Monday, September 28, 2009
Ella was scared the other night and came in our room to get me. I wasn't in my bed, having chosen to sleep my cold-ridden self downstairs. She became seriously alarmed when she couldn't find me and was not comforted enough by Sandi (probably more because of my uncertain whereabouts than anything else) and had to come downstairs where I was sleeping. It took a while to calm her down.
The next day she told me she was really frightened when I wasn't in my bed and she didn't know where I was. "I thought you died," she told me, tearfully.
Then, yesterday she told me a heartbreaking, albeit totally normal and appropriate, interaction she had with a preschool friend. She had waited to play with this friend when they went outside and when the friend didn't come over to her, Ella went to her and asked her if she wanted to play. Thefriend told her she was going to play with another girl. "I felt really sad. It hurt my feelings." Ella told me.
I wanted to go beat the girl up.
We can't promise our kids our immortality or insulate them at home forever to protect them from hurt feelings on the playground, teasing, not being choosen for their desired team, learning that there are bad people in the world, words that hurt, and people that think killing other people is a sound way to resolve conflict. Tell me, then, how is it that we are supposed to allow them to live and let their hearts get the inevitable tears and cuts that will (hopefully) heal and allow them to become beautiful, kind and compassionate adults? How do we do this and not break ourselves?
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Saturday, September 26, 2009
You know, the running "convert." I fear (and hope!) I am one of them. The one who has found the "way." The one who wants everyone to become a runner, wants to go door to door to spread the good news?
These are some of the ways a person who finds the power of running is frightening similar to one who has recently found Jesus. I'm not talking about the common church-goer. I'm talking about the folks who feel it is their responsibility to convert all around them, lest their neighbors go to you-know-where.
1. They talk about it all the time. With strangers, grocery clerks, the postman ("I just love my savior, the Lord Jesus Christ" or "Wow, my legs are sore...it must have been the cross over into double digits that did me in" and "Man, these are the best running shoes ever! So worth the money!") I think, regarding both parties, most of the time people wish they would shut up.
1 a. They have to discuss it with like minded people to avoid judgement and eye rolling. Runners and the converted speak in excited, hushed tones when together, thrilled to have an ally and let all the joy that no one else understands flow freely.
2. They feel the need to broadcast their new found love in the form of bumper stickers, share it online in the form of chat rooms and subject forums, read books about the topic (Runner's World or the Bible) and collect all peripheral information like what food packs the most nutrient punch or what biblical guidelines are a must-follow.
3. They pray and give thanks. Runners to their knees and feet and sneakers. Devout followers...well, you know....
4. Runners consume food with the reverence the devoted consume communion.
5. Both camps look to the advice and wisdom of their leaders for the best way to get to Zion or across the 20 mile threshold- coaches and physical therapists or priests and the pope.
6. Runners think running will fix almost anything the way the zealous feel that Jesus will.
7. The devout feel that no one has ever felt as inspired as they do, as though they are the first to feel divine connection. And runners, well, they are the same way. It is as thought THEY invented running.
And then there are children who are shocked by very few things. For example: "Ella, I ran home from Fisher Farm today! Can you believe it?" All I got was, "Oh. Hey Momma, can we get coconut a new toy?"
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
The girls and I were at the Bangor Waterfront (my new favorite place- who knew it was so nice?) having a picnic today when I had the most unusual interaction with a total stranger.
He was older, scruffy and with little or no teeth (not a judgement call, just a statement of fact.) He said a quick hello and then shot over to me, "How do you like our tax dollars at work?"
I, very regretfully, replied, "What?"
He took two quick strides over to our picnic table where my very innocent, impressionable young girls were eating their lunch.
"Five million dollars to clean up the oil seeping into the river from up by the Shaw's! They are going to clean it up and it will just keep pouring back into the river! They need to fix the problem where it is leaking! Idiots!"
At this point I struggled. Agree and make him go away? Will agreeing even make him go away? Do I want to teach complacency to my girls?
Better yet, do I even know what he is talking about?
No, but that has never stopped me.
"Well, I don't know that much about it, but perhaps they are cleaning up the oil in the river because of the environmental impact on the people and the wildlife in the immediate future and then are planning to fix the leaking later." Crazy as it sounds...
This is where it got ugly.
"What is that sweethaaat?" he says, using his Maine accent to drip condescension.
Then the bomb: "I bet even your husband knows this is not a good idea."
Followed by: "I worked in Augusta for five years. I know about these things."
Now this guy is really on my bad side. I wanted so much to tell him off, but again, watching children. But then he looks at Maya and delivers the final blow: "I bet that little guy looks just like his father."
Mercy, please help this man be removed from my presence. Right. Now.
Grace came in the from of my phone ringing to say that Sandi had sent me a text message. I told him I needed to get it, knowing there would be no one on the other line, but playing the role anyway knowing this was the most peaceful way to have this man and his ignorance away from us.
After he left, Ella turned to me and said, "What was he talking about?"
I wanted to yell out to him, "Hey, don't forget- vote no on 1!"
Ella was telling me the teachers told the kids to take something home to their moms and dads. She said, "But I don't have a dad so I will give it to you and Mommy."
I waited a full day and then asked her if it bothered her that didn't have a dad. She looked at me like I had two heads and shook her head forcefully. "No, Momma. I really don't want a dad. I really want two moms and that is what I got."
Please, please go vote No on 1.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Ella is the consummate cat owner. She spends hours snuggling in the chair with him, crooning over his soft ears and pink nose, the way his fur falls just so. She sternly reprimands anyone who treats him with less than kid gloves (Maya and Mochy) and proudly shows him off to all who want to see.
Some of the things we have overheard Ella say:
"I just can't take my eyes off him."
"He has my love in him and I have his love in me."
"I am his mom. You are his babysitter."
"Momma, will you take care of my kitten for me while I am at school?"
My mom said this one: "You can't possibly think about leaving that kitten overnight! He is just a baby!"
And, of course, Maya: "Helamena jee jee jee, kitty, kitty, ha ha ha." Which I translate to mean, "Listen, kitty you are going down. Make no mistake about it. I will win. What are you made of anyway? Think I'm afraid of a little claw?" And then the "ha ha ha" needs no translation.
The girls, so proud to be going to school...
This year's first day drop off was absent the tears and regret of last year's first day, having been replaced by bravery and, oh yeah, her friend Allie was also a returning student.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
I don't have a lot of luck leaving there empty handed.
We wanted a cat with personality- outgoing, affectionate, tolerant (hello Maya!), the kind of cat who would run for the door when you come home. We wanted a cat for Ella, that she could play with and who would sleep on her bed. The vet said get a male orange cat. We were thinking adult cat but there were none there that fit the bill.
And then we found him. In irresistible kitten form.
Pick-up day. Ella is dressed to impress. "He will be so excited when he sees our car pull up!"
Coconut, or cocoa for short. Ella's original idea for a name was Orange Coconut Flower. We worked with it...
Ella said, "He is going to grow up to be a professional player!"
He is everything we hoped for, including VERY tolerant.
But he was so tuckered out from the girls.