Friday, November 7, 2008

Here Kitty, Kitty

I remember that moment in early parenthood when I knew my life had changed forever. When Janey started to crawl and pull herself up using the coffee table or a chair leg for support, I ooohh-ed and ahhhh-ed and giggled with delight, and then quickly realized that the potted plants and breakable ceramics within reach would have to go. Electrical outlets were outfitted with plastic covers, sharp corners were padded, and the few times I left my purse on the floor, I was cleaning up for what seemed like hours.

I also remember the moment a few years later when many of these precautions were no longer necessary. My kids had outgrown the don't-put-that-in-your-mouth-stage, and plants and breakables were once again relatively safe down low. It feels like ages ago, and every once in a while when a toddler comes to visit, I am reminded myself of those days, and I breathe an enormous sigh of relief when they're gone (not that I don't love 'em, but you know) and I can have my house and my sanity back.

A couple of toddlers are visiting for the weekend, and they're reeking havoc on my sanity.

These particular toddlers happen to be furry and cute and cuddly. They meow and pounce and leap on my window shades without warning. They kept me up last night while they burrowed under the covers and used my legs as scratching posts. This morning I was awakened by a loud crashing sound coming from the bathroom. I like to wake up on my own. I was not pleased.

These cute and energetic kittens belong to my daughter Macy. She bought them with her own money a few months her dad's house. Don't get me wrong. I love animals. Well, maybe I actually just like animals. But I'm no pet hater, I just don't love the mess. this is when living in two households becomes convenient. Mom says no.....Dad says yes.....sucker!

In the time that I have been sitting here drafting this post, these two holligans have knocked over a potted plant, apparently tipped all the shampoo bottles into the tub (haven't been upstairs to investigate yet), pounced on my keyboard (causing me to have to go back and edit said post), ripped an art project of Janey's off the wall, dumped the bag of catfood that got left on the floor last night, and now appear to be upstairs batting something hard and plastic against the door of my sleeping children's room.

I love the quiet of the early mornings, when the kids are still asleep, and I can sip my tea and be alone with my thoughts. I also love that these little rascals will be heading back to dad's house in a few short (long?) days.

Do I get the mother of the year award yet?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Trusting the Process

I just came from my first Board of Directors meeting. Not actually, my first one ever, just the first one where I feel as though I've recently given birth and am now handing over my beautiful, precious, sweet newborn to random strangers walking down the street. Okay, maybe it's not quite that dramatic, but it's a little like that.

I've been gestating this baby for well over a year now and several exciting things have happened in the past month which have allowed my kooky little idea to become a reality. Money has showed up, people have showed up, and this really is going to happen.

I knew that inviting people to serve on the Board of Directors was a crucial first step toward the future success of the organization. I knew that I was reaching my absolute limit as to how much I was able to pull off on my own. But I didn't realize how terrifying it was going to feel to essentially hand over this baby.

It's not like I'm done. I suppose you could say I'll still have frequent visting rights.....shared custody, even. But I have officially released my ability to be a governing body of one. As of tonight, my dictatorship has become a democracy. Which is a wise choice for an organization, right? Who wants Idi Amin, or Hitler running their non-profit?

But I'm not planning mass genocide....I just had this idea. This really great idea, and I can't make it happen alone. Intellectually, I know it's all happening the way it should. Intelligent, creative, enthusiastic folks gathered around my dining table tonight for over 2 hours to discuss the future of the organization. Important decisions were made. Difficult questions were raised and concerns were addressed. It's all good news. Except that I'm scared.

It's a familiar feeling: Scared that if I let go, things may not happen the way I think they should, or thought they would.......horrors!! Could it be that I don't actually know it all? That there may be some ideas that have never even crossed my mind? Wow..........when it comes down to it, I suppose I should be relieved. It's not all about me.

But I'm still scared....and attempting to let go, and trust the process.

Which is why I'm even writing this post tonight, in the first place, when I really should be in bed. This whole giving birth and then giving away my baby metaphor is really just exactly like parenting, for me, in a life without school. Every single day, I am faced with yet another reminder that this household, these children, this life, is just not all about me. Sure, I've got some great ideas, but I often get myself into trouble when I attempt to perform exclusively in the one woman show. There are three other opinions and viewpoints and perspectives which demand my consideration and attention, and quite frankly life is much more peaceful when I keep that in mind.

It's tempting to play the dictator, especially when I'm in a hurry or grouchy or tired. I'm taller, and older and sometimes have a louder voice. But democracy works a whole lot better around here. My kids know this intuitively, because for them, there has never been another way. It's nice to sit on a Board of Directors that can gently (or not so gently) remind me when I forget.

And by the way, all this talk about democracy reminds me....if you haven't already voted, or if you're looking for more information, check out Colleen's post. It rocks. GOBAMA.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me

It's been a fantastic day.

Presents. Left over Halloween candy. Birthday wishes from long lost friends on Facebook. Hilarious cards from hilarious friends. Packages in the mailbox. Goofy phone messages that I will listen to repeatedly for days. What's not to love about birthdays?

I put whipped cream in my coffee (yes I did). I climbed to the tippy top of a mountain in a crazy, windy rainstorm (it's way windy-er at the top, I tell you). I soaked in the healing waters of the Wellsprings. I ate amazing Indian take out........ahhhhhh. Every day should be this great. And tomorrow's looking to be more of the same. Brunch with friends. Lunch with other friends. Dinner with a new friend (hee hee). The kids come home on Monday and then we get to celebrate all over again. Birthdays should last weeks.

On my walk I got to thinking (10.5 miles of solitude will do that), what is the point? I mean, really? I'm a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, an ex-wife, a neighbor, a planner, an organizer....I'm all these things that intersect and fill me up and break me down and make me happy and flip me out, but what is the point of it all? And I think I figured it out about 100 yards from the top of that mountain. The whole point is to be the best me that I know how to be. Period.

It's a whole lot easier to raise these kids and live this life without school that we've got going on at our house when I make the time for my little a-ha moments. It's easy to forget that I really only have one be me.