Monday, October 21, 2013

We Can Do Hard Things

It was my every intention of posting last week. We had an incredible first experience camping as a family. Even though it down poured on us in the middle of the first night. We survived and had a really beautiful / warm weekend in the woods. But then your father was called away to Washington State for 10 days. This came as a shock since the government was shutdown and most employees furloughed. Somehow your father's trip to a federal government air craft carrier was funded. Who knows. Either your father is that important or air craft carrier's nuclear power control system repair/update was critical enough to bypass the shut down; I'm pretty sure it's the latter. 

This left me and you two in a bit of a pickle with weekend plans and lots of obligations including dinners, field trips, Halloween parades all left in limbo. We figured it out. We have modified plans as needed. Your father gets home this Friday. I can't wait. 

Nora, you have become obsessed with school. You write all the time or do this math workbook you found somewhere around the house. You recite your Principles and sing your patriotic songs. Your class is singing "I'm Proud to Be an American" for Veteran's Day assembly in November. It is even more adorable than it sounds. This week and last you are the Leader of the Week and the line leader for your class. You have loved every minute of leading the others all around campus. Back to the point, our house is overrun with paper. So much paper. Paper you cut, paper you write words on, numbers, song notes. Paper and notecards and stick notes. Paper you bring home from school. Paper is everywhere. I spent at least an hour today picking up and trying to organize reams of loose paper.  

Lucy, you are obsessed with mimicking Nora or bothering Nora. So this does not help the paper situation. Your voice, your vocabulary is growing. More importantly your pronunciation is getting better. We had a speech pathology evaluation done. A child must be at least 25% delayed to qualify for services. I was sure you would qualify. You scored in the 35-37 month range at 27 months old. I couldn't believe it. The speech pathologist was adamant, you are advanced for your age. She explained we can't understand what you are saying because you are using vocabulary too advanced for your gross motor development. Basically, your tongue and lip muscles haven't developed enough to say the words you want. Uh huh. What it boils down to is I have not been listening  to you. Nora is easy to understand now. I don't have to think about what she is saying expect when she called a question mark a mysterious mark and I didn't understand at first. But you take more time, your energy, your dramatic gestures, your passion all need to be appreciated. I have been doing a better job learning Lucy. 

So your father has been gone for 6 days. 4 more days to go. I won't lie, it's been tough. For the last few months, when you both start to melt down about something, I whisper in your ear, "You can do hard things." I know it sound generic and trite. But it really motivates you both. Simple and to the point. I use the mantra especially when you both encounter something difficult like a math problem or the daunting task of cleaning up the paper in the toy room.  A couple of weeks ago when I was repeating this to you two while getting into the car and Nora, you asked, "How do YOU know we can do hard things?!" (in a frustrated manner since you were trying to do something difficult). I answered, "Well I am a Jothen girl just like you. And so I KNOW Jothen girls can do hard things." You seemed to accept this answer.  

These last 6 days have been hard, to live as a single parent, to do the dishes, make dinner, run bath, oversee homework, do my own grading and work, clean the house, shopping, picking up the farm share, seeing family, driving, cleaning, vacuuming, laundry, dressing, undressing, diaper changes, playing, supporting each of you emotionally. While assembling a car seat last night in the dark, in the van next to the garage (we needed one this morning for the field trip to the farm). I assembled it incorrectly and the parts were stuck together. I was frustrated. Angry. Nora, you little voice rose up from a whisper, "We can do hard things Momma." And I took a deep breath and refocused. I finished and we even had some time to enjoy a few books together before bed.

I will rejoice when your father returns in time for the weekend but I will not wish away the remaining 4 days where you two will watch me do hard things and know that you can too.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Inspirational Traditions

In a moment at a baby shower yesterday, I realized just how inspired I am by you and your sister. Motivated, yes, to work and make a good life for you both to grow up in. But I am inspired to see the world in a different way because of you girls. My muses. 

Inspiration is what drives your creativity. I realized that creativity drive was for the two of you. Your father can also be included in that inspirational feeling. But in a way I am inspired to love your father in new and different ways by you two. Whether it's playing Beauty and Beast and to see the wonder and amazement in your eyes as your father and I stumble around the living room. Or it's how you see us say we're sorry /we were wrong for getting upset and not listening to each other. We are no where near perfect and I can't for Merlin's beard make it anywhere on time. We yell. We get cranky and hungry. We snap at each other. We dip instead of fill. But we recognize and love and apologize. We live in reality and not in some Pinterest-mood board. 

So I couldn't commit to any changes in this blog in over two years since Lucy exploded into this family  but now I have. I did this entire make-over (ok I changed the template) last night. But tonight, I found the picture below from last month. How beautifully perfect this represents my inspiration. And if you know your father, he is silly and goofy and fun to play with but will not smile for pictures. Here is his smile that grace us everyday, that both of you will remember but is so rare to capture on film. His arms full. Strongly holding onto you both. Look at your foot, Nora. Wrapped up tight in his love. I have a feeling I am not the only one inspired by you two. 

The Maryland Wine festival was last month. 13th year for your father and I (2001-2013). 6th time for you, Nora (I am counting your gestational stay in the 2008 festival) and only 3rd time for Lucy (2011-2013). Something so wonderfully  fulfilling comes with each year. Even if it pours buckets of rain, we cherish our time together and remember past years and look forward to the next. A tradition, most definitely, wholly and completely us.