Saturday, December 29, 2012

Making Merry: the final days.




I plan on doing a Christmas recap but have been neck-deep in boxes. Moving. BLEH BLEH BLEH BLEH NO WORDS CAN PROPERLY EXPRESS THE HORROR OF MOVING.

Rule #1. 
It is ALWAYS ten times more difficult than you expect.
Rule #2. 
There is ALWAYS ten times more crap in your home than you think you own.
Rule # 3. 
You already expected it to be ten times more difficult than you would have expected it to be and you already thought you probably own ten times more crap than you think you own so in all reality for purposes of accuracy you really have to multiple that ten by the other ten and you will still only arrive at about one tenth of how difficult it will be.  And there, there you have it. The horror of moving. 
 Rule #4.
You are dirtier than you think you are. That gross reality really seeps in as you pull apart drawers and empty shelves. The full blown grime settlement, the microscopic village of allergens going all dustocropolis on you. The missing socks and old chocolate box filled with empty wrappers under the bed. The decapitated strawberry shortcake doll wedged between the dresser that made a weird, sticky, crackling noise as you slowly peeled it away from the wall it sealed itself to. There are more crumbs and lint pieces floating on the carpet than you ever thought possible given your obsessive compulsive affinity for vaccuuming. 

I'm starting to itch just thinking about it and beginning to think moving every five years is a good idea. Just imagine what this place would accumulate had we hunkered down longer. When my family moved from my childhood home, my sister Sarah forced all of our siblings to doing a penitent walk of shame through the family room once our large couch was removed from the wall which it sat against for 20+ years. Each child was forced to confront the newly exposed wall surface and identify the crusty booger that they knew in their hearts, and could no! longer! deny!, was theirs. This! she lectured in rightful indignation...IS. CRIMINAL. PEOPLE!

I'm still (justifiably) traumatized. If my children so much as bring their fingers within a 1/2 inch of their nostril I am on them like....white on rice? No. Like a booger stuck to a wall for the past 19 years. I just stare with the most impenetrable evil eye and lifted brow until they have no choice but to run for the tissue box and hand sanitizer. 
So I do have a victory to claim: no booger walls.

But, that's about it.

Rule #5

It is sad.

For all the talk of dirt and crumbs and old socks...gosh, it was home. And for the most part, a lovely and inviting one at that. I am trying not to get overly sentimental. I keep telling myself that a house is just a house, it's the people that make it a home. I know this. But, in theory, I can't help but sense an energy infused into the walls. The life we seemed to breath into it until it took on a force all its own. And so in some way, it always feels like we're leaving a good friend behind. It's a she, by the way. Each night we thanked God for her, for the trusty walls that stood while the winds blew fiercely outside or the rain and cold beat against her. She was warm in the winter and cool in the summer. She was a personal, welcoming invitation after a daily stint meandering through the more impersonal world outside. I will miss her. I will be happy in my new house, it too will quickly become a home, and this house: she will eventually be locked away for the rest of time in a distant memory. But, it is with gratitude I will walk away and remember how she housed my babies. thank you.


I mentioned to Tyler that without realizing it, we spent our last evenings as a family making merry before Christmas:





Dunking marshmallows ....



Meant for hot chocolate....



 it was Lily's special Christmas treat request...



we had to keep the activities simple this year given that I'm single-mommin' it throughout the weeks.
(Tyler has been commuting Mon-Friday down to So.Cal until we find and close on a house, in the mean-time we are moving up to Gramma and Pops house)







I turned to Tyler last night and remarked about how quickly this all seems to be happening. But, looking back now at our mallow and cocoa night I thought, what a perfect final gathering before we say goodbye.


:)



Tuesday, December 25, 2012

because i didn't get around to cards this year...


ladies, gather for photos!

lily, let's save your smiling enthusiasm for the actual photo shall we?...


london, please take your hands off your mouth...





london, come out from behind lily or i'm cancelling christmas...



dad: everyone look at the camera and say we love taking pictures with MOMMYYYYYY! She is so fun to take pictures with!!






































Until next year!



Tuesday, December 18, 2012

tuesday, and another raessay.


and i'm still crying.

Geeez....i am such a freak sometimes. 

But, i have an hour before I catch my flight and so i'll take advantage of this solitude and spill some thoughts. First, i hate the television. and the internet. and the newspapers. 

No, I take that back. i just hate the information they hold. the realities that we witness that are so horrible and linger. we hear of sadness every day. tragedy every day. heartache every. single. damn. day. 

there is also so much good. in fact, i still remain convinced that if we look closely and deeply and also broadly enough, we will find enough of it to outweigh the bad. 

but every now and then the bad is so bad. it just sticks out like the ugliest festering wound. and no matter how much beauty surrounds it, on the body of life as a whole, the stench of this gaping injury just rots and turns your stomach until you don't want to see or be near any of it. good or bad. every now and then a sadness hits that takes me by surprise.

i've been to a handful of funerals in my lifetime, and this is an honest and hateful thing to admit but here i go anyways...i remember looking at some random person in the audience who i judged to be crying too hard for what i deemed their degree of separation from the deceased. i thought in my head, seriously? enough with you waterworks. get control of yourself. you barely KNEW this person.you are outshining the grief of the people who rightfully DESERVE to cry... you big drama queen.

ouch, am i a self-righteous little biotch or am i a self righteous little biotch? exactly. 

and then,
 i remember a time when i heard that someone had died. someone who wasn't very close to me. in fact, we were only acquaintances. she had been fighting a disease for a while and i would get on and off updates on what was going on through my mother. one afternoon i was coming home from a trip with a girlfriend and tyler picked me up at the airport. he mentioned while we were driving home that so-and-so had passed away. 

and i. shut. down.

hours later, as we were home and going about the day, he later mentioned something unrelated and i just looked at him like: YOU. PIG.

how can you SPEAK?

how can you mention anything even remotely TRIVIAL at a time like this?

why IN ALL OF THE NAME THAT IS GOOD AND HOLY IS THIS WORLD STILL FREAKING TURNING?!!!!! 

A GIRL DIED TODAY! A MOTHER DIED TODAY! A BEAUTIFUL REAL LIVE BREATHING MOTHER! SHE HAD A BABY. A REAL. BABY. AND LOVE FOR THAT BABY. AND DAMN IT SHE SHOULD HAVE BEEN ABLE TO RAISE THAT BABY. AND SMELL AND CUDDLE AND WATCH HER BABY GROW. AND THIS IS NOT. THIS IS NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT

NOT.
NOT.
NOT.
NOT. 
NOT.

OKAY. 

SO SHUT UP EVERYBODY. STOP TURNING, WORLD. SCREW EVERYTHING. I HATE AND I CRY AND I MOURN EVERYTHING TODAY. I AM SAD. SO SINCERELY ANGRILY SAD AND MISERABLE AND I WANT TO PUNCH SOMEBODY IN THE FACE.

i remember for a few days after that trying to stuff the feelings of sadness i had about it. judging myself for what i, once again, deemed some sort of disproportionate and unjustified reaction to how well i actually knew her. clearly, in my mind, i was overstepping my bounds.

and then i realized.
 wow. we all feel deepest that which we know.

i am a mother. i have a baby. and because of that, i can actually, genuinely FEEL. it is not my pain, and yet it is. it feels selfish? and yet also connective? i felt for the first time the meaning of 

mourning with those that mourn

even at a distance. 

even if she didn't know me well.

i am still feeling that way today. those shootings have rocked me more than i want to admit. i have a beautiful little first grade child. just like those mommas. those mommas who know their little first graders. the 30 second clip of news that i watched today mentioned one of them who loved to color.   she brought markers with her everywhere and drew pictures. dozens and dozens of them. i had to turn it off.  i know that momma with that first grader. and i SCREAM in my soul, in the deepest parts of a broken heart for their sadness.

 and the teachers. THOSE WONDERFUL TEACHERS

the two best parts of the world really: children and teachers.

and so yes, judgmental me says this is a little over the top and i need to get a handle on it. and i will. but another part of me...way way way back in the quiet and knowing part of my being, is aware and comfortable with the notion of feeling.










Monday, December 17, 2012

raessay.


Lily lu's very first piano recital...



I'm a bit of a disaster today. Sitting here in my hotel room in Southern California. We spent yesterday looking for areas to live. So many factors to align:

commute
affordability
good schools
safe neighborhoods

and such. Honestly, it hit. It hit hard yesterday when I looked at Tyler and our realtor and said,

"Yeah, I like this house. I just have a few quick questions:

 WHERE THE HE&* AM I?
WHAT ARE WE DOING?!!!!
WHERE WILL I GROCERY SHOP?!!!
WHO WILL BE OUR FRIENDS?!!!
WHO WILL BE OUR CHILDREN'S FRIENDS?!!!
WHERE ARE THEIR GRANDPARENTS?!!
WHERE WILL OUR CHURCH BE?!!!"

The day before, Tyler and I engaged in the world's-lamest-immature -name-calling-spat-over-absolutely-nothing-brought-on-by-mutual-stress-and-exhaustion. And normally, when we have such arguments I know exactly what to do: storm out of the house, drive myself to the nearest Jimboys, eat my emotions, and spend roughly the equivalent of of one hour's worth of marital therapy on a new pair of boots at Off Broadway. But I don't know where the nearest Jimboys is here! Or if there even is a Jimboys!!!!

So, after pondering these questions while house hunting, I spent the rest of the evening crying in the hotel room. It needed to happen. I've been remarkably stable otherwise during this entire process...it was beginning to disturb me. Completely soaked in tears last night and blowing my nose into my shirt sleeve as Tyler offered to go get me a treat?: now here is the Rae we've all come to know best, right?
I needed to let it out. I'm scared.

Hopeful, faithful, excited, but scared.
I also feel a little like that satanic priest in the movie Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Ever seen that movie? Well, he basically rips out the beating heart of some frightened sacrificial victim in this one scene...i guess that is the best parallel I can draw to describe what it feels like I'm doing to the Grandparents we are taking our children away from. 

However, my anxiety mostly comes in the form of worrying that my children will be comfortable. Lily in particular. She is her mother's child. She invests deeply in her surroundings. In her relationships.
I read her an email from her teachers, saying how they'd miss her. And I sort of crumbled too, because we will miss them. I will miss her school. And, in the wake of these horrific tragedies in Connecticut, I'm feeling extra unsettled and protective of my children. I can't watch the television. Those sweet faces. Those little first graders. Nothing is more beaming and full of life than a first grader at school. I mourn for those parents. There are no words.






 {time for a good old fashioned ice cream sundae}





It certainly keeps these minor details of our life in perspective. 

I'm so grateful for my life, for these opportunities and adventures we are embarking on.

But, sometimes I need to simply collapse momentarily and offer up a tearful prayer. Help me, watch over me. Watch over us

All of us.



I'll let you know what we find soon (hopefully).



..................................................................


and!

Happy Birthday to my London! Turning FIVE!!!!
We will have big birthday plans when Mommy and Daddy get home: until then, Gamma and Pop have got it covered. whew!

{catching snowflakes...and yes, holding sharp scissors. Honestly, I have no idea what was going on when I snapped these photos. I'm going to assume we were doing some wonderfully productive super amazing child friendly craft demonstrating my competent parenting?}





London's first birthday HERE.

Second birthday HERE.

Third birthday HERE.

Fourth birthday HERE.