While They Are Sleeping

We tiptoe into their rooms in the middle of the night, to watch their chests rise and fall, to study their juicy lips, to see what toy or doll they are clutching, to inhale their scent and listen to each breath.  We imagine their dreams and sneak in one last goodnight kiss.

We stand over their beds to glimpse at our most beautiful illustrations of peace and grace.

When they sleep, we can still see the baby in them.

I wonder if the peaking will ever end?

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#SandyVolunteer

The sorts of things that I have scheduled to share in this space all feel so petty in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.  The enormity of the devastation and desperation is truly mind-blowing, and now, the threat of a nor’easter is on the way.  So many people have generously come together to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy, but there is still more work to be done.  Solid up to date information is coming out of the Occupy Sandy Relief effort website (also on twitter @OccupySandy and on facebook), and under the twitter hashtags #SandyVolunteer, #OWS, and #NotAnotherKatrina).  Necessary items can even be purchased via the Occupy Sandy’s wedding registry on Amazon.  I’m not sharing this to make folks feel like their efforts are not enough, I’m simply encouraging involvement.  It is greatly needed.

Toy Houses lined up amidst burnt down houses and debris, Breezy Point, NY.  Photo via friend Brain Isaacs.

In Gratitude,
Monica

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In Gratitude

With hearts full of gratitude, we slow down the pace and return to a simpler life.  We build block castles and blanket forts. We enjoy tea parties and tell stories.

Most importantly, we count our blessing and name them one by one.

Our present thoughts are with all those devastated by Hurricane Sandy.

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The Migraine

I write from my heart.  I share glimpses of our lives that I want to encapsulate.  Memories that I hope to recall through photos and words when my mind fails in the accuracy of precious details.  I imagine that some may perceive my perspective as comparable to my heart birthing a procession of baby unicorns, releasing magical balloons, rainbows and buckets of glitter onto the earth – as baby cherubs join in song.

The thing is, in every single day, there are moments of  stark beauty and  joy.  Those visions are what I am compelled to write about. Each blessing worthy of documenting moment by moment.  I attend my daily mistakes, olympic level bambino meltdowns and struggles of motherhood in other ways.  I consult a steadfast friend and move on.  I don’t usually care to spend my time penning them here. The joys I see are what get me through the days, and are just as much a component of my journey as are the heaver aspects of life and mothering.  But those blissful, star-filled, simple moments- well those are what I choose to hang on to. I am finally comfortable enough to say, that is just who I am.

Recently, something has been stopping me in my tracks. 

I am a migraine sufferer.  In between the stories I share I am frequently bedridden for two days, violently vomiting and struggling to put myself back together piece by piece.  My migraines (first triggered in pregnancy) are not something that I can just plow through as they leave me completely incapacitated, and lately I have been struggling with managing them more than ever.  Every month I look at the calendar afraid of what I am going to miss; fearful of the business that I will mess up for my husband and the burden of him having to do it all; terrified of not being there for my children.  The avenues that used to help wax and wane now.  The drugs aren’t always effective, and my monthly IV magnesium infusions don’t seem to offer what they once did.

Thankfully, I was present for Lucia’s first day of Kindergarten. I did miss her second, her first full day of school.  Her first day of lining up in the school yard with all the other grades in the morning.  Her visible disappointment masked in bravery for her mama was heartbreaking to witness as a mother. It was hard not to succumb to feeling of ” I let her down”, when I was still ill the following day and couldn’t attend her friends rainbow birthday party as promised. 

I am not sharing this struggle to cue the violins or inspire a collective pity party.  I am fortunate and lessons gleaned from my struggles are worthy of documenting and remembering.

Upon recovering from a migraine and its hangover,  I always experience a profound level of gratitude- rooted in the very core of my being, vibrating through ever inch of my soul.  A depth of gratitude that moves me to tears as I walk down the street, push a stroller, or simply am present with my family because I am well enough to do so.  I always tell my daughter, “mama will get better” and the thing is, I do.   I am cognizant of the fact that for some, however, that is not the case.  I always have the opportunity to get better, and I have learned to be so thankful for that.  The heavy roads that many families must endure, continually make me think: it was just a migraine.  

I am digging deep to experience that true sense of gratitude without being first knocked down.  I want to live each day in absolute appreciation for all that I have.  I don’t want these moments of extreme clarity to appear only after being debilitated.

My four year old daughter helped me to realize recently that our lives are an aggregate of trillions of moments.  I am not defined by worst days, my less than stellar parenting moments, nor my migraines.  My family is not only hanging onto my days missed and I choose to believe in the opportunity that each new day brings.  I am thankful for the total summation of the many moments that comprise our lives. The hardships that are counteracted by glimmering moments of living room dance performances, blanket forts, braiding hair, tucking love notes into lunch boxes, sewing projects, wild imaginations, baking cookies, family dance time, saying yes, messy art, singing in the car, fierce creativity, partnership in marriage, giggles, early morning family snuggles, wallowing in silly, taking chances, the I love you’s, and I’m sorry’s.   Ferocious love.

The whole enchilada. 

My daughter asked me questions about my sickness last week, but she spoke more of the magnificent rainbow party that she attended.

I am determined to fight as hard as I can to manage my migraines and live in the level of gratitude that they have given me.  I am also going to follow my babies perspective because they speak of the rainbows. 

They remember the rainbows- and I try my damnedest to capture them here. 

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Inspiration

It is found in the simple pleasures that fill our days and the little things that bring such joy, like trips to “the machine” to collect a trinket.

I feel it deeply as I watch her by the ocean; where she is so free and full of four-year-old wonder.  I see her chase seagulls, dance and squeal, and remind myself to accept her fiery spirit and growing independence.

It is abundant in the strength within family, as my brother has moved close and my children have another present positive role model.

It exists within the noise and the chaos – when I am willing to step back and identify the moments among the scattered trains and princesses – that always make this journey so incredibly worth it all.

Inspiration even seeps through the mundane and ordinary, and grabs my attention during moments like these:

It drives me to be better – as moments of clarity and gratitude make time stand still.  It is what urges me to hold tight to all of it. 

It is what compels me to place it here.

 

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Tiny Healers

Maybe it was the walk home from the gym in the pouring rain.  Perhaps it was a symptom of consistently staying up way too late.  Whatever it was, I couldn’t quite identify the root cause.

I was feeling blue today. 

Adrian’s nap-time transitioned into family snuggles with mama bear.  I think my littlest cub dozed off again, and we all stuck together, intertwined like a family pretzel.  As I felt the warmth of precious young skin beside me, I was mended in ways that I didn’t quite know needed repair.

Reminding me that right now is perfect.

Showing me that I am profoundly blessed.

Leaving me open to clearly see the gifts surrounding me.

Tiny healers. Thank you.

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