Sunday, December 16, 2012

Hearts in Connecticut

I moved my children back to my home state of Connecticut for a very specific reason, so that I could raise them in a safe, healthy place.  So they could enjoy the four seasons and all the beauty New England has to offer.  I researched cancer rates, crime rates, water quality, air quality, school systems, and you bet your ass I know where every sex offender within a 50 mile radius is (there are only 2).   We have lower obesity rates, excellent school systems, great universities and, overall, low crime.  Our state is so annoyingly perfect, it was even the focus of several movies like Stepford Wives that tease of our over-the-top perfection.

Then, today happened.  I write my blog not for you, or even myself.  This is really for my children.  Not because I am so wise, or have so much experience or knowledge to offer my children.  Only because I want them to know someday, everything I felt while raising them.  They will know of this story, I'm sure, but fortunately, they are far too young to understand it now.

I love living here.  I grew up in Connecticut, moved briefly out of state, and returned to raise my children here.  To give them roots, to grow our own food, to play outside on the dirt roads without fear.  Fantasy.  For there is certainly always fears in parenting.  Am I doing this right? Does that food have too much pesticide or food coloring or preservatives? Do I hug them enough? Are my punishments and consequences fair?  Are they developing quickly enough, or too quickly? Do I lose my temper too often?  Most of us parents have these questions, they are normal....I think.

And Now?  Will they live through the school day?  Is that a new normal question?  I think an article in The Onion says it best with today's article entitled "Fuck it All".,30743/

Yup, that pretty much sums it up.  Wasn't there a time when even wars were fought with dignity and organization? Where there were some rules of humanity that were followed no matter what the circumstance?  Where women and CHILDREN were off fucking limits?  Apparently, that time is long gone.  In the most perfect little state, in a sleepy little town, babies are murdered.  For absolutely no reason.  Because there is no reason, that ever did or will exist, for this.

I can't stop thinking about those parents.  Who have to go home to their kids' toys on their living room floors.  To the dirty clothes strewn about the bedrooms, the clothing they will never want to wash again because it still smells like their children.  Clothing that they will cling to, thinking it was only a day ago, a week ago, a year ago, that their child was alive and wearing this shirt.  The parents who will struggle to remember what the last hug felt like, did they hold on long enough.  The last time they smelled the top of their head, tucked them in.  The Elves that won't have any reason to move tonight,  or ever again.  The Christmas presents that will never be unwrapped.  How Christmas, birthdays, any day, will never be the same again.   Unmade beds, unworn clothes, promises of holiday magic, a new year, and upcoming summer vacations, crushed to nothing.  To non existence.

I feel a depth of guilt for even having children.  My children are here because I wanted them here.  They never asked for this life, I'm the selfish one who needed them, wanted them, created them.  And now, they have to live with my decision, literally.

For years we will search for answers that don't exist.  Grasp at any rationale or reasoning that either isn't there or is but offers no solace.  Could any reason? We all need something to reassure us, something to comfort ourselves with, to feel that, once again, it will never happen to us.  Isn't that the true innocence of childhood? They don't think anything bad will ever happen to them? Isn't that the bubble of security we as parents create for them so they may grow without being stifled in that paralyzing fear that, we as parents, all too often experience?

I have no answers, none of us do.  If I did have any, that would bode far worse for our world.  All I know is that I have to work so much harder to maintain that bubble.  Maybe things such as this happen as frequently when our grandparents were growing up....but how would we know without television, fast vehicles, Internet and access to every corner of the world through our technology.

We need more heartwarming human deeds, random acts of kindness, regular acts of caring, respect, and love.  We all need to stifle our hate, anger and judgement of one another.  We can learn from this, we have to.

I cried so hard these at few days.  Not just tearing, not weeping, but I cried with gut wrenching, nauseating choking sobs that looked and sounded about as ugly as I felt.  I am so grateful, that I am still crying.  I found myself so relieved, and happy to see how many other people did the same thing.  It means we haven't lost it all, it means we may be save-able, it means there are enough of us  to make big changes, and, maybe someday, we can all feel safe again.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Three years...and some change....

My baby girl just turned 3 years old.....6 weeks ago.  We celebrated, of course, and I remain partially in denial that the years seem to spin faster into this vortex of child rearing.  Adults age so little in a year's time, but kids...those things freaking change.  A lot.  Di grew almost 3 inches in 6 months.  Does anyone realize how much 3 inches is?  Ladies? Gentlemen?  If I were 3 inches taller I wouldn't have to worry about theses 15 extra pounds that have accompanied me so graciously since I had my sweet girls.

What can I say about a 3 year old, except if anyone here thinks twos are really terrible, run far away before your child turns three.  Three is the year of attitude, yelling, demanding, and moments of unimaginable sweetness.  My daughter has made me cry with devastation at the things she says, and weep with the deepest love I have ever felt.  It's quite a mind f@$%.

The yelling just means I need to listen to her more.  The attitude is her trying to tell me something she just can't verbally express yet.  She is teaching me to be more patient, kinder, and to be a better mother.  Annoying.  But also incredibly cute and humbling...after a few drinks.    She fights with her sister now, there is pushing and grabbing and kicking.  But there is also kisses and hugs and times when she feeds her baby sister off her plate, helps her read a book, and even attempts to carry her (yikes).  It's is a year of wearing jewelry, skirts, and getting dirty.  She will no longer let me pick our her clothes, ever, which leaves me with a desire to explain to anyone and everyone in the public that i am just being a good mother by letting her express her independence.  cringe cringe.  She is mastering her body and learning to control her strength and movements with gymnastics.  She really is quite graceful and beautiful to watch.  Her movements are effortless.  Her little body is strong enough to hold itself up by her arms or legs, and her balance and flexibility make me cringe constantly.  She is amazing.

She told me I was her best friend.  She has also said this to a caterpillar, a stuffed cat, and a dead spider, but it was still enough to make me tear up.  It was beautiful.

Unfortunately, Di being three means one more sad thing...Jbug is 18 months old.  (That's a year and a half to anyone who isn't a parent, believe me, you will use months to describe the age of your child, it's the only way, kids grow fast in a year, but a baby grows abnormally fast in a month).

I am so lucky that JJ is still perfectly content being the baby.  She still snuggles with us all night, insists on being carried everywhere, has absolutely no interest in the potty, regular cups, plates or eating utensils, and pretty much uses cuteness and crooked smiles to get anything she wants from either myself or her daddy, or grandparents, strangers on the street.  She really is that cute.  She is talking so well, when her sister allows her to do so.  She absolutely loves all things furry, and literally screams with glee at any animal sighting.  There isn't many moments when I don't hear a squeaky "mow mow" or "a woof!".  And when she spots them, nothing but pure happiness in her eyes.

 I am envious, for I am no longer capable of doing that.  Isolating one thing in life that creates joy for me, without any other interferences.  I wonder when I lost it, because we all do.  I wish I could enjoy them like that more often, without worrying what germs or chemicals or food additives or bad vibes they are exposed to.  But I guess that is my fate now, to absorb all the negative so that they see only joy.  I can certainly live with that.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


I haven't written anything on my blog for almost 6 months.  I know this because my last post was in celebration of my baby girl's first birthday party.  And then, it was suddenly summer, and, as summers always seem to do, it flew by in a whir of green and heat and sticky, sweet smelling nights sprinkled with the songs of crickets, frogs and cicadas.  We played in water at every chance, in pools, oceans, lakes and puddles.  I became engrossed in my garden and soaking up all the beautiful weather we could.  And just as quickly as it appeared, summer has gone, tucked in for another year while fall here makes her grand appearance.  And grand it has been, the leaves where we live become so vibrant, that despite seeing this particular phenomenon for the past thirty one years, I still stare and gawk and drink it in every year as if I had never seen it before.  The beginning of every season brings on the romance, the thoughts and fantasy of what is soon to come.

My sister recently, intelligently, introduced me to her idea of romance.  While she is experiencing her first bouts of baby fever as she watches her friends bellies swell, she has a concrete understanding that she is in love with the romance of motherhood, but the reality is something she is not currently prepared for.  The irony being, that if you understand this, you actually are more prepared than most parents.

Another mother blogger (ok, I like that, I really like that, mother blogger, mother bl#@%gger) recently wrote a post about firsts.  How we look forward to all these firsts, cherish them, remember them, document them with photos and locks of hair taped to albums or tucked in silver boxes...but never the lasts.

Over the summer, we had so many firsts and lasts.  J's last nursing session, where she solidified her decision to cease nursing by vomiting all over me the last time I offered.  She took her first steps, first big fall, first, and second, asthma attack.  She said "I love you" and "mama" and she has little conversations with her sister.  My big girl potty trained, started preschool,  and is suddenly drawing letters and spelling her name.  I didn't even have time for the romance, the reality came too soon.

I was taken aback at first, by my sisters revelation of romance.  She seemed to understand what most of us don't, pre-children.  The fantasy is better than the reality, a lot of the time.  Yes there are sweet moments of a baby sleeping in your lap, it's beautiful to see, but to the owner of that lap, there is little time to enjoy that moment.  We try, we really do.  To force ourselves to stay in this moment, memorize their faces, smell, the crease of their eyelids...I often took pictures of these moments to help me remember.    Understanding how difficult it is to enjoy that sleeping sweetness when you haven't slept a night in months, have only been eating junk foods, feel the weight of all the house chores and daily tasks that need to be done, and all you want to do is end that moment, remove the sleeping child from your lap without waking her so you can have your thighs and arms and hands to yourself for just a few minutes...there is no romance here.

But here is the fun part again.  Romance doesn't die with reality, I have discovered.  It only hibernates.  It returns with more vigor after the moment, later that night, the next day, month, for years, for life.  Every night at about 7:30 my husband and I want nothing more than for our children to be asleep so we can enjoy our time to ourselves.  We have plans to watch non-Pixar movies with good swear words, drink beer, eat foods we don't wish to share.  To play on our computers without little hands slamming down on keys and somehow unlocking cell phones.  We fantasize about that bedtime with stars in our eyes.  We cant wait to enjoy our time.

And then we retelling each other cute stories of what our amazing kids did or said that day, and each time we tell it, it gets funnier and sweeter and every part of me swells with pride and amazement and happiness.  And to fit the true definition of romance, if it isn't happening to you, it is vomit inducing.  But if it is, the feeling is unbelievable.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Another 'One Year'

One Year.

 A different kind than my last post with the same title.

One year ago, when my second baby girl was born into my arms, and subsequently, the floor of my Honda CR-V.

My first daughter made me a mother, but my second daughter made me a better one.

My beautiful baby girl.  One heavenly year of being able to sleep with you by my side, one amazing year of watching you grow everyday, one year of nursing your growth, giving you perfect nutrition from my own body. One year of my body being more in tune with yours than I can even recognize, but I know it to be the truth.  One year of your smiles, your squeals, your cries, laughs and cubby hands grabbing at my hair.  One year of being able to look into your endless blue eyes and see nothing but happiness.

I love so much about you, I can't even hold it all in my thoughts.  I vainly grasp at moments, pleading with my brain to memorize them, keep them frozen forever in all their perfection.  Sometimes I catch myself actually trying to talk my mind into remembering a moment forever.  Most of the time, I understand how fruitless this is, so instead I take way too many pictures, thousands, literally.  I keep them all, even the blurry ones.  I can't even bare to part with even a single, fuzzy, distorted memory of this year.

I love your phases.  I mourn the loss of each as you move on, one week shaking your head no at every question, the next week all you do is nod.  Your first steps, first word (Mama), your first sign language ("more" for food, I should have known).  All your sweet little white teeth, your scrunched up faces, your nasal pants as you crawl with vigor toward food, or your momma (in that order).  All of it.  So amazingly, wonderfully perfect.

My love for you is beyond unconditional, and you deserve that.  But what seems unfair is that your love for me, no matter how imperfect I am, is also unconditional.  I'm not sure I do deserve that, so unsure am I that I almost feel guilty enjoying this trusting, unquestioning affection that pours out of your sweet face.  To say you light up is an understatement, because while I do see a radiance, you also somehow exude this pure joy when you see my face.  It only makes me love you more and want to try even harder tomorrow to give you all the things in this world I can. I just want you to see how much I love you.  I am desperate for you to understand what you mean to me, my sweet baby girl.

I love how you can go instantly from a deep throated scream to silently placid in an instant, just because I pick you up.  Do I mean that much to you? Just knowing I am holding you can stop all your sadness, all your pain.  That kind of love you have for me.  I cannot possibly deserve all that.

Everyday of my life, everything I do, is better because of you.  I hope I am a good enough mother to show you that.  I spent years of my life trying to my my mother proud, to show her how well she raised me.  I think she sees this, as most mothers do, but perhaps I still crave proof of this somehow.  My own mother is one of the best this world has to offer, but like all good parents, I want even more than that for you.  I never want you to question my pride for you, in you.  I want you to just know with resounding confidence.  You make me happy.  Not just satisfied, not simply proud, but soul soothing contentment.

30 years I have had to live thus far, but if I only had one to live, I would choose to relive this past year, as it has been the best of my life thus far.

Thank you sweet baby, for this one year.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Waves are lapping all around me as I travel down the road home tonight.  Snowy wisps of barely there flakes dancing across the road harmlessly, playfully. They remind me of Caribbean waves pushing sea foam leisurely about on white sand beaches.  I absolutely love the snow.  The white, the cold, the sparkle.  We are so accustomed to it that most people curse it and wish it gone.  How many people still just stare in wonder at snow falling from a black night sky?

Will my children feel they way I do?  That each flake is a tiny piece of something incredible that we have far too long taken advantage of.  Or will they be like so many of us, swatting away flakes as if they were irritating flies and sighing in disgust as it gathers in drifts?  Why, in the dead of winter when all life is brown and naked and lifeless, can we not see the beauty in a blanket of soft white snow?  Or, even better, a world covered in crystal ice, creating beautiful arches of sparkling sun as the weight bends branches to their limit, and they bow endlessly to the snow covered grounds.  All the beauty winter in New England has to offer.  Will they even notice?

I struggle with the fact that I can not change the world, or think for my children.  I know I can only guide them as best I am able, to be as true to themselves and to believe that the good in life will always outweigh the bad.  But in a world where we are ruled by wireless paths of socialization, will they pick their heads up long enough from their personal devices (here I picture miniature tablets that act as a phone, television, computer, personal assistant, GPS, friend, mother etc) to see everything that has always been?  Or are we too concerned with what we have yet to have?

I made a difficult decision recently.  My husband and I decided to eliminate cable from our life.  This is equivalent to me losing a dear friend, a late night companion, and an occasional (very short term) babysitter.

The truth is that I am scared.  Scared I won't be able to give my children all they deserve.  Scared I won't raise them to appreciate, and love a snowstorm, a crackling fire, a soft summer night, the colors of the fall leaves or the warmth of a hug.  How will they define beauty in their world?  In the glow of a sunset, signaling the day's end, or in the chrome reflection of some new technology I am not even capable of imaging?

Change in good, I try to believe this.  However I do not want my children robbed of all the things that will never change.  The seasons and all they have to offer.  Watching life pulse back into the world in the spring, blankets of green grass and leaves so thick they create a wall around our home.  Flowers and butterflies so beautiful and so brief its difficult to picture them once they are gone.  Snow so deep and white it hides the ground for months, and then it becomes unrecognizable with life.   And of course, watching my babies grow and experience all these things for themselves the first, second and third time.

30 years later, I am happy to be still inspired by the birth of a snowstorm.  My one great hope is that as their mother, I will have influenced them enough to feel the same.