Tuesday, July 26, 2011

this FINALLY perfectly perfect summer weather
we've been long deserving of.
where you MUST drive with the windows down,
no matter how loud the buzzing in your ears.
MUST have a picnic lunch in the yard,
walk everywhere you go.
drink your morning coffee on the front stoop.
because you know it won't last.
as jam-packed as our summer schedule always seem to be,
something i feel i'm always working to avoid,
i like this version of me. . .the 'summer me.'
moving even slower than the 'winter me.'
from one activity to the next, yes,
but with more grace, gratitude and appreciation.
and a WHOLE lot of laziness.
cleaning is an after thought.  i'll clean my house in september.
right now, a 'just do what you can,' attitude has settled heavily upon me
like a ton of bricks.
a 'less is more' kind of thinking. . .my favorite kind.
less work.  more relaxing.
less tea.  more margaritas.
less indoor, more out.
i put very little pressure on myself this time of year.
just do the BARE minimum.  (ask my husband how many hot or love-filled meals he's had this summer.)

be thankful that i know myself well enough, 
to know this just isn't a good time of year to make a commitment to eating better.
i had my chance. . .in the spring.  to get ready for swimsuit season.
and that's about as far as i can take it once summer hits.
there's too much ice cream and lemonade and burgers on the grill to tempt me.
a bowl of ice cream at the end of a LONG hot day with kids, is a nice little reward.
as comforting as a hot cup of cocoa plum-full of marshmallows
after a blustery winter driveway shovel-fest.
i'm at the mercy of all the goodness of summer.
so although i'll do my best to be physical and active every day,
maybe substitute a run with a day of cutting grass and pulling weeds,
well, that's perfectly ok.
as i find peace in these beautiful summer days and all that we cram in to them,
i find solitude in the in-between.
in the car on the way home from something. . .always something,
and finding it remarkable how i have the ability to tune out some of the most God-awful sounds coming from the back seats.
(children screaming, whining, begging for something,
smacking each other with books and shoes, dodge trail mix being chucked at my head,
as i drive back roads, prolonging the fun.)
how i can, some days, tune that noise out with the greatest of ease.
impressed at myself for my calmness and zen-like way of being.
look sheepishly out the window at the trees blowing in the summer wind,
listen to the gravel crunch under my mini-van tires,
while WWIII is occurring between car seats,
to the next moment, when the little people get the best of me
and i turn in to a devil woman.
the switch is small but once is pressed, it's on. 
and how easily i can unravel from that lovely state of well-being to
how i've completely accepted the fact that i'm going to have an audience when i'm on the toilet.
how their really are few quiet moments in the day, to just be alone,
unless i get a sitter or hide somewhere,
which i have accepted, I NEED.
and how much that constant 'neediness' and clingy-ness of little people can wear on you.
how much i crave silence and stillness and just want to be left alone.
and believe that's perfectly ok to want that and to GET that at least once a week for myself.
how my reactions to things have changed. . .slowed.
my kids fall, scrape, bump, fall, trip SO.DAMN.OFTEN in a day, that unfortunately,
i've become immune to their cries.
they don't get much comfort from me unless they're REALLY hurt.
because, well, 80% of the time they're doing things i told them not to do,
or they know they shouldn't be doing, 
so they're asking for it.  
i'm aware of that these days. . .how they'll get, "are you ok?  see?  i told you.
now be on your way."
how it 'kind of' bothers me that i'm that nonchalant with my childrens' bumps and bruises, and yet, on the other hand, don't really care.
cold.  but i'm sorry.  kids are idiots and it's REALLY hard for me to find sympathy when they do stupid things.
i still love them.
so.  just being aware.  in the silent moments.  of my thoughts.  my reactions.  the craziness of it all.  how i got here and how i can embrace ALL of it each day.
that wow, had anyone told me mothering would be WAY more then just breastfeeding,
changing diapers and ensuring safety, 
but also pushing our kids to be their best selves,
stand UP for themselves, 
encouraging them to step out of their comfort zones,
find adventure without fear. . .but be smart and safe.
just not sure i woulda' signed up.:)
but i did and here i am.
i have to touch on a recent quote, again,
from gracie.
because it was just too, damn funny.
that "if you don't have a best friend, your butt gets big."
i'm SURE she heard that from nickelodeon or something, 
watching a show she probably shouldn't be.
but that somehow she does, because mommy has little nooks of laziness in the day,
where the kids take advantage.
where if they're quiet and still enough, mommy won't say no.
and i do.  i just let them watch.  it's harmless. . .i think.
but back to that quote. 
because if it were true, i would really have the nicest a** in the state.
and i don't.
but i have some pretty awesome friends.
some of whom i was able to visit recently.
i planned a MUCH needed 'girls' weekend' for gracie and i,
to hop on a plane and visit some of my dearest's.
and it was lovely.
and it brought me to a million different reflections and thoughts on travel.
the stink of it and the beauty of it.
how you can easily discover things about yourself when you leave your comfort zone.
and how awesome that can be.
traveling is not something i'd put at the top of my list of, 
"things liz is awesome at."
because i'm not.  i suck at travel.
but i don't want to and it is a personal goal of mine,
to become a 'veteran,' 
an easygoing, grace-filled traveler.
a seasoned traveler that does it with the greatest of ease,
like a flight attendant. 
it has literally taken YEARS to leave my babes for a long weekend or even just a night away.
but it's gotten easier with time, 
driven by the need to find some space and quiet time to nurture my OWN soul,
but also due to the inspiration of well-seasoned traveling friends,
who i aspire to be like.  but most importantly, want my children to become.
so i've literally had to force myself.  to get on planes, drive away,
pack bags, say good-bye's.
and it hasn't always been smooth.
but flying.  something so many people do everyday,
get on a plane like they're hopping in to their car or changing a load of laundry, brushing their teeth.
no big deal.
for me, it has been a struggle.
but as i've slowly been able to chip away at that fear,
it has become a time of rest, peace.
and even better this time, to share it with my favorite little woman.

to sit back and let someone else do the driving.
to literally have no choice, but to let go and trust.
kids are amazing.
and grace is at such a great age, where her little brain hasn't filled yet with all the 
'what if's,' crazy imagination, fearful thoughts and projections,
but simply sits in the moment.
not easy for us adults to do, but TRULY the only way you're going to get through life with your sanity.
how many flights i've spent, gripping the arm rest tight, legs tensed, eyes closed,
holding as still as possible so as not to jar the plane.  anticipating every turn, every bump, the flight home.
ridiculous and so wasteful.  but everyone is afraid of something.  
but we can't go through life white-knuckling it, always trying to look ahead for the turbulence,
the storms.
because just like in flying, we're not driving.
when we finally get that, it's wonderful.  and then we can really sit back and enjoy the ride and whatever comes our way.
grace sat and colored as if she were at her own kitchen table.
"are we there yet?  are we in the air yet?"  she asked, as we sat on the runway waiting to take off.
ignorance is bliss.  
and i want to harness that in my children the best i can,
to make them aware, teach them to be safe, but without scaring them,
holding them back.  i want adventure, travel, curiosity, to always propel them through fear, 
unlike how i've lived most of my life (one topic i could write a whole book about. . .and just might.)
a feat it has taken me decades to learn to do.
to give up the fight or trying to control situations that can't be controlled.
i want to love travel and i want my kids to love it.  
to not fear it.  to take care of and respect and find peace in their home, 
the nest we're building for them,
to know they'll always have a place to come back to,
but to seek out change, newness, spontaneity, to be able to pick up and go,
to find peace no matter where they are, no matter how far away from home.
to learn and embrace that home is IN them, not always where they are.
it is an amazing thing to leave your comfort zone for a new land (even if it's just another midwest state.)
every new experience, every new place, every new conversation with an old friend,
can show you something.
and airports are an amazing place.  i'm so intrigued by the passing of travelers, running from one gate to the next.  where they're going, what they're thinking.  the fact that we have the ability at any time, to hop a plane and be transported to a different place, a different time zone, a whole other world, different from where we came from.
maybe indefinitely, maybe just for a long weekend.
travel is exciting and necessary, i believe.  even if just to the next town over to try a new restaurant or walk different streets.
as i mentioned, we spent time with my sis and hubby,
taking in the sights and sounds of a REAL big city,
one of my most favorite cities,
so drastically different and more diverse than my own,
why i love it.
breathing in one of my favorite views, the alley from my sister's balcony.
breakfast at one of my favorite little cafe's,
(mostly because it's the only one i've been to.)
still my fave.
most importantly, to a MUCH needed place,
alone time with my baby girl.  just us.
although i had never planned on nor feel i'm well-equipped to be a mother to a girl,
other than the fact that i AM one,
i'm doing my best.  and time away for just the two of us (was) is priceless.
we got to see old friends and THEIR babes,
the chance to watch THEM be mother's and wives,
most special-ly, one of my oldest and dearest friends,
who just had her second baby.
another big reason for this trip. . .to hold babes and take pictures and sit in HER world for awhile, which is always an adventurous and exciting place to be.
where two little girls did a lot of damage,
but had a blast doing it.
and got some baby-holding time in too.
TRUE summer fun in a generous aunties' pool,
where our two little girls came together like old friends,
bickering like little old ladies, and squealing like school girls the next.

riding home from the city in 2+hours of chicago traffic like it was no big thing 
(for them, at least.)
while mommies cursed under their breaths, sweating in the front seat,
working diligently to find a happy place amongst one tired, hungry screaming baby.
damn you, traffic.
but then able to take a much needed dinner break. . .alone.
to meander, breathe, catch up on our never-ending phone conversation,
remember all the while, our history together,
15 years of friendship, from our place as 16-year-olds, 
to now wives, mothers.  and how although we have changed, are still very much the same.
and to have the opportunity,
one of my greatest joys and pleasures in life,
to photograph a family.
not just any family, but a family i love so much and learn from every time i'm with them.
a woman, so much like a sister,
with her own little quirks and craziness,
who i adore and don't get to see enough of.
but when i do, i try to capture the woman she has become.
the mother she is becoming.
the friend that she still is. 
the babes they've made.
how much i adore all of them.
and take such great joy in being able to capture their growing lives
through the eye of my lens.

 an amazing daddy, loving on his new baby girl.
capturing the most beautiful face ever,
a true beauty like her mommy,
her personality, a spitting image.

although too many miles separate us,
our lives are parallel.  
and travel gets us there, in to each others' worlds for a bit,
where we can relax a little, find comfort, solace and a friend.
i'm hell bent on making sure my children see the beauty in that. . .
escaping and friendship.  deep and lifelong connections.
and don't fear it.  
don't second guess, but just go and enjoy and soak up all the newness and adventure that is waiting in another place,
where they can learn even more about themselves than they ever thought possible.


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