Thursday, January 27, 2011

Once

Happy Ever After

This morning I am determined to find joy in my happily ever after. Joy in the laundry. Joy in the Life cereal stuck to the floor. Even Joy in calling the insurance company and yelling until they admit coverage of a procedure they have been denying.

Ok. Maybe there will be more joy if I don't yell. Just stern smiley talk.

I am alive. In love. Raising a baby and making another. If there is not cloud bursting happiness in that, what else is there?

Listening to the Once soundtrack is helping me on my way.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

And Baby Makes....

Alright.

I am pregnant.

Barely. Just six tiny weeks.

I had this vague notion that I would keep quiet about it until I was further along. And then the joy of giving that grand announcement at 12 weeks,

"I have seen the stares. Gotten the subtle hints about skipping that third donut. Please, no more worries. There is a baby in here. It is making me eat that donut. Thanks for your concern. Now who has a brownie?"

It seems that I might not be great at keeping quiet. I am not born of a quiet tradition. My mom announced the new baby pi on facebook. I find myself telling strangers in the grocery store,

"I know my cart has nothing in it but cheddar potato chips and canned frosting. Don't worry, I am pregnant. This is totally normal."

Of course, I am in Utah, and the woman next to me in line had four children and an 18 inch waist. Sneaking suspicion she does not consider frosting dipped cheddar chips "normal".

I think the baby is a girl. Riley says boy. I told Margaret that I am making her a best friend. She thinks I am magical.

We are just eight months away from more mess, noise and love.

I cannot wait.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Cereal and Cinderella

Dear Margaret,

This morning you woke up begging for cereal and Cinderella. Lately, this is your favorite pairing. You prefer Life cereal, but will also tolerate Cheerio's.There is, however, no substitute for Cinderella. I understand your love. She is pretty, there are talking mice involved and she gets to wear a big beautiful dress.

Darling, You are only 23 months old and already your whole life is about a big dress and a happy ending. I am not sure that I could have prevented this. People can make a case about the socialization of genders, about misplaced priorities, about avoiding pink, prettiness and princesses. They seem to think that what you are can be avoided by the presence of a few unisex parenting techniques. They are all wrong, of course. You were born looking for a happy ending. Cinderella is just a manifestation of a dream you already have. I want you to know that it is alright to dream of the big dress and the big day and the prince that will meet you there. I will wish and hope and dream right along with you.

Just a little favor, for me? Don't bide time until the day you wear the big dress. There is so much to do. Know who you are. You are an eternal daughter of an eternal God. This connection is literal and your lovely soul holds within it a spark of the divine. Know your Savior.Understand your unique abilities. There is no one like you, and no one that can do what YOU can do. Develop your talents, strengthen your weaknesses. You were sent here to perform a great work. You must ready yourself. Have ambition. Get an education. This world is yours to know, understand and make better. Get dirty and make a few mistakes. Find the adventure in being you. Kiss a boy. Call me crying when he wasn't the right one. I promise to cry with you. Make the Word of God an integral part of who you are. Poetry and inspiration will follow. Understand it isn't a matter of who will have you, but rather, who deserves you.

And when you are ready, you will meet someone who is worthy of you, my little Margaret pi. He will be lovely and handsome. He will open doors for you and know your favorite flower. He will understand your dreams and put them before his own. You will be happy. You will kiss and dance and sing and love. You will wear that big dress on that big day and dance with your Prince. Don't worry. It isn't the happy ending of anything. It is a joyous beginning. A new start to the adventure you were born to have.

I have loved my happy beginning, my adventure in love, purple walls and burnt dinners. How could I not? You are a part of it.

Love,
Mama

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sleep In Saturday

Margaret woke up at 6:30 am this morning.

Seriously.

Someone should give her a prize. A blue ribbon for Saturday morning AWESOMENESS. I mean I am soooo proud of her. 6:30 wake up on a sleep in Saturday. What parent wouldn't be ecstatic? (I may have mumbled something like this when I was getting her out of bed because she keeps asking for a "boo ribbon?")

She will make it up to me today with extra cuddles and dance time. There is just no getting around it.

After setting the girl up with "FOOD!" and "MILK!", I stumbled into my bathroom to perform my morning ablutions. And there it was. My silly shower curtain that makes me silly happy. We bought it from Anthropologie years ago, before I realized money was really for things like groceries and the mortgage. It is the only item in the house that I air dry. (You know, I LOVE something when I launder it correctly.) Maybe it reminds me of a care free day, or the finer things in life...or maybe I just really like birds. Either way, it never fails.

Here's hoping your weekend is full of little things that you make you HAPPY!

(hmmm. I just read this and it appears that I love my shower curtain more than my child. Not true. It is just that the shower curtain never wakes me up before the sun rises.)


The lovely (albeit wrinkly) curtain.

PS. Help! My camera is broken so I have been taking pictures with my phone. Looking for a replacement. Any suggestions?

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Night Out

Last night was one of those nights.

Today has been one of those days.

I am uninspired and have eaten half a pan of cornbread. Which might not sound all that self destructive, until you take into account the way in which I eat the cornbread. First gobs of butter are applied. The cornbread is then broiled. More butter. Followed by a hive's fiscal year worth of honey.

It is excessive.

Riley wants to take me out tonight. Something about showing me a fun time so that I can forget my grumps. I say, why forget the grumps when you can wallow in them? I want to stay home. In sweats. And eat more cornbread.

In truth, going out will be fun. Once we get to the "out" part. It is what precedes the "out" that makes sweats look good.


I will have to do my hair....apparently, it is socially unacceptable to leave the house with it unbrushed.
I will have to pick out an outfit....which is depressing after all the cornbread.
I will have to actually leave the house, my grumps and the afore-mentioned cornbread.

This seems like a lot to ask of a girl.

I know that Riley would stay home in sweats with me. We would put Margaret to bed, turn on Psych re-runs and eat something that can claim both sugar and chemical as equal ingredients. That is what husbands do, and heaven knows he has done it before. It really doesn't sound too bad.

It occurs to me though, that tonight my husband is asking me to be his girlfriend. Maybe that is what wives do.

Guess I better go get a brush for my hair.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Three things I like...

About my room RIGHT now.

Riley wrote this to me on the door leading out of our room.
Yeah. He loves his meggi (3.14) pie.

Cards from a heated game of "idiot" last night.
I won. Twice.

Sitting. On a vanity. Topless.

Naturally.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Q & A

Margaret and I went grocery shopping today. The little girl is nearly two now and questions are her favorite form of entertainment. She sat in the shopping cart as I debated between the bacon that cost $4.69 and the the bacon that cost $11.99. (Side Note: this is QUITE a quandary. Expensive vs Affordable, Thick vs Thin, Natural vs. Nitrates, Joy vs Alright That'll Do.) As I debated ($4.69 won out), she questioned.

"Mommy. what's that?"

"Sausage"

"Mommy, what's that?"

"Cheese"

"Mommy, what's that?"

"The offal of chicken, pork and beef, ground together until it is nearly liquid. It is then put in articial casing and called Bologna. It is also delicious. Let's get some."

She asked questions in every section of the grocery store and I, (more or less) answered. She wanted to know about all of it, and I, being well versed in every form of food, was able to teach her. It was simple and it was sweet. Today, she discovered raw chicken, pita bread, vitamins and eggplant. I could not match her enthusiasm for the eggplant, but to each her own.

(Mom rant: Who decided it was a good idea to have HUGE M&M figures that hold candy in every corner of the dairy and produce departments? Do you enjoy my child screaming for "Chockchit" when we pass them? Yeah. Me neither.)

After we checked out, I loaded her and all of our processed meats into the car. She asked questions the whole way home.

She and I are not really different. I have so many questions.

Lately, there have been many about being a woman. We have the power to lift our men all the way up to heaven, to teach our children about the stars and eggplants, to create and dance and sing.

And yet. And yet there is also so much pain. So many problems uniquely associated with, or more severe for, our sex. We have the power to change the whole world, but we also have the capacity to hurt for the whole world. We are crippled by depression, weight gain, insecurity, and a lack of self. We can love our neighbors, family and our God, but if our hormones aren't quite right, or mental history not so pretty, we become lost. In so many ways we are superman with the kryptonite built right into us. Why?

It will be nice to walk around Time and Space with my Lord one day. It will not be so different from a trip to the grocery store with Margaret. I will have a lot of questions to ask. He will have the answers. I am sure it will be simple and sweet.

I just hope we get to pick up some bologna along the way.

Friday, January 14, 2011

There's no place like home


Margaret has insisted one wearing this pair of shoes every day this week. They have looked lovely with blue, clashed with orange and been worn at least twice over footie pajamas.

I tried to teach her to click her heels just like Dorothy. What the shoes lack in Oz sparkle, they make up for in shine. So, the clicking heels lesson commenced.

"Margaret! Say it with Mommy! There's no place like home. There's no place like home. There's no place like home! Now click your heels!"

She ended up kicking herself in the ankle instead. HARD. This was followed by some crying accompanied by a somewhat justified sense of betrayal. I could see it in her eyes,"What kind of mom teaches her baby to kick herself in the leg FOR FUN?"

Ummm. This kind.

I guess some things are best left to Judy Garland. A tough lesson, but one that needs to be learned sooner rather than later.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Family Magician

The chores associated with the title, “Domestic Goddess”, have come to me with much difficulty. I understand, in theory, the benefits of a consistently clean house. It is much nicer to curl up into a straightened bed at the end of the night. The kitchen floor is quite pretty when its’ had its’ daily sweep. Heaven knows, that once the living room is cleared of toys it becomes a place I actually want to be. I know that dusting, wiping, scrubbing and picking up, are all necessary for our little house to function better as a home. I guess it just never occurred to me that I would be the one doing all the dusting, wiping, scrubbing, the oh-my-word-is-that-messy-again cleaning. The comprehension of this fact was swift and harsh, a guillotine of gender role realizations.

(Side note: Riley is a huge help and to date has done more laundry than I have. Full disclosure requires me to state that I am actually forbidden from doing laundry as I tend to ruin 1 out of every 8 loads.)

I stopped working in August and it was then that I began to try to define my role as a stay at home mother. I decided part of my work at home would be a house nicely ordered and scrubbed. A place ready for good times and dinner by the time our lovely Riley returned home. It seems to me that cleaning the house, making the bed, mopping that @#$% white tile floor AGAIN, is all service. Service for my husband who works so hard for us all day. Service for my daughter as she plays in a clean room and learns by example. Maybe even service for God, as I emulate him in the organization of matter and express gratitude through care of my earthly surroundings. I believe this is true. As a woman I am uniquely made for service; I was happy to find another opportunity for it in the home. My first week home from work was chock-a-block full of good intentions and high thoughts.

And then.

And then it hit me.


It is not merely that I do not care for housekeeping. I actually have no idea how to go about doing it. Dusting for example…apparently, and I only know this by looking at my windowsills, it has to be done more than once a month. It is not enough to clean just kitchen countertops as the cabinets insist on getting dirty, too. I was reading a blog on housekeeping a few months ago that instructed me to alternate cleaning baseboards and ceiling fans. There are people out there cleaning their baseboards?

The enormity of my ignorance was all consuming.

On top of it all, my ineffective housecleaning seemed to take all day. I am not talking about that common mom complaint, “I had the house cleaned by 10 am and the kids had it torn apart by 10:30am.” No, there was never a point when I could say the whole house had been cleaned. Rather it would go something like, “I had my bed made by 10am and was thinking about tackling the kitchen by 3pm.” I was actually cleaning the house all day. This was both embarrassing and discouraging.

This morning, I came across a short story published in the 1940’s by Shirley Jackson called, “Family Magician”. In it, Dad has died and Mom is left with two children, Dottie and Jerry. Their circumstances are strained and the atmosphere in the home feels the same. One afternoon a woman named Mallie, a la Mary Poppins, drops into their kitchen and informs the family that she will be taking care of them for a while. And take care she does. She serves each member of the family, creating a home out of good dinners and good conversation. She seems to sparkle and, although the children never gather any proof, they just know she is magic. Beds are made before she has even gone into the room, enough cookies and lemonade wait on the table for a baseball team she didn’t know was coming over, “it seemed as though she could straighten a room just by standing in the doorway and looking around hard.” She is, in a very real sense, the nurturing presence I would like to be.

One day Dottie, the teenage daughter, says,

“I wish you’d teach me some of that magic, Mallie.”

Mallie was making a salad but she looked at Dottie and said, “What do you need magic for, Missy? You’re doing alright without any.”

“YOU know,” Dottie said. She sat down and Mallie just went on making the salad…, “Look at all you can do – making dresses and doing housework without lifting a finger, and all that.”

“I only do work fast so’s I’ll have more time to do other things, “ Mallie said… “I’m real busy and busy people don’t have time to for everything they want to do. So I make time.”

“That’s it,” Dottie said. “I’m real busy, too. I want to learn some magic.”

Mallie laughed. “Tell you what I’ll do, honey. I’ll teach you how to make a pie. That’s all the magic you’ll ever need.”

And golly if she didn’t teach Dottie right then and there how to make a pie; just pushed the salad off to one side and went to work…It was a pretty good pie too – apple…And after that Mallie taught Dottie a lot of other things – and she told Dottie over and over again, “that’s all the magic you’ll ever need.”

I read those few lines and the silliness of my situation came to me quick and bright, a shooting star of gender role realizations. The scrubbing, the picking up, the oh-my-word-what-is-that-in-the-kitchen sink cleaning, is not an end in itself. It is simply the preparation for all the goodness my day can contain. It is the broccoli you have to eat before your parents will let you have ice cream. Is this really SO bad? The broccoli is good for you and GUESS WHAT? It is followed by a big bowl of ice cream! I love Mallie. The beds in her house are made, the floors are clean, dinner is in the oven and because of that, she has the TIME to sit down with Dottie and teach her how to make a pie. Can you imagine having the time to make a pie JUST BECAUSE you wanted to?

I can’t clean a room by just, “standing in the doorway and looking around hard.” I know, because I have tried. I can, however, understand that I am cleaning with a purpose. I will work fast so that I can provide my daughter (and myself) with days full of adventure, learning and joy. I will better understand the priorities of my life. Some days the house won’t get clean. I will know it is okay to push the salad aside, so that Margaret and I can bake a pie.

I think that’s all the magic I’ll ever need.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Peace Like A River

I could clean out all the closets in my house or I could write just a little here in outerspace. The organization of the closets seem to be the best choice; I opened one last night and a lawn chair fell onto my head. So...there is some work to be done there. On the other hand, writing here has it's charms. I don't think anyone really reads this, so no risk, AND I get to sit while typing...comfort while pretending at productivity.

Closets lose. Meggi wins.

It is now 2011 and the life I am living is beyond what a scoundrel like me should hope for, let alone deserve. I am possessed of a husband who loves me and a daughter that dances. The walls of my house are standing and the roof is new. Last night Riley came home from his promising new job and the table was set, the potatoes perfectly baked and I felt a grandness in our small lives. This isn't luck. Me, 25 and in love with everything around me. Luck is not that creative. This is blessing, protection, modesty, love, God, truth and faith. I know that my goodly parents and my God raised me for this life, those baked potatoes, this moment. I am a daughter of my Heavenly Father and I KNOW IT. There is light in that knowledge and it will be bright in the darkness that visits me. The potatos will sometimes burn, not all nights will be set tables and love. It is alright. I know that I am being waited for in the home of my Heavenly Father. It could have been so different. There could have been so much less.

I am grateful. I am happy. I am delivered.