This year the leaves are not the only things changing this season. My oldest starts first grade, my youngest moves in to Montessori, I turn thiry-five. I am not ready in the same way my Mother used to tell me how Christmas came too early. As a child, that sentence, “Christmas can’t be here already?!” was as unfounded as it gets. Christmas too early? Mom’s gone crazy again.
I am not ready.
I drove away this morning, literally crying, as I left my son for his last day at his daycare. He waved, blew a kiss and signed “I love you” as our usual drop-off routine necessitates. But this time, I was crying, thinking of how much he’s grown and learned, remembering back to the first few times I left him there, scared, worried, watching him cry as I walked away. He’s become a boy there, a real boy, growing from an insecure toddler into the healthy, funny, loving little man I enjoy today.
I have to thank the the people who loved him while I was gone for that.
I remember so vividly my summers at my baby-sitter’s house. I think of her sometimes as I parent my own children, flashing back to 1982 playing outside with her daughters as she cleaned the house or made our lunches. I remember her like a second mother to me, as much of an influence in my life as any adult I’ve known.
People who raise children, don’t only raise their own.
It truly takes a village.
So to my son’s village, to the ladies who have kissed owies, and changed diapers, and read stories to my son when I wasn’t able to: Thank you. Thank you for being such an amazing influence in his life and for teaching him in ways he will subconsciously always take with him. He’s a lucky little man to have had this time with you all. You will be missed.
Mother Nature has been bit of a tease to Seattle this summer, leaning in at the bar just enough to show some cleavage before pulling back and slapping our hand. She buys us a drink, a day of sun, maybe three, and then pushes us away when we reach in to make-out with full on tongue. We purchase sunscreen and sunglasses. We plan camping trips. And then she pulls away, douses our hopes of getting to third base with a week of mist and drizzle at 56 degrees.
In fucking August.
So we walk around, with our proverbial blue-balls, just waiting for the cold shower of month after month of drizzly gray skies. We find ourselves conspicuously purchasing lotion: plane tickets to sunnier states in an attempt to tell Mother Nature, “it’s not you, really, it’s me..” lying the entire ride to the airport.
We wave a middle finger at her as the plane takes off for Arizona or Hawaii, places where the sun kisses our skin, and oceans and pools lick our toes. All the while we know we’ll return to the proverbial ball-and-chain at home.
We know, for a fact, while our grass is greener, our balls are blue.
*This post brought to you by the first cool day of the season following fourteen pretty chilly weeks of what the rest of the states call “summer.”
**I realize I happen to live in the woods on an acre and my house never gets above 60 degrees so this may be a somewhat skewed view of the summer.
***I’m sure someone here got sweaty this year.
****I probably need therapy for equating Mother Nature to a hussy.
*****I’ll get right on that.
We are making homemade ice cream today. It’s part of my clean eating movement. I involve the children so they feel empowered to create their own food.
I feel proud and motherly.
We mix the ingredients and begin to poor the solution in to the ice cream maker but I notice the sugar isn’t dissolving. “What’‘s dissolve mean, Mom?” my oldest asks. Something from 1996 and my chemistry minor comes bubbling to the surface.
I’m suddenly a chemist!
“Well, see, that’s a good question, honey. There are bonds in the sugar molecules so they remain solid in this liquid here, see?” I show them the grainy bits in the bottom of the bowl. They look disinterested at best.
“What happens is,” I ignore their faces of disgust, “the bonds need heat to release them so the sugar will…” I pause to find the right word, my son plays with his penis in his pull-up, my daughter tries to eat the ends of her hair. I’m trying not to use the word dissolve while explaining what dissolve is… “So the sugar will melt, sort of, in the liquid.”
“That’s why I’m putting the solution, the mixture of liquid we just created, over heat in this pot even though we’re going to freeze it in the ice cream maker,” I conclude.
My children look as if they’ve aged seventeen years while listening to me lecture. They stare at me. I smile back.
“Can we have a Popsicle while we wait, mom?” they ask. Yes, Fine Fine, Fine. They scream in enthusiasm and run out the door. I yell after them, “Do you want to know how a Popsicle is made?!”
Summers of my youth were filled with sunny, sticky hot days, swimming parties, bike rides, and friends. Houston weather, relentlessly suppressing, choked your lungs with moisture. Us kids would ride around, ignoring the heat, to each other’s houses like mormons on mission. We would bike everywhere, arriving sweaty, sticky, and breathless ready to play and repeat the entire process.
This summer, as an adult, I’m able to re-live that experience. Or, at least in my own way, reminisce about it.
One of my best friends lives 3.6 miles away. I’ve always been fortunate to have friends near, but this is especially helpful when shit goes down for a dear friend. It’s nice to be able to be close, to have the option of hopping on my bike on my lunch break and literally riding to my friend’s house in 15 minutes or so, just like I did as a child.
Even if those are a hard, hilly, hot, sweaty, sticky fifteen minutes. (This is where I say, “That’s what she said.”) (And you all laugh.)
*Wobly 55 second clip of the process. minus the part where I stopped to fix my pedal or where I walked my bike up a huge-ass hill. Dudes. It’s a fucking big hill, don’t judge.
I wanted to get my friend something that says, “I’m sorry your body is an asshole and didn’t grow your baby correctly. Fucking babies. Always making their own decisions, anywho. Well, FUCK THE BABIES. Stupid fucking uterus,” but do you know how hard that is to find at Target?
There are cards for dead pets and not for dead embryos. What. The. Hell.
I happen to know, from experience, the only thing that really helps during a miscarriage is some kleenex, chocolate, and alcohol. And maybe a lovely smutty magazine or two.
So that’s what I got. The miscarriage basket.
I made my own card, though, because Hallmark is well behind the times of “Kick Mother Nature in the crotch and spit on the ground” cards. Seriously, there’s a market for this.
Perhaps I’ll start one.
We moved in to this house five months ago. Six? Five. No, Four and a half, wait…
Like I said, we moved in to this house a few months ago. The oven? Does not work. I think it turned on once, sputtered, threw out some smoke and never turned on again. I can’t tell you how thrilled I was when this happened. No, actually, I was a little tiny bit glad. We, thankfully, have a home warranty purchased by a fabulous real-estate gal here in town, so I knew at least we’d have some sort of compensation, chance at recovery.
Did I mention that was six months ago? Or a year? Ten? I forget. Feels like a long time now.
This weekend we went to finalize some Oven Shopping. There is nothing more “home-owner” than going OVEN SHOPPING. I don’t even care that much, people. I don’t care, except that once I started looking in to ovens do you know that I DO CARE? There are BTUs! And number-of-burners! And convection! And Stainless vs Shiny Black! And and and…
I found one at Home Depot that wasn’t too fancy, not too plain, and looked exactly practical enough that I loved it. It had a SIMMER spot in addition to the four burners. SIMMER. Dudes? I can simmer. That, I can do.
So I decided that was it. IT! Just like that I made a choice and VIOLA.
Except we had to go shopping because nevereverever settle on your first choice, so I’ve been told.
Five stores, six hundred and twenty ovens later, we went back to home depot to get the oven I picked out originally. The one I just knew was it.
I’m telling you, there’s an analogy in here somewhere.
Or a children’s book
Here she is: The newest member of the family. Ain’t she a bute.
God, really, now is the time to tell me: “THIS IS AN OVEN OHEMGEE. Get a puppy, we’ll care.”
“The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea”. ~Isak Dinesen
The first time I went in a boat, a canoe, I cried. The little boat would rock too much. I was too young. The water was too wet. I didn’t want to fall in.
The second time I went in a boat, a sweep, I wept with pain. My teammates and I pulled and pushed and pulled and pushed as our coxswain yelled the tempo. It was an ugly love, but I found it there on Lake Samish in Bellingham.
The third time I went in a boat, a kayak, I found joy. Pure solitude, soft gentle rocking, swaying of heart and soul. I may have been on something, but I swear dolphins swam with us and sea otters bobbed their heads to greet us. Birds sang specifically to us and little animated hearts floated out of my head like a cartoon.
A girl and her boat: Oh, to be one with the water.
Where I was meant to be.
**Photos by me.
I read too much. Information is entirely too accessible. Doctors must really hate this. Or, more specifically, MY doctor must really hate this. If I’m not self diagnosing SEVERE CANCER OF THE EYEBALL one day, I’m probably over-analyzing the effects of blood sugar via carrots the next.
Seriously, I annoy myself, people. This is hard to do, yet I succeed at it daily.
Since it’s a known fact that my hormones are completely, royally, and utterly fucked up, I thought I’d try a little home remedy: Progesterone Cream.
This is not the kind of hormone that makes you crazy, per say. Not that crap you put in your body to keep you from having babies or from trying to make babies or keep babies or any sort of baby-related anything, not THAT kind of hormone. Just the sort that might lead to a more harmonious balance that tends to diminish in PEOPLE MY AGE.—Yes, I’ll caps that.
Apparently there should be a small warning on the label : THIS CREAM CAN MAKE YOU UTTERLY, COMPLETELY, TOTALLY INSANE. ALSO: FAT. ALSO: ZITTY. LIKE YOU ARE THIRTEEN AGAIN ONLY WITH THE ABILITY TO DRINK LARGE QUANTITIES OF ALCOHOL AND SOB WHILST DRIVING. NOT SIMULTANEOUSLY YOU IDIOT.
Or something similar to that nature.
After gaining seven pounds in one month, waking up one morning realizing my face resembled that of a kid in HIgh School we called “Boner”, and remembering what an emotional wreck I’d become, I called my doctor. “So,” she concludes, “You took your hormones in to your own hands and now you’re really messed up?” “Yes?” I sheepishly reply. “Ok. So.” [long pause in which I envision her laughing to her doctor friends pointing in to the phone, “It’s Leslie again. We should have her come in to the office so we can see what she’s done to herself. No, Jane, it’s better than that time you dyed your hair green. TRUST me.”] “I’ll need you to stop taking the progesterone.”
‘k. Well. :: cough ::
There’s a reason people weren’t allowed to read if they were of lesser mentality back in the old days.
Literacy: Handle At Your Own Risk.
He wraps his arms around my neck, his cheek pressed against mine. I hear his soft breathing get longer, deeper, slower. I look at him, he is already asleep. Peaceful. Happy. Warm.
When I try to pull away, he wraps his arms tighter. He pulls me closer. “I just wuff you,” he whispers as I finally leave his tiny bed.
He is both child and baby, already independent and willful. He leaves my side to play and discover and checks in, on his own, periodically. He helps me cook dinner, he is by my side when I do the laundry, always wanting to push the machine so I don’t have to.
He is not perfect but he is perfectly three. And he is perfectly mine.
Lately, as if he senses something is off, he comforts me in the way a sensitive small man can. “I love you the best, Mommy.” “Will you pway wiff me?” “You wanna do trains? Can we snuggle? You’re my favorite.”
It is not that I need to be his favorite, or that I need him to fill all my love-cup. It is simply that this one tiny person has single handedly reminded me why I wanted all this in the first place. Why we worked hard for ten years to get to this very place. Why I went to graduate school before I had babies and why I work at a company that believes in families and encourages you to not work too much and reminds you that family is paramount.
It’s not that we don’t have the the three year old fits and tantrums, but in spite of all those struggles, financial worry, and mid-life crisis, he is my Epic Love Story. His tiny arms, his soft “wuff”, his gentle spirit.
I wouldn’t trade this for anything.
Even a flat in London.
After I blogged about my inability to make it to BlogHer this year, an amazing thing happened. You people, you, all rose up and tried to get me on a flight. And you did! You nearly succeeded! You with your amazing heart and community and passion for gathering your type around to lock arms and hug and speak bloggy with.
And ohmygod I love you for that.
My girl, Jennui offered to send me 100 dollars of her own cash. (I’m not sure that was canadian or american dollars. I suspect had it been canadian, which means it might actually be worth more at this point.) She offered not once, but three times.
After passing out of sheer joy, I started planning the trip specifics. EXACTLY when / how / where will I need to be / do / travel.
That’s when the details got in the way of my planning to go.
Mr. Flinger and I had to really talk it through. It was one of those conversations, you know the ones, where a sentence is followed by a long pause of silence and the other person sort of holds their breath waiting for your reply? The type of conversation where someone (usually me) ends up crying a little bit and kicking at the dirt. I was so completely, ridiculously, stupidly emo. “WOAH POOR ME, I am SO LOVED I HAVE A SPONSOR TO GO TO A CONFERENCE WITH PEOPLE I LOVE AND WAH WAH WAH I WANNA GOOOOooOOO.”
He was right to be a little frustrated with me.
We discussed what the family needs, not what *I* wanted. What would be best for the children, for him, for me. It was that thing they tell you about when you get married: The thing after the honeymoon and flowers and presents and wine.. the word.. Compromise. It was a sort of compromise that had to take place.
During the long pauses, breathless anticipation, we decided that I should not take two trips two months in a row. If I have the opportunity to go to Holland again for work, I should take that trip. I should go to Leiden, stop in Munich, and fulfill that life-desire to see the place I’ve admired for 30 years.
It felt right suddenly. Yes, I will miss BlogHer, but this month especially, is so full. My daughter is starting first grade, I will be gone next month, and shouldn’t I just sort of breathe for a few minutes after helping to launch two major projects?
So here I am. Breathing.
I’m appreciating all that you are and all that you do for little ol’ me.
And now? The CheeseburgHer girls have graciously offered to let us host a party here with Vdog.
That’s right: CHEESEBURGHER HITS SEATTLE!
You can have an official e-vite but please note: Space is limited. Please fill out the form if you’d like to attend. You will be contacted with an official evite.*
We’ll be available via Skype Video, recording the entire event, to post here later. If you do happen to be one of the lucky ones who goes to New York, please don’t forget to drink for me. And take pictures. SO MANY PICTURES. So we can live through you.
The internet is an awesome space sometimes. Mainly because you’re in it.
< / cheesy mushy love love >
*This is to protect the privacy of the home the party is being held at. Thank you for your understanding.
Yesterday all across Western Washington people were coming out of their homes, looking up at the sky and saying things like, “Well, hu. Look-it that strange coloring the sun’s got.” And, “Weird sky today, aint it?” And, “Sure hope an atom bomb didn’t go off somewhere.”
Because that’s the sort of smart-talking fast-thinking people we are.
What’s worse? My reply: “Oh, no, I’m sure it’s not the apocalypse. I went on twitter today. Certainly someone would’ve tweeted about it.”
Then I went on facebook and posted pictures of a vegetable platter.
The world is truly coming to an end. Even if it’s not via atom bomb, our brains are certainly melting.
**Good thing we were so concerned. Apparently the smoke was from some forest fires in BC.
***I actually did learn this from twitter.
***I am not proud of this fact.
17 guests here now.