Thursday, November 16, 2017

High Notes

Last night I found a song. Cleaning the kitchen and elbow deep in suds, Pandora graced me with a new (to me) ditty that set my heart all aflutter. 

Later, while I was preparing for bed and he was puttering about the bedroom, I called him to me. “I want you to hear something,” I said, careful not to let on that the musical gift he was about to receive would change his life. He acquiesced easily enough, sitting on the side of the tub. I pressed play on the YouTube icon and listened to the first few notes dance about the room. I smiled.

He didn’t look up from his phone. “Are you listening,” I asked and watched him nod, still typing away. A strong vibrato filled the space between us as the singer transitioned to the chorus. My eyes narrowed and I counted silently to 5, willing him with the strength of a Jedi not to miss this. He wasn’t soaking in the moment though. I stopped the song.

“What are you doing,” he said to my departing back. I explained (but did I need to?) that one could not properly listen to a once in a lifetime song distracted by social media and/or game day highlights. He sighed and I imagined him shaking his head.

He does not listen to songs very well. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Ring The Alarm

*pop* Eyes wide open. What happened? Is it morning? 

Too dark. Ok, Brittni, go back to sleep. *turn* Just go back to sleep, breathe.

What’s that noise? The baby monitor is loud, I should turn it down. No, don’t move again. You won’t be able to fall back to sleep.

Ok, here goes, drift back off.

*sniffle* I wonder what time it is. Maybe it’s close to morning, then it would make sense why I’m so alert. Check the time.

No! If you look at the phone screen, you’ll never fall asleep. Don’t do it.

*pause* I’ll just check really quickly.

2:07 AM

Shit. Not morning yet. That’s ok, that’s ok. Oh wait, I have an email. Maybe it’s something important. Are there things of importance at 2:00 in the morning? Put the phone down.

You know what? Maybe I should pee. Yeah, my bladder is full, I’ll pee and then I’ll be relaxed. But if I pee, I’ll get cold. Can’t go to sleep cold. Oh no, now I actually have to pee. Maybe I should hold it, I bet the bathroom is cold. 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Sleeping With the Fishes

My kids’ fish died last night. We’d only anticipated the damn thing sticking around for 2-3 weeks….four years ago, so needless to say, he lived a long happy life. 

Obviously a fish doesn’t have the presence of a dog, or a turtle or even a surly, but stand-offish cat…but Clifford the Fish was one of us. The kids would eagerly bound down the stairs each morning to see who’d be the first to throw a pellet or two of food his way and then watch him swim for a bit before getting ready for school. His stroke had slowed a bit over the past few weeks so it wasn’t a surprise but when we looked up yesterday and realized that he was stuck on his side, marooned on a decorative rock like a half forgotten shipwreck, I was a little alarmed. 

I shed a tear…for a fish. You can roll your eyes, it’s ridiculous, I know. But Clifford’s imprint on our family was like so much of what parenting in stages has been to me: a surprise (the gift from a friend) that I begrudgingly got on board with and then learned to feel comfortable with despite myself. I found my groove and just like that, it was time to transition again. Everything is cyclical, no matter how hard you dig in your heels and try not to move, the world keeps turning. So, as I sit and look at the empty bowl and wonder when I’ll be hounded back to the pet store, I’d just like to send a fishy, heavenly shout out to Cliff, my undersea OG, for all he’s taught us about responsibility, love and perseverance. 

You were a man of few words, Clifford, but your silence spoke volumes.

Monday, October 9, 2017

I was remarking to friends recently how interesting it is to watch my children’s innate personalities manifest after birth. When it comes to nature vs. nurture, I’m always quick to rattle off a myriad of reasons in support of the nurture side of things. I suppose it’s some way for me to feel in control of every situation. But working with my kids teaches me time and time again that crap happens whatever is inside is bound to come out.
Take my 3-year-old for instance. My youngest is a walking, talking example of When You Make Plans, God Laughs. It’s not just her surprise conception. Or, the fact that she came out penis-less when she mimicked every craving, emotion and ache that her brother’s previous birth had produced. It’s more the fact that despite our loving and patient guidance she insists on being a complete and total lunatic in public.
I’m not a parent that’s easily embarrassed, mind you. Nose picking, flatulence and questions about anatomy in front of strangers hardly cause me to bat an eye, really. My toddler though finds the most unique ways to ruffle my feathers. She’s strategic and possesses a particular set of skills. Skills she’s acquired over a short life. Skills that make her a nightmare for a person like me.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Birthday Baby

Every time a kid’s birthday rolls around in our house, we sit around and discuss their birth story. My children are still young enough to be enchanted by the magic of their beginning and not quite old enough to want to delve deeper into the creation – thank god. 
So this week we talked about Parker. 

Parker, the one who caused mommy so much uncertainty, so many aches and pains, a few false starts and in the end (the beginning?) fear that we wouldn’t be able to keep going. Parker, who turns 3 today, laughed when I shared how the hospital tried to turn me around the day she was born. It seems she got a kick out of hearing about the challenge of it all, typical Parker. See, those nurses thought I wasn’t ready, but I knew that was wrong. I needed her here with me – with us – and I couldn’t turn back so I did what I had to do.
And all of a sudden, she was here (and everywhere) and everything was new again…
Parker, who I waited to turn 3, was more than I could handle. That’s the truth. A surprise pregnancy was only the beginning, Parker has a way of keeping people on their toes. Three years ago, there were many days and nights of doubt and lots of feeling overwhelmed. The highs and lows that had only recently evened out, came back with a vengeance and that was scary. My mother, my counsel, finally resorted to repeating to me regularly, “Just wait, when she’s around 3 or so and the big kids are older, things won’t be so bad. Everything will be ok.” So I waited, fumbling here and there, wondering when I’d find my groove and feeling like I was falling short more times than not. But as those eerily long days passed, the months started to fly by. So I kept my goal in sight – as I played a solitary game of Hurry Up and Wait.
And now we’re here, we’re 3. Our whole family has a birthday today because of how everything changed back then. On the day that was harder than I expected, different from the first 2 times, we were born and everything was new…but now we’ve grown.
Parker, you are not easy, and you don’t stick to my schedule all the time. And if I’m being honest, I’ll admit that these growing pains hurt sometimes too. I don’t always know what to do but even when it’s difficult and the days are long, you wait for me…because you know that sooner than later, it’ll be ok. And that’s why you’re such a good fit for our family, Puppy. You push us through the hard stuff. Every single day you make mommy balance the gritty with the great. So happy birthday, baby, thank you for being patient these past 3 years. If you keep waiting with me, I promise it’ll only get better.