Friday, June 29, 2007
Thursday, June 28, 2007
To be a child in the summer is what my growing-up memories are filled with. Now I have growing-up memories of my own children to add to that memory file, and many of them are filled with summer sun and adventure.
It was hot yesterday. We pulled the green plastic circle sprinkle into the middle of the crispy, browning lawn and went to work at the business of cooling off. Within an hour, we had created puddles of mud and dying grass across the yard. We had danced like fairies and crawled like kittens and challenged each other to stand in the "perfect center", daring the icy cold stream of water to touch our bottoms. We were still warm, but we didn't care. It was summer and the sprinkler was on, and soon - right about dinner time - the tinkling bells of the ice cream truck would remind us what was really important on this hot summer day. Then, we would grab wet hands and loose change and gallop through the gate to seize the frozen delight and meet the neighbors who had heard the sirens call of summer.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
It's hot today! It's 8PM and it is still 84 degrees. We are going "hard core" and not putting our air conditioners in the windows. We live for so long to hear the sounds of the birds and wind, and then we stuff a machine in the window that roars and blows frigid air into our home - it smells funny and sounds terrible and I can't hear myself think. So instead, we sweat.
"Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess named Yaya. She does the sun dance. She looks just like the sun. She dances with the sun. The sun dances, too. They are happy. They are tired. They are hot."
Greta is Via's godmother. Her real name is Auntie Tata. She is a one of the most wonderful woman in the entire world, and such an important part of our family. We are very lucky to have her in our lives. Tata is going to Norway at the end of July, then she is going to Kansas City for 3 months. We are going to miss her very much.
They are taking over, these terrible little pirates. Paddling through the house, seizing children and dogs, pillaging the popcorn, leaving chaos in their wake. True to their Norse Viking roots, these fierce scallywags take no prisoners and leave only footprints. I fear now only for a flaming burial at sea.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
The great northern pines cover this earth – a forest primordial - everywhere and nowhere at the same time.
And, in the middle of nowhere are rocks – big and wet and slippery rocks.
And around these rocks flows water – clear and gentle and quiet water.
Long ago, these trees and these rocks and this water were secrets – nothing – nowhere.
The waters tumbled over those rocks and fed the stream that fed the lake that fed the river that fed the ocean that fed the people, and no one knew it was there.
But we knew it was there.
We splashed in its beginnings.
We fished in its footprint and fed all of our children.
We sent prayers to the spirits and thanks to our ancestors,
We celebrated its’ existence.
Then he came and you came and they found the water.
The great explorers came and conquered the savage lands.
You found the rocks.
You heard the quiet.
You fed your children, with thanks to no one but your very own God.
You pretend that we are not here.
We are your great secret – the invisible people in the forest.
Long ago, these trees and these rocks and this water and our prayers to the spirits where quiet secrets that fed the earth.
And this earth fed us in return.
Today, crowds of feet cross through these water – infant and ancestor.
Scores of people feed their children from these rivers and lakes.
Some people send prayers of thanks to their gods.
And we are still here, like the rocks in the water– silent in the great northern pines that cover this earth – a forest primordial – everywhere and nowhere at the same time.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
When the frost finally lifted this spring, I spent every early morning in May digging in the earth, while my children and the sun rose lazily to begin the day without me. My knees were forever blackened by the damp topsoil and my dry hands glazed with compost gave me the badge of "gardening woman" for all to see.
I planted flower seeds with names I couldn't pronounce. I relocated plants I didn't recognize. I let moist little worms curl around my pink gloved fingers, and then gently placed them aside to continue their earth-tilling work. I cut and tied and trimmed and watered and worried.
And now, all of this careful work is no longer mine to claim. The rain and sun urge the flowers to unroll from their tight little bundles at the ends of sticky stems. The vines climb without my help or constant guidance. And every early morning that I cross the damp grass to survey this earth-work, I am newly surprised at what has grown and what has whithered away.
Frankly, I am vaguely frightened by the results of my work. I look at this garden of my design that has grown beyond my control - up and over fences, out of borders, under chairs... and feel a tightening in my chest that results from the lack of control. I know that the seeds that I carefully placed into the earth have an earth-energy that is not mine to give, only to take away.
And now, I watch from a distance as my youngest child does just that - she tenderly cradles the newly sprung poppy in her soft, pink fingers. She gently pulls the bloom to her face to smell it's tempting goodness. Satisfied that this is the one, she tightens her grip and heartlessly yanks the purple bloom from the earth, severing the stem and roots.
I smile, and sigh a small sigh of relief.
Friday, June 22, 2007
Summer is the most wonderful time of the year. It is all sticky ice cream and ant trails and skinned knees and swimming suits on clothes lines and sprinklers and mud puddles and ice cream trucks at dinner time and leeches and sidewalk chalk and bats with flashlights and little league soccer and camping out on the grass until the moon comes out and hands in the birdbath and hot dogs at wheely-carts and parades and motor boats on the river and fish on the grill and tubbies every night and bandaids and sunscreen and sand toys and toe nail polish on the picnic table and late-night pizza nights and beer after mowing... and it is good.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Rick and Via are two cookies out of the same jar - both quiet, both verbal.
Rick will attend a Twins game and spend lots of time talking to anyone who will answer. He goes to little league soccer games, and cheers for both teams - loudly. He talks to random strangers on the street, and makes a friend for life.
Via calls out from our front porch to neighbors she doesn't know - yet - and invites them into the yard to meet their dog. She greets the lady behind us at the grocery story, and introduces her whole family with love and grace. She prepares to attend
her first circus class and says, "I can't wait to meet the person who is going to be my trapeze partner. I just know that we're going to be great friends."
It's a kind of "talk to the world" thing that these two share.
It is foreign to me. It kind of scares me. I just don't get it.
They simply love people.
It's not remotely self-serving. They are truly interested in other people. They see the good in every person in the entire world. Each new person is potentially a new friend. Even when someone does something disappointing, both Via and Rick look on the bright side and say, "they must be having a bad day. I'm sure they didn't mean that..."
And then, when the world threatens to become overwhelming, both Rick and Via retreat to their rooms and their books and their papers and recharge - alone.
Getting ready to emerge - again - as champions for all people.
Life is so darned fast! Children running and cars racing, I feel like I can hardly focus on the important stuff anymore. My brain is spinning so quickly trying to keep up with everything that is going on around me. It feels like everyone is in competition to see who can get through this life first. I am just trying to breathe. Just breathe. And find peace. Peace and patience.
And if I don't hurry up and find some patience, all of my children will be in a time out for the rest of the week.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Via wants to be veterinarian or a librarian.
Noni wants to be an animal helper or a kitten.
Yaya wants to be super-girl or a chair.
When my brother, David, was a little boy, he wanted to be a school bus.
I guess odd aspirations run in the family.
Noni cried when she learned to ride her bike.
She cried when I took off one training wheel.
Big, frightened tears.
Then, she pedaled the bike as hard as she could.
She cried when I took of the second training wheel.
Big, angry tears.
Then, she couldn't believe her eyes when she finally balanced all alone.
She cried when she saw that I was standing half a block away.
Big, juicy, happy tears.
She was a Bike Rider.
That was 3 weeks ago.
Three weeks, two bruised shins, one broken bike chain ago.
Now, we can't get her off of her bike.
We've had to adjust the seat twice.
We've put the bike away for "bad behavior" four times.
We've judged seven "around the block and back" races.
I am going to cry when Noni is big enough to bike farther away than the end of the block.
Big, sad, lonely tears.
But, until then, I am going to hold my breath and watch her pedal like crazy and kiss her bruises and insist on a helmet and hold her really tight when she is tired and weepy.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Summer is going to the cabin.
Summer is posing next to Paul Bunyan.
My dad did it when he was a kid.
I did it when I was a kid.
Now my kids do it every year.
I hope that Paul will still be around so my grandkids can take pictures here, too.
Ava got her nickname because, as she was learning to talk, she said "ya ya" to any question that anyone asked her.
Mom asked, "Would you like to go for a walk?"
Ava said, "Ya ya."
Sister Via asked, "Would you like to eat my icky, smushed up PB&J?"
Ava said, "Ya ya."
Sister Nora asked, "Would you like me to push you down the stairs?"
Ava said,"Ya ya."
I think we stopped Nora from pushing Ava down the stairs. I think.
Ava is gentle and loves to laugh. She gives big, warm hugs. She kisses with everything she's got. She is the first one to tell you that she loves you. A lot. She is the official door and gate opener in our house. She stops everyone from singing in the car. She screams at anyone who doesn't do exactly what she wants to do when she wants to do it. Ava is 2 and a half years old. It's just a stage. I hope.
Ava is also the one who comes up with random suggestions. "I know, let's put the kitty in the dishwasher. How 'bout that?" Each random suggestion is followed by the sweet little phrase, "How 'bout that?" It's hard to resist.
Nora is 5 years old. She is most definitely her own person. She is fierce. She is funny beyond belief. She is the Queen of the Trampoline! When she was much younger - like 3 and a half - she would only wear her flowered swimming suit and hot pink cowboy boots all day - every day. Now, she's more of a sun dress and flip flops kind of girl - however, she is usually naked underneath. Great. Her godmother has even tried to convince her to wear underpants by teaching her that undies are "a helmet for your butt." So far, she's not buying it. Noni does exactly what Noni wants to do. It's going to be such a wonderful trait for an adult - many times I wish I had her convictions and will power - but it really sucks when your 5 year old can stare you down in the grocery store.
Olivia is my oldest daughter. She is eight years old. When I look at her, I am stunned by her self-confidence. She is so "at home" with who she is. I hope that she always remains so comfortable in her skin. She has such amazing insight into life. Her thinking doesn't stop at the obvious, but moves into the unexpected. She is thoughtful, and funny. She is kind beyond belief. She is a problem solver. She is a first born.
When Olivia was born, I remember looking into her beautiful, big eyes and thinking, "this girls is going to be amazing. She is so curious." First babies are amazing. They make you love the world all over again. They solidify your belief in a higher being. It's like looking at the world through new glasses, everything comes into focus again for the first time.
Olivia plays the piano, and sings, and plays the violin. She reads like she is starving for the words. She is a dancer. She is an actor. She is taking classes at Circus Juventas - side-by-side trapeze. She rock climbs, and bungee jumps on trampolines. She rides her bike at amazing speeds around the block. She is learning to roller skate. She'd like to learn to swim.
She is amazing!
Monday, June 18, 2007
It was Father's Day yesterday. What a great dad Rick is! He is the laughter we hear at the end of the night. He is the arms that hold us when we're afraid. He is what every little girl wants in a dad - and our girls love him. Lately, he is developing his act as a stand-up comedian. I don't know if "developing" is the right word. He is a funny, funny man. He is a talented writer, and a driven performer with a dream to tackle that which scares him the most. Maybe that's why he married me?
I am in love with the chaos of motherhood. I wish that I could swim in the warmth and laughter of these children every minute of every day! I was hugged yesterday by a little girl who told me that I was "comfortable." Ahhh. Finally.
The wind is blowing really hard.
I am thinking about how grateful I am to be here tonight. Last week, I was in a minor car accident with my 3 beautiful daughters. The car was hurt. We weren't. It made me think about how quickly life happens. I try to remember to look into my daughters eyes when they are talking to me.
I am really tired of this wind.