Whoa it’s been a few busy weeks! And though it has been fun, and ideal in almost every way — between working, volunteering at our local (but international) documentary film fest, and some serious kid-play, I haven’t had time to keep up with blog posts… So I am officially reversing post order this week and starting with the gratitude list that I usually write on Fridays. I’m sure you’ll have no trouble adapting. 😉
They say, especially of family life, that the years are short but the days are long. I have experienced this sensation before and noted the truth of the saying at the time. Nevertheless, I generally find that the years are short, and the days are too — especially when we’re together as a family. I mention it that way, because I have also noticed that when we are apart for a number of days in a row, those days are far too long for me. As a parent, it can feel like even while we are in the middle of watching our sweet babies they are transforming into little kids, big kids, and then on to pre-teens, and teens, and young adults right before our eyes! I sometimes joke to myself that maybe I should get a job that takes me away from my kids more often, just so that they will grow slower. It’s not a joke at which I usually laugh, but it does allow me to empathize with myself a little.
Since we are intentionally together so much, though, my only hope of slowing the harrowing pace of the time racing along side us is to get as deep as I can into the moment. As tempting as it might be to some of us, I’m not going to wax Buddhist about “being present”, right now, however worthwhile that might be to parenting our children. All I’d currently like to say about it is that when I feel like it’s going by too fast, the best way for me to slow it all down and enjoy the experience of it, is actually to “slow it all down and enjoy the experience of it”!
As Echo reminds us regularly, it helps to focus on the fun we’re having. To pinch off the thoughts of impending agendas, to momentarily shrug the responsibilities we’ve loaded onto our to-do lists, to drop all pretense of more important purposes, and sit on the floor to play and laugh with our kids — it’s like time-magic. Suddenly a small bubble forms in the “fabric of the space-time continuum” and we can breathe-in the stillness, and luxuriate in the expansive quality of the tended seconds and minutes.
The other manner in which I find space in the speed of time is in appreciating the general moment. When I can, and without pigeon-holing anyone, I take stock of the current trends in my life and in my kids’ life. I take a mental snapshot of where we each are and appreciate that for all it’s richness, both present and potential.
So in no particular order — here are some of the things for which I am grateful about the moment each of my girls is in right now.
Bella is 12 and currently going by Izzy at school. She still loves to climb trees and play American Girl dolls with her sisters, but she also now has a boyfriend (who seems so sweet on her that I can’t help but approve…), she’s writing a couple of novels, and working hard on the swim team. Her “signature” when she sends me texts says, “Stay calm. Eat pizza.”. She got and gave her first sweet-heart Valentine’s and went to her first school dances this year. She loves music and dancing and reading and performing.
Xi is 9, and a beloved, benevolent leader at her school — the little kids flock to her side when she comes or goes, and her peers clamor for her attention — though she is excited about the possibility of homeschooling over the next few years. She still wants me to help her fall asleep at night, but she also protects and reads to her younger sister, does her own research on subjects/people like Jeanette Rankin, and makes her own bed every day without ever being asked. She got herself up for school and made her own breakfast toast for the first time this year. She loves broccoli, organizing things and spaces, romantic stories, wrestle sessions with Papa, and acting.
Echo is 5.75, still homeschooled and is learning to read and write (not just words, but stories and poetry), do math, draw, and play music — among other things. She still likes it better when we feed her at dinner time, and wants Mom to help her get up in the morning, but she also dives to the bottom of the 12-foot deep pool at the Y, rides a two-wheel bike, and is at this second helping Mom cook chapatis on the stove. In the last month, she lost her first tooth, got her ears pierced, and for the only time thus far in her life, requested that I help her fall asleep. She loves audiobooks, doing anything “on my own” for the first time, making up elaborate imaginary scenarios for play, and watching Meerkat Manor.
And simply because she’s having a whole pile of “firsts” right now, I’m including a couple more pictures of Echo:
And after she lost her first tooth.
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And last but not least… Natalie and I are having a “glorious precipice” kind of moment in our lives. We still have a couple hurtles we’d like to leap, but we’re making our way in a rich and lovely life. Our other baby, Feeleez, is growing and developing under our mindful care — we’re building a new line of Feeleez magnets and some greeting cards as we speak, and soon we’ll go on to t-shirts, as well! We’ve started a new forum on Facebook called The Empathy Hotline which anyone on FB (though, eventually we’ll have a website) can ask to join and post to receive empathy for something s/he is feeling, and/or respond to someone else somewhere in the world who has posted looking for empathy. We’re also enjoying going to the YMCA almost everyday to swim and use the sauna, etc.; we’ve been seeing a bunch of documentary films in the last week because of the aforementioned festival; we’ve been trying not to get lured in by the traditional sucker-Spring in Missoula; and we’re making plans that we both adore — but more on that later…
It’s a great moment in our family life. We’re all growing and becoming together. We’re all learning more about what it’s like to be ourselves, to live happily, and to love fearlessly.
Better catch a glimpse of us while you can — we’ll all be a little different in a moment!