Ah, Nature!

Let’s be honest. I’m not the kind of person who looks forward to days my kids have off of school. In fact I circle them in red on the calendar and spend a good amount of advance time in a panic. Like sands through the hourglass so were the days of her sanity slipping down the murky toilet…

To compound my anxiety are those parents. You know them. The ones who post pictures on Facebook of their glorious days making new papier-mache bird houses and baking flax-seed cookies? Yep. That’s so not me. I’m more of a come sit on my lap and I’ll read you stories for hours while waiting for a more responsible party to relieve me of my duties.

Well, today my usual routine wasn’t going to fly. The kids were raring to get out of the house and I could not longer contain them.

So, two peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, a bag of crackers and some grapes later we were headed for Portland’s Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden.

The sun was peeking out and the kids were loving being out in nature. We saw ducks, geese, nutria, red winged black birds, scrub jays and a nut hatch. And, of course, amazing rhododendrons of every color.

It really was the perfect day to visit chaos upon the senior bird watching crowd. I think they particularly enjoyed the dulcet tones of my daughter yelling, “LOOK AT THAT DUCK SEXING THE OTHER DUCKS!” Ah, nature. Thank you for your bounty.

A Moment Of Contentment

This morning I’ve been wondering if it’s possible to love your kids too much? The Littlest was sitting on my lap head butting me when for first time ever he grabbed my neck with his little paws and said, “I luff you” and then banged his head against my cheek. I just wanted to bite him and pinch those chubby cheeks and eat him all up.

I live in this tiny disheveled house packed with little people (well, the husband is regular husband size) and little animals and big dust bunnies and while I often feel like I’m going to go crazy, there are times that I feel like my heart is going to burst. Did the Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe have similar moments of neurotic love madness?

Being sick all winter break and having sick kids to boot has made for a very interesting “staycation” or “mucuscation” as I like to think of it. My normally prickly 8-year old daughter has been snuggly and sweet to her brothers in between her bursts of Aspergerish world observations. If you have a kid on the spectrum, you know the incredible value of such moments of peace and togetherness.

My regularly reluctant to lift his nose out of a book 7-year old has been incredibly helpful. And my 2-year old, oh, my heart, has been at the pinnacle of cuteness with a dash of Mussolini and Messiah complex mixed in for good measure.

It is true that I am one babushka shy of being that old lady in the shoe. The house is a disaster with post-holiday new toy messes throughout various corners of the house. There are remnants of our slime making project still stuck to the kitchen table, and sticky, sticky lip gloss fingerprints all over the bathroom. But for this moment, I don’t care, because my heart is full.

Being stuck on the sofa has given me the opportunity to watch the Littlest do little dances every time he hears a song. (Sure, sometimes he’s dancing to a Lexus commercial, but whatever. The kid has moves.)

It’s also given me the opportunity to see how amazing the Middle Guy is with our pets. He walks the dog. He lets the kitten wrap herself around his neck and fall asleep. It is so wonderful to see this gentle and patient part of him blossoming. (This is a kid who regularly throws things across the room when frustrated.)

Watching all of this, I feel, well, content. And I’m not one who feels content on a regular basis. My brain is usually in the oppressive thought loop. It could be the codeine in the cough medicine, or the fevers that come and go, or the fifth cup of coffee, but I suspect it has to do with slowing down and doing nothing but observing these little people in my life. There are no carpools to drive, no school lunches to make, no homework to struggle over. Just time to be.

So for today, I am at one with this paper strewn desk, at one with the cheerios crushed in the carpet, at one with the tufts of dog hair on the floor, at one with the hooker hair and unshaved legs. And it feels pretty damn good.