Tuesday, December 30, 2014

a year in numbers

dear james,
a quick summary of just some of our 2014....

4 summer camping trips. we found our new spot. finn reeled in his first fish alone standing on a rock while the sun set and the sky turned gold. 1 tiny bluegill.

1 trip away from my guys for 4 nights. the longest i'd ever been away from finn. i called him one night when you were rocking him to sleep and i heard his breathing get faster and then he was trying so hard not to cry that he couldn't talk.

1 broken refrigerator.
1 broken sump pump.
1 broken air conditioner.
and 1 nervous breakdown from me. after the fridge broke, which was the last of the three to go, you went to the gas station for bags of ice and i sat on the kitchen floor and cried. finn came into the kitchen and without saying anything sat next to me. you came home and we filled up every cooler we owned with food and kept everything in the garage. later that night we laughed and pretended we were camping, going to the cooler to get milk for finn.

1 vacation trip to the lake with your family. your parents, your grandma gable/gigi, your sister and brothers and their families.  4 rowdy little boys under the age of 5, playing where you played as a little boy. running down the same hill beneath the lighthouse, faster than their little legs ever moved before.

the celebration of gigi's 85th birthday. remember at the end of happy birthday before she blew out her candles she said, "thank you. thank you. thank you. I love you" and i cried.

1 spontaneous trip to cape may with my parents. in that special house right by the water. riding bikes through the little town together, spending days at the beach, finn scared of the ocean and it's waves until the very last day when he grabbed his grammy's hand and took off into the water. we watched from the shore laughing and cheering for him.

1 birthday celebration for our 2 year old, finnegan scott.

1 sinkage of an old boat and 1 delivery of a new boat.

1 new baby girl born into the family. your parent's first granddaughter. we said her sweet little mouth reminds us of finn's.

1 trip to oak orchard, just us. first time we went away for 2 nights leaving finn with our parents. i caught that salmon and couldn't hold her up she weighed so much. you laughed at me when i fell asleep on the boat after drinking whiskey.

1 little boy dressed up as benny from the sandlot. walking around the neighborhood eating his new favorite candy, licorice.

1 hard morning when i called you from work and asked you to come home. you were here ten minutes later. dropping whatever you had on your schedule that day to be with me. later the three of us took a nap together and when i woke up you and finn were lying on your sides facing me. the pain i felt earlier seemed small looking at the two of you.

the 4th new year we'll ring in together. last year finn wasn't feeling well and woke up just when the ball was dropping, sleepy and feverish. we took a picture the three of us. i looked at it earlier and he looked like such a baby still. his hair short and fuzzy and his cheeks rounder. he's grown up so much this year.

this year. a new number. 2015 and i'm ready for it. for good, good days. days with the sun in our eyes fishing on the new boat in the summer, finn up front on my lap and you behind us steering towards the fish. or the breaking of winter and our first camping trip. popping up the camper in the driveway before we leave, airing out the staleness of winter, getting ready for nights in the woods again. the day we celebrate a little boy turning three years old. who knows who he will become by then, our strong, delicious little guy. will he still like ninja turtles and cars? will he still call us j and jane some times when he is trying to make a point; "you can't eat that entire cookie, finn" "come on jane! forget about it" he says now, making us laugh. long sundays when we see our families, when you smoke something on your grill and it turns out just the way you'd imagined it would. new projects and adventures and changes. bike rides at sunset. the cool water of the creeks when the salmon spawn and it's our time to fight for them again. warm fires that fill our entire little house. i'm ready for them all. even the days when something in our house will break and i will cry and curse and feel helpless. and you will stay calm and go get your tools. or ice. or whatever it is we may need to fix it. you make things good. i'm ready for all these days. with you.

happy new year, jbird. xoxo

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


cleaning the basement trying to make room in our little playroom filled with scraps of drawings and paintings. train tracks on the table half built, and cars and trucks dumped out on the floor in a pile, finn standing on his train pretending to save a dog who is trapped in his boat. i organize one bin before finn starts yelling "help, mama! help save the puppy!" and i quit cleaning and pretend to rescue the plastic dog while finn cheers.

writing an email and i hear finn in the living room lining up his guys and saying their names he has given them. "hi flash, are you ready?" he says. "wait for me" he yells as he moves the trash truck to catch up. even when he has himself occupied, and i have a moment to myself, i'm fascinated by his imagination and vision. i spy on him from outside the room, watching his hands and his little legs bent behind his body.

he's done nursing. i went away on a four day trip for training and when i came home i told him that the milk was gone. he asked a couple times after but he was ready. we were ready. but still, moments creep up on the both of us when we think of nursing and i can tell that he misses it. early the other morning he rolled over to me and said "you can't nurse me. i know" and instead i scratched his back and arms, laying in the dark before the sky lightened, the house quiet and warm, our christmas tree lighting up our steps from downstairs.

lately it's been him telling me what his dada is teaching him. while washing his hands he says "dada told me to wash the tops of them first." when going outside, "dada told me to leave my blankie inside so it doesn't get dirty." while eating waffles, "dada told me to cut with my fork like this." it's a new thing, him repeating what he's learned from his dad and i feel a sense of contentment and happiness. i feel so lucky to have the both of them. and i feel lucky that i get to witness their relationship and be a part of it. they have a special bond.

we went on the polar express the other night. a train ride just like the book. a trip to the north pole, hot chocolate and cookies, a visit from santa, a gold train ticket and a silver bell, little friends and cousins singing christmas songs, grandparents smiling for photos, memories to be saved and framed. but the best part of the trip for me, was when they had the kids line up for a parade. i sent finn to the back of the train and watched him as he stood last in line. one by one, each child's name gets called and they walk the train. unsure about what he would do, they called finn's name and he came running out from the back of the train, his arms in front of him moving side to side and his little legs pushing him faster and faster. he was full of pride. i'll never forget his face.

when i thought it couldn't get any better, i looked around for james and saw him standing at the end of the aisle on one side of the train. waving his arms, smiling. "go get dada" i told finn, and he finished the end of the parade running into his dad's arms. giving high fives along the way.

it's christmas. and i'm feeling all kinds of love. for my family. my extended family. my family i was lucky enough to marry into. for my husband. and for my finnegan. and for the ordinary moments that he gives me every day that consume parts of my heart i wasn't sure existed before him.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

santa this year

it might be even better now. he's so excited. he understands this year. he knows what's coming because every morning we remove a chain we made with his watercolor scraps i've been saving in the basement. it's easier for him to see that it's coming when he sees the chain getting smaller and smaller.

we were shopping the other day and he saw a watch by the register he wanted. he started asking for it, getting louder and louder. i told him we weren't shopping for ourselves. it's the time when we shop for others. i saw him think for a second and then he changed his voice to sound deeper and said "my name is santa, and I want to give that watch to finnegan" I wanted to laugh and cry.  he ended up getting the five dollar watch.

i love our little house with a tree in the living room. "smell the pine?" finn asked me the other morning.
i thought about when i was five and my mom woke me up in the middle of the night. "lets go look at the tree", she told me and we ran down the steps and laid on the couch in the dark, my mom hugging me, staring at the lit up tree until we fell asleep again. when finn woke up from his nap yesterday i carried him downstairs, closed all the blinds and we laid together on the couch staring at the tree. it's cloudy and gray outside, we haven't seen the sun for weeks, i miss our walks to the playground, and running outside without shoes on, but december has me excited.

at the amish market last week finn noticed a mickey mouse clubhouse canvas painting. he thought it was special until he saw that you push a button and the moon and stars light up in the painting. he lost his mind. he needed it. he wanted it. he yelled and cried for it and i was about to give in and just buy it for him right then. "maybe santa will bring it for you" i said over and over. "no! i'm scared of santa" finn said crying on the way home, his face red and his eyes puffy.

last night, as tradition holds, we had dinner at my brothers and after dinner we heard bells and a knock at the door. in walks santa. last year finn started crying, gripping my shirt tightly- he was going no where near him. this year he smiled and laughed and said "hi santa. merry christmas" santa sat down and i asked finn if he wanted a picture with him. he sat on his lap so still and a little scared, he didn't want to move. we got some photos and when i walked over to him he wrapped his tiny arms around my neck and pressed his face to mine. he had enough.

but before santa left he handed finn a wrapped box. finn smiled and opened carefully to find the mickey mouse light up painting. he was stunned and surprised and still a little nervous. and i wanted to laugh and cry.