would have *loved* to discover an old journal from a relative – but who knows if there will be anyone in the family like that down the road?)

It has to be for me, or not at all. So I’ll write when I feel like it, try to put down some fun thoughts that I think my boys will enjoy later, and try not to pressure myself too much. I have enough of that in other areas of my life.

A blank screen and some free time

I keep wanting to write. I have occasional thoughts of “Oh, I should write about that!” only to get busy, or forget about it, or waste the thought on FB instead. My writing has fallen very low on the priority list. I remember when I just HAD to write or I would go crazy. And now? Time flees my grasp, my kids are growing, and I’m not capturing life as I would like to.

It all goes by so fast and my memory is so horrible that if I don’t write it down, I eventually won’t remember it. And I so want to remember this time in my kids’ lives. In our lives. Even as it’s hard and crazy and messy and loud, it’s ours. And I have such a tenuous grasp on it all anyway. It floats through my fingers only to dissipate with barely a sound, a soft whisper of “You’re going to miss this when it’s gone,” before it really IS gone.

I’ve always been an observer. A recorder. Whether it was on paper or via camera, I had a compulsion to document things. If I don’t, then I’m afraid it didn’t happen. Why am I so desperate to leave a record, an “I was here!” for future generations to see? I guess maybe I always wished that I had found an old diary of a distant relative from years past where I could have a glimpse into what her life was like. Her hopes, dreams, loves.

I guess I want my kids to know that there was so much more to their mom than changing diapers, driving them to school, kissing scraped knees, or being their jungle gym. Don’t get me wrong – I love being that to them. But I am SO much more than that. I’m not quite sure what that is, because it’s tough to define yourself as more when you’re down in the trenches of mothering.

It starts by doing a better job of taking time for myself. I’ve been working a lot of hours recently and I haven’t taken enough time to care for myself, my relationship with my husband, or my friendships. I’m working on changing that. And it actually starts this weekend, by going out with a girlfriend yesterday and spending some time writing today.

I still have a lot of work to catch up on. That hasn’t changed. But I just have to know my limits. Wearing myself out isn’t going to help me work better, nor is it going to help the quality of my work. And with recent health developments, it has become even more important that I take care of myself. So it starts now. Wish me luck.

Gone in an instant

“Time flies” has become such a cliché, hasn’t it? But how else do you describe the way time picks up and grows closer to warp speed the older you get?

20120707_151429I still remember how much I wanted to start school when I was little. My brother would head off to the bus and I had to stay home. And now, in a twinkle, it’s my son’s turn to start school. About 3 weeks ago, we heard from the school that they would offer transitional kindergarten and that we should take a look since our oldest qualifies.

I hadn’t expected to walk down that path until next year, knowing he misses the birthday cutoff by about 20 days. An now, suddenly, that reality is thrust in my face. The reality that he’s growing up. That he WANTS to go to school. That time is going more quickly than I like. That my time of influence over him is dwindling and other people will at some point have more influence than we do. That I have to let go. That he’s such a sweet soul and is going to face difficulties with his speech and being a bit behind the others. That other kids can be cruel and no matter how much I want to protect him, I can’t.

That was brought to my attention last night in stark, painful reality. And it almost ended in utter tragedy.

We went to dinner last night with the daughter and her boyfriend. We hadn’t hung out together in a while, so it was nice to visit and have a good meal together. After we said our goodbyes, we went to the car. We were parked on the street, and it’s a busy one headed out to Shelter Island. While we were getting the little one ready for his seat, the oldest was impatient. We had asked him to stand on the sidewalk for a moment and then I was going to walk him to his door, since it’s the one street-side. As we were dealing with M, the wee one, F jetted out in the street.

My heart stopped as both John and I yelled “STOP!!!!” as loudly and forcefully as we could. There were multiple cars speeding by.

He stopped at the edge of the car, just a split second away from getting hit. Our future without two sons flashed before my eyes and I almost lost my dinner right then and there.

Daddy had a long, stern talk with F about being careful and not running into the street. And as I put M in his seat, I said a silent prayer of thanks that he stopped. That he listened for once (because sometimes he keeps going and we have to say stop more than a few times). And that we didn’t have to deal with the “what ifs” that came perilously close to coming true.

And so today, I am hugging my kids a little tighter, grateful for every hug, every mess, every moment. Because it can be taken away in an instant. And we came way too close to that last night.

I can’t keep him by my side forever. I know that. But it doesn’t make it any easier sometimes, this letting go. One of the things we have to get good at as a mom, even as it breaks our hearts to do so.

In spite of all that, though, I do want him to have fun, learn, and make new friends as he starts off on a new adventure, a new phase in his life.

Oh, the places you’ll go, son.

Am I still a mom blogger if I don’t talk a lot about my kids?

So I have these two beautiful boys and they just light me up. And usually, I can’t stop talking about something that I think is wonderful.

Except my boys.

Why is that?

I’m not sure I want what I have to say about them to follow them around later. They are fantastic. They are wonderful. They are frustrating and annoying and I just want to run away sometimes. But that’s just the way things are when you’re a mom. The good and the bad, all rolled up into one.

I’ve talked a few times about my oldest and speech problems. We have struggled with it a lot, and I think we’re finally coming out the other side. But how much of that do I put out there? Is it okay for me to do that?

Sometimes I just don’t know. I really want to write this stuff down so I have their stories for later. So I can share them with them. Not for embarrassment or heartache. But to leave a record of how wonderful they are and how much their mom (& dad) love them and think they are the most amazing thing ever – the best little people to share our lives with. We wouldn’t trade them for anything, even as we want to shut them in their room for just five minutes of peace.

Memory and time are so fleeting. I don’t want to forget anything since it all goes away so fast anyway.

So there it is.  Maybe I’ll share a few funny stories now & again. Maybe not. I just don’t know right now how much of their lives/ our lives I want to put out there. (Even as I post a kajillion times on Facebook. Yes, I know, it doesn’t make sense to me either. But it is what it is.)

Do you ever struggle with what the line is on what to write about your family? Do you have agreed-upon boundaries or is it fluid? Case by case? Tell me I’m not the only one going through this right now. I really feel like pulling back big time. Even as I love to write and share. What about you?

Those dog days are over

I danced around in the kitchen to Florence & the Machine this morning as I fixed breakfast for me and the boys. For some reason, her music reminds me of my younger, carefree days. The boys just kindof looked at me for a bit, but grinned as I grabbed each of them in turn & danced around.

Those are the types of memories I want them to have. Dancing in the kitchen with mom on a random Monday.

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Practicing gratitude

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I am trying to practice a little more gratitude today. There have been a lot of things going on in our lives recently. So much change. It’s a little overwhelming. Family, health, jobs. I can’t imagine what the future holds right now and it’s a little scary out there.

In spite of all that, though, I am grateful for what we do have. A wonderful, supportive network of friends and family (even though most of them didn’t help us move. AHEM.). Fantastic kids: even as they drive us crazy, they are the most wonderful thing to happen to us. (And dang, our kids are FUNNY, y’all.) Great family: even as our holiday plans change unexpectedly, they worry about us and want to help. We lucked into having an awesome family, for which I am truly, truly thankful.

My sons just had birthdays, turning 4 and 1. The time goes so fast! I love those little boogers to death. I am honored to be their mom. My husband is pretty awesome, too, but don’t tell him I said that. Between his crazy kids and crazy wife, he is either crazy himself or a very, very patient man. Love you, hon.

I hope you get the time to enjoy your family and think upon all you DO have, rather than what you don’t. Happy Thanksgiving.

Out and about

We managed to get out of the house with both of the boys. We didn’t go far – just to the mall. But it was someplace where we could walk around and let the oldest expend some energy.

The ladies at Williams-Sonoma ooohed and aaahed over the baby. And when they found out he is 5 days old, they didn’t know whether I was brave or crazy.

Funny, neither do I.

I just *have* to get out of the house. Even if I’m tired, there’s only so much you can do inside these walls. And I’m certainly not bedridden. Being forced to get out of bed the day after surgery will do that to you. I had no choice – I had to go and see my son. There was nothing – not an IV, a catheter, a sore abdomen… nothing – that was going to keep me away from him. As it was, it took at least 8 hours longer than it should have to get him back with us. And it probably would have been longer if I’d not suffered a meltdown right in the middle of the NICU.

Let’s just say it was an emotional time, I was exhausted, and I didn’t handle the multiple delays very well. It sucks when the kids who are ready to leave the NICU are kept there simply because the doctor hasn’t made it through rounds yet and the ones that are out of danger are the last ones to be seen. Let me say it again. It SUCKS. I’m still not happy with how that was handled. But the nurses and staff were so kind. And amazingly patient. And awesome.

It could have been so much worse. We were pretty fortunate. We ARE pretty fortunate. I can’t stress that enough.

It’s going to be an adjustment to having two instead of one. But so far? It’s awesome. Both of my sons are amazing. What more can I ask for?

Thank you. Sincerely.

It’s going to take me days to go around thanking everyone. And I will. But in the meantime, while things are still a little crazy, I just wanted to say thank you. So many friends have sent emails, facebook and twitter messages, called us to check in… it has been tremendous. Thank you so much for all of the love and support. We truly needed it.

We’re home, together as a family, and adjusting to having four of us here in the house. Baby Bravia is doing great. He’s just a teensy bit jaundiced, so we’re working to improve that. And he’s still learning to nurse, so we’re working on that, too. But he’s a joy, his older brother can’t get enough of him, and we’re enamored of our two little boys.

So while we’re tired. Exhausted. Zombies. … we have so much to be grateful for. It has all been put into crystal-clear perspective for us. So again, thank you for all of the kind, warm messages. You have made this last week even more special. I truly mean that.

Baby Bravia thanks you as well.

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Today you’re three

me and my son

Dear Son,

Today you are three years old. It’s hard for me to believe it has already been three whole years since you joined us. You have brought so much joy and light into our lives. You’re funny. You’ll do just about anything for a laugh. You’re charming. That grin where you wrinkle your nose and squint your eyes is so very cute (but I’m on to you). You’re silly. You love to stand on your head and look at things, or use the wrong end of the binoculars to view your world. You’re sweet. There’s nothing better than hugs and kisses from you.

You are my little buddy. We’re together day after day, just the two of us until daddy gets home from work. You’re my constant companion. You keep me company. You want me to play cars all the time. You stand in my chair and run cars on my head while I type away at the computer. You give the best nose rubs and hugs. I hope you always have a special place in your heart for mommy.

You love to help. I hope you’ll love helping with your little brother. I don’t quite think you understand yet what it means. And I hope that it only brings you joy when we arrive home with him just days after your birthday. You and your brother will be exactly 3 years, 1 day apart. But I hope that you’ll always be good buddies.

I love you so much, little buddy. That will never change, even as we move into a new dynamic with our family. Happy 3rd birthday, little man. I cherish these years with you. I hope you do, too.

Always,

Mama

My son, the comedian

Our boy is trying to assert his independence. He’ll turn 3 in about 10 days, so it’s no surprise. He loves to have choices, so we offer him one thing or the other and let him decide. But sometimes he’s pretty insistent that he wants something even when we say no.

Especially when it comes to Go-Gurt. I don’t know if I should be happy we introduced this into our household or not. The kid really loves it. So I let him have one or two each day. But he’s constantly asking for more. And since he can open the fridge, he goes and gets one and presents it to me for approval. In fact, a few days ago he came to me, smiled the sweetest little smile, rubbed noses with me, and then produced a Go-Gurt from behind his back.

He’s a smart one, already learning how to work mama over.

Yesterday was a battle of wills. Every five minutes he was asking for a yogurt, then crying when we said no. It had been that way all day – the whining and battling. We were all getting exhausted from it. Daddy sternly told him enough was enough, and the boy came over to me, whining and putting his head in my lap. Daddy then told him he’d better turn that frown upside down and put a smile on his face. Again, sternly. The instant the word “smile” came out of hubby’s mouth, my son put on the biggest, cheesiest grin you’ve ever seen. It was immediate. I looked at him, then looked at my husband, trying hard to stifle a laugh.

Hubby’s face was turning red as he tried not to laugh. It took only seconds before we cracked up. Things went from super-serious, you-need-to-stop-whining-child to full-on tears running down our cheeks. I have never seen that child change his demeanor so quickly. It really was hilarious. By the time we finished laughing, everyone was in a better mood. And our sides were hurting. A lot.

Do you know how painful it is to make a 9-months-pregnant woman belly laugh?

Totally worth it.