Thursday, January 26, 2012

recovering

Well, I didn't really intend to take two weeks off from writing here, but life just happens without asking, I suppose. First we all came down with colds, then we took a day or two to catch up on life, then Lena had several last-minute auditions which had us running all over town for two days, then I had a spectacular birthday weekend, and then - the best part of all - we came down with colds again. Or maybe a little flu. At any rate, I'm the last to recover, and as you can imagine there's a pile of work and bills sitting next to me now, demanding my attention. What I'd prefer to do is spend the day writing my now overdue birthday post, or writing about how embarrassed I still am for losing it the other night and bursting into tears in front of my family over a set of bedsheets, and then I'd like to maybe loll on the sofa and watch Downton Abbey for the rest of the day until I have to make myself presentable enough to go pick up the girls from preschool. But instead I'm going to deal with the bills, dive into font files and stationery layouts, and maybe I'll hassle you more with my life tomorrow. Every day I don't write here, I miss it terribly. We just need a little bit more recovery time, I think. Be back soon.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

separation anxiety

Tuesday morning, last week, was the first day.  Jimmy rolled out of bed to set Evie up on the sofa with a blankie, a warm bottle, and Sesame Street, while I holed up in the cold bathroom to brush my teeth and wash my face, squinting into the mirror to see that my eyes were much too tired and raw for contacts.  I scooped Lena out of her warm little nest where she was snuggled up like a baby, knees tucked under belly, and snuggled her onto the sofa with Evie so they could share the blanket.  Lena sighed discontentedly a blinked at the TV, cuddled the blanket around her, and shut her eyes again.

I dressed while Jimmy fixed breakfasts and packed lunches, and then we dressed the girls together.  And Little Miss Eve Adele became ECSTATIC.  That kid had spent that last three months begging us to send her to school.  When Lena got dressed, she would run to their room, grab a handful of whatever clothes she could reach, and run back to us, frantically patting and grabbing at her jammies, asking to be dressed, too.  When Lena brushed her teeth, Evie hurried to brush hers.  Lena put her shoes on, and so did Evie.  And then Evie would stand by the front door, holding Lena's lunchbox, waiting.

The big rolling tears and fat lower lip that inevitably followed when she was left behind each morning broke my heart every day.  She'd spend the rest of the morning asking to go to school, too, pointing at the door with one chubby hand, rubbing circles on her chest with the other to sign "please," and even saying the word over and over:  "peeeehs?  peeeeehs??  peeeeehs??"

Once at the preschool she wouldn't let go of her lunchbox, she was so proud, but she barely looked at me when I said goodbye to her, either.  And she did great!  In fact, when we picked her up early - because they preferred us to get her early on her first day - she was busy being offended that all the other babies were getting to take naps and where exactly was HER mat and HER blankie, hmm?  She was happy to see us, but I think it was more excitement about sharing her day at school than anything else.  There was no napping to be had at all that afternoon; instead she bounced all over the house and tried to hang onto her lunchbox at all times.  So stinking cute, that kid.

On Thursday we let her stay the whole day, and Jimmy went back to work.  Man, did I miss my baby girl.  I missed both of my girls, and I felt like I was floating all day in the empty house, fighting to remember what it is that anchors me through the day, wandering without a purpose.  I cleaned out my inbox, straightened the house, did the laundry.  I edited our December photos, scheduled doctor's appointments, updated my resume.  I read.  Sorted the girls' art bin.  Made dinner.  I missed my girls.

I'm pretty sure that after a month of this, my list of things-to-do will be empty.  The list that has quite honestly plagued me for a good four years, now, will be complete.  The floating feeling is beginning to follow me out of the house, now.  Exhilarating?  Yes.  Also:  terrifying.  Absolutely bloody terrifying.

And then there was Friday.  On Friday, Evie had changed her mind, and wasn't so sure about this school business.  She fussed a little, and cried when I left, but they had her more or less calmed down by the time the door was shutting behind me.  And then there was today.  Today, Evie woke up excited about school, but as soon as I pulled into the parking lot she burst into tears, and that was that.  She was velcro baby for a good twenty minutes, and when I managed to finally sneak out to drop Lena off at her class, Lena decided that she didn't want me to leave, either.  So now that's two crying babies I've left at school today.

Parenting is fun.  Fun in a wear-your-nerves-to-the-point-of-turning-you-into-a-cartoon-version-of-the-frazzled-mom when they're around, and rip-your-heart-out-and-tie-it-to-the-bumper-of-a-cross-country-greyhound-bus when you have to kiss them goodbye - even if only for a couple of hours - kind of way.  Heaven help me. Tell me I can do this?

Friday, January 6, 2012

reading

"With so many trees in the city, you could see the spring coming each day until a night of warm wind would bring it suddenly in one morning.  Sometimes the heavy cold rains would beat it back so that it would seem that it would never come and that you were losing a season out of your life.  This was the only truly sad time in Paris because it was unnatural.  You expected to be sad in the fall.  Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintry light.  But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen.  When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person had died for no reason."

Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

Thursday, January 5, 2012

favorite new year's posts

While I am busy adjusting my brain and my heart to having both of my girls in school today, I thought I'd share with you a few of my favorite New Year's blog posts.  I found each of these to be so inspiring, each in their own way.  Hope you enjoy, and please, feel free to link to your own favorite New Year's inspiration in the comments.

* Mary at finding magnolia just offers up a quote, but it's stuck with me since reading it.
* A practical take from guest author Jeff Goins at Zen Habits on changing your life without setting goals.
* Christina at my topography on flourishing.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

January in Los Angeles

I don't really like to brag about our weather here in LA in the winter.  The truth is, I miss snow terribly, as much as I miss the first warm breeze in spring, the perfection of the autumn cold snap, and watching the trees turn from black barren to that decadent lush green that rolls in restful waves against the blue skies and puffy white cumulus clouds of May and June.

Sorry.  I get carried away.

I prefer to brag about our weather during the summer, which, though still too hot for my taste, is still mightily cooler than the humid mess back home in the Midwest.  We even catch an ocean breeze here and there, despite being five miles inland from the Pacific.  That's when I like to brag.

That said, today is a beautiful day.  Seventy-seven degrees and clear skies, and I even caught sight of the huge jade plant in the front yard blooming and buzzing with a dozen bees.

It's not the peaceful snow-blanketed January of my dreams, but I'll certainly take it.  Happy Wednesday from Los Angeles.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Here we go

The new year might have begun on Sunday, but we're still luxuriating in winter break around here. Jimmy's hiatus ran a bit longer than usual, and the girls' preschool schedule is a little erratic at the moment.  I don't think we'll really be back on schedule until Thursday, with Jimmy back at work, the girls both at school all day, and me at home doing...

...doing I have no idea what.  I don't even know how to finish that sentence.  I have a good long list of freelance work to be done, calls to be made, things to take care of around the house; but that's normal.  Now, for the first time, the girls are both going to be in school for three full days a week.  Three whole days a week without two toddlers around the house.  I'll probably finish half of my list on the first day, and the other half on the second.  I'm nearly giddy with excitement, except that I am equally as terrified. What on earth am I going to do? I haven't had this much time to myself in over four years, and I'm not sure I remember how to deal with it.  I'm going to miss my girls, and the house is going to feel so empty.  While I have more than enough things to do with my time - housework, freelance work, lunching on the beach just because I can, filing all of last year's bills - something about the prospect of actually having that uninterrupted time to do these things is completely bewildering.

This, combined with how I'm still learning who I am with a little better living through chemistry, makes for such an incredible shot at the new year, I know.   I'm doing better than ever, and I have some energy and motivation, too, sensations so new that they still catch me by surprise eighteen times a day. Now I'll also have some time to explore the possibilities of....well, the possibilities of who I can be.  And man, I barely know what that means, but I do know how lucky I am, on so many counts.   To be feeling so good at last, to be able to send the girls to preschool, to be able to take some time to figure myself out.  It's not completely easy - part of figuring myself out is going to NEED to include figuring out how to pick up more freelance work, or figure out if I need to go back to work full time, because goodness knows preschool isn't cheap.  But still, I know, lucky.  Blessed.  This wouldn't be happening without Jimmy, either, the most encouraging, supportive, and patient husband.  And I'll never be able to thank him enough.

So my New Year's goals are a little different this year.   I want to work on so many things, to change so many things about myself, to improve our lives as a family. But I'm afraid to put on too much pressure, or to be too specific.  2012 looks to be a year of options, of possibilities, and maybe real change for our family.  I want to get it right.


My 2012 goals:

*eat healthy - I'm eating somewhat of a more paleo-style diet now, most of the time. Mostly paleo most of the time. So far, so good, and I can already feel the difference.   I've done this before, so I know what I'm getting into, and I also know this way of eating works so well for me.
*be active - walk the girls to school more often, get out of the house, see the sun occasionally. I'd like to be able to bike to the beach before summer is over.
*be frugal - spend less on food, spend less on spoiling the girls. These are tough goals for us, but boy does it ever need to happen.
*finish the baby books.
*learn to play my amazing Christmas present, even if I only manage the two songs I'm fumbling through now - Skinny Love and Hallelujah.
*write.  write here, and write often.
*freelance more. Or go back to work full-time. Or go back to work part-time, and also freelance. Or have a dozen more babies and afford them all by moving to a farm and living off the land. That would work, right?
*listen to much more music.

That list might look painfully normal to you, but it looks painfully amazing to me.  Maybe because this year I feel like I can actually successfully accomplish every goal.  Or maybe because there's that goal I can't really articulate properly, so it isn't on the list - the one about giving myself room to figure myself out.  I don't know that "figuring myself out" is something I can accomplish, but I really do like the part about "giving myself room."  It sounds too good, and I'm almost too afraid to get started.  And yet, here we go.  Ready or not.