Thursday, May 28, 2009

The laws of physics and of hearts

Long ago, I discovered a playground secret that, at the time, thrilled and baffled me. When I would push my little daughters on the swings, they would inevitably stray from their straight trajectory and sway crookedly toward the side bar. The cheaper the swingset, the more frequently this would happen. I would try to wiggle them over to the other side by pushing in the opposite way. Instead of compensating for the crookedness the way I foresaw it, this would only cause them to swerve further into their crooked path, and then they would swing in a wild loop. Quite by accident, I started pushing them in the direction they were going. I thought that would produce the same effect as pushing them in the opposite direction...that they would swing wildly. But they didn't. The swing straightened, and they would be able to gain their balance and start pumping with their legs again, and climb higher and far.
How many time in parenting do we "swing" our children the opposite way? Instead of honoring their impulses, listening to the feelings, and showing them the way, we start to oppose. And opposition begets opposition. Instead, we can swing with them by gently redirecting their impulses, deflecting their anger with humor, quieting our own anger and triggers, letting them fly free even as we welcome them with open arms. We are the one guiding and pushing, gently keeping them on the straight path.
My oldest teenager has always been a mystery to me. I am in awe of her talent, completely convinced she has things to bring to this world, and think she is a beauty. But she carries more of my ex-husband in her than I like...his quick temper, his negativity, and his sure criticism. Often I am the target, and I long for true connection with her, which I believe cannot happen from a place of criticism. This has been a real challenge for love her as she figures out which parts of her parents she wants to keep, and which she wants to change. Swinging with her has not been easy, for she keeps jumping off the swing, and that is what she is supposed to do.
I must be content with the few moments of connection we do have, and allow her space to grow.
It is so very hard to let her go....

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

this is more like tiwttering, I know

But I had to share the headlines I've seen this week on AOL.
-A man threatening suicide was given a little help in the decision department by a passerby who pushed him off the bridge (the man lived)
-a woman woke from her coma singing ABBA (wonder which song? Take a Chance on Me?)
-a couple accidentally got 6 million dollars transferred into their bank account. They can't be found. (sweet! this sounds like Hollywood pickins)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Muffin Madness

Ok, today is more of a confession of how corny things get. You know, all that sitting and breastfeeding and thinking again. Thinking up muffin names. Today it was:
My Maddie said, "Piss uv?" I had to correct her. And, I added that it could be, technically, "piss orf" since I used Rice Flour and it would sound like you have a cockney accent. Like Eliza Doolittle.
Next up: Banana Apple Date And Sunflower Seed. Hot!
Yes, I walk around my kitchen throwing stuff into muffins based on the first letter of their name.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Creating does not equal producing

My husband is one of the most creative people I know. I have probably said that before, but it is true. Now, what is interesting about that remark is that he doesn't sing, play an instrument, make anything, or write anything. He reads a lot and is a teacher and a healer. His creativity comes from the way he sees things...he completely gets parenting creatively...having a story in the moment, looking at things from all sides.
I was contemplating this the other day when the weight of my ideas forced down the joy of creating. You know, when you have so many wonderful ideas and not enough time to execute them. I keep telling myself that I'm in a baby year, that time will come, that I need to re-prioritize, that sitting and nursing means sitting and thinking...dreaming...planning. And I get the feeling that happens when Davis latches on, my milk lets down, and then he is distracted and has to flirt with someone else: all dressed up and nowhere to go. What I have to remind myself is that creating does not mean producing. The creative process demands that we not haphazardly regurgitate, but that we incubate. The product of our inventiveness, the gift of our process, the ideas held dearly and allowed to be birthed slowly....
Only then can we come to terms of the truth of who we are, and then that is joyfully expressed.
This is apparently such a struggle for me since I've blogged about it before. I think it is the struggle of every spring, indeed, of every woman. We are given a natural, bodily cycle of is in our very bodies to bear the rhythm of life.
Of course, this all ties into what the next phase of my life is going to be, what this blog is going to be. I had visions of all the art I would make to put on this blog. I was going to be so prolific. But that kind of self-deception gets addictive, and consequently, old...real fast. I don't need any more reasons to doubt myself. I simply need to be in the moment.
Thank you for reading these thoughts. They are written very much like a journal, and I don't fuss over it too much. I do enjoy reading your blogs too, and it gives me hope to have those connections.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


I've been quietly nurturing some seeds inside of me...some ideas that have formed and are ready to come to fruition...some decisions to be made about life purpose...some spiritual longings about to be met. I'll probably be quiet here....I want to involve myself in more living things and be away from the computer for awhile.
Stay posted though...I won't leave completely.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Our Derby part 1

Our Derby celebrating began with an art fair. This was the most amusing sight....obviously his wife's booth. Then, a few days later....what's this? A picnic, you say?
No! Painting....outside....making our own Derby posters. Inspired by the book Kids Play, by Michele Cassou, we used inexpensive tempera on big construction paper.

Our Derby part 2

A picture of Davis just for fun...he loves to snuggle in this now. By the way, I have to put in a plug for making your own. Folks, this is just 5 yards of organic cotton stretch fabric (purchased here). I went and browsed YouTube until I found out how to fold the thing. It's been our best friend since.
Back to the painting...I was apparently channeling scrambled eggs in my painting. I did manage to paint some horses too...wild, Peter Max-style horses. I just love the idea of wild horses.
And then here they are...all my children. Maddie (14 and 6') is on the left, Brianna (17 and 5'10") on the right, little Serena (5) and Baby Davis (5 months) in front.
And another Davis picture. He turned 5 months old Saturday and can roll all the way over, looks at his hands, and puts his toes in his mouth. He is heartbreakingly sweet and would make anyone want thousands of children. Even with the lack of sleep.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


When I began my parenting journey nearly 18 years ago, I was in the midst of holding on to childhood wounds and had complete certainty that I would irrevocably damage my offspring. When I held the child of my dreams in my arms, I had no clue what to do. I really set out on the craggy path of mothering wearing flip flops when what I needed to wear were sturdy boots, metaphorically speaking. In my heart, I loved this child, and had such fear of the journey. She cried, I cried, and slowly...painfully so...we began to unfold. And you know what happened? Healing began. I set out to heal her, but in the end, it was not my job to do that. She was born whole. She chose me in all my faults, childhood wounds and all. She chose the whole package...the divorce, the move, the fights, the chaos, the eventual return to sanity in our lives. Indeed, by parenting my children, by caring about what kind of people they become, I must ultimately care for striving to be the best I am. I am healing myself. This is not a selfish wish. This is simply what being human is: living in such a way to be an example to our children.
I am not proud of the mother I have always been. Each child has gotten a different mother as I have grown and become who I am. I was a young 23 when I started out. Now, at 40 I am so incredibly grateful for the gift of children and still humbled by what they teach me.
Thanks, Brianna, Madeline, Serena, and Davis. I love you so.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Peaceful Parenting

He came running through the house, when she sat down. Crawling under, for the best spot, he'd roll onto his back, clutching a toy, looking at it as he listened. And the music would come. He would lay on his back for what seemed hours as she played, her music a tumbling brook. When he was no longer 3 years old, songs tumbled from his own guitar; his passion for music had been solidified by the hours spent on his back under his mother's grand piano.
My friend Wade is incredibly lucky to have those memories. I think of him when I spin, and my own children become mesmerized by the gentle rhythm of the spinning wheel. I lay my baby down and he will watch the whirring wheel, allowing his tired mother an indulgence in her own reverie. Serena will come and help my fingers guide the wool or guide my foot by placing her foot on mine to take a "ride". My breathing slows and my hands are busy. Boredom, that plateau between anxiety and peace, comes to help me settle. Worries and woes alike are spun up into a continuous thread, a beautiful reminder of the thread that joins us all...that lines connect our grief to our bliss....that chaos always makes its way back to order. There is peace without and within.

And then a sound pierces the silence that makes the baby cry and the 5-year-old cover her ears, and makes the 17-year-old and the 14-year-old forget they HAVE ears. A sound,(well, more like a shriek) with power I didn't know I had but apparently acquired because of years of voice lessons: "QUIT FIGHTING WITH YOUR SISTER!! FINISH YOUR CHORES!!! DID YOU GET YOUR HOMEWORK DONE????"

Ok, back to the spinning wheel....peaceful thoughts coming freely...
See? This is rhythm. In, out, in, out...breathe.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

saturday shows

Come see me spin this Saturday...first at the Norton Commons Farmer's Market, and then, later in the afternoon, at the Captain's Quarters for Art on the River.