I know I’ve mentioned it before, and certainly during the postpartum period when N was born, but I struggle with anxiety. I feel like this is important to put out there because there are so many of us that face this, sit with it, try to make space for it. I’ve been working for a long time to learn to make space for the anxiety and just let it be what it is, a feeling, a temporary state. Not a thing that defines who I am or a character flaw, just a passing state of being.
Some days it is easier to be with the anxiety than others. Other days all I really need is to fold the laundry. I know what you may be thinking, and no I haven’t reached some holy level of domesticity. The thing is though, that the laundry is just the laundry. When I’m in a state that…
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We’ve had a long Winter this year, full of childhood illnesses. Being the youngest and most vulnerable, N has been hit the hardest. While I have, admittedly, lost a lot of sleep, days of work, and occasionally perspective (what is this dark terrible magic that has crept into my child’s eye causing it to pink and ooze? should I just give the pediatrician’s office a direct line to our savings now and call it a day? why can’t I lactate on demand?), I’ve also felt a great deal of honor and humility.
Nothing can humble a mighty mother so quickly as a sick child. The very same baby you held in your arms not so long ago, now struggling to breathe and gasping through the night. The endless coughing that seems to respond to nothing and no one. The crying that you can only try to console with your own arms because the rest has to come with time. There is no way to fix it in this moment. All you can do is be there, witness, console. But also, oh, what an honor to be the one whose arms comfort a sick child. To be the one to bring the heating pad and the tea and the picture books.
To be the one whose mere presence makes it all just a little bit better. For that, I am grateful.
*Note: Please do not get the wrong impression. N will be ok. It’s just been quite a haul getting her feeling well again.
Should you be looking for a last minute valentine idea, how about bookmarks?
This project was simple, inexpensive, and we love the way they came out! O, age 6, was able to make bookmarks for his classmates completely independently. N, age 4, required a little help from an adult but not much. I did the prep work by cutting the paper paint color samples to the correct size and cutting all the lengths of ribbon the same size. The children did the rest of the work using a heart-shaped hole punch for each colored square and a regular circle hole punch for the ribbon at the top. On the back of the bookmarks O wrote the names of his classmates along with his own name. N just signed her own name, as all the bookmarks are essentially the same. Not differentiating the bookmarks to individual students will make it easier on her when it is time to give them.
What do your valentines look like this year?
*In the interest of full-disclosure, I have to say I originally saw this idea on Pinterest. However, I have been unable to reach the original blog post.
In my recent ROTH piece For the Love of Handwork, I wrote about making a felt book for O. While the journey was thoroughly enjoyable, I thought it might be nice to also take some time to share the finished product with you. The Cover/Back Cover: My favorite part of this is his name. He can trace over it with his finger (kind of like a sandpaper letter) and it can help with recognizing his own name as well. There is also a pocket on the front under his name to store extra pieces along with a matchbox car for the road pages. The back cover has the year and, of course, love mama. The Seasons Page: The tree can be decorated with various pieces to match the seasons (spring flowers, summer greenery, fall leaves, bare for winter). I also embroidered some words for the different parts…
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On the 26th of December N turned four. I’ve noticed it with both children, something big happens at four. Something shifts. I’ve been staring at this photograph wondering how I managed to get a photo at all of a girl that is usually nothing short of a luminous whirlwind. I’m not sure I’ve managed to capture the contemplative intimacy in this quiet moment either.
This push and pull of parenting, bonding and connecting while simultaneously learning to let go, even just a little. Sometimes it feels like we’re all on a teeter totter, delicately shifting our intentions along with their weight forward and back, balancing our children’s needs with our own hopes and our fears.
She is four. This girl that still climbs into our bed at night, each time a bit closer to morning. I respond to each request of “Mama, snuggle me.” with “Yes.” and hold her close. I know this time is fleeting and these moments are already becoming less frequent. We can’t stop time, but I secretly wish I could bottle the smell of her hair, or find a way to always keep with me the feeling of her small soft hand in mine. Slowly, yet suddenly, she is four. And we can’t stop time. Not even with a camera.