Tag: Mamalove


Shrek the Not

Last week, I was an ogre of a mom, and not the endearing, crusty-with-a-heart-of-gold, Shrek type. I was the hormonal, worried, perpetually frustrated type of monster who showed fangs whenever her two-year-old daughter acted two years old. My snarky mood came squealing to a halt, though, just after I spilled a bottle of orange juice all over Natalie. She looked up at the thunder cloud hanging over my head and sweetly said, “I’m sorry, Mommy!” Mommy, of course, quickly melted into a pathetic puddle of guilt.

The most exasperating thing about situations like this is that only minutes later, redemption is skipping around the room with a contagious smile. I’d prefer to wallow in the guilt for at least a few days, to pay mental penance for unleashing my inner monster on my daughter’s precious heart. But all Natalie requires is one look from me that shows I really, truly like her (a big bear hug doesn’t hurt either), and all of my actions to the contrary are forgotten.

Grace is hard to accept — agonizingly hard — but it’s what inspires me to keep doing my best at mommyhood. Really, it’s what inspires me to keep doing my best at personhood. If God and my little girl still think I’m great at the end of a hard week, it’s keep acting monstrous toward anyone, even myself.


Starting Young

Natalie sat down at the breakfast table this morning, put her head in her hands, and sighed, “Mommy, I want a beer.”

My daughter, taking underage drinking to a whole new decade…


7 Words On Love

Personal injury, from a 2-year-old’s perspective:

“Mommy, my face hurts. It bit itself.”

And that, my friends, is why I love my daughter.


Epic Paperback Life

Some weeks are just weeks, published with simple words, full-color illustrations, and cardboard pages for easy turning. Then there are weeks — the epic paperback kind with size 8.5 font, no chapter titles, and frequent lapses into ancient Latin. Guess which category last week fell into?

My hormone-riddled mind is having a hard time adjusting to our second summer move into a place that is neither our house here in Delaware nor the house waiting for us in Italy. I feel like I’ve earned the right to be impatient after SIX MONTHS of being strung along by foreign bureaucracy. Or, at the very least, I’ve earned the right to buy an exorbitant amount of orange sherbet to ward off uncontrollable weeping. (And you think I’m kidding…)

I haven’t felt this intensely frustrated about life since I was 14, and yet I’ve never had so many reasons to be grateful —

For Game Night Till 3 AM Friends; for Barbecue At The Beach Friends; for brilliant, scientific friends who know more Dora the Explorer trivia than we do; for friends who share their homes with us and teach us about generosity —

For a Walk Laughing In The Rain On Our Anniversary Husband; for a Secret Dishwasher Husband; for a husband who knows how to bring out my tears and my joy and my hidden imaginations; for a husband who loves me —

Happy us at Amada

For my Drama Queen Daughter; for my too-clever two-year-old; for my curly-haired bolt of energy who astonishes me daily; for my little girl who is delighted to be mine —

Giggly Mommy and Natalie

For Little Girl #2 twirling inside me; for the tiny life fast on her way to completing our family; for my unborn daughter who gives me far more to look forward to than an overseas move ever could —

For breath and food and working air conditioners and hope, however shaky, however absurd; for the knowledge we are neither alone nor forgotten; for the assurance that our lives will take a miraculous twist in the next few weeks because there simply is no other option.

“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all.”
~Emily Dickinson


Small Victories

Looking at the grand scope of life, in the invent-a-light-bulb/achieve-world-peace sense, my past week was a blot of unproductivity. However, it was full of the kind of small victories that make life, in the living-between-homes/having-a-two-year-old sense, beautiful.

1. Natalie started using the potty after 2-1/2 weeks of futile attempts (and 2-1/4 weeks after I convinced myself she would be in diapers until junior high). I haven’t had to clean a poopy diaper in three days. What greater joy can there be?

2. I learned to catch grapes in my mouth after 20-something years of embarrassing incompetence in this socially significant area. Now, if I can just master water-skiing, I will be cool.

3. The hubby and I beat the odds–and the frenzied bidders–to get a sacred Nintendo Wii for our collective birthdays. I feel like we conquered the world! (At least, I will until the Wii arrives and I remember how badly I suck at video games…)

4. As shocking as this may sound, Dan got in touch with his new boss this week. Keep in mind that he’s called multiple times nearly every day since December, and the Godfather has only answered about four times (not to mention all the unanswered messages and e-mails!). At any rate, we found out that the sole reason we are not in Italy already is that the Godfather has not yet procured an apartment for us. That would be why my head exploded at 2 a.m. last Tuesday. The only victory in this is that I now know for certain that Natalie will be in junior high (diapered or not) before we get our paperwork for Italy. Let’s change the subject.

5. I discovered that if you’re the lead singer for the Eagles and you happen to have a pair of small green maracas, your crotch is not a flattering place to hold them.

6. I’ve been writing again and feeling far more fulfilled than I have in months. (Obviously, nothing beats the satisfaction of using “maracas” and “crotch” in the same sentence!)

Another week gone, and I’m lounging in bed with a bellyful of dancing baby and a content heart. It’s more than I could ask.


Growing Young

I’ve never particularly liked the word “parenthood.” It conjures images of harried women in wrinkled clothes, scurrying around town in minivans that smell like fifteen varieties of feet. These women always seem to be just ahead of me in the library line; they spend an extra ten minutes chatting with the librarian out of desperate need for a conversation that doesn’t start with “No-no!” Even the glossy magazine version of parenthood seems narrow and uncomfortable, like a culture contrived for people out of touch with everything else.

Fortunately, having a daughter hasn’t made me forget to brush my hair or to listen to good music or to hang out with friends. I remember feeling terrified in the early months that I would wake up one morning with no sense of individual self, but I’m learning to settle comfortably into the knowledge that I’m still me… even on my forty-seventh consecutive encore of “that Barney song.”

So what has parenthood, in all its fledgling glory, been for me? It’s been waking up to a sweet voice singing at the top of her lungs in the next room (picture a Disney cartoon, but without the possessed birdies). Some days, it’s been waking up to panicked crying from the next room and knowing that one hug from me can offset all the scary garbage truck noises in the world. It’s been teaching Natalie to be patient when we go out with our adult friends, and it’s been teaching myself to be patient when “potty time” doesn’t go according to plan. It’s been frustration, but more gratification; mistakes, but more triumphs; growing up, but more growing young. It’s been soaking up the joy bursting out of my little girl’s eyes and arms and legs and mouth [especially her mouth!] when she’s excited about life, which happens with a frequency and enthusiasm I hope I can learn.

Yes, I’m a mother (good heavens, does that sound as stuffy as I feel just by writing it?)… but I’m still a wife and a friend and a sister and a daughter and a woman who loves to write, look pretty, and drink frivolous coffee concoctions.

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