Archive for June, 2010

wordless wednesday

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June 30, 2010 at 6:14 am 1 comment

too much information

We’ve been doing a lot of wave jumping and froth riding, loving every minute of our seaside vacation. But guess what I read in the paper?

It seems one of the problems with oil spills is that it deprives the water, and the fish that live in that water, of much-needed oxygen. So what sea animals do to combat this is congregate in the shallows, where the waves churn and gather oxygen from the air. Apparently fishermen have seen sharks near shore, lots of sharks, big sharks.

Yikes.

This is not the kind of thing I like to hear. Tar globs, 80% humidity, scorching heat, and hurricane threats, big whoop, but SHARKS?

It’s funny because our usual parenting strategy is to meet each situation with empathy and information. When our children fret over something we first listen closely and carefully to their feelings, repeat it back to them and rub their backs until they feel completely heard, then we follow through with information that might be useful, or might open up the child’s perspective just a little bit.

For example:

Echo: Papa! Bella hit me! Grrrrr!

Papa offers empathy until Echo feels heard. Then offers:

I think Bella was trying to squeeze past you to get out of the door. Did her goggles swing into you when that happened?

Echo: Yeah and I didn’t like it.

Papa: No you didn’t. She didn’t mean to hurt you, are you okay?

Or:

Echo: Mama! Aaaaah! There is a fly near me!!!!

Me: Oh shoot! Are you scared? Want me to hold you? That really startled you huh?

Echo: Yeah.

Me: Did you know that house flies don’t bite people?

Echo: No. What do they eat then?

Me: Oh, things like poop and rotten things.

Echo: Oh.

That being said, when the girls, floating about in their fluorescent green and pink tubes, worriedly asked Nathan if there was anything in the ocean that could hurt them, and his mind screamed SHARKS!, he gave them lots of information about tides, and waves, but not a word about aquatic predators.

I guess some things are best left unsaid.

In any case, so far so safe.


June 29, 2010 at 6:06 am 4 comments

bikini shopping

I really love Nathan.

I mentioned that we are on vacation… at the beach. All the ladies can pretty quickly do the math to figure out what that means… bathing suits, as in wearing one in front of lots and lots of people, but even worse than that it also means, shopping for one.

Fluorescent lights and three-way mirrors. Hell.

I have put off shopping for a suit because I currently am enjoying my body, for the way it moves, for how it feels, and for what it does for me every day, and I was exceedingly hesitant to threaten that appreciation. I knew full-well that an afternoon of trying on too tight, unflattering suits might affect my feelings towards myself, and a week of beach time, amidst boob jobs and southern beauties, was not going to help a self image made fragile by traumatic swimsuit try-ons. Nor would it be the time for some kind of diet or exercise.

So what to do?

I brought Nathan with me.

He loves me. But even better for this situation, his vision holds the most flattering view of my curves. He doesn’t see cellulite or improperly placed bulges, he sees loveliness.

We picked out options and sizes, and I tried them on with my back to the mirror and Nathan’s body blocking my front view. I lifted my legs, bent my knees, and twisted side to side with each, trying to get a feel for how I would feel in the suit. And I closed my eyes when Nathan moved to get a sense of how the suit actually looked. I occasionally opened my eyes a bit, not to see my reflection in the mirror, but to see my reflection through his deep, honey-brown eyes.

And I was beautiful.

It was the most satisfying, loving, and gentle-on-my-soul, shopping trip of my life.

June 28, 2010 at 6:23 am 1 comment

no oil…

The way it works around these parts is that all driving is done on highways and county roads so completely flanked by towering trees and vines that it’s impossible for me to get any bearing. No towering mountains indicating East or West only a green electronic “E” near the rearview  mirror letting you know where you’re going. If you look at the map there are many occasions in which the road closely follows the coastline… but you wouldn’t know it.

So it wasn’t until after packing everything humanly possible, driving a couple of hours, (complete with more window seat negotiations and toddler-boredom management), unpacking everything, lathering three squirmy girls in SPF 345, and a short trek, that we actually felt ocean breeze and saw….

this:

No matter how many times I go to the beach it feels like a miracle. And this time was no exception, except that it had the added miraculousness of white sand, blue-green waves, and no oil.

We rejoiced, frolicking like mermaids, scooping up clear healthy water in delight. I was filled with gratitude and happiness, and struck with grief that anything this beautiful and frankly, incredible, could ever be sullied by black tar. But body surfing and bobbing about felt a bit like doing the lindy-hop in front of someone who recently lost their legs, because while we bobbed about, just a few miles away there were families yearning to swim and play, looking hopefully out of their beach front windows only to see black globs, rust colored tides, and dead fish.

I come from a beach town. Surfing, “laying out”, skinny dipping in frigid waters, ogling sea lions on the wharf, and wading through tide pools were all a regular part of my childhood and adolescence, but visiting this part of the country I am still impressed by the role the sea plays in the lives of the people who live here. The gulf is everything. The culture and the economy is based on the riches and beauty of these waters. So while we merely feared having to alter our beach vacation to accommodate a natural disaster, the people who live here are having to alter their very lives.

The blue skies, white sands, and clear water, create a landscape gorgeous beyond belief under ordinary circumstances, but with the awareness of conditions just a few miles away, the beauty becomes heartbreaking.

And lest we forget…

… to remind us, amid the bikinis and sun hats, there are men with blue plastic gloves and orange buckets on the lookout for globs.

June 27, 2010 at 7:56 am Leave a comment

victory

We made it.

I feel like flying with children is like an extreme obstacle course.

Challenge One: Hear the alarm.

Challenge Two: Get the kids and suitcases out of the house and into the car on time.

Challenge Three: Pass through airport security with at least seven bins, five pairs of shoes, and a cast iron piggy bank packed into a carry-on (unbeknownst to the parents) that triggers all manner of airport security.

Challenge Four: Negotiate turns at the window seat.

Challenge Five: Manage in-flight toddler boredom and nursing without freaking out the southern gentleman on my left.

Challenge Six: Absorb the parenting from fellow travelers which I enjoy, while steadfastly ignoring the arm pulling, yelling, and bossing, that I don’t enjoy.

Challenge Seven: Get as much people-watching done during layovers as possible while keeping an eye on frisky, itching to wrestle, spin, and run, girls.

Challenge Eight: Don’t trip on the abstract pattered airport carpeting while running toward the out-stretched arms of the grandparents.

Challenge Nine: Hustle three wired, out-of-their-minds-excited-to-finally-be-here-girls into bed before full meltdowns commence.

Final Challenge: Take a deep breath, feel the warm air on our skins, and finally realize that we are on vacation!

They really should make a reality game show out of this kind of thing.

June 25, 2010 at 2:27 pm 2 comments

banjo on his knee

The man I love, against all odds, is from… Alabama. You wouldn’t be able to guess it, not in a million years, but it’s true. And that means that there are two loving grandparents living under that starry sky, just waiting to see their granddaughters.

And that also means that tomorrow we take three girls on three flights, starting at 7am and ending sometime late. Wish us luck!

But really it is our pleasure. Nathan’s parents are fantastically generous and fun-loving. To spend time with them is a treat we eagerly look forward to each year. Sunshine, ocean, good people, good food. Although this year that stunning ocean has suffered some severe oil exposure, so we may or may not get to frolic on those white sands. We figure the worst case scenario is an exceedingly educational home school excursion, and that’s still pretty great.

I hope to stay in touch.

I feel so grateful that you are on this journey with me.

June 24, 2010 at 6:53 am 1 comment

nursing

I’ve been struggling with nursing lately, mostly with the frequency. So I decided to look into it a little further with Echo in a non-judgemental, non-nursing moment.

I sure love her.

I don’t know if I’m going to make any changes but I do know that after this conversation I no longer feel mad about “still” nursing, or nursing “so much”. I can see her side of things and my heart swells with unnameable emotions.

June 23, 2010 at 6:42 am 9 comments

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