23 June, 2012

Dispatch from Another Planet

I'm in an internet cafe in Mexico. It' not so surprising that I might be traveling, because our little family has done all sorts of great travel, but I'm here by myself. Well, not by myself, but without my husband and my children.

I miss them. It's hard not to because I have a funny husband, and cool kids who make me laugh a lot. We get along, for the most part, about most things, and we have a great time together. Just last weekend, for Father's day we took off up the coast and visited the Point Reyes National Seashore, adding another National Park to their list. We had the top off the Jeep and the music booming and there was singing and laughing and oysters and there was fog and sunshine, and a good time was had by all.

I'm also having a very lovely, and I might even say, a relaxing time being responsible only for myself for a few days. Of course I'm looking out for my girlfriends, because that's what you do when you travel with other people, but when it comes right down to it, I'm just me on this trip.

Stories slip out of my mouth reminding people that I have other roles, wife, mother, daughter, sister, but those people aren't with me, so no one walking by has any idea that my daughter is over 4 feet tall, and my son often uses a wheelchair, that my husband can build anything with those gigantic meat-hook hands. I'm just a blonde lady, who apparently almost looks my own age, when I have had enough sleep.

I've decided it's good for me to get away from my "every day" sometimes. I don't think I need to go to Land's End every time to get that same feeling, but I think it's hard to gain perspective when you are just so close all the time. Being a little more disconnected from teh interwebz hasn't hurt me either. Not reading what virtual strangers think about me has been a nice break, even if some of their ruminations show me in a kind light.

So I am off for a day of adventure with some wonderful, fun, compassionate women. Later I'll have some fruity drinks and watch the sunset, and before I know it I will be back to 'real life.' But for today, this is my real life, and I'm really happy.

Thank you, precious husband,  for holding down the fort, and coordinating all of the people of our awesome village who are helping us care for our kids while I am gone. I am a very grateful woman.

12 June, 2012

Where Are you Going My Little One?

My daughter, my baby, turned six yesterday.

She is beautiful and kind and quick and loves to curl up sweetly in my arms to start the morning. Each day I am equal parts terrified and delighted to be her mother. I know I will mess up a lot. I have already expected so much from such a small person, but she rises to the occasion, and I suppose, ultimately, so have I. She makes me rethink my inner core and calibrates my moral compass like no one else I know... except perhaps her brother.

And she loves her brother so much. She cares for him, she cares about him, and she cares about his future and the futures of his friends and classmates. Though she is always aware, and works hard to support his needs, she gives him only enough room to provide for disability, and after that she bickers with him as any other sibling pair might do. They fight over blankets in the car on road trips, and she saves half of almost anything good she has so he can have some when she gets home. The natural and easy way she accepts differences by not bothering to mention them unless she doesn't understand something, makes me have hope for her generation that there will be more tolerance in every way. She doesn't stare, she says "Hello."

She loves to drive in her Daddy's car, begging him to take off the roof of the Jeep, and sings along with the cranked up music, asking him to take the long way. She picks up jingles from television, and sings them too, with a rock star voice.. .who knew that the insurance commercials could sound so powerful? And when she's watching tv, she understands marketing, thinks that little girls should look like little girls, and not minitature grown ups, and knows to say "Can you add this cool toy to my list?" instead of flat-out asking for it.

She's not boring. She can carry a conversation, and knows who the president is, and about reproductive rights, the importance of voting, and with her proclamation: "You should be able to love who you want to." it's clear she supports equal rights for all when it comes to marriage, raising children, and living life. She has a crush on the boy who has long wavy brown hair, but has some thoughts about living with us for a long time. She's not yet sure she wants children when she grows up, and has thought about going to University locally (ahem, that would be Stanfurd). Her only thoughts on "leaving us" are to get a cool house with her brother to help him out.

She can be counted on. When there are times I urgently need her assistance with something because I don't always have enough arms to keep everyone safe, she makes it clear that every talk we've ever had is stored in her head, and she remains calm and helps exactly as she has been taught to. She always locks the gate behind her.

She is too much, over affectionate, loud, bouncy, "on fire"...she is a cross between Tigger, and me, I suppose, with a dash of initial reserve that is just enough to remind me that she is my husband's child too. She mostly puts all of her energy to good use, and though I wonder who she is when I'm not around, when we got a note sent home from her after-school care it included an award:
For being wise beyond your years, listening to others, and seeking not only to be understood but to also understand others.
I am trying to remember that she will only be this small now, and she is already taller every day. When she lies down in the tub, her hair streaming out like a mermaid, I can't help but notice that her feet touch the other end, and in another month or two she will need to bend her legs to to try to get that calm of peaceful floating. We'll need to find another place where she can feel light like that, because I want her to carry that feeling with her as she grows up and has more responsibilities.

My precious girl, I love you more than all the leaves on all trees that 
have ever been and ever will be, and then I love you more. 
You are my best-favorite.
Happy Birthday.
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