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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Bigger than life

There are moments in the world that are bigger than life. Moments where all that is or has been stand before us to be judged, judged as worthy or unworthy. And it is at these moments that we need to be our best, these moments that we need to stand tall and represent the best that is of ourselves and the best that is of humanity. It is during these moments that our weaknesses need to fall behind us and our strengths need to stand beside us as we stand judgement over ourselves and those around us. And despite our best efforts, these judgements are merely comments, comments on the actions of others and of the steadfastness of ourselves to the truth. May we all find the greatest strength within us. May the strength of the greatest among us be the strength of us all. May the best be available to us all. May we all rest in peace, for all time.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Time to Write

Finding time to write is difficult at best, and some days it is next to impossible. With my small people running around, I am always amazed at how busy and tired I can be without actually accomplishing anything. Take this morning as an example.

The baby and I wake up at six, because Boy Two never bothers to check the calendar to see if it's Saturday or not. He's been sick since the day before yesterday, and for the second time in a row his eyes are crusted shut with dried goo that had oozed from his face overnight. Blinded, he cries, first with confusion and then with anger as I pick him up out of bed and attack him with a warm, wet washcloth. Between the tears and the steam his eyes open, but he is an angry, grumpy mess, making all kinds of noise as my husband and Boy One try to sleep. I decide to take him on a bike ride to get some breakfast, because every day is better with a breakfast burrito. (Three cheers for breakfast burritos.)

Getting out of the apparent with my bike and baby gear takes almost forever. I have to dress the kid, find shoes and sweaters, helmets and my wallet, and then lead my bike with one hand and the baby Burley with other out the door and down the hallway, just hoping that Boy Two will follow. Getting two people and all of the vehicles into the elevator is a herculean feat, then I take up most of the entryway downstairs trying to hook the Burley to my bike without my little person running down the hallways into anyone else's apartment.

Finally everything is hooked up and strapped down and we glide out the glass doors, riding like a helmet-clad tortoise with a trailer through the apartment complex and onto the street. The baby sneezes and snot bubbles out of his face, but I can't very well stop in the middle of traffic to wipe his nose, so he wipes it himself, spreading boogers all over his cheek and arm. I continue to ride.

We ride to the park, but it is too early in the morning and the equipment is too wet for a sick little boy. No dice, but breakfast calls. Umm...breakfast burritos....

We ride to Sammy's Burgers, Subs, and Taco's, which is as dark as the day is long. They don't open until nine, and according to the woman in pajama pants fumbling with her purse and phone, it is only 7:52. She walks into Starbucks and I bemoan my burrito-less luck.

We ride over McDonalds, which is never closed, and park the bike and Burley in a parking space. We are almost as long as the Prius in the space next to us, and I collect my wallet and my child.

Inside, Boy Two screams bloody murder because I won't buy him a cookie, and the man asking for Splenda besides me thinks this is hilarious. I want to say that I think his pink pants are hilarious, but I hold my tongue. Maybe he is just laughing at my helmet mirror. It deserves to be laughed at.

Content with his hashbrown, Boy Two lounges in the Burley as I peddle, lamenting the three inches of pavement that the road calls a bike lane. After the reverse acrobatics required to get everyone and everything upsatirs, I collapse into the apartment.

Boy One is upon me before I can even get off my shoes.

"Last night I had a dream that I had a million Pokémon and all of them were the best with 1000 damage and no one was able to beat me in any of my battles!"

"That sounds great. Are you hungry?"

"I want pancakes."

"How about a fruit and yogurt parfait?"

"Sure."

Chaos ensues as Boy Two demands the yogurt and Boy One teases him. The rest of the hash brown and most of the yogurt end up on the carpet, and all of this fun before 8:30 in the morning.

Now, don't even talk to me about the dishes.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Sunday

I got up at 6:40, which is sleeping in, so I can't complain. Boy Two was up a few minutes later, in tears because breakfast wasn't delivered to him in bed within seconds of his becoming concious.

Through the tears, I cooked eggs, most of which he threw on the floor before demanding a large serving of BBQ pop-chips. He did not volunteer to help clean up the eggs.

I tried to take a shower alone, but Boy Two came in and stood outside the tub, ripping at his clothes trying to take off his shirt and yelling, "Bahf. Bahf!" Okay, fine. I took off his clothes and tried not to slip on the super-hero bananza that he dumped in the tub upon entering.

After the shower, wet kid tried to run all over the apartment butt-naked, refusing to put on his diaper lest hell freeze over. I tried to get dressed myself instead, so he decided to cry some more. Fun times all around.

Boy One woke up from the screaming and immediately began to relate his dream to me in intricate detail. There were giant kangaroos and swords and he was a tad embarrassed to admit that the whole thing had creeped him out. Hard to blame the kid for that, though. I never want to find myself facing a squad of giant sword wielding kangaroos either. That kid has the strangest dreams.

Everyone up. Everyone dressed. Everyone in the car. I called my parents on the way to church, and Boy Two fell asleep in the car. I carried him, drowsy, into the sanctuary.

The boys sat with me for half of the service, but the sermon wasn't to Boy Two's liking, so we had to leave when he started running up and down the last row of chairs. Thankfully no one sneered at us on our way out.

On the way to the car, I stopped at the bathroom, and while I was using the facilities Boy One turned off the lights and refused to turn them on again. Boy Two squealed with laughter until he ran into the door in the darkness. I managed to find both of them and get us to the car without any further damage.

Then, we were off to Ikea. It went about ad well as could be expected. High points included when Boy Two spilled my soup all over his pants and the tantrum of the stuffed giant carrot I refused to buy. Ice cream soothed the soul of all upon departure, but Boy Two wore more of it than he managed to eat.

I've given up on ever having a clean car again.

Next came Sprouts and a fit over when we would or would not go to the park. Miraculously they were both bribed successfully with the purchase of grapes, so we managed to escape yet another public establishment relatively unscathed.

Then it was time for the park. I spent 45 minutes following Boy Two around while Boy One ran here and there and climbed on top of the tube slide. "Better the top of the slide than the roof of my apartment," I thought. When I finally convinced Boy One to go, it was almost two o'clock.

The days are so, so long.

After that, we came home, ate lunch, put the baby down for a nap, washed two loads of laundry, did some dishes, put together the lamp from Ikea and played a round of Lego Star Wars. Then, my husband took the boys back to the park, and I went to Trader Joe's, put the groceries away, and wrote this lovely reflection on why I am never excited for the weekend.

It's six o'clock.... Man, am I ever ready to go to bed.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Victims of Anger

Angry people do angry things.
They throw papers off of the table,
Scatter dinner across the floor,
And refuse to brush their teeth,
Unconcerned by the consiquences.

The older one sings a song
Despite requests for quiet.
He repeats, louder each time,
Disrupting the ever-shrinking peace.

The small one cries.
Not the cry of the sad, but the cry of the angry.
Angry that he is small; angry that he cannot speak,
And his anger seethes out, staining the hopeful darkness of the night.

No one rests.
No one sleeps.

Everyone lives in the angry, vengeful rage.

And yet, we still dream of sleep...
Peaceful, restorative sleep.

Perhaps, one day, it will come,
As easily as the sunset,
As quiet as the moon.

Until then, we suffer,
Victims of our own choices.
Victims of the children we were born to love.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Thankful in October

I love the fall. I love sweater weather, school in full force, and the promise of holidays to come. So now, as October rolls into full force, I am reminded of November, the month during which, for several years now, I have posted on social media each day, from the first to Thanksgiving, one thing for which I am thankful. Today, I am reminded of all for which I am thankful, even though it is still October. Please indulge me as I explain.

I had the luxury last week of going on vacation with my husband and boys for the first time without grandparents allowing us to tag along, and I am thankful for the generosity of my husband's parents as well as our ability, finally, to afford this vacation on our own.

While we were away, we swam and ate and saw the sights.

I am thankful for our able bodies, good food, and the beauty of the world.

I also had to do much of the inane and everyday tasks that I would have to do at home anyway.

I  am thankful for fully-stocked grocery stores, Target, and machines that make my laundry clean.

My first-world life, while full of first-world problems, is also amazing and filled with ease and comfort.

May I always remember the gifts, even when I struggle with the challenges.

May I always remember to be thankful.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Joy is in Forgetting

I think joy comes with forgetting
With living in the moment
With time that separates itself
From everything else
From the noise
And from the heartbreak.

I can forget when I read:
Lost in a story
Whether true or make-believe.
I can forget my faults, my limitations
And find peace with myself.

I can forget when I teach:
The world shrinks down to that room
Those students
And the outside dims.
Time races.
I can find my strengths, my abilities
To question, to explain, and to respect.
I can be at peace with myself.

Thinking robs the joy
Fills time with what ifs and should haves
Awakens the beast
Of utter discontent.

But one cannot live in forgetting.

And so I ache for the moments when I forget

Only knowing them
When they have already gone away.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Bedtime is Terrible

His angry words burn like glowing daggers.
His small frame shines with the might of armies.
He tramples my soul with his dissatisfaction.
His anger overflows.

He is my husband, my father, my brother.
He is me and mine.
A snarled reflection of all that I hope to be.
A fragrant symbol of repeated failure.

I am responsible
And I have no words.
Nothing kind, nothing gracious
Only anger and fear to face the same.
We stalemate at the edge of the evening.

It is night, and yet no one is sleeping.

Anger is wide awake.