Friday, August 19, 2011

Eight is Great

My darling, powerhouse of a first born daughter, Sophie, turned eight years old this month.  To quote her card, “Eight is great!”  It really is.  She is the epitome of girl power self confidence.  School is an amazing place and math is not intimidating but an exciting challenge.  She rides a bike with no hands, and when she grows up she wants to be a basketball player and go to graduate school.   I want to preserve this moment in time for her – before girls become catty and she thinks her butt is too big and she still thinks that I am cool and beautiful and I have the answers to her all of her questions.

Since her first birthday, I have always felt that it was a very important day for ME.  I gave birth.  I experienced a life changing and defining moment.  My soul and girl parts will never be the same again. Sophie was just there – she has no recollection of her birth-day, but I surely do.   

 Until this year.  Something shifted inside of me.   I was able to look at her, not as my daughter that I can lay claim to and think, “Look at what I did today!” But as Sophie - an energetic eight year old girl who is excited about her birthday, a special day just for her. 

It has taken me eight years to understand that Sophie’s birthday is about her.  It is not about what I experienced that day.  It is all about celebrating Sophie.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Writer's Block

I love the season of summer.  I love all things beachy, chloriney and sandy. I don’t mind being sweaty and hot and I dream about the summer in the dead of winter.   If I didn’t have to do the dishes and make three meals a day, I could write a book of sonnets professing my undying love for the fleeting season of summer.  Since June, I think we have consisted on a diet of hot dogs, ice cream and Fritos. 

But I have come to realize something – the summer wreaks havoc on my creative life.  When the girls were in school and I was working part time, I settled into the best writing groove I have had for years. I wasn’t a prolific writer by any stretch.   I wasn’t following the Artist’s Way and writing three pages upon waking and then settling into a thousand words a-day by noon rhythm,  But for the first time in years I could write a few times each week  – by myself.   I didn’t have to feel pointlessly guilty by plopping them in front of a show or feel drained by trying to write at 10 pm after a full day.  It was decadent to write at ten in the morning without a child in sight.   Sadly at the zenith of summer, I have come to realize that  I have barely written in the past five weeks.  My last post was in June.  My journal has cobwebs. 

I try with all my might to not complain about the stretch of summer vacation for the girls.  I don’t want to be that hag mother at the pool bitching about the heat and rolling her eyes when her kids ask for another snack, asking out loud to all the mommies at the pool, “How many more days until school starts?” 
 Although, how can any person not get a little nuts.  Sophie, Katie and I spend fourteen waking hours with each other, every single day.

I fear that I am becoming dangerously close to being that crazy lady.  I already had a moment last week in the frozen food isle of the supermarket, where the girls were pecking me endlessly with, “Mommy, mommy, mommy.  I want Coco Puffs.   Mommy, Mommy, mommy.  I want to push the cart.  Mommy, mommy, do you need any tampons?  Mommy, mommy…”  I stopped my full grocery cart next to the Hot Pockets.  I took a deep breath and closed my eyes, and said, out loud, “Dear, sweet baby Jesus and Mother Mary.  Please give me the strength with these children.  Give me guidance Mary.   Help me have patience with these creatures, so they understand that I am human, and not a machine and I will not get them Coco Puffs.  Help me get to the checkout line.  Help me not leave my children at the Market Basket.  Thank you Jesus.” 

I called the babysitter.  She is playing Uno with my girls right now.