Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gratitude: A List of Things I Love

  1. Coffee. I still can’t have it all the time or Cedar’s tummy gets upset, but I have it enough to know how much it can help me through a day.

  1. Cheese. Ditto on the above, can’t have it all the time, but when I do, let me tell you, I enjoy it! The best was the cheese plate at the overpriced wine bar with its miniature slices. But did I care? No! The size of those slices was perfect for me and mirrored my savoring-every-small-bite approach. Speaking of which….

  1. The wine at said wine bar was damn good, too. Thank God I haven’t had to cut out wine from my diet. Enough said.

  1. Okay, on to less oral delights… I love…. the way my husband lets me sleep in on Saturday mornings. The feeling of sinking back into a deep, uninterrupted sleep for three hours, and the ability to sprawl my limbs across the wide expanse of the flannel sheet-covered mattress is downright heavenly. With the aid of the white noise machine and earplugs, all outside noises of small children are blocked out, and although I emerge from this dream-laced stupor feeling groggy and out of sorts, this ability to catch up on my sleep on the weekend has felt physically necessary, what keeps me from getting sick, what keeps me sane in the midst of going on 20-some months of continually interrupted and inadequate sleep.

  1. What else? I love… my son’s silliness. The way he cracks up in hysterics when we blow on his tummy, or the way he copies us and blows on mine. The way he says his new word “no?” like a question. Running my hands through the curls on the back of his head. The way he likes to kick and stomp his feet, and turn in circles when he “dances”. The way he chases our cat through the house, screaming “Mao, mao, mao…”, cat in Chinese. Witnessing him absorb language, new words left and right. His recent obsession with candles—requesting (more like demanding) that I light a "ka da" whenever we are sitting at the table. There are worse things for a toddler to demand. Like…. “Elmo! Elmo! Elmo!” Okay… too much Elmo may get annoying, but those folks at Sesame Street sure are clever—ever seen Feist’s “1, 2, 3, 4…” song or Adam Sandler’s song about Elmo? How about India Arie’s alphabet song or that British guy singing Elmo a “lullaby” with a pounding punk guitar? Uh, huh. I’ve watched these video clips on You Tube many, many times, and more often than not, I’ve got one stuck in my head. One more, you say? Okay, baby. And another? Why not. Half an hour’s worth? Well, alright, just this once...or twice. Then mama can wake up and drink her coffee.

  1. Obviously I could fill this entire list with things about my son. After all, he’s the center of my universe right now. The center of my universe forever? Perhaps. So let me just pick one more thing I love about him, then move on. I love…the way he runs around the house with a plastic stir stick meant for my husband’s beer brewing. I also don’t like the fact that this has become his new favorite toy, pushing it in front of him on the wood floor like a vacuum, but I do love how this current excitement of his speaks to how children can find enjoyment in the oddest of things. He likes this plastic stick too much for me to err with my cautious side and take it away from him (lest he trip and it jabs him, or it trips him). Whatever. It’s not sharp and pokey. There are worse things for him to attach to. So of all things to love, I pick the stick. Really, I just love watching him discover the world, I love his incessant curiosity. I love (and sigh about) how he wants to hold and copy every last thing that we hold or do. Nothing  escapes his notice. He makes me see the world of mundane objects anew.

  1. What else? I love… watching him connect with his grandparents. Watching him play hide-and-seek with my mom. Watching my mom run down the hall or army crawl behind the dining room table—my serious, often grumpy, yet wonderful mom, morphing into the silly, delightful child that she also is. I love the fact that Cedar has so many people who love him, so many people with whom he can feel safe with, so many people he knows. I love seeing him lift his arms up to a new friend to be held, I love seeing the delight in their faces as they feel chosen by him, having passed the energetic test: you are safe, you are kind.

  1. I love my family, love my friends, love my community, even if I often miss them because they are far away or busy. Oh, so busy. Everyone’s so busy. But still, even though I haven't yet, I love the knowledge that I can take the train down to Portland with Cedar some day to visit two of my oldest soul sisters (our own little adventure), and I love the morning weekend drives that I've made with my husband to Olympia en route to visit Grandma and family. I love that my sister now lives only a few miles away, and I love the fact that we have a small growing nucleus of families with babies next door, families that we will no doubt BBQ and have playdates and drinks with all the more. I love how I have been trading childcare with my neighbor—once a week I watch her daughter for a few hours, in exchange for the same. This is how it is done! That whole village thing. It really matters. We are all so tired, we don’t have the energy to drive across town once we’re cozy in our homes. But we do have the energy to walk next door! And often the morning goes faster caring for two than for one, when suddenly all the old toys become interesting again.

  1. Okay, I lied. Back to Cedar. I love watching him interact with other babies and kids. Whether it’s his 16-month-old buddy Cecilia next door (who adores “C” as she calls him), or the 19 other kids at toddler co-op preschool who we spot more and more around town at library storytime or at the park. I love how he is forming his own little community, and I love trying to imagine what it feels like for him to realize that the world is  populated with little people just like him! I love showing up at school every Friday morning and seeing the new (to us) imaginative toys and activities set up in the room, and watching him roam around at will, every so often calling out, “Mama, mama!” and running into my arms for a hug, before darting off again to explore some new corner. I love knowing that he feels safe to explore the outer limits of his environment, yet also knows to come back and check in and get some loving. I love loving this little boy. He is so full of love. I inhale his whole being into my heart when we embrace, drawing as close as I can to his essence.

  1. I should wrap things up here or this list will get unwieldy! So here goes… I love… my husband. My dear, poor husband, who often feels picked on, neglected, nagged. Yes, dear, I have my gripes, but never forget how much I love you passionately. I love your fish smoking and beer brewing ways. I love how you embody my favorite season, fall—building a warm fire, chopping wood in a flannel shirt, baking apple pies, sitting at your table under the lamp tying flies. Yes, we are different. You don’t like to read, and I like things a lot tidier, but somehow those things are not so important when it comes down to what we enjoy most out of each other and life. Like our ability to just sit on the couch and listen to music and talk (or NOT talk!) for hours. And if I haven’t said this recently, let me tell you again how much I love watching you with Cedar. I love the throaty growl with which he’s decided to intone your name (Baba!), and I love the mischievous light in his eyes and yours as you chase him through the house, running to dive onto the bed, collapsing into tickles and laughter. I love your gentle and patient, yet firm ways. I know we will be good partners in compassionate discipline. I know we see eye to eye on parenting, and this is not something to be taken for granted. What else do I love about you? I love… your deep sensitivity to nature and to life’s evolving flow. I love your ability to stay calm in the midst of chaos and change; I love your ability to stay open to inner growth and always on the lookout for taking on new opportunities that scare the shit out of you, but that you know will be good for you. I love your humility, your down-to-earthness, your country bumpkin redneck hippy meets urban commuter technological music fiend. I love you, honey. I love our life, as much as I like to complain about it. I love our story, our past, and I love dreaming together of our future. I love this life, this breath, the eternally unfolding expanding and contracting mystery embodied in this moment.

This moment. I love the unknown possibilities inherent, ripening, ripened: waiting for us to show up and take hold.

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