Friday, January 30, 2009
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
School was cancelled today. This makes day two of being house bound. So, I had to get creative again. No, we didn't make any more Seymours. But we did get the parachute out! It didn't keep the kids' attention for as long as I had hoped, but it broke the monotony a bit. (And, yes, Jackson is holding an empty soap box in the photo. He plays with random things.)
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
After our first two, we made two more for Dan and Jackson. Did I mention we named them Penny, Seymour, Bob and Charlie? Yep, we did. We even wrote their names across their bellies.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
One day, a long time from now, I will tell you about the way life used to be for me. I will tell you about growing up in the South, and how people hated others for their race and sometimes even their religion. I will tell you how I saw it happen, with my very own eyes. And once I even saw some people turn the hate right back on a person and shun them for their racism. It was pretty powerful. Maybe I'll tell you about my parents and how even they held beliefs that you might consider ignorant and archaic.
My hope is that when I tell you these things, you'll stare at me with wide-eyed wonder and surprise. Kind of like I used to stare at my parents when they told me about their lives without television. I'd scoff at them, hardly believing their descriptions of life before TV. Maybe you'll scoff at me when I tell you how someone was ostracized for being friends with a person of another race, or hated for daring to (gasp!) like someone of another race.
Today is a day you won't remember. Katie, you may have a flash of memory about today, but Jackson won't remember it at all. God, I hope and pray that you won't remember today, that it won't be much more than a blip on your radar screen in years to come. And here's why: I hope that the celebration of today, the inauguration of our first black president, becomes commonplace for our country. As shocking and appalling as that thought might seem to some people who are so incredibly PUMPED that today has finally arrived, I am hoping that it will be nothing big or special when you grow older. Because I'm hoping that a day like today will help racism become a thing of the past, and will help our country move deeper. My dream for you and your generation is that you'll be able to look beyond a person's outer shell and see what lies inside of them. I dream that not only for you, but for my grandkids too.
Katie, last week you told me about Martin Luther King, Jr. and said to me, "Mommy, did you know that some people used to not like brown people?" It was a confusing concept to you. For that, I am grateful. I pray that it continues to confuse you, and that you'll never fall into that trap of hate. Look deeply, learn compassion, and practice generosity. Let January 20, 2009 be a day of new beginnings for us all.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Here's the house in 1996, on the day of my brother's funeral (which is why the flag is at half staff):
Here's the house this weekend:
My tears started flowing when we pulled into the driveway, and I kept telling myself to get a grip. We knocked on the door, and Joe and Wendy invited us inside and introduced us to their 3- and 7-year-old sons. I apologized for crying, and then that was the end of the tears. Because, truthfully? Once I got inside, there were so many changes in the house that I could hardly recognize it for what it used to be. And I was truly happy to see it so beautiful again and to know that it was loved and new memories were being made inside those walls. We got the grand tour of the house (which was immaculately clean and made me feel guilty that Wendy went to so much trouble for us), and saw every nook and cranny. How cool is that? I mean, would you allow perfect strangers in your home and let them see even the innards of your closets? And yet, they did. More than I could have ever hoped for. We chatted with them for a while, and got to see how their lives (and especially their kids' lives) are mirroring our own: the same schools, same neighbors, same activities that we did as kids. For some reason, that brought lots of peace to my heart. Finally, we took some photos (of course I did) and said goodbye because we had to meet the in-laws.
Here's Mary and I on the steps:
Here's my old bedroom, from 2004:Here's my bedroom now (adorable!):
We met up with them and headed up to Cartersville GA to check out the brand new Tellus Science Museum. It was pretty cool to see all the new exhibits like dinosaur replicas, old cars and planes, geodes, minerals, and we even got to dig for fossils. This is Mary's face distorted in one of those magnifying glass panels.
There was even a cool pendulum in the lobby, and I tried to get an artsy photo (a la Jodie). Not sure I succeeded at that.
Friday, January 16, 2009
I am so very very excited to get on an airplane in less than 3 hours and go visit my big sister and my hometown. Is it awful of me that I haven't even told any of my friends (except the one who's getting me from the airport) that I'm coming in town? My sister said I'm not allowed to, since I should be going to visit her only. Isn't that just so selfish? And I love it.
Of course, I am looking forward to seeing family and my "home" (even though I haven't technically lived in Marietta, GA since 1992). But, heck, I'm thrilled just to step out of the car and into the airport where I don't have to worry about anyone but ME. No runny noses to wipe. No one constantly wanting my attention. No meals to make. No laundry. No agonizing diaper changes (have I mentioned that Jackson STILL fights every single dirty diaper change?!). No late night wakings. Yippee! But on the other hand, I will miss Dan's arms around me at night. I'll miss pillow talk with Katie. And rocking Jackson at naptime. And cuddling in the LoveSac. And watching American Idol on DVR with Katie (which can just wait 'til next week). And church this weekend. And sleeping in. (Mary says I'm not allowed to sleep too late this weekend.)
Absence makes the heart grow fonder. And quiet makes Jackson sleep longer. Oh please, oh please, oh please just hold out a little longer, buddy!
I'll blog when I return about my trip. Let's hope there are no "Miracle on the Hudson" crash landings! Y'all have a great weekend. I know I will!
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Thursday, January 8, 2009
"Hi, honey. What's wrong?"
"Oh, Mom. I can't do it anymore."
"Can't do what?"
"I can't do this job. I suck at it. I don't have the stamina to survive them, the kids. And I don't know how to do it. I don't know what I'm doing."
"Oh, honey. You don't suck at it. You're doing a great job."
"Then why does he fuss and cry all the time? He's unhappy because of me. And I'm unhappy because of him."
"Honey, he's just a baby. All he wants is for you to love him."
"But I do, and it's not enough."
"Yes it is."
"I don't know what I'm doing. I don't know how to raise a kid."
"Neither did I. But I did it and you will too. You already ARE doing it. Look at your firstborn. You didn't kill her, and she's thriving."
"Yeah, but that was different."
"Because I only had her, and I worked. And you were still here."
"Yeah, but you still raised her. And look at her now."
"But she was easy. And he's not!"
"Oh, she was easy? I remember your tears over her too. Did you forget her tantrums and crying through the night?"
"And you made it through that."
"And you'll make it through this."
"But how? I don' t know what I'm doing!
"Just do what I did - remember the way YOU were raised. And think of the people you want your kids to become. Teach them how to get there."
"But I keep screwing up and yelling at them and losing my temper."
"So did I. So do all moms. But we all turn out okay. Say you're sorry and move on. And try again."
"But what if I screw them up?"
"Honey, you won't. And I know already you haven't. While you've been sitting there crying, didn't you see the worry in his eyes? He brought you his favorite toys and a pillow to lay your head on. He patted your head, just like you pat his when he cries. He pointed to your tears and said, 'Sad' and then, 'Sorry, Mommy.' Now doesn't that tell you that you're doing something right?"
"Yeah, I guess so."
"Then keep doing it. It won't be easy, but it never has been. But it's worth it. One day your kids will call you like this, and you can say these same things to them. And you can tell them what I've told you."
"But what if I'm not there for them like you aren't for me?"
"Then you write it down. But they'll know anyway, because of the way you raised them."
"You're welcome. You'll be fine."
"There you go. That sounds like the Elizabeth I know."
"I love you, kiddo."
"I love you too, Mom. Bye."
How am I going to make it through raising my kids without my mom there to guide me or reassure me, or even annoy me? It was a rough morning, and the only solace I had was an imaginary conversation with my mom. Pitiful. I would write what I said to my dad too, but I don't want to wallow in the grief too deeply today. I just wish... ugh. Fill in that blank yourself. And if you still have parents around, then stop wishing and go DO it. For me. (And let me know what advice you get back so I can at least pretend I have my mom guiding me.)