February 26, 2008
The other thing I love about this part of our house is the rotating arrangements and the link to our life in Japan. While living in Japan, I took Ikebana lessons. Once a week for three years I would carry my notebook, special scissors, frogs, and heavy ceramic vases into a small classroom. I would join Japanese and American women at various stages of study. Those weekly lessons in patience, form, culture, seasonal growth, and connections are some of my most cherished Japanese experiences. I loved my sensei (teacher)...a gentle, but spunky woman in her 70s with patience and wit. Despite the fact that I always felt so clumsy and "American" while fumbling to produce arrangements, I always loved bringing home fresh arrangements. And I continue to keep that weekly tradition. I don't have a class here, but I do like to make sure I always have something in an arrangement or something blooming (like the amaryllis above). It makes me smile. It brightens up that room and somehow seems to pay homage to my favorite photos/my favorite people.
February 18, 2008
Noah: Mama, tell me again why you do those things to help people and the kids who need families?
L: You mean why did I become a social worker?
L: Because I like helping people.
Noah: (long pause) I really wish you had been a builder instead.
Last week when making Valentines, I leaned over Noah's shoulder to see what he was drawing. He proudly explained that he had made a drawing of a man in a dungeon and a big pile of poop. Before I could say anything, he followed it up with "you told me to make something that Cole would like". Cole (also five years old) seemed very appreciative. Seems that Hallmark should take a hint...instead of doing all the junky character cards they should switch to bodily functions.
And finally this evening I heard this little exchange between Noah and Adam. Noah was being sent to his room for a little time-out:
A: I don't appreciate your sassiness.
N: I know, but I wish you did!
February 15, 2008
Drawing, painting, photography, creating has always felt like a very natural, normal, and comforting part of my life. I don't have the compulsive drive to be a professional artist like my sister and my parents, but I do feel the need to observe, to create, and to appreciate. I think a lot of that is due to my parents and their belief that children should always be encouraged to create. That art supplies should be as readily available as food and books. That children should be free to explore their natural surroundings. That they should be exposed to a wide range of cultures and art.
Now that I have children I find my creative juices are being sparked in a new way. I am seeing the world through their eyes. Suddenly birds and squirrels are funny and magical creatures. Details are suddenly brought into clear focus. Questions are a constant part of the exploration process starting from those early words of "what's this" to "why" to "why is the sun so hot?". And watching both of my children create, build, paint, and explore gives me more joy than I ever anticipated. And I find myself savoring the chance to return to fingerpainting, fairy house building, mud art, and rock collecting.
We celebrated Noah's birthday with a weekend trip to the Kennedy Space Center and it really was a blast! Rockets, shuttles, lunar rovers, moon rocks, big buses, space ice cream...a perfect place to turn 5. The biggest suprsise for me was the overwhelming wildlife. Tons of alligators, roseate spoonbills with too many different water birds to count, bald eagles nesting (in a nest the size of king size bed!!) and even a bear from a distance. I didn't realize the space center was home to more than 500 species of wildlife including manatees..hope we can make it back again soon.
February 8, 2008
And an interview with my favorite nearly five year old boy:
L: What are you going to do when you are five?
N: I am going to learn how to kick the soccer ball over the roof. And I am excited about the solar system.
L: You mean you want to learn more about the solar sytem?
N: Yes, I want to learn more about it when I am five.
L: What is your favorite food?
N: Cake and strawberries and shrimp, but I like my trains better than food.
L:What do you worry about?
N: Time outs. I hate time outs
L: What do you want to be when you grow up?
N: A firefighter
L: Who is the funniest person you know?
L: Who is the smartest person you know?
L: If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
N: New York City so I can see the tall building and paint pictures of them.
L: Anything else you want to say about being five?
This news comes on the tail end of two weeks as a solo parent (Adam has been out of town for work). There have been some stressful moments (like having sick kids, and like last night when we went out to eat and I couldn't pay the bill because I left my wallet at home), there have been some really good moments (like letterboxing with Annie and Megan, and having donuts one morning with Ericka and Ben), but the most overwhelming feeling is pure exhaustion at the end of each day. Parenting is hard work and single parenting is especially hard work (I am in awe of single parents). I am not looking forward to six months of single parenting, but I know it will be ok. I know that we will have ups and downs. I know we will miss Adam desperatedly. Luckily, we have good friends and family to lean on for support and we will keep ourselves very busy with beach trips, picnics, and park adventures.
Being at the beach this afternoon was a good thing. It got me out of the house and out of my head. As soon as I heard the waves crashing and saw the kids running free on the beach, I felt less worried and sad about the deployment news. Noah and his buddy, Cole, had a great time running up and down the beach including the freezing water. Camille is not a big beach fan, but she eventually settled down and had a good time digging in the sand. I had a nice visit with Nisha and felt reassured that all will be fine. We are so lucky compared to so many other military families who have faced back to back deployments, injuries, and losses.