Monday, January 21, 2013

Robert Frost and I make decision.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, 
and sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could 
To where it bent in the undergrowth

And to me, the road looked bright and solid. Well-traveled, I felt surely adventures were there along that cheerful road waiting for me just out of sight.

A voice, soft and sure, from just behind my ear whispered warning. Not the road for you, called the voice, familiar as a warm blanket. Not this road. Not this time. 

Stubborn, I turned again to face the road, and tentatively took a step, longing for the sunshine along that bright road to warm my face.

Please, warned the voice, joined now by a tiny chorus. This is not the road for you. 

Temporarily blinded by my own narrow view of the way, I admitted the possibility-- however unlikely it seemed to me then-- that maybe I was wrong. I squeezed my eyes shut and breathed in deeply. The I opened my eyes, squinting for an instant and, for the first time, looked down the other path.

I thought about my journey thus far, the roads and paths and winding trails I had taken and the companions who had joined me along the way, and the way they followed me, trailing behind in the distance, choosing their own foot falls but forever within the sound of my calling. Again and again, I had found my self enveloped in the cocoon of people who celebrated my victories and shared my sorrows, their concern as consistent as the rising and setting of the sun. I trusted their love, and in that moment I trusted the soft call of their voices. Perhaps from the far away hills behind my resting place the paths before me looked unequal, curving wildly and unexpectedly ahead of my feet. Timidly, I took a step in a new direction.

Then took the other, just as fair, 
And having perhaps the better claim 
Because it was grassy and wanted wear

Reluctantly and feeling betrayed by the sunshine, I sighed and began my long walk alone along the smaller path.  In the quiet, though, I heard footsteps behind me, and found myself immediately surrounded, buoyed up, and ever so far from alone. 

Two roads diverged in a wood and I, 
I took the one less traveled by, 
And that has made all the difference. 

Robert Frost, "The Road Not Taken"
Entire text found here

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Thirty before 30.

So here's the thing, I turn 30 this year. 3-0. T H I R T Y. I know, right? Start cracking your over the hill, denture-wearing senior citizen jokes now because you've only got until November to perfect them. Thirty years old is sort of a weird milestone for me because I remember my mother's thirtieth birthday. A neighbor had a singing gorilla come to our house with a telegram (telegram? Is there still such a thing?) and a singing gorilla is not really the sort of thing an 8 year old forgets.

All joking aside, I'm not really all that freaked out by turning 30. I've got a husband and a dog and a mortgage (two, actually, what with our condo) and a gaggle of kids and a couple of degrees and a job, so being 30 actually feels sort of... expected. I mean, I'm no Doogie Howser, and the years add up.

I set a couple of resolutions for this year, but I'll be honest, they're all sort of vague. What's that acronym you're supposed to follow for good goals? SMART, or something? I can't remember what the S stands for, but then it's like measurable, attainable, reportable?  or recordable?, and then maybe timely? I don't know, and anyway none of my resolutions fit. Those that are even sort of specific have gotten off to a slow start, but I'm being patient with myself, mostly because the one morning I woke up in the frigid cold to follow my old running path around the neighborhood my lungs filled right up to the brim with inversion-stink and nearly fell out of my body with a frozen thud.

 So anyway, in honor of the big event coming up in November, I decided to make a list of 30 things I'd like to do before I turn the big 3-0. I've filled up most of the list with fun things in no particular order of importance. Number 11, for example, is learn to make tamales (instead of buying them from the sketchy guy in the Walmart parking lot) and Number 1 is to eat at a good sushi place.

I have ten slots left, and I'm taking suggestions. Just what MUST I do before turning 30?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

That'll show me.

Despite plenty of warning, the announcement that nap time was upon us elicited a meltdown of somewhat uncharacteristic proportions. It suddenly became impossible for her three year old legs to support the rest of her body, and she crumpled to the floor like a pile of limp spaghetti.

"Go to a different place!" she shouted, shrilly. "I want my mommy to go away to a different place!"

After briefly pondering the merits of a mystical Different Place wherein I am not wrangling a three-year-old who doesn't realize the absolute wonder of a time of day designated specifically to relax and do nothing, and also possibly where I might have the opportunity to shower/brush my teeth/put on deodorant before 2:00 in the afternoon, I instead suppressed a smile and informed Bug that I was not, in fact, going away, and that it was indeed still time to go to bed.

Furious, she voiced her displeasure repeatedly until we got to the bathroom, where the mandatory pre-nap potty time was initiated. Her eyes sparking with fury, she looked right into mine and angrily spat, "Mommy, I'm keeping my pee IN ME!"

That'll show me.

Barely able to stifle my laughter, I looked up at the ceiling until I could force the smile off my face and set my lips into a stern, resolute line.

"Bug, " I said, in real life using her full first and middle name--international Mom Speak for 'you are in deep trouble, Missy'-- "if you do not put your pee in the potty, you will not get to have Wubby in nap time. He will hang out with me, instead."

Now there's a statement I somehow never envisioned escaping my mouth.

Bug jammed her thumb into her mouth with an obstinate sort of sass, glared at the floor, and breathed hard through her nose in a way that made her snort like a little Spanish bull. She was irate.

I took such pride in the little tinkling sound that obediently, if reluctantly, followed.

Our Bug on her first day of Sunbeams this past Sunday...

...and, somewhat ironically, modeling the most obedient way to sit with her class.

Monday, January 7, 2013

She'll see it later, Clark. Her eyes are frozen.

This weekend, the girls and I took off on our annual post-Christmas shopping trip. In the past, we've flown to California for the day, but this year we spent the night at a hotel downtown and shopped closer to home. We had a fantastic time, even if we did nearly die from the cold. 

Oh, haven't I mentioned the cold? No? That's because my fingers are frozen. Let's just make it clear for the sake of history that this winter is so cold I've started my normal February I hate the winter whine-fest a month early. Or I would, if my lips weren't too frozen to complain. If hell is supposed to be eternal punishment, there's no way it has as much fire as those Far Side cartoons let on. Instead, hell is 9 degrees with a stiff breeze, and you never get to wear a coat.

Basically the only reason the Schmoopse and I still live in this frigid, frozen icy nightmare of a town (besides, you know, jobs) is to keep the pumpkin snacks close to the grandparents and family members who love them so. It's a sacrifice I won't soon let them forget. 

Thanks a lot, kids! When my toes fall off from frostbite, you just remember all those Sunday family dinners with fondness, and don't mind my limp.

It's a good effort, son, but even that little smirk can't warm my heart from it's current position in my frozen chest cavity.

Hmm. That's a little better. Check back again in March.