Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

I have only been celebrated as a mother on this special day for the last four years, or maybe five if you count that first one when I was nine months pregnant, just two weeks away from giving birth to my first son.  But this year was different.  This was the first year that I didn't run away from my children, craving respite from the duties of motherhood. This year my cup was filled not only by my husband, but actually by my children.  The last five years in the trenches have been productive and fruitful and gratifying, but oh so tiring.  Today I tasted the sweet fruit of my labors.

This was the first year that, this morning, before anyone prompted him, William said, "Happy Mother's Day, Mom.  You're a really great mom."  Sweet, freckled boy who made me a mother at twenty-two years young.  He taught me how to hold and rock and love a baby, and now he loves me back with the love of a young boy.

William, the morning he was born.

Thomas echos everything William says, and so for as many times as William wished me well today, I heard it doubly.  William loves me with words, but Thomas with hugs and gifts. With presents of pine cones and bits of leftover lunch and spontaneous hugs on my leg, Thomas loved me all day long.  This boy child, not a colicky baby anymore, is such an interesting person I could not make him up if I tried.  You know his intentions by the twinkle in his eye, and today it was to love and serve his momma. 

Thomas right after birth.

And my sweet baby Katherine.  You are the one who let this momma have her first daughter.  Last year I had my first Mother's Day with you, and I sat on the sofa and held you and loved you.  You have taught me how to be a mother of three.  Three kids, especially three littles, is not for wimps.  You taught me to be grateful.  Gratitude for the quiet moments, for the days when everyone is healthy and happy and mostly full of smiles.  For little babies and toddler and preschoolers all mixed together in a messy house with crumbs on the floor and smudges on the windows.  Gratitude even for the hard moments, because now you're not a baby anymore and I won't get even the hard days back. 

Now here's how I know that this year is different.  That this year these three children filled my cup instead of emptied it.  

Tonight at 5:30 when Michael told me to go relax in the bathtub and then enjoy a couple of hours alone before bed, I couldn't even stay away that long.  I craved the sweetness of my babies.

"I want a picture with my children.  I don't have very many."

I briefly reconsidered because I had just taken my bath and my makeup was washed away and my hair was a mess and the kids were only wearing underpants and dirty faces from a long day of celebration.  But I climbed into the striped chair in the family room, and let the kids climb up on top of me, because that's what we do, and that's where we do it.  I let them wear their dirty faces and their shirtless bellies, because that's how I mother.  I let the camera catch my naked face and messy hair, because that's what I look like. 

We sat there and Daddy made them laugh and smile or at least just look at the camera for a second or two, and now I have evidence of the best Mother's Day present of all - my three beautiful children and our wonderful life.  It's sticky and messy and raw and the absolute sweetest thing on Earth.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Habemus Papam!

Pope Francis!  

What happy days we have had lately.  Pope Francis is the first new pope I have had as a Catholic, and the whole experience has been fresh and new and wonderful. 

I feel like such an impostor calling this a Catholic blog when really I just post pictures about my children and the messes they make.  It's tough to capture, especially in photographs, the daily rhythm, quiet prayers, unspoken offerings and gentle shepherding.  In those moments, my camera is away and I don't have much of a desire to share that in this space. 

But now we have a new shepherd to guide us, and his picture is all over the internet :) 

The boys enjoyed 'watching history' with me, which I think to them just means watching video clips online. 

Everyone we saw for the rest of the day heard the same thing, twice.  First from William, and then echoed from Thomas:

"We have a new pope.  His name is Francis, just like my middle name.  I am going to pray for him TWO times a day because he needs MY help to be a good leader."

Oh, to have the faith of a child.  And now, the lady at the coffee cart, three young teachers at swimming lessons, and a nice gentleman in the checkout line at the grocery store all know about our new leader. 

The boys went to work making their own sheep to shepherd.

And Katherine, the good baby that she is, stayed happily out of her big brothers' way.

Happy Friday.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


I am married to a mathematician, but we didn't celebrate with pie today.  No, at 5:30 this evening I whipped out some frozen fish fillets set aside for Friday, and now I have to figure out what to do for tomorrow's dinner. The crock pot and I have become better friends lately, and slow cooked meals are alternated with quick cold sandwiches, artisan breads served with cheese and plates of fresh fruit.  

Spring is just around the corner.  

I have not yet mastered 'the dinner hour.'  I'm not sure if that time of day is something that can really be improved upon or not, but I certainly haven't figured it out. I can handle the food part. 

But there's something about the children part that just gets a little bit tricky.  It's that antsy, hungry, mischievous energy that only pops up while I'm chopping and simmering and altogether not paying attention.  The other day it involved ink. 

Caught red-handed

It starts out innocently enough.  Sweet boys who want to make stamped artwork to decorate their walls.  You know how the rest goes. And since that day, I gave up the chopping, the simmering, the stirring, and the ignoring.  I embraced sandwiches and cans of soups and throwing something together at the last minute so that the dinner hour altogether disappeared.  Not forever, of course, but for this sweet season of young children, of inky fingers, of longer spring days with warmer weather.

So maybe tomorrow we'll pick up a take and bake pizza and call it Pi Day, because really, my children don't even know what day it is (or what pi is).  What they do know is my love, my attention and my presence. Choosing my family and children first?  Well that decision is as easy as pie.

Monday, March 4, 2013


Today was a day of milestones.  William swam unassisted to the pool wall.  He rode his bike without training wheels.  Katherine took her first steps.  Thomas didn't fall out of his chair.   And I don't have pictures of any of it.  I almost never bring my big camera out of the house, and while I'd like to get a little bit better about that, I love not feeling tied to it.  I love watching my children with my own eyes and not always through a lens.  

I did snap a few of Katherine on her first day of walking.


I just love Mondays and today was a great one.  I folded laundry (rare) AND put it away (rarer still).  I childproofed dangerous cupboards.  I finally disposed of old paint that I've been driving around in the back of the van for two months now.  I filled up the gas tank and filled our fridge after a Costco trip.  I love the back-to-the-grind feeling after a weekend where chores slip and routines are lax. 

We've had back-to-back company over the last week, and between Michael's aunt and uncle, my aunt and uncle, and Michael's parents, it was time to stop the party and get back to business. We sure did have fun while it lasted:

Aunt Judy feeding Katherine

Shaving with whipped cream from Michael's birthday cake

 Happy Monday.