I Have My Hands Full.

People always smile at me when I am with all three girls.  A baby on my right hip and the two older girls both holding part of my left hand. They say nice things. They say, in a kind way, "You have your hands full." I smile back. I look into their eyes and I feel like I can see them thinking... of Back When or of Some Day. I feel blessed and I feel like I never want this time to pass.

I let the girls play outside in the mud and the wet grass and puddles, between rain showers Saturday afternoon. I opened the kitchen window to converse with them while I was making dinner. Elizabeth, my five year old,  showed me it was raining again, her tongue stuck out to catch the drops. Maren, my toddler, ate sliced cheese from an ice cream bowl and then left it by the birdbath, her jacket out front, by the wilted petunias.

Tonight, with the older two mostly in bed, I sat in the rocking chair with baby Vivie. She fell asleep in my arms. I had been up since 6:22 am. I had cleaned numerous potty training tinkle puddles, run last minute errands, managed a timely birthday party drop off and pick up with all three, coordinated most of 3 meals for 4 or 5 mouths, searched for unicorns and unicorn crowns and horse reins and American Girl hairbrushes, soothed tears and even discussed, a bit, where lightening comes from.

We sat in the rocking chair, baby Vivie and I, in that green grey light of 8:42 pm on May 26th and the birds were chirping still, a bit too loud, as if their mother would be shaking her head, "Girls, girls, it's quiet time, let's slow down, no flying, no singing...."  I decided not to get down on myself for that basket of clean laundry still sitting in the corner. Instead, I focused on her breathing, the rhythm of her little baby sweaty chest against mine. The thumb in her mouth made that sweet sucking noise and her other fingers stroked the ridge of my collarbone from time to time, little reflex nudges checking to make sure I was there.

Fifteen minutes later I got up, put the baby in her crib. I grabbed the five pairs of "da da da da Dora" underpants the toddler had worked through from the hamper, hand washed them in the bathroom sink. From her bedroom, Maren screamed, "I have an orange thing on my arm!" It was the skinned elbow from the other day in the park, on the play date, on which she wore a dress and her big sister's rain boots on the wrong feet and she fell on the paved path, running with half a peanut butter sandwich, which, when I went to rescue her, had asphalt rocks mixed into it. The scab looked dark orange in the almost dark room. I fetched a Band Aid and after I put it on her, she clutched my hand so hard, loving, like she was holding a baby bunny, and in her wonderful, trademark, scratchy voice, "Mom, your hands cold, you okay?" She didn't let go, concern. "Oh Bug, it's just from the water, Mommy washed your underpants. It's okay." And then I felt tears welling up,  the happy sad. "It's okay, Mommy." Oh my wise one.  "Thank you, Bug. I love you." "I love you, too, Mommy." The sweetest sleepy smile, her Great Grandma Zora's gap front teeth peeping through.

Yes, I have my hands full. Heart, too.

Starting Over

I have so many words lost in me, swirling all around day in and day out, in my dreams when I'm asleep, in the back of my head when you're talking to me, over top of me when I'm holding a sweet baby girl or dancing with another two or driving or cleaning dishes or....they are everywhere. These words and thoughts, they need to come out and play more often.

So maybe vintage living isn't always about decor or all things fine and dandy. In honesty, a lot of the times, I'm pretending things are fine and dandy, even when things like overdue bills and the broken garbage disposal say they aren't.

We had? have? this crazy dream that it took us forever to say out loud and then we finally did it was too late. We realized that having tears in our eyes and heavy hearts when we left the Great Lake and the cedar groves and the cherry orchards...well it wasn't normal. Aching and hurting when we drove back to the city.  Our kids perk up to the smell of the lake. They can hike a trail with those tiny legs like nobody's business. Did you know, that there are stars there? At night? Millions of them. And our children never see them here, aside from one or two or three.

Maybe, we thought, it doesn't have to be this way, we can change our lives, we can do this, we can live our dream. We could pack up and leave this city and these people who seem so different than us  and we could lead a simpler life in a part of the world that Is. Us. People do that! You read about it every now and then and they are so much happier, ya, let's be like that!

And then...2009 happened. My husband's career veered this way and that with the economy. And continues to do so. Our This Old House that we'd thought would become more and more valuable became less and less so.  And, continues to do so.

Now. We feel sort of stuck and trapped and scared and damn it all, when will our luck change? What are we doing wrong? This is what you get for being dreamers, we think.

If it weren't for my three girls, I don't know how I'd deal.  They keep me happy and distracted and I don't need or want for anything but them and My Man and all I wish is for these four loves of my life to be happy and healthy and me too and for all of us to live until we are 112 or so.  Rich or poor.

Hello, dark empty room. Cover your ears or walk away if you are bored. This blog will have some fine, like the new blue and white dishes I found and that great Ina coffee cake I keep making. And some dandy, like how Maren wiggled her rear dancing today in the silliest most wonderful wayand some vintage mixed in for the character we all should have and the patina of time and history and the joy in simplicity, but really what it should all be about is LIVING.