Sunday, September 26, 2010

Kicking and Screaming

It's not my fault I've been raised to be a hermit. Growing up at the end of a 5 mile dirt road in the shadow of a mountain does not lend itself to being all that neighborly. When we'd see more than one puff of car dust come of the road per day, the same routine would inevitably ensue. Someone would go the drawer and get the binoculars. That someone would then attempt to identify the vehicle. If the car wasn't familiar, there'd be more squinting through binoculars accompanied by disgusted comments about the over abundance of traffic that day. Like I said, my nature is not my fault.

So today when we got home from church and our neighbors of two months poked their faces over the wall asked us over for some pinata beating, I sort of squeezed my butt muscles and looked at Nic like a creepy man just offered me a fuzzy lollipop. Nic, the consummate Mr. Friendly warmly accepted.

We walked exactly ten steps from our front door to theirs. Franklin was from Dominican Republic and his wife, from Mexico. We were given Capri Suns and plates piled with fresh crab salad, halves of avocados and a salsa so hot I had to secretly keep wiping my water hose nose on my sleeve. It was food from heaven.

They explained to us that though the party was to start at 6:00, Latin people are late so we might be hanging out for a while. In the back yard I sat next to a young girl who escaped from Cuba with her family and who was glad to be rid of government issued food rations of 5lbs of rice and six eggs per person per month. More people trickled in bringing more food: chilies stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon (I'm so biting my knuckle right now), BBQ ed chicken thighs, pans of rice and more salsas....oh the salsas.

A tiny and perfectly manicured man came in with a plaid cap, pink polo, and shiny brown boots. He turned on the irresistible beat of salsa and mirenge music. People got up from their chairs and danced with glasses of wine still in hand. I'm pretty sure I've mastered salsa dancing. It goes a little somthin' like this: Chicken wings out, fists to chest, hips all Shakira style and use your toes to squash, squash, squash the bug MINI KICK! Repeat.

At one point Nic looked over and said, "So do you feel like a total dork shunning our neighbors this whole time?" I said, "Yes." Then I ate another bacon wrapped chili.

Eventually I had to be the wet blanket and tell the kids that 19 Tootsie rolls was the limit and it was an hour past bedtime. I did my best to get them home, scrub the layers of sucker slime from their faces and get them to bed. Then I went in my room and put on the purple muu-muu Nic hates and spied out my window into the neighbor's back yard (sans binoculars). They were still dancing and I was oh so glad Nic made me be friendly.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


(Just so you know, I do not enjoy this flared nostril, hurry up and take the picture so I can find a bush to barf in look.)

I started running because my runner sister -in -law Apryl is so skinny and fit it breaks your heart. That's the truth of it. It was purely vanity.

I thought that if in some universe I could run for miles than there would be no possible way I could remain fat. Apparently even fat people can run for miles. My mistake.

Last Saturday I ran a 5k. I had on spandex and a crinkly paper number pinned to my belly. This was quite a change from my norm. The whole experience was a mixture of elation/humiliation. I was elated to be part of something. There was music, there were teams, there was a balloon arch starting line and I got to run by and grab a cup of water and toss it during the race. (I've always wanted to do that haven't you?) There was my husband hooting and my kids pogo sticking up and down at the finish line. A friend snapped a photo and a random fireman leaned over and clapped me through my last 50 feet. It was heartwarming to have the support.

I was also served the fattest slice of humble pie I've ever choked down! Oh. It hurts me. I expected to have the majority of the runners pass me in the first few minutes. I did NOT expect said runners to be literally (I lie not) 80 years old and wearing a very visible diaper under their running shorts, or 100 lbs heavier than me. Pushing a double stroller. Nor did I expect to look behind me mid race and see not ONE person running. All of them were walking. I sort of wanted to run right off of the course and go into someones yard and hide under a trampoline.

Okay, so I'm not as awesome as I thought I was. Okay, so I haven't lost one single pound. (Whoever said runners can eat whatever they want - dirty lie.) Okay, so I'm sort of nursing a throbbing black eye from reality punching me in the face. I haven't run once since the race. I'm in a kind of "what now?" funk.

The truth of it is that I can't compare myself. I have to appreciate how far I've come. I remember wringing my hands and waking up all night the night before I was to conquer a huge hurdle on my beginning runner's program. The task: Run four minutes. I was POSITIVE I couldn't do it. Then, I did it and I cried like a little baby on the side of the road. That is something my friend. That IS something.

Now I can run for 45 minutes. I can't run fast. I don't look good in my spandex, that's for sure. But I stuck with something for once. I ran for 6 months straight and I'm not giving up. I dread these cold dark winter mornings coming up, but hey. It can be done. I get what I want and I want to be a runner.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I Hope You Know

It was after she had poured a bowl of tomato soup on her head and after I had cleaned it off with a questionably smelling dish rag that I lifted her up to help stir the cake batter. Evan was up on the chair too and he marveled at how robotically fast I could whir the batter around into a whirlpool with nothing more than a whisk and my mom muscles. Evan and Jemma took turns back and forth stirring, and I devised a little song to let them know how long their turn was - hoping one would not claw off the other's face in impatience.

"Oh yes we're stirring,
stirring up the cake" (repeated 3x's)

There was a moment when my hand was over Jemma's helping her to stir while I was singing that she looked at me with complete amusement and joy. Time stopped. My heart squeezed. It was a perfect mom moment that you pray happen more often. (As opposed to those mom moments you cringe over and cry in the closet about.) It got me to thinking. She likely won't remember anything about this day.

She won't know that she has some special anus radar that causes her to poop at the exact moment I'm late to leave for somewhere important. She won't know how tired I am of reading that blasted ladybug book over and over, but I do it anyway because she loves it so much. She'll never know that when she is sick I check for fever against her forehead with my lips because it seems like the most temperature sensitive thing to do. She won't remember every tiny fingernail I clipped or song I've sung while she clings to wakefulness against my chest.

But someday, she'll be a happy grown woman. It will be the drops of my love in the bucket of her being that make her so.

When I die and am in heaven, I want certain things to happen. I want to know who killed JFK. I want my husband to know what 3 months of pregnancy nausea really does to you. (I fantasize about the day he falls at my knees and thanks me for the combined 9 months of misery I went through to give him babies.) And I want my children to magically comprehend how ridiculously I loved them.

If Evan turns out to be some sweaty, wife-beater wearing butt scratcher, I swear I'll stick my head in the garbage disposal and flip the switch myself. Motherhood is too much work to have it blow up in my face. My biggest hope for them honestly, is that they have the opportunity to love a little child the way that I get to love them. That will tweak their souls in the way I think God wants them tweaked. Making people. Caring for them. It is one crazy ride. Can I get an amen?