Wednesday, January 16, 2008

What do you do when you don't feel like cooking?

Okay, readers (I know you're out there - Sitemeter tells me that I get at least 50 readers a day, and that you're all over the world)....time to come out of hiding.

What do you cook when you don't feel like cooking? What are your fallback meals for yourself and your family?

Today I ordered take-out....expensive and unhealthy, but there was no way I was going to cook. What do you do on those nights when it's too much?

Apparently, I need more than little birds

I'm still grouchy.

I don't feel well. My throat is scratchy. I'm tired. My head hurts. WAHHHH.

These are not "real" problems in that it's not life threatening, but they're problems none-the-less. I've decided to scrap the good attitude and mope for a little while instead. Tessa is curled up watching Clifford, happy. I ordered take-out for dinner. It's going to take more than some cute birds in my yard to break me out of my funk.

Hopefully, a good night's sleep and a return to health in the morning will do the trick. Until then, I'm whining.

Okay, 30 seconds of Zen

After my grouchy post, I came upstairs and looked out the window.

There, on the birdfeeder that Tessa insisted that we buy last year (she didn't have to push too hard), were a handful of sweet little birds. I looked them up in our Seattle Bird Guide, and they are juncos. Then, we got to see a larger Northern Flicker (woodpecker) with brilliant red under its wings and tail. I stood at the back door for a little bit and watched this small piece of nature flitting through my back yard, and for a moment the girls were playing well and kind to one another, and I had to remind myself to stop being so grouchy.

Reminder to self: I live in perhaps the most beautiful part of the world. The Olympics were out in full color today: stunning. There are gorgeous wild birds flittering through my back yard. My house is warm, my health problem is a scratchy throat and not a lump (shudder), my dog follows me around because he loves me, my husband likes his job and called while at work to check on me to send his love....and I have an amazing child. Even when she's driving me crazy.

Okay today is a different day

Thank goodness I had a little zen in my day yesterday, because today it appears that I won't be getting any!

Tessa has two friends over to play right now, and that dear, lovely, intelligent, compassionate child of mine is being a pain in the butt. She's being jealous, refusing to share her things, telling scary stories about a mean guy hiding in her closet (which she thinks is hysterically funny) until one of her friends cried in terror (and then Tessa initially refused to tone things down, despite her friend's terror....I had to open doors, move clothes around, stomp and make some noise, to prove that nobody was there)....etc. She also had a rather impressive temper tantrum (worse in a 5 year old than a 2 year old because 5 year olds are louder and can kick harder). Where, oh where did yesterday's sweet, inquisitive child disappear to? I know she'll come back but today I really miss her.

To top it off, my tickly throat is turning into a sore throat. I have just enough cognition to know that I may be responding more to my sore throat than my child; my patience feels short today.

And I'm stressed because I'm behind deadline for a Komen project that I REALLY believe in. And did I mention that Ryan has late work meetings? Not a big deal at all, just the timing stinks. C'est la vie.

Somehow, it will all work out. But in the meantime, I'm a stressed out mommy. Calgon, take me away.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Down time

The short version? Tessa's got a cold.

Today we're having some enforced down time, despite the busy day I had planned. Instead of touring Alki Elementary, working on Komen's Race for the Cure website, taking Tessa to preschool, and attending a Race meeting, Tessa and I have stayed home and had a very quiet day.

Despite my anxiety about not getting these things done (Komen is on a short deadline and I have a LOT of work to do, which I really must get done, so that in particular is stressful to me), it has been a nice day. I've done some cleaning projects around the house, hung some pictures on the "family wall" in the family room (it's all hodge-podge with different frames and picture sizes, but what the heck...the rest of that room is hodge-podge too and it's nice to have family pics up), and played with Tessa.

Tessa and I have sat and played together more in the past day than in the past week. We've played horses with a set that my mom gave her a couple of years ago; we read for well over an hour from a book about children from around the world (and looked at the dolls of the world set that she received for Christmas to see their clothing and compare), we made an 84 piece puzzle of a map of the United States (which she needed assistance with, but was a great opportunity to talk about who we know that lives in different states, what crops were grown where, etc.), we watched birds on the birdfeeder in the back yard (we both really like the bluejays), we've cleaned together (Tessa's job is to help me with dusting - she's really proud of herself for helping with chores and I will not squelch that kind of enthusiasm, knowing full well that one day she'll shriek at me if I ask her to help)....lots and lots of quiet on one time.

Man, I love my daughter.

One of my favorite songs is "Lullaby" by the Dixie Chicks, and today reminded me of lines from that song:

"I'll slip in bed while you're asleep,
And hold you close to feel your breath on me.
Tomorrow there'll be so much to do,
So tonight I'll drift inside a dream with you."

Today, the drifting happened while we were awake, and that was such a lovely pleasure. No rush, no hustle, no bustle....just spending time together, with nothing to accomplish, and nowhere to go.

The next lines of the song say,
"How long do you want to be loved?
Is forever enough? Is forever enough?"

No, forever is not enough, but it is certainly my promise to Tessa.

Parenting is difficult; sometimes, it feels like an impossibly large burden, and I feel my frustration rising as I just long for -deeply yearn for- 20 minutes of uninterrupted thoughts. Not today. Today, I'm reminded that I really, truly love being with my daughter. I love hearing what she thinks, and I love learning the workings of her mind. I think she's funny, and fun, and interesting, and though I do NOT want to speed up the clock (no! slow down!), I can not wait to know her when she is a woman. I can not wait to see the person that she is becoming, and to watch our relationship grow. One day, if I am lucky, I will get to see her become a mother, and I know deep in my soul that she will be wonderful. One day, if I am lucky, I will get to see Tessa change the world in ways big or small. I have no doubt about it. This is not pressure on her to do something grand like become president or cure poverty...but she is such a lovely person, filled with love and compassion, that the world is a better place because she is in it, and she will improve the world through her existance. All things are possible in her.

The ramblings of a besotted mother? Absolutely. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: every child should be loved and adored as much as I love Tessa. Of course I'm biased. I don't care - I think she's part magic, and that magic is so filled with possibility.

All of this because of cancelled plans, because of enforced slowness. I feel sorry for Tessa's runny nose and tickly throat, but selfishly, I'm glad she got a cold. I hope it goes away before it makes her feel too bad, but I am grateful for the reminders the cold brought.

When tomorrow or the next day is doubly busy because of falling behind with everything today, I truly hope that I can remember this. I hope I can still find small moments to just play, to question, to listen to Tessa. Talk of "put your shoes on" and "hurry up, we're late" and "let's go to the grocery store" and even "we're going to a playdate" is all well and fine and necessary, but just sitting and reading until we're tired of reading (and not until the clock tells us that it's time to stop) is a rare treat. I hope I remember to do that more often....without the poor kid getting a cold.

And...not to end on a sour note...but I have to say it anyway.

As I dream about the woman that Tessa will become, I curse damn cancer for threatening to prevent me from seeing that transformation. I have no promises. The clouds appear far off and in the distance, but I fear the storm that they might bring. I'm praying for sunshine and sprinkles, but no hurricanes. I want to be here for myself and my family. I want to be here to stand at Ryan's side and watch our Tessa grow into herself. I want that more than anything I've ever wanted before.