Thursday, December 29, 2016

A Jumble of Christmas

Memories piled on top of each other. Tangled toegther. People. Places Things.

A bungalow with tables piled high with Swedish dishes.

Water color and masking tape paint projects.

Presents wrapped in paper bags.

Late night ideas destined to bring in millions.

Mexican folk songs and homemade pinatas on a Wednesday night.

A bartered pirate ship.

Sweet potato chili. Roasted chicken things. Shepherd's Pie.

Performance art with four kids in tow.

Red-footed pajama clad wrestlers.

The genius of drunken song writing.

Too many cookies.

A dad enamored with his son's Christmas gifts.

Oma's Christmas magic, reliable as ever.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Deep Woods

They call it the deep woods. 
It's where they build forts and hang swings.
Where one day they will go to play spin the bottle, or try their hands at other mischievous things.
But the truth is, it isn't so far, that bit of no-man's-land, with the sluggish stream and the fallen trees. 
And it feels closer still in the grey winter, when the leaves cannot hide them.
But distance is only one way to travel far.

Monday, December 12, 2016

My Third Turned Four

A few weeks ago Arlo discovered that Oma is my mom.  He was distraught. That meant that I didn't live with my mom, which meant one day he wouldn't live with his.

He sometimes suggests that he will stop eating so he will stop growing. He is happy to stay my little boy forever.

Yesterday, on the day we celebrated his birthday, which happened to be one day late, when I retrieved him from nursery, his beautiful face lit up with joy. I was back. He hugged my leg "Oh mom. I just love you so much."

We have a game. The sort of game that I, his mom, am probably the only one to appreciate. Sometimes when I'm overcome with my love for my third child, and find myself gritting my teeth for reasons I don't understand, I tell him in an overly dramatic 1940's radio voice, "Oh no. It's happening. I love you too much." He hugs me and responds, "Only love me one."

It doesn't feel like I had him yesterday. It feels like four years ago. Unfortunately, years just aren't that long.

Four years ago I was almost the very same, but Arlo, he was something all together different.

Monday, December 5, 2016

This Weekend We

A weekend full of the variety of chaos I've been missing lately. The kind packed with friends and places to be and mess after mess. 

On Saturday morning I dropped Sena off so she could get ready to march in the North Beach Christmas Parade with the Twin Beach Players, but while doing so discovered that the traffic across town was barely moving. When I did finally get home, it meant I only had a few minutes to pack up the other three kids to get back in time to see it all happen. We grabbed warm clothes but neglected hair brushes, and sat on the sidelines as friends and neighbors marched by.  The kids happily snatched up as much candy as their sticky little hands could grab, Arlo amazed that this was even better than Halloween, which requires you to walk from house to house to collect the goods. With the parade, he could sit in one spot and have candy canes and chocolate kissed thrown directly at his blonde head.

We scooted out as soon as it ended, opting out of meeting Santa Claus, a figure none of my children have ever actually spent time with. They've never much cared, and he isn't someone I play up, in large part from laziness.

A couple of hours later, my friend Carrie showed up with Arlo's very best friend, Felix. A friend who lives too far away but remains dear to his heart despite long stretches of not seeing him. We ate and drank and watched the Bad Lip Reading Star Wars Video more than a few times. The kids ran around and circles and never fussed or fought with each other. Gus, despite being six years older, played with them, and helped include Alamae. 

After they left the next morning, I went to Annapolis to help in Joanna's shop, enjoying fig brandy punch and the carolers outside her door. The greenery and Christmas lights on Maryland Avenue are perfectly festive. before closing the shop and heading to our political action / accountability meeting, I started to get text messages and notifications that the Army Corp of Engineers is rerouting the Dakota Access Pipeline, a decision that continues to bring me joy as I start this Monday.