Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Happy to be here

Once upon a time, I was much more of a phone person than I am now. Brian would sometimes tease me after a long phone chat with Angie or one of my sisters and say, "What on earth could you two have talked about for that long? You just talked to each other yesterday!"

But that was exactly why we had something to talk about---because we did it often. We knew each other's cast of characters and the background to the stories, so we could (and still can) share the little things (that are really the big things) that would require too much back-story to make them worth sharing with friends whom we called less frequently.

Today I feel the impossibility of bring this site up to speed with the past couple of weeks, because both nothing and everything happened.

M D & H

First, my baby sister, who is about to have her own first baby, visited with her husband. They were both glowing in that magical state of anticipation. Aidan enjoyed having a whole bench of fans at his T-ball game, and Sean loved all the extra attention. Nolan fell asleep on Mimi's pregnant belly, and I couldn't help picturing the little cousin sleeping within, the two of them wrapped on each side of Mimi, like a little yin/yang symbol.

Splish splash pool

Then Angie's family of five came for an all-too brief visit. Despite the short length, it was packed full with waterplay and splashing in the kiddie pool, summer pasta salad with a BBQ and morning waffles, late night chats and a game of hearts. Sitting outside watching our kids playing together, Angie turned to me and said, "This is the moment we used to talk about in college" and I got chills up my spine---we used to hike Sabino Canyon and talk about the day our kids would play together. Of course, in our fantasy we were living next door to each other and this kind of afternoon was a daily occurrence rather than a rare treat, but still, I know how lucky we are.

And the kids do too. When it was time to go, first James and Charlie hid in the tent they'd made out of an air mattress, blankets, and the boys' bunk-beds. Then Aidan threatened to hide in their car. No one wanted to say goodbye. We appeased them with the fact that we'd be traveling to Flagstaff ourselves in a few weeks (now just a few days!) to celebrate Meagan's first communion.

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Just a couple days later my little brother Kevin arrived for a week long visit. I'm 18 years older than Kevin, and even though he has been taller than me for several years now, I still think of him as the sweet 4-yr-old boy he was when I first left home. I think this visit permanently changed that---like it or not, my little brother has grown up. Not only is he taller than me now, he's a man. That makes me want to both cry a little and cheer out loud. It is made much easier to accept by the fact that the man he's become is smart, witty, generous and incredibly good with children. He likes to joke that he's going to wait till he's 50 to have any kids, but I'm not going to put any money on those odds.  

Kev's visit004

He's always been good at calming babies, and his nephew with the look-a-like chin was no exception.

I'm filled with that familiar feeling of wishing the world were smaller, that I could shrink part of it so that all my favorite people lived within walking distance. I so wish all these people and more were regular features in the childhood of my children. We pay a big price to live where we do.

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But the payback is awesome as well.

One of the best things about having visitors is that it gets you exploring your own backyard.

Kev's visit055

Our two explorers want to live here. Living less than 5 minutes away from here isn't good enough.

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Bri confronted a guy who was etching his name into the rock. Can you believe that?!? There aren't enough graffiti-filled places to visit, you need to add some to a National Park? Yeah, I still haven't quite gotten over that one.

Kev's visit044

Neither have I fully gotten over watching my son fly into the air at the annual Art Fair in town. Sure there was a trampoline below him, and cables attached to him, but my heart was still pounding as I was watching him go higher and higher.  Lucky for Aidan, everyone ignored my requests to not give him the full treatment, and Aidan loved it. First thing he said when he was safely on the earth again and saw me: "Did you die watching me?" This was said with an enormous grin that makes me more than a little nervous for the future.


Nor am I over the phone call I received on Monday that this little stinker had eaten a paintball while at the park with friends.

Turns out paintballs aren't poisonous, and it didn't get stuck in his airway or puncture his intestines or cause him to go into shock in any way.

It did however cause me to feel faint at the idea that he might need to have his stomach pumped, or worse. He was in great hands and returned to me safe and sound, but every momma has that feeling, "If only I'd been there..." It was Memorial day and I found myself crying an ugly cry that night for all the mommas who have suffered the unthinkable.

And as a consequence for his poor decision, he's had to deal with my need to hug him tightly at random moments throughout the day ever since.

There was so much sadness in the news this weekend. The toddler lost in the Midwest tornado, those lost in the crazy surf on the coast, and more. I find myself having to turn the radio off, shut off all the possibilities I know are out there, and just focus on here and now.

Which is why I'm posting, instead of sleeping, which is what I really need. I want to remember the joy of having my brother read A Movable Feast while here, about how I lost every bet I made with him (who would believe Truly Madly Deeply is unavailable on Netflix? Even if your reliable brother tells you so. That's crazy. Go add it to your queue right now and maybe if more people do, they'll finally get it), how great he was during unavoidable embarrassing new-mom-moments, and how crazy he thinks I am to dislike McDonalds with a passion but to love their straws.

I want to remember the way Aidan announced that this was "the best Saturday ever" as he sat down to the big breakfast Brian had made. And the way he read WALL-E aloud to us, and would get words he had no business knowing how to read and then stumble over a word like "there". Playing with Kevin's matchbox cars on the floor. Taking care of his three after-school "jobs" (putting away his shoes, cleaning out his lunch box, and washing his hands) before he devours a snack as big as dinner and then says he is still hungry.

The way Sean wakes up from his nap all sweaty and his hair all curly. His patience in the big city yesterday while I nursed Nolan in our car, in the Target parking lot. His continued patience when Nolan then filled his diaper the way babies do and we had to all go back into the store to clean him up, only to have him then explode again once everyone was in their car-seats. I ended up changing that diaper on the floor of the minivan. Sean just entertained himself through it all, singing his made-up song "Al's Toy Barn" and asking me random questions like, "Mommy, where's our green car?" (the Subaru we sold 4 months ago).

Laughing with Brian during what had to be the funniest idea on "The Office" yet:


"I work with numbers."

And 101 other snapshots I only took with my brain. I'm grateful for this little space in which to capture them. I think we're caught up now, or at least close enough. Glad to be back.

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