Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Jump Into The River

The child you see today
will not be here tomorrow.
The child arriving home from school, 
is different from the one
who left from home this morning.
Every moment is a death
of all that has gone before,
and a birth
of all that is to come.
You must jump into the river
and let it carry you on its journey.
If you try to stop it
you will drown.
- from the Tao Ching

Parenting = extraordinary joy + bittersweet grief.

This month, 2 of my kids will be having birthdays.  They will turn 5 and 7.  
five and seven.

While I'm so full of joy to be celebrating their life and growing another year older with them, I'm full of grief that my babies are doing simply just that - growing another year older.

I hate that I feel this way.  
I hate that I feel like I am constantly struggling with these emotions - balancing on the fence, wobbling back and forth between happiness and sadness.

How can I truly behold a joyful moment if I'm so busy trying to cling to what is fleeting?

Everything changes, nothing stays the same.

A few weeks ago, grandpa was rough housing with Mason and grandpa said "Dude, watch my hangy down parts".  Well, Makayla obviously picked up on that, because the next day, she asked me "Why does grandpa call his penis a hangy down part?  Does he not want people to know that he has a penis?".

A few nights ago, an ambulance sped down our street.  Upon hearing the sirens, the kids ran to the window.  After the ambulance passed our house, Mia turned around.  Her brows were furrowed and she threw her hands up in the air asking "Why didn't the ambulance throw out candy?!".

At least once a week, Mason will say to me "feel this..." and he'll wrap his arms around me and give me a big hug.  Then he'll ask me if that felt sweet.

My kids.
These conversations.
These questions.
These gestures.

They'll never be again.
Sure, my kids all exhibit special characteristics that make my heart pitter patter and I look forward to watching these special characteristics and traits grow along with them in life -
but the level of love and curiosity and naiveity that are present today with my kids will be different tomorrow and the next day and the next.

And if I can just come to terms with 
everything changes, nothing stays the same
I think I'll be okay.
There will be a lifetime of moments that I'll want to cling to...but I'll have to let go.

Move from one to another.

Move from one joyful moment to the next.

Immerse myself in each moment as it comes along - and then keep going.

...Every moment is a death
of all that has gone before,
and a birth
of all that is to come.
You must jump into the river
and let it carry you on its journey.
If you try to stop it
you will drown.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Time Has Wings

Well, I blinked my eyes, and Summer has come to an end.

How does that happen??

How is it that one minute, it's the beginning of June and we have 12 glorious weeks of summer break ahead of us...
and the next minute, it's the end of August and the kids are walking back into their classrooms.

I know that most parents can relate
to that bittersweet blend of joy in growth and sadness at time passing.

I love that my kids are growing.  Growing bigger and smarter and stronger and...I could go on and on.

it has wings and it sure does fly

While summer was busy flying by, we didn't forget to enjoy every bit of it -

We looked forward to watching sunsets almost every night,
ran around the yard catching lightning bugs, 
watched summer storms roll in...

We Took long walks, 
rode our bikes,
and took drives in the country - with our windows down, breathing in the country air.

The kids played with their cousins,

We spent time at grandma and grandpa's lake house in the Ozarks,

We went to the fair and rode rides, enjoyed lemonade shake ups and cheese on a stick, watched the harness races...

We spent an afternoon in Hannibal,

spent lots of time making art - experimenting, coloring, making crafts - 

and spent countless hours of swimming and being in the water, 

The kids were able to participate in our neighborhood 4th of July parade - a 1st for us - and just one more reason we're thankful for our new home.

We picked fresh strawberries...except for Mia.  She spent her time in the patch eating the strawberries.  She ate and ate and ate.  If they were red, green, or white.  She ate them.

We got to spend time at the campground - riding bikes, swimming, sitting around the campfire.

What's a summer without a sprinkler and eating watermelon?
Funny the joy I received from watching the kids run in and out and through the sprinkler!

We took a vacation to Texas to visit Aunt Nina...

The kids developed a love for fishing this summer.  Mason has gotten really good at casting and taking the fish off the hook. 

We park hopped, 
played at spash pads, 
and went out for ice cream.  a lot.

We took a little trip to downtown Chicago...

...and splashed around in Lake Michigan.

The kids spent many days playing house, school, restaurant...just the good ol' imaginary play...
This particular picture is when they were playing tattoo parlor.  

(a tattoo on Mia's thigh of a pear)

Makayla's favorite thing about the summer was going swimming.
Mason's favorite thing about the summer was going to the Ozarks.
Mia's favorite thing about the summer was when Santa came to visit.
(santa delivered a new kitty to our home, Zeke, after we lost Chief in an accident)

Summer was filled with chaos 
and goodness
and awesome people.
And while the summer season went entirely too fast, I have my arms open wide, ready to fall into autumn.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Lu Lu Renae

To those of you who read my last post about Chief, I thank you.

Thank you for reading and thank you for your words of sympathy.

I wanted to share a little update with everyone.

On the day that Chief was hit, a little black kitty mysteriously showed up at a family friend's house.


Had a little black kitty not mysteriously appeared, we would have continued on in life with Rascal - our only cat, but...

There was a teeny tiny part of me that felt like it was meant to be.
Chief leaves us and sends a new baby kitty (black - just like him) into our fill his void.
I couldn't pass it up.

And just because we get a new kitten a couple of days after the passing of our cat, it doesn't mean for one second that we are dismissing what happened to Chief or everything we had with him.
Chief was Chief and there's not going to ever be another cat that can replace him.

So...we set a plan into place.

We thought we would have Santa deliver this new kitty to us.

Throughout the year, Santa randomly checks in on the make sure they are being good.
Earlier this summer, to the kids' surprise, Santa even came to our house!
He's always watching...

Well, because Santa knows if you're awake, or if you're sleeping, or if you are good, or if you are bad...
then Santa knows things like when your cat, Chief, gets hit by a car.
And, he knows if you've been wishing and hoping for a new baby black kitty (just as Makayla had been).

So, the other evening, in pops Santa through our front door!

He came to deliver a new baby black kitten to the kids!

Makayla and Mason were sort of shocked (mia was sort of scared)!
They couldn't believe it!
Makayla said under her breath - "how did santa know i was wishing for a new black kitten?"

That evening will definitely be a moment that the kids will remember forever.

We don't know if the kitty is a boy or girl, but Makayla has been the one to pick the name.
Mason wanted to name it Chief
Mia wanted to name it Mia.

If it's a boy, Makayla wants to name him Ezekial (i told her we could call him zeke for short) 
and if it's a girl, she wants to name her Lucy Renae.  

Were calling it Lucy (or Lu Lu) for now.

The kitty is doing very well in it's new home and even Rascal is adjusting great to it. 

It fills me with joy to see the kids so happy and to see Rascal so accepting.
Through this bad time, we were given something good and as weird as it may sound to some, I think I have Chief to thank for our new little ball of fur.  He sent this kitty to us when we needed it the most - when he had to go.  

Having this new kitty in our home makes my heart happy. 

..And you know what else makes me heart happy?

This morning, I received a message from the person who hit Chief.
I don't know him, but I do know that he is a good person.
To seek our family out, to admit that he was the unfortunate driver, and to apologize, means everything to me.
For him to pass along information about the accident to me has brought me some closure and for him to send us his deepest sympathies means more to me than he'll ever know.  Receiving a sincere, heartfelt letter like that brought me peace this morning and is something I guess my heart and mind needed because I feel a little bit better today and can smile a little bit bigger about Chief.

"Often when you think you're at the end of something, you're at the beginning of something else."
Fred Rogers