May 24, 2012

Caught My Eye

And this quote:

"It would be folly for an individual to try to do better...than to go on in his own imperfect way, making his mistakes, riding out the rough and bewildering, exciting and beautiful storm of life until the day he dies"

 - Oscar Hammerstein II
from his amazing essay in This I Believe. It's a good read.

New York's Finest

One of the mom's from Ellie's weekly playgroup at church arranged for the firefighters to visit us.  It was so very exciting!  Seriously, some of the kids were so pumped they were levitating.
You know how every year it seems the rules change about how to introduce babies to food, or whether pacifiers are acceptable or not?  Every few year the pendulum of parenting culture swings back and forth on such issues breastfeeding, co-sleeping, spanking, etc etc etc.

Well, I find it so comforting to know that some things never change.

Stop.  Drop. and Roll.  Still the best thing to do if you're on fire.
Firefighters are still teaching kids not to hide under the bed - 'cause it makes them hard to find.
Kids are always thrilled to climb aboard the truck and see all the bells and whistles.
And stay at home moms are still excited by the prospect of spending the afternoon with New York's finest.

I didn't photograph any of the super handsome ones for fear of being too obvious.  But suffice it to say, everyone was happy to meet the heroes that day.  (If you catch my backdraft) I am well aware of how terrible that pun is - I just couldn't help it.
Don't mind Ellie's face - she was scared of falling through the grate.
Thanks FDNY, for being so handsome.
For being so nice to the kids.
For convincing Joe to go out for the volunteer fire department some day.
And for coming to my apartment a few days later when I thought I smelled gas.
Joe, I swear - there was a smell!

May 22, 2012

Today in a nutshell

Today really felt like this.
Until it didn't.
But that's OK.
Because sometimes you just need a little bit of wonder
to keep you going.
Life is lovely - even when it's hard.

May 21, 2012

Rainy Days and Mondays

OK universe - why do you insist on coupling rainy days and Mondays for so many weeks in a row?  It's a terrible combination for me right now. 

But rainy it is.  So this morning I woke up early, slapped these photos up on my blog and said to myself, "I promise to blog every day this week."  And so I will.  It may be mostly photos because words are much harder to organize.  But there will be something done every day.  Because photos like this cheer me up when it's wet and dismal and Monday.

May 14, 2012

Puritan Wren

These photos made me laugh today.
Which is good, because I really needed to laugh.

May 13, 2012

First Mother's Day

I keep thinking about her favorite Mother's Day.  The one she always talked about.  When the jelly got too close to the eggs and we served her purple breakfast in bed.  Everything was cold by the time we got it to her, but I remember how she exclaimed her delight and made a big fuss over our little breakfast offering. 

I recall puny bouquets of indian paintbrushes eagerly gathered in my sweaty hands.

I think back to that essay contest in the fourth grade.  I was determined to win her the moisturizing hand cream with the yellow flower on top.  It was the first bit of writing I poured my soul into.  I can still recall some of the things I said about why she was the best mother in the world.

Mother's Day has often been a difficult day for me - and I know it is for so very many women.
Our relationships with our mothers are complex.
My greatest comfort and most bitter pain both find home in the woman who gave me life.  

This mother's day I feel longing.
An ache - like part of me is gone.
A desperation to call her.  To connect with her in some way.

I have also been delighted today to realize how much beauty there really is in the world.
Truly life is a gift - every day is a miracle.

And whether I feel joy or pain, in all of it there is an abiding peace in knowing that God is over all.  He is taking care of His creations, and it is not my job to worry over what has happened or what will happen.  It's my job to be here.  To experience whatever life brings.  To learn humility and trust and grace and compassion.

My heart is big enough for all of these things.  Today I laughed and sang and cried and walked.  I listened and swore and hugged.  I painted my daughter's fingernails and I enjoyed my husband's culinary masterpiece.  I wondered what memories  my children will have of Mother's Day.  I thought of my mother and I breathed in my daughters. 

Today I pondered Ellie's delight on her last carousel ride.  And I said a little prayer of gratitude for carousels - because they make me feel like the best mother in the world.

May 10, 2012

The Beat Goes On

My heart is often heavy and my feelings very raw.  Memories of my mom surface at rather inopportune moments.  But there are days in a row when things feel very normal.  Yes, life goes on.  There has been a lot of life happening around here in the last month.
Ellie got her first haircut.
Wren discovered her feet and is still super cute.
There were good evening kisses.
And good times in the dirt.
 Climbing trees with her best friend.
Spending time with my rock of a husband.
We've had some really great dates.
Wandering in Central Park.
Eating Dinosaur BBQ.
Listening to the Philharmonic at Lincoln Center.
Finding beauty in surprising places.
So many times I have thought to myself,
It is good to be alive.
So very very good.