Monday, December 26, 2011

Just a moment

It is the end of the holiday weekend. The Christmas presents are put away. Bacon is frying for the BLT's. (We are always frying bacon for something.) Margaret dances around my feet, first to Mary Poppins and then to Sleeping Beauty and then to COWGIRL MUSIC, MOMMY! Her twirls are all long and slow and her eyes are always closed.  I dance with her. Viola is swinging and cooing and reminding me that love is an ever expanding, star shined, sort of thing. Riley goes back to work tomorrow.

We will miss him.

For just a moment they are all here and all mine.

Years from now when the babies are gone and life is more complicated, I hope they think of this. Of our little kitchen and our big love. Of princess dressed dances and a Daddy that would rather be here than anywhere else. I hope they know that I was born to love them and that it was enough for me. I hope the smell of frying bacon always brings them home.

Even if it is just for a moment.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

We Do Exist!

Riley and I aren't great parents. The evidence of this is abundant. Margaret's hair is rarely (read never) brushed. She has also started watching the music video for Grace Potter's, Paris (Oh la la) song obsessively. (Hello two year old. Want to shake it to some rock music along with girls in fishnets? Be.My.Guest.) Sometimes we take Viola outside without socks on. Ice cream for breakfast is a regular occurence.

The worst offence by far, however, the one that will land all of our kids in therapy, is that we never, ever, EVER take pictures. Our lives are lovely. There are smiles and tears and dancing in the kitchen. And absolutely no physical evidence that any of it ever happens.

Enter Justin Hackworth. A photographer that weilds his lens the way Monet rocked a paintbrush. High praise. Yeah. Deserved? Hell Heck, yeah.

Justin came to our house. Made Margaret fall in love with him. (I LOVE JUSTIN! CAN I HUG HIM??) Took our pictures. And left Riley and I feeling like the best parents in the world. Did you see all those photograph's we just had taken of our family? We are parents. Hear us roar.

Yesterday we met with Mr. Hackworth to go over the moments he had captured in our purple walled home. It was all just perfect.  I bawled like a big, snotty baby. After the presentation, we sat down to look over prices. (Side note: All of Justin's prices are beyond reasonable. It just so happens that Riley and I are in a point of our life where a visit to the dollar menu can wipe out our bank account. Oh, McNuggets, how I miss thee.) I sat there, looking at the numbers, trying to figure out how we could afford two 8 x 10's. (You know how it goes...Maybe if we eat only eggs for the next three weeks. And I only eat two meals a day. And I sell my hair.) When Riley looks at me, looks at Justin and says, We'll take that one. That one. The package I didn't even look at because it was several, several, SEVERAL weeks worth of dollar menu purchases. The one that allowed us to have every precious instant that Justin captured. The one that we would get someday, when we were richer, skinnier, healthier, and reading only russian literature.

I started crying again.

As we walked to our car, Riley held my hand.

Are you sure?

Yeah, Meggi. I am sure. Those are the kinds of things we should spend money on.

I married a smart guy.

( I will skip the part of the story where we canceled, reconsidered, canceled, and finally decided to still do it. It was like the worst game of telephone, ever. Justin was very patient.)

Much better than chicken nuggets.

Monday, December 12, 2011

It Will Have to Do

                                                                Oh. Tannenbaum.

Margaret is asleep. Little Miss Viola Honey is cooing next to me and the house is clean. Well. All the clutter is shoved in closets and under beds. So. The house is basically clean. Our little Christmas tree glows against our purple walls and I think about my girls. They have come to a crazy little woman. I never finish anything. My personality tends to the flighty. I mean everything I promise. And get around to about thirty percent of it. My tastes are well, eclectic. The last time I was really proud of an outfit my mom said I looked like,

"a homeless woman. But, you know, one that had happened upon a bin of really expensive mismatched clothes."

Thank you?

 I want to give these two darlings the whole world, but around here a successful morning is one where I have been able to find a pair of socks for each of us. (Much harder than you would think.)

Christmas, while joyful and colorful and magical, is also brimming with feelings of inadequacy. I so want to be that family. You know the one. From November 1st to December 31st their house would make the North Pole envious. Their homemade caramel never burns and the kids aren't crying in their Christmas card picture.  The family with carol singing and  traditions the children still love when they are eighty and their children's children are having babies. My house is usually too filled with diapers to stir up any feeling, except maybe a desire for a bigger trash can. I can't make rice without burning it black, so attempting homemade caramel might border on the insane. And Margaret cries everytime someone points a camera at her. We do sing carols. And I am inordinately proud of that. As for traditions? I want to give my children traditions. Little bits of stability and safety they can retreat to when they are adults and the world is a little less friendly. There have been attempts. Most of which involve me losing, breaking or forgetting the most important part. Head in my hands, I know. The woman who cannot keep her children in socks is unlikely to be a woman that keeps traditions.

Yesterday, my lovely husband reminded me of a couple of verses in Matthew,

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

This is the first and great commandment.

Sweet relief. The first and great commandment from our Heavenly Father, the creator of the universe, of stars and space and light and me, is about love. And honey, I know how to love. That is something I can give these little souls He sent my way. And give in abundance. The caramel making they will have to learn from someone else.

Traditions? Maybe next year. This Christmas, love and a viewing of It's a Wonderful Life will just have to be enough.

I think it is.

Postscript. I burned two grilled cheese sandwiches while writing this post. Typical.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Riley and Margaret play this game. He sits on the floor of our bedroom. She stands in the middle of our bed. Jumping. Jumping. Jumping. Running leap and YEAH, DADDY CAUGHT ME!

It is a great game, rarely ends in tears and tires her out beautifully for bed. Last night I went in and sat with them while she flew through the air. Viola was cuddled in my arms, smiling like she knew she should. Margaret loved it. OH, MOMMY, LOOK AT HER. SHE LOVES IT! SHE LOVES ME! SHE LOVES YOU!

Jumping. Jumping. Jumping. Running leap and....I noticed something. When Margaret jumps into the air, she never looks down. The darling girl looks at me, at herself in the mirror or up at the ceiling. But she never once looked at Riley, at the floor, at the places she could fall.

Riley and I have been discussing some big things. It is one of the reasons I married him. There are some dreams so big it takes two people to dream them. Cheesy? Sure. True and lovely? Absolutely. Also...a little scary.

I think I will learn from Margaret. Time to leap without looking down. Time to forget about the places I can fall.

Jumping. Jumping. Jumping. Running leap and....

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Stay Awake...or don't.

Viola slept through the night. For the third night out of the last four. Darling, remind me of this when you are sixteen and I will buy you a car. Any.Car.You.Want.


Margaret is sick. For the tenth day out of the last fourteen. She was up all night last night. Crying, not breathing, crying some more. At some point she started pointing at her face while yelling...MY EYES! MY EYES! I am not going to lie, it was a a little creepy. The little girl fell asleep around 4:30am. And woke up at 5:41am. Honey, I would suggest that you never remind me of this. Even still may not be getting a car. Sleep tonight and perhaps we can figure something out.

Margaret's favorite sleepy song is Stay Awake from Mary Poppins. It has been playing on loop for the past two hours and the girl is still wide eyed. She might be taking it a little literally.

Me? I am ready for a nap.

Just in case you need a little soothing yourself

Monday, December 5, 2011

Just a tear or two (or three or four or....)

Weekends can be hectic. Poor Riley. I often try to squeeze a weeks worth of activities into two days. Some sort of grand tour off all the things he missed while he was at work during the week. It can seem like a punishment. Naps are skipped. Tears. Snacks forgotten. Tears. Primetime football games missed. Tears. (I will leave it up to the reader to decide which tears belong to little Margaret and which belong to Riley.)

Saturday we went to a church Christmas breakfast, a friends birthday party, and the Utah Festival of Trees. The Christmas breakfast was a good excuse to eat my years' quota of hashbrowns and cheese. The birthday party was a six year olds dream, pizza making and balloon popping. (Margaret was devastated during the balloon popping portion...MOMMY! BALLOONS ARE BEAUTIFUL! WHY? WHY? Viola just seemed mildly annoyed.) We stopped for a bit at the grandparents house where Margaret napped and then had a psychotic break due to low blood sugar. Epic, record breaking crying. Riley thought perhaps that should signal the end of our day...I knew better. On to the next adventure! The Festival of Trees is a lovely, heart breaking, necessary kind of thing. Each year hundreds of people from across the state decorate trees that are auctioned off to benefit Primary Children's Hospital. Most of the trees are done as a memorial to people who have died, many of them children. Dozens of Thomas the Train, ballerina, and princess trees, each one next to a picture of the child they remembered.  Margaret couldn't figure out why the GORGEOUS (her new word) christmas trees made mommy sad. There were just too many of them. We will go every year.

Yesterday was church and a family gathering. BLT's and deviled eggs and butternut squash cream soup spiked with green chile. (My Dad the two bit burgers for him.) Lot's of kids. Some tears. More laughter. Both from Margaret. We got home just in time to see the last ten minutes of Natalie Cole and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir perform on PBS. Pajama's. Margaret and I on the couch. Viola cuddled up with Riley on the rocking chair. Ms. Cole sang with her eyes closed, the choir's voices soared and Riley looked at me.

I love you.

I love you, too.

This time the tears were mine.