Sunday, December 28, 2008

Silver and Gold

There was enormous joy spilling over my Christmas stocking this year. Mr. Claus was very good to me, leaving me smiling over my cookies and milk. I am feeling the pieces fall into place now.

Little girls rule.

There was very little we didn't bring into our home this year. The full throttle of peace was nestled between us and formed great big hugs around our shoulders.

The magic was alive.

Dress up attire, a new kitchen set, classic board games, big and small stuffed animals and much, much more. None of it, of course, meant more than the bright eyes of two little girls who now believe Santa Claus brought them a bunch of presents.

I believe, too.

Now, as we nurse a high fever and keep the spirit alive, we enter the last of this great vacation and the end of a year of conflict and energy. Everything and nothing is changing.

Time to set new goals; achieve new dreams.

There's lots on the horizon for us this year, I believe. I've entered a new realm of working motherhood, of being a a mother to twin toddlers, of being a daughter and a grand-daughter.

I am finally free.

Christmas pasts have finally found the place where they belong and that little girl who grew up with them, has finally come home. She is Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus. She is the mother. She is the wife. She writes the story of her Christmas, of her birthdays, of her Mondays.

She is at peace.

Happy New Year! Stay tuned for some new, peaceful Between the Lines blog posts.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

I want, I want, I want

Perhaps it's because I have one almost 3-year-old who is very in touch with her wants.

Perhaps it's because living on one income was so hard that being on two makes me feel rich.

Perhaps it's because after working so hard, for so long, we deserve some nice things.

Perhaps it's none of this, and just the stress of life pointing me toward things. Things.

It's been a juggle, a hassle, to walk the line of saving and spending. Of needs and wants. Of this and that.

What's harder is that if I enter a store for say, diapers, I see the girls' clothes clearing rack, then I think about how one pair of shoes isn't enough, or how they need snow boots now that we've encountered our third snow storm of the season and we're still a week from Christmas.

Then, I remember that I need printer ink, so I head to that part of the store, easily getting sidetracked by my love of books, which luckily haven't been easily found in my favorite big box store lately. But, it brings me closer to the toys, where I think I might finally find a toy that my two almost 3-year-olds will play with. I scour each shelf, high and low, smiling and at how much joy each one of those brand, spankin' new toys will bring such immense joy that is not currently in our house, relishing the thoughts, maybe even picking up one or two.

I sneak out past the home and garden section, where I long to buy more storage bins to feel more organized and less cluttered. And that reminds me that we need this and that for the girls' bathroom, which was recently painted and looks lovely, despite it's lack of anything in it.

I skip past the food, only going back a second later to remember to pick up that easy-to-fix dinner item that the girls, hopefully, will eat tonight. Turkey dogs. Chicken tenders. Cheese sticks. Annie's macaroni and cheese. Then, I rush past the snacks trying to grab just one more healthier-but-easier bedtime snack in the hopes that they will be so full they won't actually wake up, again, tonight.

By the time I make my entire circumfrance around the store, which started all because we were down to one last friggin' pull-up, I usually have a full cart. So, I swing into the make-up and beauty section, examining my goods, and tossing out what I know I don't need right now. Diapers? Yes. Turkey dogs? Yes. Paper towels? Yes. More girls' clothes? No.

As I pile what's left onto the moving belt, I realize that I've probably just saved myself a nice chunk of cash by impulse shopping, but with a final once-over.

But then the verdict is in: The bill is 80-something dollars.

If this isn't a vicious cycle, I'm not sure what is.

Which gets me wondering, does the American reliance upon THINGS have anything to do with wanting to get their kids to stop crying?? To get five minutes of peace to make dinner? To have just one more cute craft to hang up so that there is just one thing that proves we were somewhat productive today?

photo credit: Dan Halen for President

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

I heart Facebook

The many forms of me stare back at me on just one page.

Kindergarten friends. Elementary friends. Neighborhood friends. Cousins from long histories ago. High school best friends. College cohorts. Newspaper colleagues from near and far.

Best friends.

Past boyfriends.

Zen teachers.

Current friends that I've never met or only met once -- through blogging.

Even my boss, as of last week, became a friend on Facebook.

Each night, after we tuck the girls into bed, I climb into my computer chair for what I call Facebooking time. It's when I get to reconnect with people from my past and my present all in one sitting.

It's beautiful because with each facet of friendship and relationship and connection, I pick up the pieces of the woman I am with each face, each memory.

And, as I learn things about all of these people in an easy-to-read format, I am learning that we're all as much alike as we are different.

We're all new and old and learning together. I've rekindled girlfriend relationships, and even rebuilt a bridge over troubled waters (or two).

Signs that we're aging, yes, but that we're essentially who we've always been. Just with some character lines -- and some children.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Good-bye, Two ...

Dear girls,

You're girls now.

In just one month, you will begin your fourth year and I think that might be the year that we leave babyhood behind, even though you go at this reluctantly, urging me to still call you a baby. But, every day, just about, I see how you are seeing the larger picture of how the world works and how you fit into it. And I try to be patient, though, not patient enough, for you to learn and experiment and, yes, test the rules and boundaries around you.

The truth is that I love being your mom -- when I'm not busy intervening, putting things back together or moving things out of your reach -- because, let's face it, the child proofing wasn't necessary until now.

I love how your sense of wonder stops me in my tracks and wakes me up -- easing me right back into my childhood days, just like that. My eyes bulge and I remember.

I do wish I could help you slow down because I see your growing beyond your years already. You say things that not only amaze me, but leave me scratching my head in wonder. School has been good for you and I'm all the more impressed by your ability to communicate, to tell stories, and to speak your heart.

I don't like everything that comes out of your mouths, but I also know that there's no turning back now. I also know that the apple may not fall far from the tree and that my own character flaws are now yours. At least some of them.

I tear myself up inside not knowing if this is good or bad. You will speak your mind. I know this. I want this. But I also know the torment that can cause a young woman.

I also wonder what you will look back and think about your childhood with me. What will I be blamed for? What will I have done to cause you shame (and therapy?)?

Take care in these last four weeks of two. I know I plan to. Because finally -- just like those early days when people told me life with twins would get easier -- I now understand what the others meant when they said that you would grow up too fast.

You already have.

You're girls now.

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Monday, December 1, 2008

Hanging on 24 days

Has it really been a week since I posted? That just goes to show how out of the writing habit I truly am ... that time slips by and I don't even realize. I will say I made progress this week in that I started to THINK about writing, again. Like, how can I? Where will I? When will I be able to, again?

I have built lots of pressure for myself, again, this December. I have resolutions spiraling through my mind all day, and all night. Both for what I want to achieve this season, and for what I hope to walk away with as new, good habits for next year.

I'll start with saying that I will write again every day. Just like I have to get up and just force myself to work out now that I'm not getting ANY exercise.

For now, the next 25 days-plus are about one thing: Celebrating.

One of the awesome things about having the girls in school is that they have become so much more aware of the world around them. Perhaps it's the age, but there's no way we could have taught them as much as they know now, including their fondness and belief in (pretend) ghosts. The week after Halloween had me shaking in my heels when they were informing me throughout the day that there were ghosts, "Over there."

We hung an advent activity calendar on our mantel yesterday just like this one -- well, close. And, inside each stocking is an activity that will hopefully help us all enjoy this month a little more carefully and slowly. It is about the season -- not about the day, or the gifts or even the old guy with a beard. It's about us -- our family, the four of us.

And this year I get it. I finally understand my place, my roll, our purpose here. For the longest time, I've been trying to find happiness in other people when the holidays rolled around -- worked our schedule around theirs to be together, to make people happy. In every other aspect of my life, I create my own path and yet happy holidays always have been a chore.

No more.

This season, I finally understand that even the holidays are up to me. Even Christmas. Even Thanksgiving. Even Valentine's Day. Even Memorial Day.

I'm not a little girl any longer and everything has changed, including me. I am the mommy of two little girls who are so excitable right now that even the fact that I'm driving the car makes Jadyn yell with enthusiasm.

"You're driving, Mommy!!!!"

So, it's easy -- rather cheating, actually -- to make this Christmas the one to remember. The one where I finally grow up and be The Mom and take charge of the holiday spirit.

How will we celebrate? Each day a card in the stockings will read something like this:

  • Play Christmas music every morning and sing songs
  • Have a tea party with scones and tea
  • Make Christmas crafts such as this one
  • Bake cookies, and deliver them to neighbors
  • Go to a lights festivals
  • Camp out by the tree,
  • drink hot chocolate
  • and read our Literary Advent books.
  • Paint our toenails
  • Making handmade holiday cards, and wrapping paper
  • Wear red and green
  • Cover pretzels with drippy, gooey chocolate
  • Star gazing and drinking hot chocolate for Winter Solstice
How about you? Any unique-to-yours activities this year? Please share.

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