Sunday, May 31, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Look into the tree, just below the power lines, and you will see what is actually a Little Tykes toddler plastic playhouse. It's wedged in there on a branch, with no visible support other than the tree trunk and branch. In the bottom right corner of the picture you can see the top of the trailer. That height along with the power lines gives you an idea of how high this treehouse is. The glimpse of pink is the door.
Wow. I know. We all just got a big boost in the parenting skills department.
Let's take a moment to imagine how they got that house up there, and how long those young'uns played before the flimsy little door flew open. Keep in mind, these playhouses do not have a bottom. I am truly impressed and flabbergasted. With the proximity to busy Hwy 9, I'll bet they had some serious car-bombing water-balloon action going on.
Monday, May 25, 2009
Not surprisingly, we have a lot of soldiers in our family and ancestry. Southern fellas don't mind a fight. If I was energetic today, I would have called my grandmothers and tracked down a fighter's name for every war since America began. But you'll have to make do with my lazy, faulty memory. Oy vey.
So I will only list my immediate family and give a general salute to those other, earlier wars, you know, the War Between the States and the Revolutionary War. My grandmother Joan spent years researching and rooting for signs of family existence and activity. On my Mom's side, we found soldiers that served in the Revolutionary War and the Confederacy. Homegrown fellas been fighting for years in my family, in every war pertinent. Did it mean some boots and a meal? Did they have a political interest? We may not know. But they certainly had a feeling for their way of life, and their idea of freedom. Freedom to fish and farm and roam. And a common way of life with their neighbors and friends. What a different world in those 18th and 19th century years - nowhere near as reachable and at-hand as today. Foreigners were foreign by their very distance and nature, and neighbors steeped in a familiar culture were right next door. Rural people that can make do on their own don't take well to outside threats.
In this century it seems soldiering was simply a matter of doing what needed to be done. My maternal grandfather never talked about his war days as a matter of heroism. He answered questions when asked, told us about his bullet shot in the nether regions, and rolled along with life. My paternal grandfather died a few years before I was born. And if I ever knew he served, I forgot it until I recently saw his headstone beside my Dad's. Their service had a matter-of-fact quality to it, as though to not have served would have been more remarkable than the service itself.
My Dad returned physically unharmed, yet somehow shattered. He spent years squelching his memories, only to release them in bits and dribbles as we got older.
I suppose I was around 10 when I heard the first of his Vietnam accounts. We were in Washington, DC at the Memorial, taking rubbings of names Dad pointed out to us. In hindsight, I willingly grant him his 20 years of silence, knowing that his war experience included a childhood best friend dying in his arms somewhere near a Vietnam river. To me, it was a mysterious carved name in granite, sought out on a family vacation to the Capital. To him, a fallen teen-aged friend that haunted his memory. He remained oddly ambivalent in my eyes, neither supportive nor against military service. I could not place his ambivalence. I had no frame of reference, and could only draw from it a vague notion of war's pain.
Here is our 20th century family roll call:
- Edward E. Watson, Sr. - WWII, Field Artillery (my paternal grandfather)
- Jehu Nicholls, Jr. - Korean War, Army (my maternal grandfather)
- E. Floyd Watson - Vietnam War, Marines (my dad)
- Derek A. Watson - 2nd Iraq War, Army (my first cousin)
- *edited to add* Charles Lear, fighter pilot (Rick's oldest brother)
Political leaning never precludes patriotism. I spring from the same eastern sandy soil and was certainly nurtured and encouraged in my leanings. I rise from my soldiering roots strong and familiar with freedom and its dictates. And though my choice has always been a pen, I like to think that they all served that I may serve in my own manner. That all the forebears also believed in a possible future without war.
It has been our history. It has been our salvation. It will be our stepping stone. They are all remembered. Really. It's written down somewhere, just not here.
Friday, May 22, 2009
I like a plan.
I like an orderly plan written on lined paper.
Would you guess that about me? Ordered chaos.
I like to point to a plan and a schedule and a time frame, and perhaps use it as a life preserver.
As in: "Oh no no no... you'll have to leave the kitchen. It's only 8:57am, and snack time isn't until 10am. See there? Right there on the schedule. That is a 10."
I like signs placed strategically around the house. My mom came up with good ones, and I have one to add.
Yesterday in Cole's class I noticed Rule #24: "No chewing noisily, smacking lips or spitting food. Eat mannerly." This I like!
A new project for me.
Talk to the sign.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
The random list:
- a corner of an eraser
- a corner of a book
- a bit of cleaning sponge
- a cobweb
- a strip of construction paper
- a napkin
- a square of toilet paper
- a twig
- tree bark
- a coffee table corner, now stripped to bare wood
- a candy wrapper
- another corner of a board book
- a half-page of Elmo in Grouchland
- a bookmark
- a business card
Nutritional diversity is the key to a healthy baby.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Phoenix Alexander, born May 12, 2008; 8lbs 10oz.
Photo credit: the lovely and talented Traci, March 2009.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
It is a smattering of instruments. There are drums. An oboe, a violin, a trumpet. Certainly a flute, alongside a strumming guitar. It is a sonata, an invention, a composition without end.
It is becoming an orchestra. With a distinct tone added by each voice. The music builds to crescendo; fades to a single note. There is silence and a breath, the baton is raised. The composition builds again, adding new emotion, flowing from the former. The instruments twine together in accord and discord, finding the tempo, beating a rhythm, becoming a unit.
Living a life.
Through my minuscule eight years of mothering, I have seen phases, moments and patterns. Phases I prayed would pass quickly, moments I fell into and longed to hold. Patterns I discovered and smiled with, recognizing them and comforted by the continuity. I am learning.
Yet it is not about me.
not about me not about me not about me.
Becomes the litany, the reminder and the truth.
Some days with grace and a mile to spare, other days by an inch and a begrudging acknowledgement.
I am a vessel, bearing and raising.
Pouring out all I have been given, that small ones may thrive.
In my brightest moments I give freely with joy and fervor.
Dark times I submit robotically and with small sighs.
not about me not about me not about me anymore.
With this choice, I myself sacrifice. That in the creating and giving and teaching, something larger may become real.
Some purpose spiritual and natural may be fulfilled. I might be consumed and come forth again stronger and more willing to lay this life down again.
Isn't that why we do it?
To capture some small piece of eternity, stamp it with our mark, set it free to walk this world?
To be one with the Creator?
To know the nature of the One who would give all?
And it comes in the unlovely, the daily small matters and the moments you wish would end.
And it also comes in the enraptured blinks of an eye, the sparkling times where you see eternity in that little being.
You know your purpose, your skin prickles with the sense of the divine.
The created has walked alongside the Creator.
The giver has walked alongside the Giving One.
And in doing so has become more than was thought possible.
Has grasped for an instant or maybe longer, that thread of synchronicity that winds throughout life.
The giver has found depth and grace in situations both mundane and enraptured.
And so I wish to friends and mothers near and far, that those moments of grace be many.
That we may all see them, open to them, and recognize a deeper purpose.
Allow the orchestral nature of life's cycle to dose these days with a bit of sparkle.
A touch of the divine.
A glimpse into infinity.
A second in the hours of not about me that it IS about me. About you. About mothers.
About the ties created and nurtured.
Happy Mother's Day...
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Although lately, my Baba has been calling me Greased Lightning.
I don't know, I just put my head down, crawl, and hope I end up wherever I want to go.
I also hope she keeps smiling at me and laughing, though I don't know why she shakes her head as she laughs. Or why she squeezes my cheeks and says I'm lucky to be cute.
That Baba. Always hiding from me. I keep following her, calling out "Ba! Baba! BABA!"
But when I can't find her, well, what I have found that really soothes me is dirt, in this big round pot.
And some green leafy things that are really fun to yank on.
It's fun because everybody comes running when I find that stuff. Must be some kind of party room. Though it's kind of clean and there are no toys, only some pots of dirt and leafy sticks, and these great stacks of paper. Last time I got a taste of the paper, Baba squealed loudly and yelled "Not my books!"
Then she called me a little turd.
Baba really loves me.
Really and truly.
Monday, May 4, 2009
So we celebrated Cole's Birthday with our "instant party" friends, the Wilson's. Rick named them "instant party" because they have 3 kids, so with all of us it was a crowd. A crowd at the mexican restaurant! What more festive place could we have chosen for dinner? None. It was loud and fast-paced and we tossed down margaritas while the kids did what kids do. All 7 of them. Yee-haw!! I think this should become the birthday tradition. In fact, we are already making plans for Phoenix, since his day is coming next week.
(And for a baby who practically has Jose Cuervo to thank for his existence... well, it seems entirely appropriate to have another mexican celebration. Besides, the singing waiters and the B-day sombrero cannot be beat!)
The Birthday Boy with his gifts and ice cream and the loaned hat
The next day we took Cole to a small, local amusement park, and much running and crazed fun was had there, too. Though the necessary accompanying-adult part made my stomach a little queasy when I had to ride the roller coaster with them, for about the sixth time. Eek. And the little bespectacled Indian boy who kept ramming my car in the bumper car ring really had it in for us - again, for about 6 rounds. I just stayed in the bumper car ring, and each round a different munchkin ran to join me. Rick wisely took baby duty, and smiled at us from the safety of the sideline.
(Looking green on the roller coaster, but holding strong. Who can resist coaster-crazed kids? Look at Cole's eyes.)
Another birthday down, one more next week. Ole!