Tag Archives: living in the moment

Glimmers of Christmas

audienceWe’re tucked in together, shoulder to shoulder, like books on a shelf. To my left, my husband’s look-a-like, the grey haired version, his face and gestures strange on that familiar frame. His left leg is propped in the aisle, too stiff to bend completely. On the right, my mother’s sister uses her one good hand to maneuver her leg brace into position. Farther down my daughter clambers awkwardly over Daddy and brother, the mountain of coats chair, and Oma, who’s hiding a bag of candy canes at her feet. Nine-year-old arms and legs narrowly miss kicking the curly head in front of us as she wedges herself onto my lap. It’s a full house tonight. Warmth on every side.

pigskinThere’s a cool draft sneaking in under the door. The light stretches thin into this back hallway, the shadows at the end overpowering it entirely. Such a cold, industrial space would seem unwelcoming to most, but his appreciation echoes all the way down. “Baaaaallllllll!” he shrieks, chasing the imitation pigskin as it bumps and thumps its way down the tiles. I close the lid of the Lost and Found box, grateful to the careless student who unknowingly provided our intermission entertainment, my very own half-time show. As he falls on his prey, it’s hard to tell who’s winning the wrestling match. The unwieldy ball is much too big for his little hands, but his enthusiasm is larger than life. I’ve no doubt the ball will eventually concede defeat, collapsing in sheer exhaustion. I certainly do.

starThe stage is dark in every way: black floor, heavy curtains, every light extinguished. But I can hear them, the shuffle of ballet slippers and instructional whispers and nervous giggles. Every parent leans forward, peering past elf costumes, shellacked hairdos and garish stage make up to find their very own dancer. Mine’s wearing a chef’s hat, an apron, and a stage smile I’ve never seen before, but I recognize her shape, the impish twinkle in her eye, and the baking sheet she stole from my cupboard last month. My other dancer comes out more than once, part of senior company, she plays many parts; while I know her face, I don’t recognize her at all. She is so grown up, so graceful and beautiful. Not the baby I used to dance around on my hip.

These moments, these details, fly by so fast. Each one, a brief glimmer of joy and family and the Christmas I’m hoping for. But I’m more focused on keeping us all out of trouble and inside the lines. Shushing the littles who holler and wail at the worst times, making holiday plans with the in-laws, feeling hemmed in by the crowds and worried about dinner, snapping at my partner for not knowing what I need and taking offense when he does the same.

I miss them. Over and over again, I miss the glimmers. They slip through my fingers while I juggle my worries and obligations. I need to rewind, to relive it in slow motion and taste the best moments again.

I guess that’s why I write.

So here’s us, hobbling and flailing, shrieking and wrestling, and dancing our way to Christmas. It might not be postcard pretty, but we’ll get there.

This was written for the Word Press Weekly Writing Challenge: Collecting Detail Weekly Writing Challenge: Collecting Detail | The Daily Post
http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/12/16/challenge-collecting-detail/
write about three original details I noticed from encounters during my day.

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Mostly Happily Ever After

Five Minutes Friday

Today’s topic is: AFTER

GO

ever afterOnce upon a time…

Authors, screenwriters, journalists, historians, storytellers of all kinds… we’re all about the “once upon a time” – the big event, the climax of the plot, the exciting/terrifying/shocking turning point. It’s where the glamour and romance live. Boy meets girl. A child is born. With this ring, I thee wed. Rest in peace.

They’re the turning points in our story. They loom large over our Everyday Days. They’re outside normal.

But that’s where most of life is lived. In the happily (or pretty-happily, or kind-of-miserably) Ever After.

I think somewhere along the line I started living for the bigger moments. I thought these were the ones that would change my life. Moving to a new place. Having a baby. Finishing a renovation. Going on a trip. Adopting a child.

Waiting for the next big thing. Counting down days. Dreading it or Dreaming about it. Always looking for what comes next.

And I missed out on Today. The little moments of now. The slow erosions and subtle build ups that make a life. Habits. Rituals. Small triumphs. Minor disappointments. These are the meat and potatoes of life.

Because AFTER they rode off into the sunset… they loaded the dishwasher and brushed their teeth and clipped their toenails. The fair maiden hogged the covers and Prince Charming snored. Building a life happens in a thousand small moments that Disney never immortalized on-screen, but that doesn’t mean it’s not magical.

It’s time to focus my lens on Today.

STOP

So here’s me, living my pretty-happily, so-tired, mostly-content, doing-the-best-I-can, thanking-God-for-everyday Ever After. There’s a lot less sparkle than the fairy tales, but the leading man is pretty great and the little people make me laugh.

after

Joining Lisa-Jo for her Five Minute Friday Challenge again.

Here’s how we do it:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat on the prompt “After” with no editing, tweaking or self critiquing.

2. Link back here and invite others to join in {you can grab the button code in my blog’s footer}.

3. Go and tell the person who linked up before you what their words meant to you. Every writer longs to feel heard.


Happy Family Honeymoon

I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. Or maybe even the first one. There will definitely be shoes. And they will be dropping.

I’m not sure where this saying came from or why the dropping of shoes sounds so ominous, but it’s the best way I can think to explain the mild concern I have lurking in my subconscious. I’m holding my breath, because everything is going so well right now.

The boy prince (aka – my son, the little brother and Daddy’s new best friend) has been making himself at home with us. Last night was our first sleepover and he did remarkably well. There is an occasional wariness and some quiet, somber moments, but he rallies quickly and jumps right back into the fray.

Things have been going so well, we’ve been able to move the transition forward. He’ll be back again tomorrow night for the whole weekend. So many exciting firsts to look forward to: lazy Saturday mornings on the couch, Father’s Day with his new Daddy, and our whole family to church for the first time!

So, what’s with the dread?

This is a honeymoon period.

Right now, Daddy is the star of the show! He is working from home and taking time off whenever S is with us. I’m still the second string parent: okay for a few laughs, but not the go-to comforter or cuddler. When all else fails, Daddy to the rescue! We double-team the chaos. When we’re not sure what to do, we bounce the questions back and forth: Do you think he’ll eat this? Is he getting overstimulated? What IS that smell?

That’ll end.

Right now, he is the most exciting new toy our girls have ever gotten! The big girls debate who “gets” to play with him while I get dressed and clean the kitchen. They spend hours crawling around on the floor with him. They compete to coax the biggest laugh out of him. Even B, who is needing a lot of extra attention and playing “baby” right alongside her brother, is happy to share her favourite toys and pose for the endless photo shoot that is now our life.

That’ll end.

Right now, everything he does is charming! Even the occasional temper tantrum is pretty darn adorable: “Look how determined he is! Did you feel that grip… he’s super strong!” But most of the time he is full of smiles and soaks up the attention. All the toys and games are new and exciting to him. He is sleeping and eating and feeling just fine. He fusses a little bit when foster Mom drops him off, but is quickly distracted by all the fun times. Although we’ve talked about it and show him pictures and put words to what is happening, he doesn’t really understand that his whole world is about to change.

That’ll end.

Someday, it will be just he and I. And I will scramble around trying to figure out what he needs, and what he wants, and what to do with a toddler all day long, and how to be the safe person that he can always rely on. Praying that he will realize that this makes me “Mommy”, not just because it’s my name, but because I am HIS person, the one that will ALWAYS take care of him. Even if that means putting playtime on hold to change a diaper or making the busy road off-limits or collecting rent from him at age 20-something.

Someday, his sisters will realize that little brothers can be a real pain. And a busy pre-teen calendar of primping and bickering and thinking up new strategies to convince the parental units that texting is, like, ESSENTIAL at age 11… will seem more important than playing with the boy. And he will get into their stuff and decorate their new outfits with snot and throw their iPods down the stairs. And the child formerly known as “the baby” will realize that the competition is getting attention when she wants it (or possibly getting attention and THEN she’ll decide she wants it), and the fireworks will begin.

Someday, he will notice that this is more than just a visit. Perhaps when his foster family says good-bye and hands him over to us that last time. Perhaps when all his belongings are here. Perhaps when he stays night after night after night with no sign of return. Perhaps when they visit a couple of weeks later, but he stays here with us… Who can know? But toddlers do grieve. It’s part of a healthy transition and there is no short cut. He may not have the language to express it, but his heart and mind are mature enough to feel it. So it is coming.

Honeymoons don’t last forever!

BUT, they are meant to be enjoyed. Why focus on someday, when today, everything is going so well?

So I will breathe. I will enjoy. I will quit searching for signs of trouble and jump into the fray myself. Because everything is going so well and we are ridiculously happy.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.

Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6:34

The Message paraphrase says “give your entire attention to what God is doing right now” and I can’t think of better advice for parenting, or work, or life for that matter. Right now, that means attention on our changing family and all the fun we are having discovering each other.

So here’s me, letting the shoes drop where they may, because I’m not going to borrow any more trouble today!


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