Posts tagged ‘missoula’

and so it begins

This is the last day with dad. If today is anything like the other last days of his other visits it will be filled with laughter and smiles that are tinged by sorrow and dread. We will make the best of it, but unlike the first day of the visit, full of excitement and anticipation, the last day is heavy with knowing what lies ahead.

My father will return to his life that he loves, his beautiful house, his routine walks in the woods, and his rich career, a life that is awesome, aesthetically pleasing and accomplished, but something will be missing. He won’t have granddaughters in his midst and the permanent grin they bring to his face. He also won’t have his daughter to walk beside, to calm his soul by being near.

And I will return to our normal life. We will go grocery shopping, to play group, and to the river, loving our girls, our friends, and this majestic valley we are nestled within. But we won’t have a grandpa in our midst. We won’t have that extra comfort of one more person that loves us with all his considerable might.

It’s great having a dad that loves so much, so willingly. Every father’s day I thank him for how he has been with us, for providing a model to follow. I have thriving adult relationships because he has shown me what it feels like to be loved in a complete way. He has always been a large, powerful figure, smiling achingly in our direction. He pumps his fist in exhilaration when we reach our goals, he grabs his heart in pain when we meet with sorrow. He has always been this way, a current of undying love.

To be near him feels good. It’s really as simple as that.


May 25, 2010 at 7:56 am 3 comments

a doozy

Oh man. The modern family.

On the one hand, I am glad for it, my life is made rich by Xi and Bella, and I wouldn’t be able to parent them as I do if it weren’t for the evolution of marriage, divorce, and co-parenting. It was only a few decades ago when if your girlfriend got pregnant, and you didn’t want to suffer the scorn of the community, you got married, quick. Now it’s different. Now there are baby-daddies, baby-mamas, half sisters, step sisters, stepmom’s stepmoms, other-dads, and bio-dads. And because we aren’t the first generation to separate and remarry, modern kids also have lots and lots of grandparents.

On the other hand, in our modern family where one kid’s “other house” is three hours away, a simple ballet recital or school performance becomes an epic adventure. Bella had been working for months on two performances and inviting every living soul she comes into contact with, Can you come to my performance??? It’s Mat 21st. Can you come?? Do you think you can come???, making it exceedingly obvious to us that it was important to her. The only problem was that the performances are in Bozeman, and we live in Missoula, so it wasn’t a matter of remembering and heading across town at the appointed hour, it was a matter of highway travel, lodging, and planning. But as my dad and step-mom were visiting at the same time we decided to make a go of it. On Friday we packed food, crammed backpacks, and squeezed six of us into the trusty family van to drive three hundred miles, so that Bella’s Papa, her two half sisters, her step mom, her step-mom’s mom (Grandma) and her step-mom’s dad (Grandpa) were smiling back at her in the elementary school auditorium.

Now if that isn’t modern family, I don’t know what is.

We watched Bella’s head bobbing around in the back row of awkwardly singing and jiving eight and nine-year olds, our eyes pinned to the only child we knew in that entire school. The next day we watched a two-hour ballet recital in which Bella appeared for a total of (maybe) three minutes.

Being there for Bella made the trip worthwhile but what we did in between performances made it even better. My step-mom found cabins for us to stay in, including one that was perched high up among the cottonwoods and aspen. Owls hooted, deer crept past, robins gathered worms, Canada geese with goslings scurried about, a hot tub warmed us in the mornings, intricate guest lodging decorations were just right for teeny fairy figurines to hide among, a king size bed made one still-nursing-mama really happy, and a rushing stream lulled us to sleep. We definitely made the best of it.

And then, in the whirlwind that shared custody weekends are, on Sunday we returned Bella to her mom and found ourselves re-trekking those three hundred miles. Back through the still-green valleys, back through the mountain pass, back along the Clark Fork river, and back to Missoula, only to return Xi to her mom. If it wasn’t my regular life I’d be confused and overwhelmed by all the back and forths, highway travel, drop off coordination, and pick up arrangements. It probably wouldn’t be my preference to live this way, but if I didn’t live this way I’d sure miss a lot. If my dad had upheld the til-death-do-us-part oath, I wouldn’t have a step-mom that researches and acquires awesome cabin retreats. If Nathan had stayed in his first marriage we wouldn’t have Xi. If Nathan had left his first marriage but shotgun married Xi’s mom, he and I wouldn’t have found each other. If we hadn’t found each other we wouldn’t have Echo.

So even if my head spins on occasion, even if we travel across one of the biggest states in the country to attend a ballet recital, and even though there is no simple way to describe the makeup of my family, it also means I get these fantastic girls, and epic weekend adventures, and surprise delights. I think I’ll take it.

May 23, 2010 at 4:59 pm 2 comments

glory, glory

Blessed be. River season has arrived. My soul has made it once again through the trials of winter and can sing once again.

May 16, 2010 at 7:23 pm Leave a comment

home again, home again

homeAfter the blue, yellow, and peach tones of Santa Cruz we are back to the green, brown, and rust tones of Missoula.

The girls, figuratively speaking, went from the big strong arms of their loving Granpa to the big strong arms of their loving Papa. A fair trade, yes, but one that brings strong emotions. Sadness and happiness at the same time. Glad to see Papa. Sad to leave Granpa. Glad to be home and sad to be back at the same time.

Strong feelings for Mama too. Between the parentheses of Santa Cruz and Missoula there was a car ride, flight, long layover, flight, and another car ride. This time the girls did not bask in the praises of fellow travelers. They slept, fought, and cried throughout. I reminded myself that they are indeed “good” children nonetheless. I gave them, and myself, heavy doses of empathy for our plight.

And now we are home and attempting to find ourselves again within the scents of this house and the objects we left behind. Smiling widely at the frantic swing of Henry dog’s tail, sinking easily into Nathan’s aura and our soft bed, musing gently over the ability to hold powerful and different feelings at the same time.

To use the Feeleez poster to describe these feelings I think we might have to snip, rip, and cut each little illustration into tiny pieces, mix it with water and warm it on the stove.

October 4, 2009 at 6:20 am Leave a comment

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