Falling in Love

This might not be what you’d expect, but I fell in love today at the Denver International Airport.  There I was with too many bags and two good friends walking into a gift shop that contained too much glass for me to be entering.  My eyes were immediately drawn to the canvases in the right corner where color, images and words collided into beauty.  As if I were casting off burdens from years of self-doubt, pity or worry, my tangible bags sat heavily around my feet while my fingers floating over the cellophane-wrapped prints. 

Who is she?  What’s her story?  She’s probably some local, I thought to myself.

I had so many questions and yet I wanted to savor the words and the depth of the work.  I found her book and immediately started reading about the person behind this work.  I smiled in disbelief when I read, “Kristen currently lives in Northern Michigan with her three children, Anya, Mia and Van.”

Who would’ve thought that across the country, in a store I’ve passed dozens of times, I would eventually discover the creativity of an artist living mere hours from me.  I can’t help but think it’s serendipity.

Momma’s Girl

Smiling Girl

The slight
caramel glow
of her
rounded shoulders,
her plump tummy
~ whispers of our
first summer ~
memories floating by
like the
soft cotton tufts
in the humid
June air.

As she takes her perch
upon my side,
instinctively her
chubby arm
wraps tightly
around mine,
anchoring her there.

The comfort I find
in that small habit
overwhelms me
more than I’m prepared for.

I know
how much my heart
longs to see her
each morning
as I quietly
approach her,
sleeping sweetly.
Butterscotch tendrils
curl haphazardly
around her
angel’s face.

A subconscious smile
dances across her
rosebud lips.
A slight dimple
the only
“imperfection”
in her creamy complexion,
glistening
with traces of a
deep summer sleep.

Gently,
I lift her to me,
bringing her home
to the crook
in my neck,
where we both
awaken
to the deliciously sweet
fragrances
of one another.

I wonder
if she treasures
these moments
as much as I do.

Then,
I feel the squeeze
of her grasp
clinging to me again,
and
I smile
knowing that
she is
her
Momma’s Girl.

Our Retreat

Tahoe 3

We planned, we traveled, we arrived with countless ideas.
Quickly, we realized that our project seemed larger than it
seemed at first glance.

Tahoe 5

We reveled in thought-provoking work, in discussion, discovery,
and distance – breaks from the rigor of intense learning.

Tahoe 6

We explored, both the possibilities and the uncertain
landscape that surrounded us both
physically and metaphorically.

Tahoe 1

We gazed in awe. We savored the splendor
of shadow giving way to
glorious light.

Tahoe 7

We marveled at coexistence
~ sun and moon ~
in the same morning sky.

We embraced the challenge
and forged ahead,
encouraged by the
certain satisfaction
that lie beyond.

Tahoe 8

We stopped, wary,
and witnessed the horizon.
Catching a glimpse of
what will ultimately
be our view,
we walked
down the mountain
changed.

Happy Birthday, Pops!

Dad 1

I’ve known what I wanted to post for your birthday for a while now.  Granted, I could write about the time I smeared cookie dough in your mustache because I thought you were fake sleeping.  Perhaps helping you in the garage, learning how to ski, or scrambled eggs would make great topics.  I could write about how unbelievably scared I was two years ago when you had your stroke, or the pride I felt last week when we accomplished a goal together.  Whether its your perfectly buttered toast or just the right solution to a problem I’m having, I’m so thankful that I get to celebrate YOU today!

I know this is lengthy, but this is a piece I began writing a long time ago.  I originally thought it was a piece about Garth and I…but as I wrote, I realized it became a piece about being Daddy’s Girl.  Today, this is my gift to you.  I love you beyond words.  Happy Birthday!

I saw the glow of Christmas lights through the still-drawn shades of my parents’ home and smiled.  I’ve always loved the holidays – the energy and excitement, the inherent insanity of extended family gatherings.  From the moment he proposed, a December wedding seemed completely perfect. 

Climbing out of the car, the mid-sixty degree weather was a welcome contrast to the thick white snow that shone in the early morning light.  As I carefully collected my dress, we made our way inside.

“Hello?  We’re home.”  I called upon entering.

            “Well if it isn’t the newlyweds,” chimed mom as she rounded the corner of the kitchen.  Exchanging hugs, dad joined us and we sat for a few moments to chat before busily preparing for the brunch that would begin shortly. 

            With each family member that arrived, my parents’ home grew smaller in such a way that it added to the coziness of both the season and the lingering sentimentality we all seemed to be feeling.  Eating and laughing, I looked around the room at the two sides of my new family and allowed the little bubble of happiness to tickle its way through me.  My aunt and new sister-in-law were laughing and chatting like old friends, and our grandparents were smiling over their steaming mugs of coffee.  I remember thinking, so this is how it feels, as I watched my new family get more acquainted. 

Still on display, my new husband and I opened our gifts with our family offering the appropriate “oooo’s and aaaa’s.”  We were back to our “real-selves” and not our “wedding-selves” anymore. 

Just as the wedding and reception, the brunch passed by quickly and people began retreating to the comfort of their own homes.  We spent the afternoon getting things put away and by early evening the day had come full circle leaving just my parents and us at home.  In the emptiness, their home felt much larger, but the remnant notes of laughter, the soft twinkling of the tree lights and the quiet holiday music playing in the background filled the home with happiness and love. 

Once again we talked about the ceremony and the unpredictably perfect weather.  Ever the hostess, Mom asked, “So what do you guys want to do tonight?”  It was a simple question, with an ordinary answer.  Looking into my husband’s eyes and then back in the direction of my parents, I replied plainly, “Well, I think we’re just going home.” 

“Oh?  Well sure,” she said.  Dad shifted in his chair. 

“But we can hang out here for a while, right Babe?”

“You bet,” he said, squeezing my hand.  He knew me too well.

           

*          *          *

 

            Finally, the time came and we said our good-byes.  Making arrangements to get the rest of our gifts and my belongings, we headed toward our car.  The snow now glistened in the silvery moonlight and our breath fell in steamy clouds as we offered one last farewell.  I felt slightly foolish about being so emotional, especially now, when everything was over.  I’d always thought that waiting with my dad in the foyer of the church, walking down the aisle, or dancing that “daddy-daughter” dance at the reception would cause that tight feeling in my throat.  Perhaps I thought this because at the very mention of any of these events, my dad would get that look in his eyes and politely change the subject.

Honestly, I was somewhat surprised, and mildly disappointed, that throughout it all he remained so composed.  Yet thinking back, perhaps it was his composure that allowed me to keep my emotions at bay as well.  I never imagined that a simple statement – “Well, I think we’re going home,” –  could bring tears to his eyes.  And mine.

“It’s not like we won’t see them again, right?” I asked Garth while swiping at the tears I could no longer contain.  “I mean, what’s the big deal?”

“You’re not his little girl anymore,” he said calmly.  “That IS a big deal.”  I glanced back at the two of them, huddled together behind their frosty front door, waving.  A quick wave and we were on our way.  It was a bittersweet feeling to be leaving home, yet heading there as well. 

 

*          *          *

 

It wasn’t in my white dress, under a veil that I became a wife.  It was in the reflection of expression in my father’s eyes that I saw my new role and embraced it with all the uncertainty it included. 

Just wondering…

Yummy Snacks

Does anyone else keep a list of possible blogging topics interspersed with grocery items or household chores?  I know, I should probably keep separate lists, but really that would

  1. make too much sense and
  2. require multiple post-its which could result in the loss of any and/or all of them!

I know I’ve writtenabout the “have to’s” and “want to’s” and at the time I was a little overwhelmed and looking back disappointed.  Now, I’m still overwhelmed, but curious.  There are some days, like yesterday when all I do is sit and savor every small moment of my time off and say “Who cares!” when it comes to laundry and dishes and all those other things that have to be done.  Then, I swing to the complete opposite end of the spectrum and go on power-cleaning kicks and insane reorganization and realize that Calder has just pushed his way between me and the cabinet I was trying to clean for a reason – he needs attention to.  And how about hubby?  How often to we have time alone?

So, I’m trying to think of the rest of my time at home as a dress rehearsal for the big show, which takes the stage in December.  I know that once I’m back to work my Parentingmagazines are unlikely to be read in a timely manner.  The books I’d like to read might take a while, and the thousands of writing ideas (for blogging or otherwise) may get only as far as the jotted note in my journal. 

Yet I’d like to try.  I’d like to do my best to eek (is that really how to spell it?) the most out of each day, each hour, each precious minute.  When I read this article it got me thinking.  While I have a penchant for photography, reading, writing, and blogging (with or without the time to actually post, and even less time to comment on others’ blogs – so sorry!), I don’t always manage my time well enough to do each of these things. 

I’m thinking about when I go back to work and how I’ll have even less (sigh) time to write, read, comment, etc.  I’m trying to get into a routine of writing out my posts for the week and publishing them via time stamp.  Does anyone else do something similar?  What are the habits and practices that have worked for you?  Which ones didn’t?  I know many of you have children, full time jobs, and several other involvements – so how do you find the time to do it all? 

On a slightly different note, I find myself stuck in the same “tone” in many of my posts.  I’m still fairly new to this process and I wonder if this will change with time and experience.  Can the writing I do here stretch me as a writer too?  How do the roles of audience and purpose factor into the equation?  I’d love to hear from someone…anyone!