Monday, May 9, 2011

A poem for Mother's Day

No, not my poem. But one that conveys the mysteries of motherhood and the depth of a mother's sacrifice. And it's funny to boot.

The Lanyard - Billy Collins

The other day I was ricocheting slowly
off the blue walls of this room,
moving as if underwater from typewriter to piano,
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
when I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.

No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one into the past more suddenly—
a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid long thin plastic strips
into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.

I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
or wear one, if that’s what you did with them,
but that did not keep me from crossing
strand over strand again and again
until I had made a boxy
red and white lanyard for my mother.

She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sick room,
lifted spoons of medicine to my lips,
laid cold face-cloths on my forehead,
and then led me out into the airy light

and taught me to walk and swim,
and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied,
which I made with a little help from a counselor.

Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth,
and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
And here, I wish to say to her now,
is a smaller gift—not the worn truth

that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took
the two-tone lanyard from my hand,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless, worthless thing I wove
out of boredom would be enough to make us even.

There may never be a "making even" (and really, no mom wants or expects that) but as a mother I now know and cherish the gifts that, while simple, come from the heart. Like the buckets full of apple blossom petals and dandelions that were hand-gathered all afternoon and came complete with the satisfied giggling and ear to ear smiles of a job well done. And the gift of time that my mother gave me as we slowly climbed to the top of a waterfall, talking and laughing all the while.

I hope that my mothers and grandmothers and friend's mothers and mother-friends felt celebrated and loved on Mother's Day. I thank each one of you for the ways in which you've taught me, inspired me, and walked along side me and continue to mother your children well, even when they're grown :)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A (rather unorthodox) girl's guide to Star Wars

I heard around the internets that today is International Star Wars day. May the "fourth" be with you and everything. Har har. I've had these photos for a while now, and today seems like the perfect day to share them.

Along with some awesome vintage little people (you know, the cute but choking-hazard sized ones) and a super-sweet old school speak and spell, the girls have inherited their dad's old Star Wars toys. Now there are many little boys out there (and plenty of little girls, too) who will see these photos and know exactly who each and every character is and what every gizmo on every ship does. My girls have pretty much no clue when it comes to Star Wars aside from knowing who C3PO is and that an Ewok is a cute little bear thing. But hey, that Ewok Village is a super cool fairy fort and the ship (I don't even know the name of the ship) is a vehicle on which Canada Geese take their revenge for invading their no-fly zone. And don't even try to tell them that Rancor is someone you wouldn't want to mess with. They'll tell you he is just misunderstood and that, like my favorite three year old, his bark is worse than his bite - nothing a little swaddling and rocking won't cure. Yeah, dad has some work to do when it comes to teaching these two about the ins and outs of his childhood favorite movies.

 "You dare to land in my territory??"
 Goose attack!
 Poor little Rancor. Do you need a hug?
There there, little buddy. We'll find someone who will return you to your former days of ferocious glory.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A visit from Grandma

It's always super exciting when Grandma comes to visit! It was even more so this time because the kids were out of school for Spring break and got to enjoy filling their days with the kind of play only a Grandma can provide. The other great thing about Grandma visiting is that I can count on her to take lots of great pictures of all the fun and post them on her blog. Just looking through them tires me out - we managed to cram quite a few outings (and some shopping, too) into a one week visit!

 Grandma gives great foot rubs!

 We made rainbow cookies for St. Patrick's day. Don't they look like something out of a Dr. Seuss book??

 Having fun in Tillamook where the stickers kept Maryn "content" while we waited for our food. Gotta love that girl's vocabulary!

 Grandma had fun meeting Eli - and look, they match!

We did a little bit of everything - from pastries and play at the pirate park to cheese sandwiches and ice cream in Tillamook, even a ride on a camel at OMSI. But I think the kids had the most fun the night Chris and I were able to go out and they got Grandma all to themselves :)

The trip went by too quickly and now we get to catch up via Skype chats until we can see both Grandma and Grandpa in July. We're counting down the days already!