I hope I don’t need to preface this with some blanket statement along the lines of “I’m not a weirdo.” After all, I’m the parent of quickly aging kiddos, so this should make sense. I hope.
The other day, I’m doing the grocery store juggle – the one where you are picking up all the bags in one hand not because you can’t put them in the vehicle one at a time, but to ensure all the handles are working correctly for when you carry each and every one of them up to the apartment at the same time. Because 1 trip, yo.
Anyway, I notice a minor hullabaloo to my right in the cart corral. It’s a mom and a wee one, maybe 18 months or so. Anyhoo, the mom is trying to get her son out of the cart and he isn’t having any of it. So she does the tried and true distraction technique. She blew a raspberry on his tummy where the skin was showing between his Seahawks tee-shirt and where his jeans and diaper were slung below his little belly. Crisis forgotten as he cracked up in that giggle fit every parent knows means all is alright in a little person’s world.
I smiled. But by the time I was sitting behind my steering wheel and checking my rearview, my smile was gone. In fact, I was swallowing the lump in my throat that threatened to become a full-blown attack of the sads.
Not because of anything that mom had done, or even anyone else.
It’s just, I don’t have any baby bellies in my life. And yet, in that moment standing in the brilliant sunshine of a perfect fall day, it was like I was right back to each and every time I was that mom and that little baby tummy was a tummy I loved with every fiber of my being.
That was on Friday. On Saturday I told my kids that they owed me something and to not give me any grief. Then I lined them up and took this photo.
That’s Biggest, Littlest, and Middlest. And their three little tummies. Not an ounce of baby tummy to be found. But their baby tummies will always be in my heart and my memories.
I remember how each one looked.
I remember how each one felt, a bit like a perfect summer’s peach.
I remember how each one smelled – I used the same baby lotion with each of them and to this day I still remember that smell and I smile.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want a new baby tummy in my life (maybe in 20 years as a grandparent!) and I don’t want my dear sweet kids to go back to being babies. But I don’t want to forget their baby tummies. I don’t want to forget picking up my own babies from shopping carts and cribs and park swings. How their hands raised in the air and their faces changed just because I was picking them up. I don’t want to forget how much my very being was connected to their being here and being happy.
I don’t want to forget.
But I also don’t want to forget this moment and how their three little tummies are right now.
As a mom, there are moments that get frozen in our mind’s eye. And sometimes it’s too easy to focus on the memories of yesterday instead of making just as powerful ones from today.
So there they were, standing against the wall, shirts pulled up and showing off their jammy pants.
“What are you doing?” “Uh, what’s this all about?” “Are you kidding me?”
My kids weren’t so keen on me taking this picture but they did it with a smile on their face, especially after I turned my phone around so they could see it. And they accepted, “it’s just for my blog” without qualm.
But what I didn’t say is that this photo is for me. For the mom I am today and the babies I have today.
They may not have little chubby tummies anymore, but I still adore them. And at least now I have a photo to remind me of the three little tummies in this world who mean everything to me.
BTW, I tried sneaking a raspberry onto Biggest’s stomach after this. He declined my attention in a fantastic display of revulsion and reflexes. “Just leave me aloooonnnnnnneeeeeee,” he yelled and did a perfect impression of a pill bug. A far cry from when it was him in the shopping cart lifting his shirt and crying, “Again Mama, again!” But I didn’t push it. Because just before he elbow caught me in the side of my head, I brushed my lips across his tummy…the briefest of kisses. As a mother of a teenager, you have to be sneaky as hell.
There are four people in my life that mean the world to me. So much that they get me to go camping with them (I’m terrified of bears), to dive in the swimming pool (I can’t swim), and to make four separate elements to a meal just so I know each one has something they like (picky, picky, picky – a bit of an overstatement, but true enough for some of them).
Those four people in my little world? I love them enough to go full-on Mama Bear as needed.
Which is why these days, I’m scared folks. So many things that make me scared for them. Scary stuff like
- rising water levels,
- lowering water tables,
- guns in schools, movie theaters, public places,
- Ebola and dysentery and cancer,
- Ferguson, Missouri and LA and New Orleans and it seems like everywhere!
- Iraq, ISIS, Gaza,
- Drug abuse,
- And about a million other things that make me nervous for my kids and husband.
No matter what news agency I check, something horrific is happening. Frankly, it gets hard to live with hope when the news is filled with so many bad, bad things.
So today, I’m just going to Google up some cute gifs of kittens and puppies, of unicorns of all varieties. I’m going to search out all the cupcakes with sprinkles and cans of whipped cream and make S’mores in the microwave and build a blanket fort with my kids.
Because I only get one life and one life with these people who matter so much to me. I don’t know just how many days any of us have together, but I sure as hell want them to be filled with as much goodness as I can find.
Summer is always a busy time for me, but this summer is making most summers look peaceful by comparison. Several months ago, Mister Soandso and I decided to sell our house. It is a long story made more interesting with liberal application of wine, but we are happy with our new plan for housing which includes but is not limited to the words: building, permits, construction, sub-division, &*^%, and storage unit.
We first started thinking about downsizing (primarily our mortgage payment rather than our square footage) last year and the whole family was largely on board with the notion of reducing the number of our possessions and such things. But as we got past the point of abstraction, it quickly became clear that not everyone was in the same place of boarding the “less is more” train. Read more…
Today marks the first day of summer break for my kids and it looks to be a glorious day here in the Northwest. I love it. But I wasn’t always such a big fan of summer break.
Growing up on a farm, summer break meant more chores. And lots more of the back-breaking work of a farm. Bucking hay bales may have given me greatly defined arms, but it was not picnic, let me tell you. For all of my young years, summer meant I had to leave school, which was my sanctuary, and be at home. So while my classmates skipped and sang their way out of the building every June, I left a bit more hesitantly. I much preferred the hard “mental” work of school to the hard “physical” work of the farm. Read more…
As a middle aged person, my influential years were supposedly the 70s and 80s, but I can’t honestly say that every decade hasn’t tremendously impacted my life. And perhaps it was because I was in high school and college during them, the 80s seem to be the sounds that come quickly to mind when I think of the songs of my youth. I may not have had “mall bangs” but I did have the rest of the 80s gig down – big hair, big makeup, Keds, pegged pants, layered collars, et cetera. And, of course, I listened to what now is “classic 80s” music.
Face it people, we may have had bad attire during the 80s, but our music rocked. Even the non-rock music of the 80s was pretty damn good. And probably because it is the music of my life, my life’s soundtrack if you will, these are the songs that really stay with me. The little ear worms that show up out of nowhere and stay on loop when I’m vacuuming or cleaning up cat barf. Read more…
I’m having one of those days. You know, the kind where you find yourself craving all the fat, sugar, and salt in the world. In other words, you desire an opportunity to eat your feelings. Or chips, salsa, and guacamole chased by a margarita, whatever.
It is seriously not my finest moment. Well, last night when I forgot to get Littlest from his friend’s house until 30 minutes later…that was probably a really not-fine moment. But today is ranking up there too. Read more…
Much of the world is talking about motherhood today in view of the impending arrival of the next member of Queen Elizabeth’s family. Having given birth three times, I hope that things are going well for you, Kate. Even when it goes well, it isn’t an easy process going from awaiting a child to being the mother of a child.
That connection between mother and child continues long after the umbilical cord is cut. In fact, an umbilical cord need not even have connected a mother and child, if the truth be told. Mothering is more in the day-to-day than the growing and birthing of a child. I believe in the connection between a mother and her children. That connection is apparent in every adult’s life when they realize they have said or done something exactly how their mother would have said or done it. (The same is true with dads.) Read more…