Thursday, July 31, 2014

those journals under my bed

i haven't been writing much. instead i've been writing in an actual journal. like i did for so many years. i had so many journals under my bed that i forgot i took from my parents when we bought our house. i found them in our room and the other night while james was golfing i looked through some of them.

reading them i was taken back to college. and back to the transition phase after college when i didn't know what to do next or where to go. and then to new york city where i lived for almost three years. i read a page when i moved into my first apartment and was sleeping on a mattress in the living room, eating take out chinese in bed, listening to music on my phone because i didn't have a tv or any furniture. i was taken back to my job at malia mills, working in her store on mulberry and spring street. i  read when i was hired as a nanny to the most beautiful little girl, and felt like i gained a family in a city filled with strangers.

i read one last page in one journal when i left new york. i packed what i could in my suitcase and called my dad from the roof of our building and told him that i needed to come home. i didn't tell anyone except our doorman, and i left. i left my books, and my clothes, and my apartment that we had turned into a home and i got in that taxi and i can still picture the driver speeding down the west side highway and the city behind me getting smaller and smaller in the distance.

"i'll always love you new york" i wrote.

it seems like a different life. it seems like one hundred years ago. so much has changed and happened and evolved and i've fallen in love and i've had a baby and reading those times when i felt heartbroken and sad, so terribly sad, makes me appreciate this time in my life even more.

maybe things do happen for a reason. even if at the time you are too down to see why. had i not gone home when i did i wouldn't have met james. i wouldn't have saw him in the bowling alley during their league and watch him throw a gutter and turn around and smile at me. i would have missed it.

james and i didn't write our own vowels for our wedding. we talked about it but decided not to. now when i look back at the day, i don't know if i would have been able to get them out. i was too nervous and overwhelmed with emotion. but had we written them, i would have read a quote that always reminded me of james, a quote i thought of when i first met him by albert schweitzer,
 "at times our own light goes out and is rekindled by the spark of another person. each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us." That's him. 

i'm happy to have written and saved those little brown journals, filled with pain and happiness and stories and words that are all my own.

and i'm so happy that i'm here now.

baby fever

i had a dream i was pregnant last night. i dreamt that i was walking up and down our street trying to induce labor. james and finn were in the house looking out the front door and i was walking. james was yelling at me to come inside because it was going to start storming but i kept walking.

i looked up and saw dark, black clouds rolling in but i didn't feel scared at all. i wasn't nervous. i just wanted to walk.

i woke up this morning from the sound of finn yelling for me from his room and on my way to get him i touched my belly.

one day again...

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

to my two year old..

we didn't get finn anything for his birthday. we didn't get him any new toys. our sweet family got him most everything he could want as a two year old. new cars, and books, and puzzles, and lots, and lots of bubbles.

instead we spent the day playing. he drove his new car naked, holding a balloon, eating licorice. we took him to a petting zoo with a wagon safari ride and then later, after dinner we rode our bikes to get an ice cream cone. and he was happy. really, really happy with his day i think.

i didn't get him a card either. so i'd like to write him a card on here. a virtual card on this crazy land of the internet where one day, if he feels like it, he might read.

dear finn.

happy second birthday, sweet boy. i'm not sure where these past two years have gone but i will tell you that they have been the best of my life. just last week i cleaned your closet and found the onesie that you came home from the hospital in. i keep it hanging in your closet at the front of your clothes because i like to imagine the incredibly tiny you inside that navy and ivory stripe shirt. how did you grow so quickly? i always thought you would get a couple wears out of that outfit. your infancy past as quickly as that summer did. one month after the other and now we're all the way at 24 of them.

finn, i can not predict or perfect the type of mother i want to be. but i want to promise you right now that i will spend my life attempting it. and i know that i will fail. and i know that there will be trying times, and there will be days we'll face challenges together and even days when you might not want to talk to me at all. but deep down i think you'll know that everything is for you. and, maybe one day, when you have a son or daughter of your own, you'll understand that even better.

because being a parent is a commitment that alters your place in the world. it shifts the choices you make and the decisions that you're faced with. your actions now hold greater repercussions and your words are ones that will be passed on forever. you change in a way you never thought possible. and you have done that to me in the best way. you have made me a better person. being your mom is tremendously sweet, and funny and exactly what i want to be.

now i look at you running and laughing and talking. i've watched you change from a baby to a toddler and now almost a little boy. watching you grow has been my deep, rooted joy and at the same time, my most bittersweet adventure.

because part of me wants to keep you small forever.

i love you.

your mama

Thursday, July 17, 2014

camp out

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity...” 
― John Muir

we left thursday after work. drove out to a campground we'd never been to and found ourselves surprised by the perfect little spot we found. in the woods and right above the lake. we set up camp, opened our three camp chairs and built the fire. made pizzas over the flames, drank cold IPA's and snacked on s'mores. finn's favorite part. after a little scare by a mischievous raccoon, finn asked to nurse in the camper. "raccoon can't get in the camper" he said with a little laugh.

it was the perfect temperature. cool enough for a fire, but comfortable enough in the popup for just a long sleeve shirt and our blankets. we slept soundly in the woods together.

in the morning after scrambled eggs and camp coffee, we found a dock on the lake to fish. finn caught little bluegills and he laughed as he touched each one with his little finger. "so slimy" he said.

the woods make us happy. make us refreshed after a long week. make us appreciate the simpleness of a good fire, the satisfaction of the smoke rising into the trees and such a quietness of night you can hear the waves of the lake splashing on the shore.

Monday, July 14, 2014

about a boat

my husband is so calm. i haven't quite figured out how he is so calm. when our electricity went out this morning at four am and our little house started to heat up and i was worried about the food in the fridge,   and whether or not it would come back on today, and then finn woke up when his sound machine stopped, i shook james to wake him up and told him that our power was out.  he sat up and said "oh, that's ok. it'll go back on" and that was it.
and he was right. it was on within the hour.

or like the other morning when he got a phone call when we were on our way home from gigi's and it was his friend with some pretty terrible news about his boat that he borrowed to take on a trip to montana. james was on the phone and i could hear the concern in his voice. when he got off the phone i was expecting him to say they broke a fishing rod, or they lost his anchor but instead he looked at me with sad eyes and said they accidentally sunk his boat.

his reaction on the phone was sensible, and caring and mature.
i instantly started crying.

and that's the difference, or one of the differences, about me and him. i react instantly and strongly, the feelings inside me come pouring out, i can't contain them. i say things without thinking and i overreact quick. james is responsible with his words, he controls his actions by thinking about them first, and he is really, really calm.

"aren't you so upset!?" i said trying to stop the tears.

"i'm thankful everyone is ok. and i'm sad" he replied

on the drive home i thought about his boat. the boat he named jane. the boat we trolled down the allegheny river in together when we were dating. he cooked us hotdogs on his little grill and we talked about the future. we talked about the kids we wanted one day, wondered if we would stay in town or move away. "i don't have a final plan" i told him feeling a little worried and frustrated. "you don't have to. just keep me in the one you have" he said.

or the time we took the boat to oak orchard and stayed in a tent on lake ontario. the first salmon trip.

or the time we pulled the boat to zoar valley in new york. the first weekend getaway as a married couple. finn was just two months old. it was too cold and rainy for finn on the boat so him and i stayed tucked away in the cabin and we watched james down below in the river looking for those salmon. he waved to us as he pulled away from the dock. i remember calling him my husband on that trip. i remember a sleepy, newborn finn wanting to nurse all day and taking him for his first hike. his eyes were big and blue looking at the trees.

or the first time finn went out on the boat. we were camping for the weekend and we weren't sure how he would adjust to being on the little boat. we decided to try a short float but once we got on the water he became relaxed and still and watched the water splashing softly and we caught his first smallmouth together. we ended up spending the afternoon the three of us, trolling all the way down the river and back to camp.

so we spent this past week in a little funk. james calling people in montana, checking on the water status of the river and feeling helpless about his boat underwater. we said we can both picture her underwater, the river's current flowing overtop of her steady.

he believes we'll get her back. the water level will drop and the guys he's working with out west will be able to pull her out. depending on the damage, she might be able to be repaired or we might have to say goodbye. whatever happens i suspect james will handle it with manners and consideration. like always.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

coffee and charles

“I will remember your small room, the feel of you, the light in the window, your records, your books, our morning coffee, our noons, our nights, our bodies spilled together, sleeping, the tiny flowing currents, immediate and forever. Your leg, my leg, your arm, my arm, your smile and the warmth of you who made me laugh again." 

-Charles Bukowski 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

go to the woods

Afternoon without a nap. 
But an afternoon with the woods. 
The creek with clear, cool water and minnows that ran from our splashes. 
Sailboats made from fallen bark, twigs and maple leaves.
Rock after rock thrown deep into the middle.  
"Watch this, mama!"

We'll try the nap again tomorrow. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Independence Day


It started with a little town parade. Finn grabbed candy and filled up his bag laughing and saying "wow!" Over and over again. He ended up with a bag full of treats but only ate a sucker and some smarties. "Want some smarties, mama?" He asked popping one after the other in his mouth. Feeling like a big kid after Halloween, their hardwork spread out on the floor with happiness and pride across their face. 

A picnic with family. Lots of food and grills and cousins and aunts and uncles and games. We stayed outside all day, Finn playing ball with his cousins, running around barefoot and dirty.  

Then a drive up to the most special little town right on the lake to see the most special grandma, Gigi. Pulling into the quaint neighborhood James pointed out where he rode his bike. Where he hit golf balls into the lake with his great uncle, learning how to hold the club and practicing his swing.  Where he played with his own cousins outside all day. 

We pulled in just in time for sunset. After putting a tired boy to sleep we sat with Gigi in her living room. She told us stories about her days, volunteering at the light house and riding her bike to church. She said she meditates every morning for twenty minutes. Then she prays and it takes her 35 minutes because "she has a long list of people to pray for." She told us stories about her husband, about their life and marriage and love. She said she was the happiest girl in the world when she was with him. "He's been gone 19 years this month" she said with tears in her eyes, "but he's still here" she said with a smile. 

The weekend ended with fireworks. Loud, feel-in-your-bones, fireworks over the water. Finn watched with concern and amazement. We cheered and yelled when the show was over. 

We left this morning before the sun came up. The lake was gray and blue. The boats were gone and the beach was quiet. Gigi waved goodbye in her pajamas as the lighthouse lamp blinked softy over the water.