May 8, 2016

Thank you, Mom.

I pinned Ivy's hair into a bun for her ballet dress rehearsal, placing possibly the thousandth bobby pin that will be lost by the end of the day. We regarded each other in the mirror as she sincerely announced, "Thank you, Mom. Without you, none of this would be possible."

She's seven. Something I am chronically reminding everyone including myself. She feels and thinks and acts dramatically. She has opinions about Donald Trump. She really hopes Bernie has a chance but her eyes gleam at the thought of the first woman President. She's seven. She lights up that theater with her whole body. She moves among a whole group of dancers but commands your gaze -- she is the only one up there.

She can see all the layers, especially the underneath ones, of life. She gets that from me. And I get it from her -- and so we just reflect it back and forth and hopefully out into this world.

A good memory from a Colorado trip, yes I cut out the rest of the family.

I've been struggling with what to write about my mom for Mother's Day. I don't want to make her cry or feel bad because we're too far away to celebrate together. The privilege my parents gave me in constant support, encouragement to be myself, countless hours spent packed inside sweaty school gyms for my choir performances or giving me rides to play practice -- it all seems too shallow and cliché to tell those stories of thanks again.

My mom always had a job outside of the home but I can not recall her missing anything important because of it. Now I can only imagine the balls she must have dropped without my ever knowing. The backstage contortionist a mother learns to become, pulling all the ropes and levers and turning all the wheels to keep things going behind the scenes, to keep things just go-ing, period. The things I was never privy to. She kept it all together. And like a good mom, she never let on, never made me go look behind the curtain.

And it's not like I wasn't aware of struggles or hard times -- things weren't perfect and I knew it, and I knew we always got through it.

Like a good mom, she allowed me to go on about my childhood lost in imagination without ever having to think about the inner workings, without needing to notice that Mom was there or not there because she always just was.

The mother I am is a direct result of the mother I have. It's in our DNA, to take care of people and to keep things going. To raise good people who will raise up more good people.

Thank you, Mom. Without you, none of this would be possible.

May 4, 2016

The End Is Near

Noah and I drove our 8-hours-one-way trip to Seattle for the last time. His next appointment is a couple days after we move, which will cut our trip in half from now on, meaning we can be up there and back home in the same day.

A couple weeks ago I found myself seated in a veterinary hospital waiting room with a tiny cage in my lap, holding our gerbil Snowflake. She hadn't been acting well and I couldn't stand the idea of her being in discomfort. I expected them to pressure me to put her down, but when she grabbed hold of the vet's finger with her teeth and would not let go, I knew she still had plenty of life in her. She's fighting to live! He reluctantly sent me home with some "ointment" to treat a mysterious ailment on her underside (I am almost sure it was just a tiny bottle of vaseline and water only to make me happy but I forked over my forty dollars for it.)

In the same week, the hamster died unexpectedly. Some of the closest and sweetest moments we've experienced as a family have been in a circle around a small pile of dirt in the backyard.

Snowflake didn't make it after all, either.

We move next month. This house isn't feeling like home anymore. I'm looking forward to when the next one does. Last weekend we stayed overnight in the new tree house. It was a whirlwind trip we fit between baseball practices, games, and dance recitals. The views are expansive, as is the future. Wide open.