Friday, January 18, 2019

Merry Heart

The beauty in this life isn't ultimately found in the moments of perfection (wait... do those even exist?), the perfectly spelled out stories; it's found in the unremarkable happenings that make up the journey as we live it out. For the unremarkable makes the extraordinary ingredients of the whole story more obvious in our perspective and more intense in our hearts. Almost 1 year ago, the merriest heart came into my life and has filled it with unbelievable joy, even on the darkest/most miserable days. She spreads her merry heart over all of us.

THE hiking companion.

When she needs me to go faster on the trail, this is her solution. :-)

She's a famous helper with all chores.

THE riding buddy.

Mama dog Part II to the wabbit. 

Guardian of secrets for Lochlan.

Protector of the house. 

Comforter and nurse.

Complete Goof.

"You need something Mama?"

This is her coffee face; waiting for coffee at the drive-thru. 

"Ready to do the chores Mama?" 

"What blue paint???"

I am so thankful. 

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Winter's glory and misery

I was recently asked by one of the smallish humans what my favorite season is. After I responded with a resounding "Spring and then fall, and even some of summer but MOST definitely not winter", they queried me on the reason(s) for my preference. Upon reflection... 

Winter: when slumber (hibernation, dormancy) takes hold and a good portion of the outside world of creation rests. When storms hover and descend. When snow makes everything fresh, white, new and welcomes us to gallop about with our sleds in tow. When the cold outside beckons us to hot tea and great books by the fireplace. When our forest adventures all but come to a halt and every outdoor task becomes a chore as the cold crawls into our bones. It seems to be a time when sickness thrives. The sickness has been unbearably hard these past many weeks. During the week Kris was out of town Lochlan suffered through a stomach bug (a bug we all entertained in perfect domino fashion in the following days), followed by a grim case of Mesenteric Adenitis that plagued him for over 2 weeks. These weeks included 2 midnight ER visits where Lauren was my right hand (and probably the other half of my malfunctioning brain) through the 36 hour periods with no sleep. The day Lochlan started to improve (Christmas Day), Declan got the flu. I was so run down I quickly contracted it and almost ended up in the ER with a 104 temp. Though it took us nearly 3 weeks, all 6 of us are eeking our way back to health. 

Spring: is full of hope and life blossoming all about. It holds the remnants of winter and it's chill, but also the promise of summer with it's sunshine and warmth. I see spring every day in the hearts of my boys. They are filled with hope and their minds are ever blossoming, full of wonder. The creativity is in constant flow and the amount of energy they have to DO life doesn't actually seem possible. It's (well past) bedtime, but they have been writing me countless notes and drawing me pictures of baby octopuses, friendly monsters walking on clouds, happy (smiling) trees at the base of majestic mountains and even portraits of myself - or maybe a pig; the nose throws me off a bit, but I'm told it's me. 

Summer: gives all things a chance to grow. The blackberry bushes tentatively grow leaves, then slowly blossom and as the summer progresses they confidently start creating tiny green fruits and as summer begins to glimpse it's close the fruit becomes black and juicy and sweet. Summer also brings heat, sometimes drought, violent monsoon storms, as well as weeds and pesky insects. Summer gives us all time to explore the forests, creeks, meadows and mountains and I see my boys grow in strength and (physical, mental, even emotional) stature. I see their curiosity and wonder in all that is nature (the Creation) in it's abundance and their hunger to know (and be known) with a deeper understanding. As I watched Lochlan develop an understanding of his horse, and saw how that connection inspired him to try words on our jaunts along so many trails this summer, it made my heart merry. The day he is fully unlocked and able to share himself with all of us will be the best of every season in my heart.

Fall: where color fills the trees, the mornings are crisp and the evenings feel like they're holding their breath. The trails are covered with a carpet of golden leaves and we get fleeting glimpses of the forest creatures preparing for winter. When elk can be heard calling to one another and the wind whistles around us with a chill. A favorite coffee shop calls us to bring a great friend and conversation. When the mountains are sometimes sprinkled with the dusting of a first snow. Fall finishes the final brush strokes of the year's painting. It always reminds me of all that is extraordinary in the (mundane) life that is lived here and now, even as winter (in seasons and in life) hovers and promises change both welcome and unwelcome. 

Monday, January 14, 2019

Late for my appointment...

As the days continue scampering by me at an alarming rate, I keep hoping that the fleeting treasured moments are somehow being recorded by someone beyond the realm of time and space for me to review and relish at my pleasure when my life on this earth is done.

Kelton peeked his head around the bathroom corner and sheepishly said, "Mama, I need you." This is usually not a statement I relish when bathrooms are involved. I discovered him standing next to a rather daunting puddle of pee which had missed the toilet. When I asked him what happened, he said without hesitation, "Well, Mama, I was running late to my appointment." "Appointment with the toilet?" "Yup! I'm so sorry Mama."

"Kelton, you are not allowed to get another apple without asking Mama first, okay? You're wasting the apples." "Okay Mama!" "Kelton, what did I just say? What did you just agree to?" "I am not allowed to get out of bed unless I ask myself to get out of bed." So close...

Paugie has been creating beautiful songs on the piano, as only Paugie would create. Today, he was playing a particularly pretty piece of something he was composing on the spot, and I told him I really liked it. He said with much sincerity: "Mama, it's a touching piece that I am going to call 'The Arrow that Never Moves.'" Obviously.

"Mama, do you think I would be a better fireman or builder/architect?" "Paugie, I think you would be great at both, but you seem to be naturally inclined to create beautiful things, so I guess architect seems more like something you might do." After a lengthy, thoughtful pause: "Well, I think if I was a fireman I could help people by saving them from dangerous situations. I could help them to live so they could do the things they are supposed to do, too." Are you for real??? My heart...

It has been an incredibly challenging month for us, due to sickness. Lochlan was hit hardest, by far, and he has struggled tremendously to make a come back to health and progress. In spite of the challenges, he has persevered and woken up each morning with a smile on his face and has continued to try out new words. At family mealtimes, he grabs our hands and insists that we pray and when we are done praying he says, "AMEN!" His desire to initiate is new and it is completely wonderful.

When I came home from the grocery store a couple days ago, he met me outside the door with the most beautiful smile and said, "Hi!" Then, he opened the back seat door (with no prompting from me) and grabbed two bags of groceries. He carried them inside and I told him he was awesome and that I was so thankful to him for getting the groceries. His whole face beamed with pride, and then he disappeared. 30 seconds later he reappeared with three more bags of groceries. I gushed over him some more, but not nearly as much as I wanted to, as I didn't want to completely smother him with my enthusiasm. He promptly put all the groceries away in the fridge. Then, he hovered about for a few minutes looking idle and bored. He covertly pulled a grocery bag out of the trash where he had placed it previously, refilled it with some items from the fridge and ran outside again. A few seconds later, he blasted through the door, carrying his "new found" groceries, and started putting them away. I hugged him and told him he was the most wonderful, helpful man I know. He could not wipe the smile off his face and I couldn't wipe the tears from my eyes fast enough. There are no words. Each "tiny" moment of progress, of initiation, of attempted words, of profound understanding that he reveals to me, inspire me and remind me that life is full of the miraculous. We are surrounded by it if we open our eyes.

Madigan rocks my world and everything in it. No one is allowed to settle and just simply exist when he is present; we are inspired (and required?) to live in abundance (of energy, thought, action) in ALL THINGS, exploring every potential, considering the vast array of possibilities that are available to us in each minute, hour, day, LIFETIME! We are expected to thrive and never let a moment slip aimlessly by. He is game changer if you are fortunate enough to be a player on the game board of life that includes him.

Madigan struggles with reading, but he has started writing me letters each day. He writes me countless letters expressing his love, his hopes/desires, his disappointments. Though the spelling leaves a fair bit to be desired, the sentiments are profound and it is unbelievable how much more interested he is in WORDS and the power of words through writing. I think he will be devouring books in no time. He has announced to me that he intends to be a writer someday because he wants to tell the world great stories and teach people through words. At bedtime, since he's not allowed to exit the bedroom, he writes me notes, rolls them up, ties them up with a strand of paper and tosses them over the bedroom wall (a 3/4 height wall) so that I can read them. Clever.

So, as I sat looking at the fog descending upon us from the mountain above today, I watched the total chaos and activity bustling about me and I savored that moment. Dinosaur noises may not always be a part of my surroundings, so let me bottle them up now inside my heart so that I can revisit them in those lonelier days I may yet face.