Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Rocking Chair. An Open Letter to Uncle Frank.

There is a wood rocker in my parent's home. It has been there as long as I can remember (which makes sense, as it was given to my mother when she was expecting me). My mom never failed to mention that this was given to her at her baby shower..blah..blah (I stopped listening after the tenth time). She loved that chair. I never understood the magnitude of that love and the importance of that chair. Until now.

The day we brought Annabel home from the hospital was the first time as a new mother that I settled into the chair you gave. It held and cradled both my new daughter and me. She was a complete stranger to me and I a nervous new mom. That night we rocked together and began to get know one another. I have a visual of holding each baby and marveling at their size, no bigger then a loaf of bread and maybe the same weight as a gallon of milk, in that chair. Since then the chair has been a fixture in my relationship with Annabel and Willa. It has helped me rock away bad dreams, make boo-boo's better, soothe wakeful babies, it has heard countless stories and many declarations of love. It has been a measure of how big my children have gotten. Their legs, once swaddled and small, now reach towards the floor. More recently, the chair has served them. As an escape route out of their cribs. This chair is sending me a message. I have trusted this chair from the first night with Annabel and despite my yearning for more time, I am hearing it's rhythm loud and clear.

We are moving the rocker into the office. A room wallpapered with memories of the girls as babies, toddlers and now preschoolers. And though there are numerous photographs, it is that chair that will serve as the keeper of my memories.

My mother was given her wood rocker a few weeks before I was born (maybe around this time, 40 years ago.) A woman who would later become my godmother gave it to her. It is worn in the seat and creaks when you rock in it. The arms have a natural groove to them. This was the best seat in the house. My mother loved that chair. I get it now.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Joy to the World.

As we prepare to celebrate Annabel and Willa's fifth birthday, I am full of gratitude for the wonderful ride we have been on for the last five years. My daughters have proved to be my greatest teachers yet. They remind me of the joys of just being, the beauty of a great mess and the thrill of a somersault. They have shown forgiveness when I could have done better. In them, I catch glimpses of my late mother. Through them, I know how much my mother loved me. It is my mom's words, written to me on Christmastide in 2000, that I share today, "I look into your faces and am proud of who we are- who you are as a result of being my daughters and ever more, proud of who I am because of the honor and privilege of being your mother.

Happy Birthday to my Christmas babies. Joy to the World

Monday, September 27, 2010

"A Ministering Angel Shall my Sister Be" -Shakespeare

I had my first in-vitro attempt in the winter of 2004. The commitment to the procedure was relatively brief yet intense. I often had to be in New York City (an hour away) by 7:00 in the morning for lab work. I rarely went alone. Laura and Ryan each took a turn or two with me, waking before the sun and standing on a bitter cold train platform or trudging through a record Manhatten snowfall. They shared in the excitement of my swelling ovaries and the bitter diappointment when our first attempt failed. Their unspoken words held me up like a crutch and their optismism that this would work helped blaze the trail for future attempts.

Fast forward to September 9, 2005: I found out I was having girls. I was having sisters. I. WAS. HAVING. SISTERS. With fingers crossed, I hoped that they would share what I have with my sisters...clothes, shoes, make-up, memories...but mostly. this deep bond and commitment to each other. I was concerned though. At one of my monthly ultrasounds I, accompanied by my sisters watched as Baby A kicked Baby B. All of this went on, Ryan said, "Right in front of their mother." Five years later, we have seen plenty of fights, tended to some bite marks and bandaged a scratch or two. But we have also pushed the twin beds together so they can sleep "holding hand, please", worked out a fair system of princess and superhero playing that they can lay together. More interesting, they complement each other, they look for each other and they look out for each other. They give each other room and space to be who they want as individuals and look for ways to support their sister's interests. Annabel squeals if she finds a princess crown for Willa and Willa sashays when she plays goalie in Annabel's soccer games.

As children, we had a bench, made by our Poppy. My sisters and I played school bus on that bench, maybe even princess too. My girls share that bench today, now repainted and inscribed with the above quote from Shakesphere. They use it as a stage, as a goal post, as a place to eat pirate booty. This morning, though, they used it as a place to talk about the day ahead, the pending rain and their plans to play "wedding store where spiderman works."

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Listening to.....

Knock knock. Who's there? Lettuce. Lettuce who? Lettuce in, we're freezing.

Kids who proudly count to my favorite number: eleventeen.

The vestiges of toddler/preschool speech: "birf-days, Stoy Story free"

Fights about who will be the line leader, who gets out of the tub first, who gets dressed first, who hit who first.

Squeals of delight that they can: pump swings themselves, ice skate around the rink without falling, swim without floaties, do backward somersaults in the pool...and(shouted loudly) "WATCH ME, MAMA" as they do all of the above.



When I was little my family was a member of a local swim club. We would go when it opened and leave at dusk. Ten minutes after the five minute warning, the four of us kids would emerge form the pool. We would reluctantly follow our mom, however, there were only three sets of small footprints. I made an effort to always step in the prints she the hopes that I would be like her when I grew up. In the years that followed, I had many goals: I would be a ballerina, an astronaut and an airline pilot. When each of those aspirations passed I realized, with certainty, that when I grew up I wanted to be a mother.

My journey to motherhood had many obstacles. It was my mother who walked by my side when I went to my first appointment with my In Vitro Fertilization doctor. She paced the floors while waiting for the pregnancy test results and she jumped for joy when she heard that we were having twins. When a stroke left her unable to walk, I told her about the foorprints at the pool. I thanked her leading the way so well and for so long and though she treads a lot lighter these days, I am still following in her footsteps.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Dar Williams 'When I Was A Boy'

When I Was a Boy.

Find Dar Williams video of "When I was a Boy" on You Tube. GREAT SONG.

Long before she announced that she was not going "to grow up and that is that!" Annabel countered her sister's goal of being a princess to her own: "I am going to be a boy. And that is that!" She picked Diego toys to her sister's Barbies, she got a spiderman skateboard, her sister: a dollhouse. She played soccer to her sister's ballet. She wanted hockey skates. She liked blue the best. Her favorite thing to wear: feetie jammies printed with construction equipment. In fact, we had to cut the feet off of them when she outgrew them; we could not find the next size. This girl really intrigued me. She was so unlike me. But I loved it. Every second of it. Recently, though, she traded in her jammies for dresses that twirl and wears ballet slippers as much as she wears her soccer cleats. While ice skating is still her favorite sport, she would like "figure skates. And that is that." This afternoon, though, is when this song played in my head. We were having lunch in a diner and she caught a glimpse of her reflection. She kept checking herself out, smiling, cocking her head to one side. She said she would "like some lip gloss, please." Fast forward to this evening: she puts on the bonne bell Easter bunny lip gloss, grabs her soccer cleats and heads out the door to play. Atta Girl!