A minute

It only takes a minute.

To get something off your chest.

Shed a tear and feel healed.

It only takes a minute to grab someone’s hand

Give them a hug

Tell them they mean the world.

In a minute you can shake off a fear

Or realize that you’re frozen with fear

In just a minute you can melt with pride

Watching someone’s first anything

And in another minute your arms can be tightly wrapped around them

Squeezing the pride right back into them

Sadly it also only takes a minute to realize

She may have grown out of your big bear hugs and kisses in public

And that someone you thought was your friend

Really isn’t.

Wishes are made in a minute.

Dreams can come true in a minute.

Love.

Scorn.

Envy.

Lust.

Hope.

All can be felt or shared

In A Minute.

And if all of This

Only takes a minute

As a resolution to myself

And for my sanity

I will be here.

For a minute

Or two. Or three.

Every day.

Because that’s all I need.

It’s all it needs to take.

I miss this place.

You.

Every minute.

So here I’ll be

Sharing my minutes.

Even if just One. At. A. Time.

 

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Eight Days

Most kids count down the days to Christmas from December 26 until December 25 of the next year.  It’s a day of pure joy.  Pure excitement.  Anticipation.  Smiles and pajamas and giggles and family and early mornings and messes of wrapping paper and ribbons.

Or so I hear.

Because I have never celebrated Christmas.  Nope, no stockings hanging over my fireplace.  No cookies left for Santa.  No Christmas tree with beautiful colorful lights, memorable ornaments and a perfect star on top.  No early morning wakings to see what Santa brought for me.  Some of you may feel sad for me that I never got to experience the dazzle of this popular holiday.  I actually felt sad myself when I was much younger.  I felt a little left out.  A little on the outside. But not REALLY.  Just a little bit.

Because I had Chanukah.  Eight days of dazzle.  Eight days of waking up in the morning wondering what my gift that night would be.  Eight days of walking into the living room with presents stacked high on the table.  Eight days of lighting the candles on the menorah and singing a song I had grown to love (although never really knew what the Hebrew words meant).  I loved Chanukah.  As much as all of my friends loved Christmas.  And I still love Chanukah but more from a different perspective.  The perspective of watching my kids’ eyes light up when they see all of their presents stacked high on OUR living room floor.  Last year I watched Hannah sit indian style in front of the stack of presents willing herself to see THROUGH the wrapping paper. Looking long and hard at the shapes and sizes of each gift trying to guess what they all were.

I try to make Chanukah look and feel as special as Christmas.  Because it’s hard.  To drive down our street and see the majority of the houses lit up with Christmas lights and trees.  Jolly blow up Santas in the yards.  Reindeer and sleighs climbing over the roofs.  And not have any of that on our house.  Hannah is at the age of asking why we can’t have all of that on our house.  Many of my friends actually ask me the same.  “Why don’t you just do it… for the kids?”  And I know they don’t get it when I tell them it’s because we’re Jewish.  And Jewish people (for the most part) just don’t decorate the house with Christmas decorations.  Because it would be doing it just to Fit In.  And we teach our kids that doing things just to fit in, is not ok.  I ask them if they lived in a mostly Jewish town and THEIR kids were in the minority if they’d light a menorah to fit in… and they all quickly respond, “Well, no.”  Don’t get me wrong, I’m super proud of my roots, my heritage, my upbringing but for a little kid, being even slightly different.  Is hard.  Because the Hoopla is all around Christmas where we live.  And where the kids go to school.   Hannah told me yesterday she asked EVERY kid in her class if they celebrate Christmas and all but one said yes.  That was hard for her.  And as a mom, I want to make things easy for her.  I want things to make sense to her.  I want her to feel proud of who she is.  Proud of her religion.  Her upbringing.  So I make Chanukah a really big deal.  With games and chocolate and extra ribbons and fun pink Chanukah drinks, and big dinner parties.  And this year, we’re inviting her two best friends who are Christian to celebrate one night of Chanukah with her.  So she can feel proud.  And special.  And they can understand what she does for HER holiday.  All of her friends always tell her about the cookies they leave out for Santa and the traditions they have on Christmas Eve.  Now her friends will get a taste of OUR traditions.  Feel the warmth in our house during one of Hannah’s favorite times of year.

And maybe Hannah will stop asking me how we can get on that “list” that Santa gets each year telling him whose house he should go to with his sac of gifts.  Because I’m running out of ways to avoid the topic.

What’s it like for you?  Do you celebrate Christmas or Chanukah or something else?  What’s the big kid’s gift in your house this year?

 

 

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Who’s Counting?

I don’t talk much about Luke in this blog.  I’m not sure why… maybe because he doesn’t bring me as much emotional angst as Hannah and I don’t feel I need to vent as much about him.  Or maybe because he doesn’t say as much that totally blows me away as Hannah does.  Really, he doesn’t say much at all.  It also could be because I don’t relate to him as much because he’s not, well, a girl like.  I don’t know, the material just isn’t as in my face as the drama that Hannah brings me each and every day.  So, sadly he’s kind of missing from this blog.

But yesterday when out of the blue he started counting on his own, I stopped and turned to him and I felt my entire body smile.  Not just my mouth.  Not just my face.  No, my whole body curled upward into a smile.  Because, as many of you know, this little guy has been extremely slow in the speaking department and each word that comes out of his mouth is a true triumph for me.  And him.  When he answers a question with more than just “YEAH Mommy”, he looks at me, head cocked to the side, shoulders shrugging with a smile that says, “Yup, I DID just say that!  On my own!”.  And he sees the pride written all over me.

Words are still coming slowly.  Very slowly.  But they are coming.  My mom joked yesterday that he talks a little like E.T. And it’s true.  He says the important words in sentences, but not necessarily all of the words that actually make a sentence a Sentence.  But it’s ok.  Because I get him.  I hear him. And I can finally talk WITH him, not just to him. And for those of you who can relate to this situation, you know how much it melts you when these conversations happen.

So yesterday, Luke was playing with his cars.  Pulling them out of his big box o’ cars and placing them in his little parking garage one at a time.  And with each one he pulled out, he shouted out a number.  As if he was announcing who was next at the deli counter.

“TWO!” (He skips the number One. Always. Who needs One anyway?)

“FREE!”

“FO!”

“ZIX!” (Yup, he skips five too which angers Hannah to no end as it’s her age).

“FEVEN!”

“EIGHT!”

“NION!” (kind of rhymes with Lion)

“DEN!”

“FUH-FEVEN!” (my favorite number of all time)

“TWELF!”

“FIRTEEN!”

And back to “TWO!” he goes…

I also loved watching him raise each car high over his head as he announced its number to the crowd, while he dug through the box for the next victim.

I tried to get him to learn the numbers beyond “Firteen”, but he was very happy getting that high and starting over.  He actually ignored all attempts on my part to coach him in any way.  And that was more than fine. Because this all happened on his own. Without prodding.  Without begging him to learn.  It happened how it was meant to happen.

Slowly.

On his own terms.

And it’s how he will continue. Not rushed. Not stressed. And soon, he’ll be counting to infinity. Including One and Five.

And conversing with all of us. For us all to understand. Not just me and E.T.

 

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Stretched

I sat with my chin in my hands, smile on my face as I watched Hannah last week in gymnastics.  She sat in the front row of a class of about twenty-five 5-7 year old girls.  She always likes to be in the front.  Close to the instructor. Having the best view.  Getting the most attention if she should need to tell about her trip to Pittsburgh, her dinner with her grandparents or her mom running a red light on the way to class.  I couldn’t hear the coaches or the kids from where I sat, behind the glass, as if watching monkeys in the zoo.  But I always know when Hannah is telling a story.  She twirls one ponytail around and around her finger, stands very close to whoever she is talking to and makes sure not to lose their eye contact.  The coach smiles and nods and I usually read, “OH REALLY? Wow!” from their lips.  I always wonder what story it is that she told this time.  She tells these stories all while she stretches at the start of class.  I’m amazed with the ease that she stretches.  Her legs spread in a near split.  Her nose or her ear touching her knee.  One side.  Quickly to the next. Out in front.  Face planted on the floor between her legs. She flips to her back.  Presses he arms to the floor into a backbend.  Perfectly arched. Like a rainbow.

I remember when I could stretch like that.  It caused no pain to jump into the air and land in a split. I could easily flip my legs backwards over my head, putting my knees next to my ears.  Like a pretzel.  I could grab my ankles with my hands in a backbend. Like a rubberband.

I no longer can stretch like that. It hurts. I get stuck. And I can’t bounce back.

But.

These days I am STRETCHED.  I guess that’s what happens. You go from being flexible and loving to stretch, to just plain being stretched.

There’s just so much.  Too much. And I’m being pulled.  From side to side. From above and below. From real world to online world.  From being thrilled to be where I am today, to being petrified of where I’ll be tomorrow. From feeling like I’m doing it pretty well, to feeling like I’m failing miserably. From knowing it will all turn out alright, to not even knowing what “All Right” is or if there even is an All Right.  From feeling like I’m able to take care of everything, to feeling like I’m caring for no one very well.

Stretched.

I wouldn’t mind being so stretched if I felt more flexible.  If it didn’t hurt quite so much.  I want to scream, “Stop pulling me!” but I know it’s just part of life. Being pulled. Not ever feeling balanced.  Always feeling like I’m about to fall over or dragged to a place that doesn’t feel quite right.

The strange thing?  Is that so much IS right in my world these days. I’m working.  Making money. Running my own little business with projects that I LOVE.  But these projects that I love are taking me away from this passion of writing that I love.  And I’ve hated having to choose.  Spend two hours at night on a client’s blog, or my own.  Get paid, or say “hi” to you all.  I’m finding time to remember the OLD me.  The one who played tennis.  I get out there and hit some balls, get some exercise, feel competitive and inspired to be in shape.  But that time on the court?  Is two hours that i could be making money, or again, be here with you.  Or making an effort to see my friends.  Or visiting my mom or my Nana.  Every day that I am happy with what I DID do, I realize what I did NOT do.  Clean my house.  Organize my kitchen/playroom/office/bedroom.

I’m stretched. Full of worry, impatience, fear. For what lays ahead. When the slight breeze will come that will knock me to the ground. It won’t even take a strong gust of wind, just a breeze.

Because I can’t stretch anymore.  I’m as stretched as I can be.

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What Takes Shape

There is something so fantastic about a blank piece of paper.  Clean.  Open. Welcoming.  I love the moment when Hannah pulls out a piece of blank white paper.  She places is it on the table in front of her, pulls out a marker or crayon and sits staring at the paper.  Her wheels turning.  Her imagination spilling out of her. No rules. No expectations. No right or wrong.

I’m pretty sure Hannah never knows what she is going to create when she pulls out the paper and starts to draw.  I like to sit back and watch her as she starts.  She slowly doodles a shape on the paper and then sits back to examine it.  Often she’ll turn the paper around and around studying the shape.  Until it takes shape.  And then she’ll begin her work.  Today I watched her go from sitting with a blank piece of paper to an abstract green, bumpy shape to an amazing picture of a dinosaur wearing a dress and sunglasses, standing beside two “townhouses”, under an orange sky, its feet on blue grass with two dinosaur friends.  I’m confident “I’m going to draw a scene with dinosaurs and townhouses” was not something that crossed her mind as she set out to draw  today.  But it’s where her imagination led her. It’s where her crayon took her.  And she was quite satisfied with the outcome.

I feel like I live many of my days like this.  I wake up with a blank day in front of me.  No idea of what moods lay ahead.  What obstacles I might stumble upon.  All I can control is how I step out of bed.  Whether I have a smile or a frown across my face. What “shape” I draw at 6:00 in the morning is all I can plan.  The rest just happens.

In watching Hannah add more and more details to her picture today and seeing her get more and more excited with each addition to her picture, I realized what a great way THAT would be to live.  To be more in control, more purposeful, with what I add to what’s already in my day.  What details will make my “picture” more exciting, more satisfying.  I don’t normally do this.  Because it’s not easy to do.  I usually just see my day falling apart in front of me and chalk it up to another one of “those” days. And if the falling apart starts at 10am, so be it, the rest of the day is lost.

I guess it doesn’t always have to be like that though.  Things as easy as a vase of flowers, a cup of hot cider, a phone call to a friend, a thank you to someone unexpecting it can really make that early Shape of my day something Better.

I’m going through some crappy days lately.  Crappy in that if I were to draw a picture at the beginning of my day it would just be a brown mud puddle.  But I had an epiphany, and I’m Not letting the muddy waters drag me down.  Nope.  I’m putting on my new Target herringbone rain boots and I’m going splashing in those puddles.  Because what fun will a picture of a mud puddle be to look back on when the sun comes out?  Not fun.  I’m adding some happy details to my paper.  Maybe not a dinosaur wearing sunglasses.  But happy none the less.

 

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Thinking Chair

 

Hannah sometimes comes home from school ticking off a list of kids who had to sit in the Thinking Chair that day.  She tells me who the offender was, what they did, how they reacted and how she promises she’ll Never Ever have to sit in the dreaded Thinking Chair.  The “Chair” is the consequence for a child’s third offense in a day.  First offense the child is given a verbal warning.  Second offense, the child gets her name written on the blackboard for all to see.  And if a third offense occurs, the child is directed to a small blue chair, off in the corner of the room to sit.  Alone.  To think.  Alone.  Until the teacher feels the child has learned her lesson.

Many of us have our version of the Thinking Chair in our house.  We have a “naughty step” where Hannah and Luke are sent when I just can’t bare to look at them anymore after they’ve been behaving horrendously.   For Hannah it’s the top step of the stairs. For Luke it’s the third from the bottom.  (Don’t Ask.) Unfortunately for me, he actually LIKES to sit on the step.  He sits with his hands in his lap with a silly grin on his face shouting, “HI Mommy!” while I try to keep a stern angry look on my face and wag my finger at him shouting, “You STAY there for a whole two minutes until you can LISTEN!”.  “Oh Tay Mommy”, he usually says, happily sitting, swinging his feet.”

The Thinking Chair in my house really doesn’t work.  Hannah spends the whole time screaming, not thinking.  Luke thinks it’s a game and certainly doesn’t Think for even a millisecond while he’s there.  This is why the top step and third step from the bottom have done nothing recently but gather dust.

But.

I have a Thinking Chair of my own in my house.

I don’t use it as a place to sit when I’ve been naughty.  Instead it really is the chair that I find myself doing the most thinking.  It sits in the corner of Luke’s room.  It’s blue and white gingham, extra wide and overstuffed.  It reclines and it glides.  I spent months nursing Luke in this chair. Months sleeping with him in this chair. More months sleeping on my own in the chair while he struggled to sleep in his crib.  I’ve read him countless tractor, truck and car books in this chair and I’ve sung him thousands of lullabies from this chair.

But the times I cherish most in this chair are the minutes I just sit in his dimly lit room.  Shadows on the wall cast from the tiny nightlight in the opposite corner.  I can only hear the Waterfall soothing sound coming from his sound machine as it blocks out most other sounds coming from downstairs or even next door in Hannah’s room.  I sit comfortably in the dark quiet and watch Luke’s little feet tap each reachable bar of his crib, a routine he’s recently started before he falls asleep.  I watch him softly stroke his blankies with the palm of his hand.  The back of his hand. The palm of his hand.  He sucks on one corner of the blanket while his hand caresses it.  Before he drifts off to sleep he lifts his head off the mattress to make sure I’m still sitting there and then quietly whispers, “nigh nigh mommy”. I know that’s my cue that I can leave.

But I stay.

And I think.  I think without distractions.  Without my phone blinking by my side.  Without the TV disturbances.  Without Hannah Needing anything from me.  I think about the day.  And yesterday. And tomorrow.  Lots of tomorrows.  I clear my head.  I have a chance to remember details. Flip through pictures in my head of things that have happened. Are happening.  I’ve shed a few tears in that chair.  And no one has known.  I’ve breathed deep sighs.  With no one asking me, “What’s wrong?”.  I’ve dreamed.  And smiled at those dreams.  Being able to totally appreciate them with no one telling me I’m being silly.

I love that chair.  That space. I love that I share it with Luke.  Although he has no idea. I always wish I could stay a few more minutes.  To breathe in the quiet. The darkness.  The sound of his slowed breathing.  But I fear waking him as I sneak out.

And the fact that it is a place I cannot sit for long makes it that much more special.  Helps me appreciate it.

Everyone needs a Thinking Chair.  For me it’s a Good place to sit.  And I’d like to be sent there Any Time.

 

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Angry

What do you do when you’re so angry but you have no where to place that anger.  No one to scream at.  No one to truly vent to. No one who can make you feel better?  Instead, you have to put on a happy face. You have to be “strong”. You have to act “fine”.  Even when you are everything but “fine”. And what if the person you’re angry at is not someone who you can reach out to. Not someone with whom you can “use your words”. No, instead it’s an unreachable entity.  Who honestly wouldn’t care what you had to say anyway. And the reason for your anger?  It’s because the one person, who means more to you than anyone else in the world has been wronged.  And there’s Nothing You Can Do.

This is where I am.

My body is aching with anger. Frustration. Sadness.

I’m sorry I can’t get into detail on this, but it’s Tim who has been wronged.  A person who has Never in the time I’ve known him wronged a soul.  I look at his face and I don’t recognize him.  The man I married, full of the Sillies, jumping to make me laugh at every turn, looks empty. Hollow.

And I’m helpless.  Yes, I can help him with my support.  Support in knowing that “things will work out”.  I can help him with my love. My arms wrapped around him.  My smile when he wears a frown.

But I’m not even sure that’s what he wants.  I don’t know what he wants.  I don’t know what I’d want.  I’m not sure of anything anymore.  Because I never believed that someone who always does right, could get something so undeserved.  My optimistic outlook has become cynical. A place I never thought I’d be.

I want to lash out. Scream at the top of my lungs. Stomp my feet. Beat my hands on the ground.  But I guess that won’t do anyone any good.  Not me. Not him. So instead, I’ll stand tall.  Be there.  Be here.  Be honest that I’m shaken up. On edge. Not MYself, even though this didn’t happen to Me.

Although in a way it did.  Happen to me. Because my world is shaken by his world shaking.  So we’ll tremble together on this shaky ground until our footing is found. And then again, we’ll celebrate together. And I’ll breathe again.

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