Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas 2009

                     Before                                                                               After

Here are some more pictures from our Christmas Day. We missed J very much, but have had a good day nonetheless:

Christmas blessings to you and your family. And, before I forget, Happy Birthday to Baby Jesus.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!  

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Lights, all shiny and sparkly

My kids are the lights of my life. They make me laugh. They drive me a little mad sometimes, but they are the most amazing "little" people in the world and I would do anything for them. These four creatures constantly remind me of what is truly important.

Christmas is just not that important to me.  I just can't take another holiday of people I know, people I have known for years, giving their dad money or stuff for the kids and ignoring their mom's existence.  It came out casually- that dear friends of my family had sent him a Kmart giftcard. I don't think he has ever bothered to ever speak to them ever, yet the pity party continues for poor him. As he and I have discussed, he chose this course and he has to live with the consequences. I could see the look of surprise and perhaps a little jealousy when he saw my new car. Like he has anything to be jealous of.

One of the best life lessons I have learned came from a program I never wanted to go to. The graduation last week was one of the proudest moments I can recall. I not only accomplished something, I was recognized by a lot of people who I never would expected to say something nice about me. Yet they did, lots of people offering compliments.  I was given a beautiful bouquet of flowers. I, whose life has been in utter chaos since a cold, sunny March afternoon 3.5 years ago, was celebrated. People said I had enormous insight to offer other moms, and was providing needed mentoring for at least one of them. All this recognition came from simply being a mother.

There's this great quote that I apply to all relationships in my life.

"Never make someone a priority, when all you are to them is an option."
It's pretty clear that in the past I did exactly that and I will never do that again. My most recent entry into the dating world is a perfect example. How I seem to attract single dads with major "baby mama drama" is amusing. I've had what I thought was a happy and healthy relationship, I think I know what that feels like. It's not worth my time or effort to have anything less than that. I said good-bye gently but firmly. I feel great about myself. I kept the big picture in the forefront of my mind, that same big picture which got so clouded three short years ago.
We will march on towards Christmas. My kids won't be with me Christmas Eve, a night which has memories I can't erase associated with it that go far beyond years of tableaux appearances (of me and the kids) at our church. It's up to their dad whether or not to bring them to church and celebrate Jesus's birth.  I've been invited by a few friends to spend Christmas Eve with their families, but, while the gesture is very sweet, the absence of my own family makes me want to stay in.  Thanks to some special friends, the children will have a few nice things to open on Christmas (afternoon!) here. We have a cute little tree up (artificial, I'm afraid) and stocking hung from the windows.  The little girls really want the cats to have stockings, I am afraid they will be disappointed.  It's just another day to me, but I hope the kids feel the magic of Christmas.

For now, on this cold, rainy night, I will enjoy a nice drink, the rest of the Sunday paper, 60 Minutes in the background, and watch the lights of the Christmas tree sparkle.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Holding on to hope

Seeing your child in pain is the most awful feeling in the world.

I love this picture. It reminds me of how happy she *can* be when she knows she is loved. What a beautiful, vibrant, smart, funny, and interesting 12 year old. She LOVED her party and I am so thankful for the good friends who celebrated with her.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Loving someone else's kids...

... or at least liking them a lot for the evening.

I babysat for a friend's kids tonight and we had a blast. I forgot how much energy a toddler has and just how sweet a preschool girl is.  I also remember that I do not miss the days of cut up hot dogs in pasta, Danimals and Trix yogurts, and a dozen different kinds of sippy cups.  We created trains and tracks, we built up block towers and knocked them over a dozen times, we played with Mickey and Minnie Mouse dolls, and had fun with glow in the dark bracelets.  We colored, we did a few puzzles, and watched Calliou and Noddy.

We read "Goodnight Moon" (which I know word for word by heart), "The Going to Bed Book" by Sandra Boynton (my kids loved it!), and "Goodnight Gorilla" (another Collins kid favorite).  There is something nurturing and peaceful about putting kids to bed after reading a story and having them sit on your lap with a sippy cup.  It was truly a fun and happy evening.