1.30.2009

Poetry to Me: Hey Old Friend, Can I Crash on Your Couch?

Once upon a time, I held pen to paper and symphonies played through my mind.

Long, long ago, words and I danced, laughed, mingled and frolicked aimlessly, instead of on deadline, with purpose.

Those days, things were different. I was different. It seems that, in at least some fashion, the old sayings are true: happy writers are poor writers. Writers without muse are reporters. (Ok fine, I just made those sayings up).

I put down my pen years ago. It all stopped. Almost cold turkey. Suddenly, Poetry moved to another universe and became that pen pal I always aspired to write to with great enthusiasm and exciting news of the day...but sooner than later, days became weeks, weeks became months, months became years, and... well, we all know that the more time that passes, the harder it is to write to that old friend. Yet it also mattered less, since poetry was a passion that suddenly became a memory that faded without feeling. How could I miss it when I hardly realized it was no longer there? Without reason, without warning, POOF! All gone.

Then just as suddenly, BAM! Hello, old friend! Poetry SLAMS down its suitcases on my doorstep, pressing the doorbell again and again, with the hyper enthusiasm of a child who finally, FINALLY is able to reach the doorbell without being lifted. I open the door barefoot, ready to point to my "No Soliciting" sign, to be silenced into a smile at the sight of Poetry's tattered and worn baggage marked with "Heavy" stickers on the sides, overflowing with years of experiences, knowledge gained and lost, emotions, and stories to tell... Oh the stories to tell! And could we please, pretty please, sit down and hash it all out and catch up over a cup of coffee or maybe a few thousand cups? Hmm?

Oh, Poetry. I welcome you, sweet childhood pal, back into my life. I relish seeing your old face (you haven't aged a bit, by the way, lucky fool!), touching the magic in the folds of your meanings, playing impishly in the fancied sunlight of your alliteration once again.

As a good friend, I haven't questioned why Poetry has returned after such a long, long absence. Perhaps it has committed crimes, broken hearts, healed wounds for countless others who appreciated it's beauty and relevance more so than I would have these past years. I welcome my oldest, dearest friend into this house with the most loving, crushing of hugs, promise to put on a cup of coffee, and shut the door quickly, before it realizes that perhaps I am not the most worthy of its friends to visit and tries to escape once again.

I am hoping this time, Poetry decides to stay. I care not where it's been, why it left, or what it's been doing all this time. I only care that it is here, for me to nurture and to completely lose myself to once again.

1.10.2009

Falling In Love All Over Again...with The Kidlets

There's something maddening about being stuck indoors for days on end with your kids in a snowstorm over the holidays. Something completely maddening and yet freeing and unbelievably beautiful all at the same time. Now that my family has settled into my son's first week back at school, my husband is back to his work routine, and I'm off and running with a new work/play schedule, I am glad that we had the time over the holidays to be free of rigid structure, constant obligation. I have always loved my two kidlets more than the moon, but something magical happened over the holidays: I fell in love with them all over again, as they are now and in the present. I saw them -- truly saw all of their lovely individual personality quirks and needs -- and just fell madly in love with them for being who they are. I would never change a single thing about either of them.

My kids have always had their own differing personalities. One has always been outgoing, constantly happy, fearless, and easy to adapt to new places, people and has had no problem ever breaking from routine. The other has always been cautious, skeptical, sound sensitive, anxious in social settings and whose happiness has been bound by exactness and routine. One loves to eat, the other doesn't. One had constant sleep issues from the very beginning, while the other quite enjoys naps and sleeping soundly through the night. Sure, they have many similarities --both love music, have a quirky sense of humor, and enjoy a good game of tag-- but as we all grow up together, I am trying my best to appreciate and nurture their individual needs at the same time. It can be challenging, since their needs often conflict with one another, but I'm really trying to listen to them more, to hear what their actions and cries are trying to tell me. And I'm trying to stop... stop whatever it is I am doing, stop always running, stop being in a hurry, stop doing and just being, so that ...

oh look! Neil Patrick Harris is hosting SNL tonight! Love him! Sadly, I am not his type. Ah well.

Anyway, where was I... ;-) See this is what mothering does. We do a million things at the same time, that our thoughts can't keep up. No wonder our kids think we're nuts -- we are! And I try, I really try not to let my mind be taken over my a million different thoughts and obligations when my kids need me. But the reality is, there are always a million different obligations that don't stop when our kids need us. What I am trying to remember is that I can't stop the obligations, but I can stop myself. I control the time I spend with my kids, and when I'm there, really there listening to their individual cries and needs, I not only fall in love with them all over again, but I'm allowing them to sort of fall in love again with me. Sure, I am their mother, but they are under no obligation to love me, and I don't take that for granted one second. I need to earn their love and respect too. In this respect, Carol Brady had it all wrong: I can't possibly love them all the same, because they are not the same. I need to love them as they each need and want to be loved, and only then can they begin to love and respect me back.

So that's what I've been trying to work on more and more each day: learning to nurture, love, respect and respond to my kids' very individual needs with all that I can give, fully in the moment. I can't say I am 100% successful at this, but man, this feeling of falling in love all over again with my kids? It's intense. It's addictive. It's the greatest high I've ever had (college friends need not comment on this please). And I will do anything to keep this mad love coming back in such a rush day in, day out.