Friday, May 29, 2009


Soon my husband will be deploying to Afghanistan, commanding his firefighter company. This picture is from the deployment ceremony today.

Soon the kids and I will have to miss our favorite guy for an entire year. Soon he will be in a country far away, shouldering intense responsibility, seeing and facing things most of us will likely only ever imagine, if that's even possible for us.

Soon the equipment will ship out and we'll update our wills, get special powers of attorneys, contact our bank and credit cards about the deployment, complete last minute tasks around the house, and do all the things we have to do as a family and as a couple to be ready for this deployment.

Soon we'll have two precious weeks of block leave (vacation) together. We will take many, many pictures and smile many, many smiles and enjoy every minute of it.

Soon the kids will get clingy and sad. Soon they will each get a calendar so that they can count down the days of deployment and they will break out their letter writing kits. Soon they will need to creep into the bed I'm sleeping in alone to snuggle more and more. They will help me fill boxes for their dad, filled with colored pictures and notes and photos and small trinkets they want to share with him. We will all go the post office, fill out the overseas shipping forms, tape the box up, and send it very far away. We will imagine the sand in that very old place, wonder how the air smells there.

Soon I will cook smaller dinners. And frankly, probably get Subway more often. Soon, in the stress of the final few weeks, I will wish he would just leave already, so we can get on with getting by and waiting for him to come home. I will call my fellow army wives, my very dear friends, and they will know exactly what I mean and how I feel. Because they are feeling it or have felt it too. We will go to the gym together and joke about how the junk in our trunk will look SO HOT when the guys get back. We will split a bottle of wine. I will remember again and again why I am so grateful to have them in my life, why if anyone asks for my advice, I always tell them not to move home for deployments. You can't get this back in your civilian hometown.

Soon what I put in this blog will feel more like a love letter. A letter to my husband far away, sharing parts of our days and hoping he feels part of them. A letter to my kids, remembering all those little moments that fly by so quickly. A letter to myself, being present in the fresh page of every day. A letter to anyone else reading, because what we share always has a way of meaning something to someone else.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Children's theatre, and a movie observation

Last weekend we took the kids and went to Syracuse with some of our old neighbors. We went to a restaurant called The Spaghetti Warehouse where a children's theatre troupe was putting on a play. The Emperor's New Clothes, in fact.

Children's theatre is always just plain fun (in my experience) and the kids had a great time, although I have to admit that the play we saw at The Skinny Improv in Springfield, MO was much, much better...not to mention longer. But it was still worth it, and it was nice to get out and do something a bit different.

When the play was over and we had filled our bellies with good Italian food we went to the Children's Museum, where there was rock wall climbing, a session in the planetarium (where Benjamin kept loudly proclaiming that various constellations did NOT look like what the man was telling us they were, but like a shoe), and then there was this fabulous cycling skeleton who rode his bike as you pedaled so we could see how the bones worked.

It's so nice to see the kids learning, isn't it?

The following Monday Clint was able to leave work early and we went to the movies before the kids were done with school. We saw Angels & Demons, because Clint has read the book and really wanted to see it. I enjoyed it for what it was, and it was extremely fast paced. Now, I haven't read the book so I can't say what the book was going for, but it amused me (in a very ironic way) that the only woman playing any part in the story is responsible for bringing about antimatter, the extremely explosive substance which was stolen and is being used to perhaps blow up the Vatican. So here's a movie that seems to want to make some sort of statement or give some sort of insight about religion, Catholicism in particular, and it gives us an all male view. Oh, except for the woman taking the apple from the serpent. I mean, the woman scientist who created antimatter. You know, that old chestnut.

Ah well. It did have Ewan McGregor, and I don't care who you are, Ewan is hot and a damn good actor.

And now I have to clean up my den of disobedience a bit before getting the kids from school.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mama's Day Musing

You know, I'm not one to get in to random holidays, particularly ones that seem rather driven by consumer culture like, say, Valentine's Day. I like birthdays and I like holidays laden with old traditions, even if the traditions are just ones you've made up in your own family, and "old" is relative to how long your family has been celebrating it. But the Hallmark Holidays? Totally not my thing. And yet, I like Mother's Day. I don't like it so much for it being about honoring me, the Mama, because I don't need a day printed on the calendar for that (and I can't help but think of all the other women who aren't mothers and are no less for it, or the people who don't have mothers with or near them anymore, or the people struggling with any number of heartaches around the very complex and often messy circumstances of motherhood). No, I like it for the kids. I like how excited it makes my children to consciously celebrate that they are my children. I love their sweet, open faces as they pour a handful of crushed dandelions into my cupped palms. I love the ecstasy you can see in them, in knowing they have thought and worked on some small token that has brought a smile and a squeal from their Mama.

I am thinking about this particularly this year after seeing Benjamin's Kindergarten class at the Tea they put on. All of those kids were beaming at their mothers. All of them were so proud and so transparently full of delight in loving and being loved by that person who came to be honored. Sometimes there is a humility necessary in stepping away from "I don't need XYZ because of a calendar date" and allowing someone to honor you because they want to. And that's Mother's's about them to be about me at all. It might be called Mother's Day but it's the children who make you a player in it.

It makes me think about how every year on Sophia's birthday, it always feels like it's the day two people were born. My first child slipped out of my body but she birthed me as her mother in doing so.

I am not the same person I was before I called myself a Mama. I am continually, constantly glad of it.

A few nights ago Benjamin was cuddling to sleep with me in bed, and he was rambling in the way he does and he somehow got on the topic of What Happens When We Die, which is something he mulls and seems pretty appropriate to his age. He asked, again, as he does, "Do you think we all start back over again and again, Mama?" and I said, as I always gently do, that I just don't know for sure. And then he said, "When you die and I die, I'm going to hold tightly to you so that if we start over you will be my Mama again." And I said, "I always want to be your Mama."

And that was enough for both of us.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Mother's Day Tea, and My Daughter Has A Cooler Haircut Than I Do

This is Benjamin and I after the Mother's Day Tea at his Kindergarten, with the poem he gave me. There was also a poem recited and a very cute song sung. When I arrived he met me at the door, took me to my seat, and pulled my chair out for me. He also picked me flowers and we had tea and punch and cookies together. I wish I could show you how all their little faces were beaming with such joy and excitement in what they had planned and done for us, their Mamas. I actually get rather teared up when I think of his proud and loving little face this afternoon. It was so much more than I ever expected it to be.

Lately it seems like we have been sick constantly. Seriously, it has been one thing after another between us...I cannot remember a year EVER where the kids have been sick this often. I thought maybe it was having two kids in public school now, but other people tell me it's been a bad year for them, too. You can see how being sick brings the little hellmonkeys down. Right now Sophia is getting over an ear infection and we're all starting to feel better after a stomach bug.

We did find time to get the kids' hair cut recently, and now it seems my eight year old daughter has hipper hair than I do. If I looked good in short hair I would totally steal her style. She loves it, too, except she's lobbying hard for blue highlights now. I think the coolness has gone to her head a little. She also recently told me that she's "not in to pink anymore, Mom" and prefers "dark colors for nail polish." Hmm.

Have I mentioned my red shoes? ?!! They were my birthday gift (you know, the kind where Clint came home from work one evening in early March and I said, "Oh, honey, thank you for the birthday gift you ordered me from Zappos today! They're exactly what I wanted!!" and he just nodded his head and was glad THAT ordeal was taken care of), and they make me irrationally, indecently happy. They're made by Ecco and are thus also one of the more comfortable pairs of foot attire I've ever worn. There's not much that brightens up my day to day like interesting footwear. I have a drawer full of colorful and often striped socks, too.

Yesterday I went to get ready and pick the kids up from school and discovered I had no underwear clean. This was extremely ironic as I had actually been doing quite a lot of laundry (something I can't always say for myself) but had somehow neglected my own underwear. Now I know this is going to bother you, and you are wondering in your mind if I went out in public with no decent undergarments, so I will tell you that I went and got a pair I had just put in the dryer and went at them with the hairdryer. Scorn me if you will, but sometimes I think I win at life.

And I get to hang out with this: