Saturday, July 23, 2011

Who Am I?

My wonderful husband is buying me a domain name for my birthday. I have a few ideas in mind, but I need to narrow down my actual goal before I pick a name.

Do I want a mama-issue blog?
A memoir?
A photography album and business website?
Maybe I could combine the three?
Add in a creative writing section?

Husband suggests a theme. A cohesive band running through each thing so that a follower of one part might find interest and be able to relate to the other parts as well. I'm not sure I have a theme. I am un-themed.

Apparently my themes are benevolence. Optimism. Community. Er, something like that.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Project 365 - July 7, 2011

On the fourth of July we lost a sandwich baggie. It was empty and when we opened the car door it blew away. Right into the street. Normally we'd go after it, but this day was rainy and w had both kids in the front of the car with us while we ate lunch, and it blew right into the road, so we didn't. Adelaide was so worried. She just didn't want that bag to be out of the car. She wanted to throw it away and was adamant that we go get it and put the bag in its proper place. We didn't. A few days later (the day this picture was taken) we were at the playground and a baggie blew by. Adelaide ran for it. She was sure this was our baggie, our responsibility and she did not want to lose it a second time. The wind kept blowing it out of her reach, or out of her hands, and once out of the bottom of the stroller where she had stashed it. So I showed her a compartment where she could close in the bag and keep it from flying away. She ended up finding a few baggies for us to take care of and we brought them home and disposed of them.

My little environmentalist.

I hope she's learning to appreciate nature. To appreciate her role in the care of our environment and her impact on her surroundings. I hope she's growing to be the kind of person who picks up trash at the playground and leaves no trace on the trail. She's well on her way.

Alaska is a Funny Place

Beyond my window is a small porch. Beyond the small porch is a small stand of trees. Beyond the small trees is a small university, and beyond the small university is a the largest open space this side of outer space, but that part is irrelevant. A couple small birds frequent these trees and they seem to be outlandishly stupid. Several times a day one of them goes 'THUNK' into my window. It just flies head on into the glass. I know that the glass reflects the trees and gives the appearance of tempting trees to these stupid birds, but the reflection isn't pristine. It's dark and vague and the reflected trees are a little out of focus.

That should probably be a metaphor for something. I don't know what yet. I do know that these dumb birds are endlessly entertaining for both me and my one year old. I worry sometimes that I shouldn't be so entertained by the things she is. Like my sense of humor should be more mature, more developed. It isn't.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Worry = Insecurity

I never believed or noticed I had a problem with worry until I had children. I competently handled situations as they arose, kept an eye on future complications and moved forward without hesitation. One of my favorite parts of my relationship with my husband is the spontenaity with which we attacked our free time. I didn’t worry about the consequences because I knew that I’d be able to handle them. Confidence.

Now, I’m a mother. I now know that I have no control. I have a responsibility to prevent disaster, but no ability. And the consequences can be huge. Life altering. Devastating.

It starts with pregnancy. The Surgeon General recommends all women of childbearing age take a folic acid supplement because folic acid is essential for healthy neural development early in pregnancy. It’s essential so early in the pregnancy that many women don’t yet know they’re pregnant and their vitamin deficiency could actually end the pregnancy before the women even know what has happened. Or, the pregnancy may continue and the child could be born with a major birth defect. All because mama didn’t’ take her vitamin. So let’s say she did. Let’s just say she took every vitamin she possibly could. We’ll say she took the right amount of folic acid, and even took the right amount of any vitamins that have to be present for folic acid to be digested. Baby could still be born with that same birth defect. Mama has to take all the precautions, and mama has to bear all the responsibility, but, ultimately, mama has no control.

Theoretically, that should be freeing. Without any capacity to concretely, certainly, impact the future, the future lifts right out of my hands. I just CAN’T be responsible for it. But it doesn’t work that way. Instead, I worry about every minutia. Everything I say or do or don’t do could impact my child in a way I don’t even understand, and my child may still experience terrible circumstances even if I do work my butt off. So I HAVE to prepare her. I have to give her every positive impact that I can. I have to try to outweigh the potential negatives in her life with the positives I send her. Like a karmic battle. I’m sending her all the good ju-ju I can muster in an attempt to combat a sin nature I know outweighs me.

Maybe it’s the devil, maybe it’s fate or circumstance or chance. I just know none of it mattered until the day I saw that little blue line.

Chaos & Cooties

Sometimes I want to be seen as that mom with her kids in a neat, orderly line. Everyone saying the right things, doing the right things, all on cue. Like I have a tight rein on them. I want to be seen that way, but I don’t actually want that. I don’t want that much restriction for my kids. I don’t want that much repression or oppression. But I want to be seen that way. Thinking about this made me realize this is yet another insecurity. I want people to see calm and order and to not pick up on my scared inner trembling. My nervous questioning self wondering if they think I’m doing a good job, or if they’re secretly criticizing me, or if maybe they want me to just go away.

My inner chaos or calm will be revealed by my kids.

That, I think, is true. My inner chaos or calm will be perceived by my kids, lived out by them, and then revealed to those around me. My kids pick up on my nervousness or confidence, my tension or my calm. And they respond accordingly. It’s a part of ‘social referencing.’ Kids look to adults to determine how to react to a situation, especially an unfamiliar situation.

With this in mind, I no longer want even to be perceived as being the lady with her kids in line. I want my own exuberance and joy to be reflected by my children (I think it is). My kids might be a little too loud sometimes, they might have a little too much energy, and they might be too eager to show affection to their friends. But that’s how I feel inside. I experience life at a higher volume than most, and with all the energy I can muster, and with all the love in the world. God fills me with a holy love that overflows from my heart, through my kids, and on to everyone we encounter. That kind of spillage may not be neat, or quiet, and it probably won’t stay neatly in line.

That’s why joy is contagious. It spreads like cooties.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Project 365 - June 29, 2011

Project 365 - June 27, 2011

This is the best. She has snacks she can get to at any time, I know she's eating good stuff, and when all the strawberries are gone, I know she's had enough for the day. Plus, she is in a much better mood while I'm making lunch if she can snack.

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