Nighttime in Texas

We are back from Oregon where we buried my Grandma Honey. We saw more family than we ever see at a time and Mommy ate more than her share of ice cream. When in Oregon.

Today we went to our friend’s third birthday party where we pigged out on sweets and overwhelmed you boys with people and toys. We brought him presents that he already has, but I don’t think he’ll mind. We played in a plastic swimming pool and with squirt guns and water balloons, enjoyed a bounce house (not you yet, C) and cracked a piñata (you were so gentle with it, D).

C, you cried and cried after you had to put your toy away for bath. Baby, batteries can’t go in the tub. You felt better after mommy hugs and clean pajamas. You listened to a story cover to cover (unusual for you – it was Mommy Hugs by Karen Katz) and then played peek with the second book. We turned out the lights and you nursed to sleep in my arms. 

D, you told me over and over that you love me. In the morning, afternoon, evening, underneath the moon. On cars, buses, planes, and boats. Even when we fight. You have been doing this lately, starting while we were in Oregon. Your eyes are closed and you are only half awake, but you say things like, “You’re a good lady, Mommy” and “You’re a nice girl, but you can be bad if you want to be bad.” In Oregon, you told me I’m a big rig, you’re a big rig, and C’s a big and that you really missed the really big big rig (Daddy). The third night escapes me now, but it included your chicken coop/coupe joke.

C, you are going to walk all day soon. You are brave. You can go hang out with all sorts of people for awhile…until you spot me again and then it’s Mommy time and I am so proud to scoop you up, you adventurous brute! Your heart is sweet and you lay down or cuddle up for snuggles even though you’ve just awoken from your nap. Your touches are softer and your smiles are bigger and your pats are so comforting. You are such a light.

D, you are such a good helper. You feed your little brother and keep him safe, read to U and mostly show her patience when she whacks. You let baby J wrestle you, make baby D smile by smiling and talking at him, and tried to stir up JR. You are kind to Piper and Susie and your animals at home. You like doing chores and forget about the sticker chart, even when you earn a chore sticker. You are such a good helper.

Boys, I am so thankful we are our family. I love you.

Nighttime in Texas

31 / 6

You are my twin guideposts, my stars, my lights.

D, today you flipped the lounge chairs over on the lawn and told me all the ways you were fixing Momny and Daddy’s cars.  You put in new oil, lights, checked the engines, and washed them.  I helped you climb into the hammock and then pushed and pulled until you were swinging high and fast. Then I ran up next to you and tickled you, making you sputter and giggle and scream with delight.  You and I drew rainbows and the most colorful version of Daddy’s truck with chalk on the patio.  You cried as though in pain when your bubble wand slipped between the deck boards and was lost.  You held hands with me willingly in the parking lot when I promised we could zoom fast.  You keep asking me to tell you, “I love you.”  I love you.

C, today you had your six-month checkup and you were a trooper after your vaccinations.  Of course you cried!  Shots hurt.  But not for long.  You let me cradle and sing to you and wipe your tears.  Later you laughed like it tickled later when I massaged the injection sites!  At dinner, you had giggle fits when D said over and over to you, “Are you a koala?” and “Are you a buckaroo?”  How could you not?  D loves to clown for you.  And tonight is the the fourth night of your waking shortly after bedtime for another extended nurse.  It’s no longer a surprise and I’m relaxing into the extra time together.  Maybe it’s the magic combination of dropping your latest nap and teeth on the horizon.  It’s no longer just because you wake yourself by rolling over.  You are squirmy and grabby. You also do a lot of whacking, books, toys, yourself.  Be kind to my little C.  I love you.

31 / 6

Some Happy Things.

Today we practiced speaking with love and forgiveness, again.

I wrote for a little while after you went to bed.  I found a comforting podcast by some of my favorite bloggers and essayists.  I drank tea in bed while I enjoyed both.

We shared breakfast from the same plate, even tried to sit in the same chair but my belly is too big to let us be comfortable that way.  We played a silly nuzzle-wuzzle game, we colored together, we hugged after butting heads for the twentieth time, we snuggled while reading books, and we napped together on the couch for longer than I thought we could because (again) my belly is so big.

You talked to baby brother without prompting.  You helped me unpack baby clothes, fill the laundry, and empty the dishwasher.  You let me comfort you when bonked and again when you felt upset because I denied you something.  You wanted your own space sometimes and others you wanted to be so close and every day I want to drink you in while I still have only you.  Your baby brother feels strong inside me, too.  I cannot believe how big my heart will become to love you both when I already feel it bursting.

I got to sing you to sleep at naptime, a song that you used to request all the time.  I counted a small “win” every time I drew a smile out of you, especially when you asked me to come back and play more of the air puffing game on the floor.  My body is so worn out but your big eyes and wide smile and glee at a little cause-and-effect made me forget.

By the end of today, my heart and brain felt sapped, too, but you let me kiss you again before you fell asleep and let me comfort you after you got mad at me for leaving the room too soon.  Those little treasures will buoy me toward tomorrow, when I will be back to play some more.  How I love you, little bug.  Rest well.

Some Happy Things.

Some Hard Things.

Separation from family and old friends, in distance, time, and season of life.  Grieving new friends I never got to make and friendships that have not grown (in spite of the deep connections we intuit) because we moved or the timing wasn’t right.  Making myself vulnerable to the friendships I am building, because honesty is the only way forward.  Slowly building a new tribe and feeling so hungry for honesty and depth and reciprocity and hoping I can spot it when it comes.

The strain on my marriage when my husband is working in the field.  A recent and temporary development for which I admit I am not well-suited.  We are tough and we are honest about our goals for our family and we are better at communication now that we are older, but long-distance relationshipping is taxing.

Illnesses and disease affecting family and friends.  Accepting that dying is happening, that death has happened.  Watching friends suffer their own losses, recent and past, mutual friends dying, and feeling so under-equipped to deal with any of it.

Memories of extended family infighting, where one aunt broke up her own family in a terrific mess, where another aunt broke up with our family in another terrific mess, where another aunt was threatened with murder/suicide by her then-husband.

Uncovering in therapy, dreams, and writing that overhearing someone important tell my husband I should consider terminating my first pregnancy because our son’s prognosis was terminal was a large contributor to my postpartum difficulties after my second son was born.  And it remains for me an issue of broken trust with much work ahead.

Remembering the death of our first son as my next delivery approaches.  Understanding I have not fully processed the trauma of that birth and my anger.  Struggling to hang on to my faith, finally giving myself permission to release it and start over.

Trying new things, transitioning with my son as he grows, solo parenting while I’m 31 days from delivering another baby boy (please stay in there until Daddy gets home), feeling done being pregnant (but also please move out) but not sure I’m done growing our family, wishing I were stronger and dreading the recovery from another Caesarean birth, trying to ignore my curiosity about an alternate past, wondering if I really don’t have any regrets about never birthing by canal, hoping for nursing to go well again, and reminding myself to talk one-on-one with this baby boy before he comes, like I did the others.


Some Hard Things.

Introverted Intuitive Feeling Judging

I am an INFJ (introverted-intuitive-feeling-judging) personality type.

My home is my safe place.  So I cringe when the phone and the doorbell ring.

I’m not shy, but I may be emotionally overstimulated, overexposed, and overextended in interpersonal interactions with (what seems like) very little warning.

I know things deeply but I can’t always able to put my finger on how.  This makes me incredibly stubborn.  It also frustrates me to hell and back when I’m unable to explain to others what I intuit.

I hate being corrected arbitrarily. I require evidence.

I remember slights or hurts for a long time and often never bring them up again after I’ve finished processing them. Because I’m sure everyone else has moved on.

I can’t stand conflict because I have difficulty verbally expressing myself under pressure.  It’s important to me to be understood clearly and I feel I can’t be without the right words.

I periodically become anxious and have nightmares, usually about my loved ones.

But I maintain a sense of wonder in the face of facts.  I love order and classification but still worship the actuality of Life in the face of its improbability.  That’s what draws me out and kindles the explorer in me.

Introverted Intuitive Feeling Judging

So I Had All These Thoughts

These grand ideas for what I should write about next.

Letting go of winning.  How to ask for help.  Breastfeeding.  Cloth diaper reviews.  The information technology (aka “Google”) trap.

As in, I fell into the “Google” trap when D was brand new and I was not confident about what he needed from me.  Lo and behold, as soon as I put down the smartphone and quit diving down the internet rabbit hole, he taught me what I needed to know.  TAH-DAH.

But I just finished reading a book and I realized I’m very, very tired of tricking myself into believing I have to prove anything to anyone else.  Like what I’ve learned about life and housekeeping and my baby and everything else I’ve encountered.

It’s not a competition.  I can handle contradictions.  I don’t have to prove it.

So I scrapped all these “how-to” ideas for blog entries.  Because who cares?!

I’m living and learning as I go (just like anyone else who is paying attention) and I can only do my best.  And I’m not supposed to belittle myself or be hard on myself as I go.  I know what I know by experience and that’s better than good enough.

I want to give up the yoke of perfectionism before I miss anything else.  I don’t need it.

There are PLENTY of areas in life where I am needlessly hard on myself.  For heaven’s sake, there are plenty of interpersonal challenges to my mental health too, thank-you-very-much.

Take mommyhood, for example.  I love it.  I don’t have to fake that.  It’s no cakewalk, and yes, I’m new, but I’m not green, and I’m on the right track.  Baby and I are learning and laughing and smiling and crying together.  We handle the dailies, one at a time, with whatever help Husband can provide.

Like mommyhood, the only way my writing “improves” is with practice:  when I tell real stories, one at a time, in my own voice.  I want to write about the meat of life, which isn’t hard as long as I write honestly.  Honesty is the hard part when I’ve made some of my writing public.  But it’s the meaty part, so I’ve got to quit thinking I’ll let anybody down by being vulnerable.

So time to let it go and let it be and let it out.  And yoke myself to exploration instead.

So I Had All These Thoughts


Late night veg + hummus snack last night.  Making good choices instead of eating all the dessert.  Sore hips, sore back, squirmy baby.  Not easy to get comfortable in bed and stay asleep between the aches, the anxiety, and the anticipation.  What a ride.

Yoga has helped.  Prayer has too, in whatever form it has taken lately.  And staying busy as much as my body will allow.  Short trips out in the heat.  Planning as many errands as possible during the cooler morning hours.  Dips in the pool when I feel myself getting too hot after watering the lawn or walking the dog.

And I have pre-delivery nerves like crazy these days.

Beyond 35 weeks is new territory.

My feelings have been ALL OVER THE PLACE lately, reverberating the realization that we had delivered, held, and lost Ian by now.  Occasionally, I call D by I’s name because I think about our first boy so much. My body is tired, mind fatigued, and heart sore from jumping between joy and fear.

With D we’ve progressed farther, the weather is hotter, and all signs indicate we’re far more likely to have a third person at home in four weeks.  But I know that can still change:  there are surprised grieving mothers everywhere.  Today there’s a baby being born earlier than expected, with complications.  So it’s time to send some more good vibes and approach the great paradox, the abundance and precariousness of life, with reverence.


Moving Away

We’re moving.  Finally.

We’re relocating to the south Texas coast:  H to a new job with a bigger company, and I resigned my job at the library to prepare.

I’ve been tapping down exactly how much I wanted this.  It wasn’t helpful to want a move when there were no prospects in sight.  Instead, I enjoyed my new job and new friends; I gave up worrying when we’d get away.

But now we’re definitely moving.  To a new neighborhood, road, grocery store.  A fresh state to wash sour memories out of our mouths and set the positive ones.  A big body of water and coastal breezes to refresh us.

Everything is right around the corner:  the surveyor came Friday and made a list of our belongings for the moving company.  I re-homed the fish and cleaned extra papers out of the office.  Laundry is rolling, vacuum is cooling down, suitcases await, packages were sent and received, and new lists are made every day.  I’ve attached the top, sides, and zipper to the pouf.  The cat and dog eye me nervously while I bustle around at home instead of going to work.

Now, because the company is paying for our move, we’re just waiting for the paperwork to push through this week.  Then H will fly up, we’ll pack the car while they pack the house, and take a road trip south to learn a new city’s streets, close on the house, find a new doctor, help the pets adjust, host a horde of visitors from Oregon, pick new favorite eateries, and make new friends.

Moving Away

Trying It On, Taking It Off

Have you ever tried on a belief and subsequently wanted to take it off again?

I tried on a belief that would put me more in line with the Church – I studied its logic, even said it out loud to someone dear – but it’s not sticking.  In fact, it feels awful knowing I said it without meaning it, and worse knowing I said it in an effort to belong.  Thankfully this person is forgiving.

What I’m certain of:  I’m not 100% in line with the Church and I doubt I ever will be.  I am certain I am not alone:  polling data among Catholics proves that.

Instead of continuing to worry about it, I mean to stay focused on a practical application of the positive things I picked up in church:  to live rightly, with joy, compassion, and forgiveness.

After all, right living is what’s most important.  I believe what a person shows me over what they say.  For love is dead without deliberate action.  It doesn’t happen by accident or wishes.

Trying It On, Taking It Off