feedin' the chicks.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

now, let me just say,
this is a phrase brian made up,
referring to my little network of girlfriends. . .
some over here, some over there, all of whom i adore individually 
and dedicate myself to as much as possible.
brian calls them, obviously, 'my chicks.'
little groupings of pecking and poking, soft, sweet, yet sassy little things,
wandering in circles, doing their best to find themselves amidst the chaos of their lives,
often (these days, at least,) waiting to be tossed a morsel of peace, sanity, a break.
and who, from brian's perspective, i 'feed.'
i laughed as i listened to him explain what he meant.
like i'm the farmer with the feed.:)
i'm not.  cute analogy though.
but i laugh.
'honey.  that couldn't be further from the truth.  if ANYTHING, 
these chicks feed me.'
they do.  each of them, in their own special way, have a special place,
their own little shelf in my whacked out brain,
that i can stand on tip toes and reach from when i need a hit.
a hit of support, humor, guidance, an ear, a hug.
regardless of how much i try to be a good friend,
i see them as 'the chicks,' these amazing women,
who, FEED.ME.
the one that is the cheerleader you'd want on your squad of life,
ALWAYS positive, loving life, laughing and smiling, no matter what.
a daily dose of good energy and inspiration,
the one full of crass-ness, humor, sarcasm, a potty mouth like me,
the mellow one, calming and patient in voice and spirit but with a strong energy underneath that motivates,
the one you bitch with, cry with, who's more like a sister than a friend.
and this is just a handful.
i haven't even touched on the ones who know you better than you know yourself.
who've put up with your bullshit for a lifetime and love you anyway 
and who you can't imagine your life without, because they're closer than family.
so when i head out for a much needed girls' night or mommy playdate,
brian mumbles, 'feedin' the chicks, feedin' the chicks.'
and i roll my eyes and remember back,
remember after jack was born and i had fully embraced my role as stay-at-home mom,
my dream come true.
and life was peachy, with this healthy little blessing,
in our cozy little apartment.  
just the two of us, while daddy was at work.  i remember thinking, 
'this is all i need.  just you and i.'
and i was happy.  content with this little triangle of love.
but as we all know, life continues to move forward, things change,
and we were blessed with more babies.
i truly did grieve that transition, moving from our little city apartment,
to our own home, where i knew our family would continue to grow and change.
i went back to clean our apartment after we'd moved out,
and BAWLED as i vacuumed the creaky wood floors and dusted the trim in the old drafty rooms.
this is the home we came back to on our wedding night.
this is where we brought our first baby home.
this is where brian and i spent an ENTIRE day in bed when i was pregnant, 
watching 'band of brothers' (greatest movie series ever,) and slurping chicken soup (sick with the worst sinus infection i've ever had.)
all these big and little memories.
and our little uptown minneapolis will FOREVER hold a special place in my heart, as this place,
houses a huge chunk of my life.
but it was time to move on and move forward.
and then more babies.
and more stress.
more chaos.  
and that's when i knew, i'd need something more to survive this.
oh, of course, i had some of my dearest and lifelong friends i could talk to on the phone,
for support,
through the long days of butt wiping, tantrum-taming, temperature-taking.  and i still do.
but we need more.
we women need a PHYSICAL connection with other women. 
we just need someone to sit beside us,
look us in the eye and tell us it'll be ok, that we can do it,
or to offer suggestions over a cup of coffee.
i've tried to explain to brian this connection.
particularly when i was running our cell phone bills through the roof
talking daily to one of my 'sisters.'
'what could you two POSSIBLY be talking about for TWO hours in the middle of the day?'
'i don't know!  girl stuff!  everything!'
'why can't you talk to me about this stuff?!'
and so i did. . .and he was stabbing his ears after the first two minutes of blabbing.
and this is why.  women need other women.
for the things that men aren't good at. . .listening to us foam at the mouth about stupid shit.
but stuff that is REAL for us.
i told two of 'my chicks' once,
that when i see them coming 'round the bend,'
their brood of children tagging along, bike helmets,
scraped knees, blonde 3-year-old curls bouncing in the stroller, 
cursing to 'SLOW DOWN!  STOP AT THE STOP SIGN!  WATCH WHERE YOU'RE GOING, GOD DAMNIT!'
always walking with fervor, a purpose, 
as if commanding an army with every tread of the pavement,
only this army has gone haywire and is riding recklessly down the street, 
ignoring all commands,
and here she comes-a-walkin',
a gait that screams, 'I'VE HAD IT!  THESE KIDS!  DEAR JESUS!  I JUST NEED TO WALK!'
an incredible hulk sort of demeanor, 
where she JUST might rip that stop sign out of the ground with her bare hands. . .
because she's supermom.  and she can.
although comical, well, to me, it's like Christmas morning.
i gather MY gong show together, trying not to SKIP down the front steps
because, that just looks desperate and weird,
but everything in me breathes a sigh of relief to see reinforcements arriving.
and not just for my kids, 
but for me.
to get you through the second shift.
one of my chicks.
and as often as we can, we gather our little village together, 
our sweet little babes in tow,
to just breathe.
and be together.
and pass each other babes around like free donuts at an office meeting.
you just have to have one more.
because they're just do damn sweet.
and you hold these babes, like they were your own.
they remind you of your own at that age.
and you soak them up, and remember.
and you love these little faces,
although you haven't known them long,
but you love them as your own,
not just because you know and cherish their mommies,
but because you know their little stories,
their births, their illnesses,
what it took to get them here,
what is has taken to love them,
the exhaustion, the frustration, the worry, the fear,
and you know.  
and they're so worth it.
and although they're not your own,
you'd jump in front of a car for any one of them,
because you know their mommies.

and you love them.
so we gather together,
because of the bond we all share,
being mothers.  being women.
it's amazing.  how sometimes just a hug, the right words, a hand on your arm, a look of empathy,
can bring you utter calm.
confidence in the fact that no matter what you're feeling, what's on the docket in your life,
these women have got your back.
no matter what.
it's a relationship, now, in the throws of motherhood and staying at home,
that i've come to appreciate and work to cultivate, because aside from my husband,
my children,
they're everything to me.
and it's amazing, how these women, 
all of us so unique, so different
all with our own idiosyncratic views and opinions,
beliefs and what have you,
can just. . .make it work.  can respect and care and be there, without judgment,
break up the scuffles between our children, do our best to respect each others' styles of parenting, because we all do it differently,
tell each other that, 'wow.  this new organic bar recipe you've tried is. . .really good.'
(as you cough down something that closely resembles cardboard with nuts in it.)
but you do it anyway, just because.
and join together to celebrate each other, each of our own nuttiness, our life right now.
and most importantly, our babes.

God bless all my chicks.

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