Woman, sixty, and still trying to get it right. Stumbling the path toward the Divine. Discussing things like grandparenting, Waldorf education, child development, nature, human awareness, empty-nesting, breast cancer, and knitting luscious things once in awhile.
Twenty five years ago today my second son was born. And I'll say it again. I'll say it ad nauseum: all 14.2 pounds of him. Nope. Not diabetic. Nope. Only eight days overdue. Nope. It was a C-section (although I labored until transition when my body pulled the reins on itself and told me this bad boy had to be cherry picked outta my belly.) He has held a big spot in this world ever since. He is an amazing one. Artistic beyond belief. He is a paradox. The most sensitive choleric I've ever known. He was an exhausting child...but so full of joy he lit the world. Playful, inquisitive, imaginative, enthusiastic. A kid lookin for trouble. Or not. But always finding it and bringing it home. His thousand watt smile is first to appear in my mind's eye when his name manifests.
I love this man/boy so very much. I miss him tonight. Happy birthday Al Bill.
Initially this little thief had me grumbling. But now I'm getting to know his personality and he makes me laugh. A couple times a day he gets into my bird feeder right outside my front door. And when I let Twyla out to go potty he runs along the fence and sits up on the back garage stairs and cusses us out it the biggest way!
Camille called me on Saturday and said, "Mom, something really horrible has happened."
Haley Gans, the 14 year old little sister of Camille's high school classmate, Rebekah, left the world Friday morning, after a tragic ski accident in Colorado. A promising skater, experienced skier, wearing a helmet, gleefully enjoying the opening of ski season at Breckenridge.
I'm trying not to ask, "WHY?????" and accept the unknown reason, far greater than I.
Please light a candle and say a prayer for this beautiful, joyful child gone too soon...and her family.
How many birthday parties has a mother of five children thrown over the last 39 years? Let's see if I can remember Brooke's anyway...
One: Huge family party in our tiny little apartment in San Mateo. Balloons, cake, gifts galore. Who was there that might be reading this? Well, Brooke, of course. Mike. Susan. Jami. Diane. Alice. Wendy. Larry. Robin. Erika. Nicole. I remember her birthday dress. I think she has it now...
Two: A party in the party room in Nanny and papa's apartment building on Burlingame Avenue. Mostly mamas and babies. I made each child a clown bib to wear. Wendy. Alice. Jami. Erika. Nicole. Robin. That night we drove to Nanny and Papa's place in tahoe with friends for a weekend of snow play.
Three: A costume pizza party at the local pizza place on Burlingame Avenue. A Round Table, I think. Brookie was a clown. Brooke and her daddy. Wendy. Alice. Jami. Erika. Nicole. Robin.
Four: A great family and friend party in our little duplex near the railroad tracks in San Bruno. The usual crowd but now add Shannon and Danielle!
Five: Yep. A regular kid's birthday party again, but now we are inviting school chums from Kindergarten. (Same house in San Bruno, believe it or not!)
Six: A small gathering of little friends around our round kitchen table on Hobart Street in San Mateo. Now add in Lake.
Seven: I remember your First Holy Communion, but not your bday!
Eight: Hot chocolate and donuts to her classroom on a cold November morning in Mountain View. And then her best friend from kindergarten, Gwen, came for a slumber party weekend with Brooke since we had moved away.
Nine: We were in Nevada City and Brooke attended the home birth of her cousin, Anya, who turned 30 yesterday. She awoke to a rich, red placenta in the freezer when she poked her head in! In hindsight, Brooke became one of the women of our tribe during her nine year change. Cousin Diane had a beautiful fresh peach and whipped cream cake for Brookie.
Ten: Living in Sonoma now. A surprise slumber party with a visiting magician. Zak you are at this party too!
Eleven: A trip to San Francisco with Deanna for hot fudge sundaes at the Ghiradelli Chocolate Factory. Brooke go sick on the way home and barfed mint chocolate green all over the lamp post on Lombard Street.
Thirteen: Junior High. First boy/girl party! The details are foggy. Probably unconsciously by choice. But Rog and I were very aware chaperones, but inconspicuously in the back room and someone's mom came ranting down the hall at us. Was that what's her name that works at Freidmans Lumber now and absolutely loves our family?
Fourteen: I know Alex was invited to this one.
Sixteen: Sunday afternoon Sweet Sixteen party. Family. Friends. Boyfriend much too old for Brooke. Champagne toast. Luncheon.
Seventeen: Brooke wins a beauty pageant today. She is lovely, poised and sincere. I couldn't be more proud of who she is, inside and out.
Eighteen: Brooke is away at UCSB. I make the road trip down the coast to Santa Barbara to wish her a happy birthday. I don't think it was on the actual day. Six week old Camille comes along with her brothers and I, and wishes her a happy birthday too!
OK...not perfect, but not bad for a mama who has celebrated a total of 149 birthdays with her children over the last 39 years. Can anyone fill in the blanks here? Brookie? I know there had to be a roller skating party and slumber parties in here too.
And last night I spoke with her little six year old son on the telephone, and he told me so fast and excitedly all about the balloons and chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches and gifts and cards they surprised their mama with in Vancouver yesterday. I got all misty, and full-up with joy...because of the unbridled joy in his giving, his beauty and sincerity, and because the legacy of celebrating those we love lives on...
I turned 56 yesterday. Welcome dear laugh lines and crinkling/twinkling crow's feet. I love you.
Another good thing about being 56 is daring political correctness to bite me in the ass. Never in a disrespectful way, or regarding hurtful things, but I'm just sayin. I don't worry as much about the things of personal choice that really don't hurt anyone. Like early Christmas decorations for one thing. I'm right there with the nay-sayers when Easter shows up in February, or when you go into Target for a wading pool for the kids and see pumpkins and witches.
But just yesterday we walked into Cost Plus and were surrounded with sights and smells that made my heart sing. Maybe it's because I'm so into handmade gifts and need a jump on the season. Maybe it's because much of my life is viewed through the eyes of children. And maybe it's just because. Because I LOVE CHRISTMAS. Or any of the seasonal fetivals of light for that matter.
With my children, in my home when they were growing up there was a strict rule I followed: no Christmas talk until after November 28, which is son Alex's birthday. We have three November birthdays so the month was dedicated to thoughts and celebrations with a birthday flair. But now that they're grown up I no longer try to contain myself. Plus, since we are currently all so far apart it takes some orchestration of visits and mailed Christmas boxes where visits just can't happen.
But honestly, I know this year will be different. I just know it. Everyone is planning on surprising me with a visit to spend Chrismas together. I just know it. Brooke? Matt? Alex? Zak? Heather? Camille? Sarah? Mike? C'mon. Yesterday was my birthday....
And back to my birthday: it was a wonderfully simple day. Shannon, Isaac, Ike and Fiona took me out to a late lunch, early supper of Indian food. Then we all went to Molly's Cupcakes for decadent cupcakes and lattes. They have board games there, so Ike and Isaac played a couple rounds of Connect Four. Shannon and I just gabbed, coffee ramble style. Then back to their house to open my gifts. Oh. My. Goodness. Ike made me the most beautiful things: Thoughtfully collected leaves, beautiful red and gold leaves, fastened to gnarled sticks. And a drawing of a bear (he knows it is my favorite animal), a purple bear, with little leaves lining his back and his snout that were "the fur". Such beautiful thoughts from a grandson. He could barely contain his joy and pride. He talked about these gifts all day long. But you don't know the best part....when he sat down to create my gifts he couldn't find glue. So, he used blue painter's masking tape! And the hand drawn wrapping paper...with bee and bird, gnome and angel (all the things he knows I love)...and more blue tape.... Happy Saturday everyone! Now I go to knit: Christmas gift.
Oh wait! I want to share with you a little knitting mojo that has been going on. I finished Satchel's Grade One sweater. Pattern: Knitting Pure and Simple's "Children's Tunic Sweater". I revised the hood so it would fit very well. Nothing more frustrating than a skimpy hood that doesn't work. I knitted it out of the same "Dream in Color" washable, hand dyed wool that I made Ike's sweater last year. Colorway: Strange Harvest.
When we were at Ike's school yesterday he was wearing his sweater and his teacher noticed he blended right in with the changing leaves. I noticed that too while knitting both sweaters. It's really a beautifully varigated yarn that doesn't pool or obviously stripe. I absolutely love this yarn for children's garments. And it's local to Chicago and it can be thrown in the washer and the dryer. And while I didn't knit for Temple, I did create a recycled angora capelet with an unconstricting, drapy hood to wear as a "blanket" over everything else on very cold days. Now back to Christmas.