Absent for a Good Reason

My sister is in town. Although not related by birth, Claire is completely, utterly, lovingly and amazingly my sister. It has already been a week since she arrived, driving the long roads between here and Golden B.C., but it feels like only a couple of days. Her presence is remarkable, our conversations deep and rich, and I feel more like myself than I have in months because I have relaxed into the way that we are with one another. She encourages me to be the best possible person and exemplifies what it means to have a passionate and compassionate heart. We live too far away from one another. But Canada trips will happen. Sam needs a passport, Olive her vet papers, Jamie some snacks and myself good books on CD. Sam needs to know his aunt as much as possible so that he can bask in her wonderfulness like I have been so privileged to do.

Love.

Using Voice

I brought Sam to a meeting that I had to attend this morning, a gathering of a hundred of people from the non-profit world, packed into the Center theater. The little guy was snuggled in his carseat, peaceful and quite content, almost sleeping at one point. I had it all: the bag, the diapers, the phone with the comforting waterfall sound, the binkie, the lovie....About ten minutes into the meeting, Sam begin to fuss. Holding wasn't doing it, neither was the iphone nor the pacifier. Panic, the need to be hidden, not make a scene kicked in and I took the little bundle out to the lobby, listening to the mandatory meeting from outside the door. I eventually put him on the breast, what would have been a good move from the onset, and he fell asleep, slumbering until we got home.

I thought a great deal about the episode afterwards, about my own discomfort about being visible and causing attention to myself. Being with a baby you are forced to confront this role regularly, as their form of communication is limited to cries and fusses. As a mom you are made more visible in the world by default. The rawness of parenthood can be exposed and expressed in the matter of minutes when in public with a child, the facade of serenity easily cracked open with the changing moods of an infant. And there is such beauty and pureness in this, lessons that can be learned about ones discomfort and ones stance on this planet. Sam was using his voice to express what he needed in that moment. Pure. Simple. Straightforward. True. As I struggle with how to use my own voice, I look at Sam and his ability to ask for what he needs, a capability that I hope he always possesses.

Today I Will Go For a Run

The weather has been fairly gloomy all day, cold and rather grey, a bitter bite to the wind. A reflection or mirror of my mood today as well. Underneath all of my day-to-day doings are my thoughts about the tragedy at the Boston Marathon yesterday and a great sadness at the random violence that can occur. This horror has  intensified by now having a child in this messy, confusing world, one that is so full of beauty and love while at the same time ugliness and hatred. It terrifies me, my mama bear instinct to hold onto Sam as tightly as possible, while knowing in my heart that that is not really possible as he grows and not actually the healthiest. We can be doing something as harmless and exhilarating as running a marathon and still not be sheltered from possible outside harm. Additionally, I think about the helpless civilians in Afghanistan who were killed recently when NATO planes flew over and bombed haphazardly, killing mostly children. Another example of an action that is devoid of humanity or a sense of oneness. We are able to make heartless decisions when we uphold a sense of division between us and them, adult blindness or ignorance or ineptitude playing out in violent ways. The bombing in Boston and the bombing in Afghanistan are the actions of cowards, unable to see the connectedness that we all share on this earth.

Scared as I am about having a son in this world, I am also so hopeful that he will bring light and love to the planet. He already does, daily. Life can be fleeting and it is yet another moment to reflect on whether or not we are following our heart and passions and dreams. I want my little boy to continue to relish each day and to practice compassion for all the differences that reside on this earth, to be curious and conscientious, full of integrity and acceptance. To begin, I must embrace these practices and characteristics in myself, serving as an example as Sam makes his way in the world.

This afternoon, in honor, I will go for a run.

Young Nature Lover

After a couple of morning feedings and diaper changes, Sam, Olive and I hopped in the car and drove up to the Moran entrance to the Park in search of grizzly bears. Yesterday, Jamie had gotten to see the famous mom and her three cubs out on the ice of Oxbow, searching for food, one of the cubs falling through the melting spring ice. This morning was beautiful, clear with the mountains gleaming in their white glory, frost and a thin dusting of snow coating the sagebrush. Regal moose, flitting bluebirds, stoic hawks...we witnessed them all as we wove our way up north. Sam slumbering in the back and Olive periodically licking my hand when I reached back to pet her. As expected there were a crowd of people, many out with high powered scopes. There were geese and swans welcoming the newly arrived white pelicans, all birds mingling together on the ice. A beaver huddled on the ice edge, hardly moving. Later I learned that its lodgemate had become food for the hungry grizzly cubs. Because beavers mate for life and don't make frequent public appearances in the broad daylight it was most likely grieving its lost love. In the trees you could make out the hulking form of mama bear, standing periodically to toss the latest kill from one cub to another. Nature in all its messy glory. Sam was the youngest viewer there. He took in the sights for a good ten minutes before the stomach started controlling the mind. I like to think that he notices the beauty around us, where we live. I do know that being outside tends to calm him down and fascinate his eyes, ears and skin. I watched some six year olds take turns looking through a scope, their faces coming away full of awe. I can't wait to witness the same expressions on Sam's little face when we take him into the backcountry. Nature will become even more alive for me seeing it through my little boys eyes.

Wholehearted Living

"You share with people who have earned the right to hear your story". -Brene Brown One of my current heroines is Brene Brown who is a researcher on shame and vulnerability, mixing the realms of statistics and left brain mannerisms with the emotional expressions of the right brain. She has hit a chord with me, and I can't get enough of her words, whether through her books The Gifts of Imperfection and Daring Greatly or her famous TedX talk regarding vulnerability.

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I especially love her Parenting Manifesto, illustrated here by another favorite woman, Kelly Rae Roberts. This is how I want to mother and how I want to raise my child:

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Silhouetted

This morning I lay next to little Sam in our bed, softly singing to him and thinking he might fall back asleep and therefore, I too would get a little more shuteye. He often finds these moments of pause in his body, when his interest in something is just so great that movement is forgotten. This morning, his eyes caught the changing sky from dark blue to indigo to that pearly light and the wonderment of it all made him stop his sporadic baby motions and just look. I studied his petite profile and saw him as a toddler, a child, a teenager, a grown man all in the matter of seconds, the reality of how quickly time passes striking me hard. And how important it is to document the moments when this little being is in complete awe of life. His newness to the world often brings tears to my eyes. He is so fresh and so vulnerable and so open. All at once.