December 31, 2010 § 1 Comment
Our visit with Josh’s family went really well. It has gone well before but this visit we all worked on a little transition and, in short, it went beautifully. There are a few more boundaries between adult/child play and I think every grown-up got a little break during the day, which made our stay less intense.
Josh and I got to go into Chicago and I ended up away from my kids for a whole 9 hours. It was amazing. Everyone seemed happy with the arrangement. I knew the time would come when it would be possible. I guess I didn’t think baby brother would be so young. He was fine. He asked for me but accepted the “mama will be back later” answer.
I hope everyone reading this little blog had a great holiday. For the Baha’is among us, start planning some Ayyam-i-Ha fun for the end of February. I know I’m already on it.
For this Weekly Special, I wanted to share a couple of quotes on love from the Baha’i Writings:
“If love and agreement are manifest in a single family, that family will advance, become illumined & spiritual…” -Abdu’l-Baha
“When love is realized & the ideal spiritual bonds unite the hearts of men, the whole human race will be uplifted…” -Abdu’l-Baha
I don’t think any family is void of tests. My young family isn’t. When I’m centered I can clearly see that every challenge, every obstacle and difficulty is just a test that serves to refine my character. When the tests affect my husband and myself, I assure myself it’s a test to challenge the strength of our marriage. It’s supposed to be a good thing, even if it’s incredibly painful (and exhausting) at the time.
The funny thing is that you can’t really study for these tests. Or, rather, the study implies prayer and meditation. And lots of it. You don’t know when a test is coming and you surely don’t know how long it’ll stay.
Most of the time, once I say, “this is just a test”, I feel better. It’s like someone turned on the lights and I can see that there’s a table in front of me that’s been keeping me from crossing the room. Once the light is on, the table is no longer an obstacle.
Once there is no obstacle, I feel like I’m more inclined to show love, kindness, patience. It comes easily. It’s not manipulative. It’s just a manifestation of having passed another test in a long line of tests.
It’s almost magical. How amazing then is it to bring this magic, this love that cultivates a spiritual bond, into my relationship with my kids and the adults that surround our lives.
December 24, 2010 § 2 Comments
Today is my wedding anniversary.
This is the ring Josh got me as a present.
It’s a Baha’i symbol. Below is it’s meaning. To read more of the meaning, and other symbols in the Baha’i Faith, click here.
We will begin with basic pattern of the design and, as we proceed, the picture will be complete:
This part of the symbol comprises three levels, each level indicated by a number. Together they represent the underlying belief which is the basis of all the religions of God. They are as follows:
(1) The World of God – The Creator
(2) The World of the Prophets or Manifestation – Cause, or Command
(3) The World of Man – Creation.
The two five pointed stars on both sides of the emblem represent the human body: a head, two hands and two feet. These two stars represent the twin Manifestation of God in this Day.
This ring, the one Josh got for me, was made by a jeweler who lives in Austin, TX. Jorge Nossa is a Baha’i from Colombia. He and his wife are friends of my parents and they are very sweet, and Jorge is very talented. The ring is well photographed on Etsy and you’ll get a quality ring. He’s got more, so go check him out. There are also gold versions and men’s versions. He’s got other jewelry for sale. He’s amazing. His work is quality.
Having this ring is very meaningful for me. The symbol is one of unity, something that is truly important having a small family of my own. It’s a nice way to be reminded of this unity. Gazing at this symbol, which I’ve been gazing at since I was a kid (I grew up in a Baha’i family), it not only unites the religions of the world, but it ties together my life. The symbols stays the same, but my understanding of what it means has slowly broadened.
This is my husband loving me.
December 20, 2010 § Leave a comment
It’s my mother in law’s birthday today so I thought I’d share some photos. One shows Josh and the kids during tree decorating at my inlaws house, while the other speaks for itself.
Are you havin’ a laugh?
December 17, 2010 § Leave a comment
Painting by Ives Klein
I love my kids, but like any parent, I get frustrated with them on a daily basis. My frustration sometimes takes a creative turn and I end up rockin’ the mothering gig. A lot of times I don’t rock more than the table when I sit down for breakfast. But that’s besides the point.
I started this weekly special to share the times that I truly feel like I’m rockin’ it. Those magical moments when I feel like I’m on top of the mothering world and I feel both grand and insignificant. The seconds when I feel like my insecurities are set aside and a spiritual me rushes through, inspiring an exchange with my kids.
I think I started telling bilingual baby “this is me loving you” when she was about 3 and I’d do things for her that I didn’t feel like doing, but was doing them anyway. Since then, she’s made that phrase her own. Sometimes she’ll tell me that I don’t love her. If I did, I’d let her do whatever she wants.
Ok. So that sorta backfires on me.
If she doesn’t want to share, I don’t make a big deal out of it. There are so many more times when she does share, or trade toys. Why magnify the one or two times a day she really doesn’t feel like it?
What about what I want? What about what I feel? I don’t feel like she needs to know my adult feelings all the time, but sometimes airing out my frustration actually helps the day run smoother.
It’s like one of my dance teachers used to do. She’d come in- she was known for being blunt- and she’s sit down and sigh so loudly it could’ve quieted a room. She’d go on to say that she felt like sh*t. She’d add in a bunch more profanities as she’d try to describe her frustrations. Once she was done, she’d air another sigh that was much lighter.
I really liked her. You knew where you stood with her. There was no guessing. Yeah, she talked like a sailor, but she was always present.
So, when I get a whiny now-4-year-old telling me she doesn’t want butter on her toast, she only wants oil, and for one reason or another everything is sounding like nails on a chalkboard, and I really wish I could just go hide under my blanket until the kids decide to move out, I turn to her and take a breath and say:
I don’t feel like it but I’m going to do it anyway.
I swear, whenever I say the truth (and it’s usually this simple for me: I want to do my thing first, not theirs), it makes the whole moment dissolve. Bilingual baby uses the phrase “I don’t want to.” This is not new to any child. After “no”, I think it’s the next thing they learn how to say.
No, but really. Midway through the feeling based sentence: I don’t feel like it but I’m going to do it anyway, I felt better. Much better. I followed it with: This is me loving you. Then I just felt like hugging her.
December 13, 2010 § 1 Comment
I’ve been feeling really nostalgic lately and I thought you’d enjoy reading past thoughts from this blog. Here are a couple of entries that I’ve been thinking of lately.
First, I know I’ve said that I’m missing my Vermont life. Transition does that to ya. One of the things I miss is teaching sewing classes. We had some fun. My “lifer” student was pretty upset when I told her I was leaving. She, and a couple others, were really dedicated.
Second, Remember the time when I was tailoring a couple of skirts for one of Josh’s co-workers and I cut up her skirt with my serger. Oh, how enraged I was with myself. I’ve grown from that experience. A lot.
Third, Remember the idea I had to create a business that would repair cloth diapers and redistribute them to families in Central Vermont. Hey, if anyone wants to run with that idea, go for it. It’s tedious work, but very rewarding. (Imagine all the seam ripping you have to do.)
Bonus, Remember Heavy Baby? The kids still really like that doll. I think at some point I’ll make one for baby brother. For now, they seem to be fine sharing the one- and I’m all for letting sleeping babies lie. Is that the right saying? (I’m still so Colombian.)
Enjoy this retrospective. Being as nostalgic as I’ve been, I can already see a second volume of this “Remember that post?” coming soon. Look for it next Monday and don’t let the beginning of the week get you down. You can always think about how awesome Sunday was.
December 12, 2010 § 2 Comments
I recently talked up a book called The Everything Toddler Activities Book. This book doesn’t have to be read in one sitting. I’m actually enjoying having it around (it’s from the library) to reference when I want to play something with the kids. This morning, I glanced at the Etch-A-Sketch game. It’s a home version of the well-known toy. I grabbed a couple of baking pans and filled them with corn flour. The perfect game/toy for mixed ages.
It was fun. After a bit, I started adding in kitchen tools and cookie cutters for them to play with. By the end, bilingual baby was making a maze and baby brother was racing cars. The house was quiet. They were so involved in their play. It sounded like they were getting themselves into trouble.
For some reason, I’ve always been drawn to kids that want trouble. Even before I had my own kids I liked working with kids. My last job before giving birth to bilingual baby was at an elementary school library. I was on staff there and I served the school as the in-house substitute teacher. And I was drawn to those kids that got in trouble. They weren’t yes-men (or kids). They thought about stuff they wanted to think about. They also didn’t fit in.
I might be flack from parents with older children, but so far, when my kids are getting into trouble, they have the most fun and learn the most. Sometimes, they learn how loud and fast I really am- most of the time, they learn about other things.
Here’s a slide show of what our days consist of. This is not one normal day. Some days, all the kids do is play things like beavers and they build dams with pillows. Other days all they want to do is run around the house, screaming at the top of their lungs. Sometimes I offer game suggestions, but mostly I let them get into trouble, as it were. Enjoy the slideshow!