I've had one of those days where I'm slamming head directly into the wall of motherhood.  Don't get me wrong, I had an enchanted day with my girl - at an Earth Day celebration, at breakfast, while enjoying a picnic lunch, watching her roam a grassy knoll swinging her net at butterflies, and gardening with her.  It wasn't those moments, but the ones where she talked..and talked..and dominated conversations..and continued.  At times I felt like the Grinch ("oh the noise!") and at others I sat there beating myself up mentally for not absorbing her adorable stories.  I know, we all have moments and that's why I'm here banging it out on my keyboard.

When my father talks to much I try to combat the chatter by being quiet - as if my silence has an ability to negate noise or balance the quota of words flinging through the air.  Ben found us girls out in the patio while I was training my mother's climbing rose along our fence.

Ben: "Hi!"  
Me: "Hey" (not breaking my stride)
We are momentarily quiet, drowned out by the constant chatter from Alex and her stuffed animal Greenie.
Ben: "You in a bad mood?"
Jen: "You know how I try to counteract noise with silence?"
He looks at her,  and figures out quickly why I'm quiet and laughs. He turns around to go back in.
Jen: "By the way, you're on tonight.  I'm going out by myself for one hour."

By the time I left tonight, Ben had Alex in bed and was trying to tell her stories to get her settled. She was still verbally bouncing off the walls, which made her physically kick herself out of the covers again and again.  He looked at me and whispered "Oh My God!"  For a hot moment, I misplaced the keys and sent a text to a friend saying that I was screwed.  She knew my pain, seeing that she just returned from an hour of silent solo shopping.   Having wine at her house was option #2.

I secured my keys within 2 minutes, headed out the door, and called my dear girl Karen in Indonesia.  I told her about my stress, the talking, the noise, my lack of appreciation, and I was informed that Alex was suffering from "conversationitis".  Karen laughed at me and informed me that it happens when kids think that they finally get the whole conversation bit and will have one with our without your participation.  Lovely.  Well, at least there's a name for it.  Thanks Karen for the education. Moving on.

Easter was a rocking.  
We had multiple egg hunts, grandparents, and handmade dresses to name a few of the highlights.

Alex would say that the dress I made for her was the best part.

The material was a seersucker weight material covered in a random bright floral.  The bodice in this pattern won me over with it's petal detailing and material flower accent.  And I finished the inside with a pink lining just because. I am reminded every time I complete a big project that I able.  Zipper, no zipper - I got it - and I have a sense of humor and a sharp seam ripper just in case.  Thanks Mom for giving me the skills and the confidence. 

And as for Alex, I sense that she knows that handmade is special and that I love her with every stitch.  It's the one time when I feel she's an old soul and just knows that it takes a lot of love.  And it does.  And I do love her so.

And even though I do have moments like today where I'm suffering, the are just that - a lapse in time and not a defining moment.

Alex is growing so quickly these days - and it's not just the matter of filling her drawers with larger sizes.  No, it's the look.  
She's maturing.  I see it in her face. 

 Her look is of a girl, a kid.  
Not so little.  

Instead of running like an etherial fairy (with a little hop included), Alex can sprint along like one of the boys. She flits, she flees, she flies. 

See, I needed this.  I love her so.  Regardless of the noise. - J



March came in like a lamb, setting foot into an endless pasture and marking the end of a winter without snow. A lack of snow leads children to make angels in the sand if nothing else.

And somehow its early arrival and unseasonable warmth amplified my sentiments and passion for life.  

The growth and rebirth of the earth inspires me to the core. I miss the bluest of skies filled with clouds that shift shapes. I cherish endless bouquets of dandelions and buttercups.  And I sense the buzz of the insects, the annoyance of ants, & the smell of fresh cut grass as I turn the soil; setting seeds and plans for the coming season. 

My heart and soul truly ache from the pleasure of living in this moment, and I am acutely aware of the blessings of my life.  I enjoy the now for what it is.
Due to a myriad of reasons, work has been a task and hooky more so a privilege. And in the middle of it all, I took off a day to spend with my best friend.  Our children played.  We shared company at a slower pace, and set the first picnic of many to come.  And Nate in all of his innocence is now a boy.
Nate's long distance sprint back to Mama stirred a monster within Alex.  Her just-born competitive streak drove her to cream the little boy who didn't have a clue.  And I am left amazed that my etherial fairy who needs to be instructed 4 or 5 times to complete a task has a ruthless drive.  Maybe there's a sense of focus deep inside her after all.

I was reminded once again that giving young children space to play at a birthday party is all they need; so a local park and an accessible toilet make great partners. As expected, Alex started her adventure at the swings - I think she uses the swings as a way of psyching-up for massive activity.
But my favorite part was the jungle gym encompassed in a massive sand box.  

The park was located in Arlington, Virginia and Nancy and I planned to walk our children post-celebration around the title basin to savor the blooming Cherry trees; but 4 hours of play proved that even the best of kids can be too tired to sit gracefully without complaint.

I will be back in a few days to share my creativity and inspiration generated from this season.  For now, here's wishing you all a happy Easter and a wonderful spring.

Such Singing in the Wild Branches (2003)
It was spring
and finally I heard him
among the first leaves—
then I saw him clutching the limb

in an island of shade
with his red-brown feathers
all trim and neat for the new year.
First, I stood still

and thought of nothing.
Then I began to listen.
Then I was filled with gladness—
and that's when it happened,

when I seemed to float,
to be, myself, a wing or a tree—
and I began to understand
what the bird was saying,

and the sands in the glass
for a pure white moment
while gravity sprinkled upward

like rain, rising,
and in fact
it became difficult to tell just what it was that was singing—
it was the thrush for sure, but it seemed

not a single thrush, but himself, and all his brothers,
and also the trees around them,
as well as the gliding, long-tailed clouds
in the perfectly blue sky— all, all of them

were singing.
And, of course, yes, so it seemed,
so was I.
Such soft and solemn and perfect music doesn't last

for more than a few moments.
It's one of those magical places wise people
like to talk about.
One of the things they say about it, that is true,

is that, once you've been there,
you're there forever.
Listen, everyone has a chance.
Is it spring, is it morning?

Are there trees near you,
and does your own soul need comforting?
Quick, then— open the door and fly on your heavy feet; the song
may already be drifting away.

— Mary Oliver, "Such Singing in the Wild Branches"
     Owls and Other Fantasies: Poems and Essays,
     Beacon Press, Boston, 2003, pp. 8-9