Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas

I am so grateful. For my husband's architecturally perfect nose. For my son's exuberance. For the blessing of them both. I am a wealthy person with a colorful happiness, thanks to these two.

I may be snarky and I may deal with life's difficulties by threatening to send my son to Cuba and take a nap until they return him with a bribe to never try that again, but I am so grateful for the rare 10 pm, when teething pains wake him up just enough to need rocking, when I get to hold his little, sleeping body long past the few minutes it takes to see him back to sleep. Because I love holding him, my sweet, monstrous little love. I love having my face on his soft head and quietly kissing him until I rally myself to put him down again.

I often curse the Navy for taking away my best friend, but this temporary absence does not diminish the depths of comfort, stability and peace my husband's love gives me. When I say I am a richer woman for having him, I mean I am fuller and continually grow in my capacity to hold the fullness that is marriage. The growing takes lots of commitment. Commitment to deny yourself the right to be angry. Commitment to make peace between two wholly different, but equally fallen persons. Commitment to not talk about sex in public. (Your voice is always louder than you think it is, Rebekah.) Commitment to a God who is the only foundation and salvation for this partnership.

"Thus far the Lord has brought us."

I am humbled by the gracious gift of my two loves. I am more humbled by the knowledge that God Almighty humiliated himself to be a man, that I might be able to comprehend Him. That He chased me down to tell me that, though I was less than undeserving, His love has caused me to be worth the salvation offered me. From utter darkness to warm sunlight. Merry Christmas. Merry day of Hope.

I am loved, so I am grateful. It is a beautiful Christmas, indeed.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Okay... Maybe You Should Have a Kid

Despite my last post, I really do think I'll keep Nathan. And if I wasn't sure, today God and Nate worked in concert to convince me that children can be useful.

In the past year, every time I go to DSW... and I know this is probably weird, but I don't care if you judge me... I always pray that I will find a pair of brown leather, closed-toed, pumps for an incredible deal. I'm super picky and super cheap. Needless to say, it's been a while.

DSW is one of Nathan's favorite stores. It has loads of shoes, all within toddler reach and there are aisles to run down, mirrors to breathe on and people sitting down, struggling to shove their feet into boots to stare at. Toddler heaven.

I hate going to DSW with Nathan. Because there are loads of shoes, all within toddler reach and there are aisles to run down, mirrors to breathe on and people sitting down, struggling to shove their feet into boots to stare at. Mommy purgatory.

But I had a coupon that expired today. So we went and I headed straight for the clearance racks, as usual, and put the child down to consider a pair of overly-priced-even-on-clearance-but-they're-Michael-Kors-so-I-love-them heels. My son immediately walked over to a box, pulled out two matching shoes, walked back over to me and chucked them at my feet. Two Nine West brown leather, closed-toed pumps. On clearance from $80 to $20. He grinned. I grinned back.

Finally something we can agree on.

With the two coupons I had, the shoes were five dollars. Total. And to add blessing to good fortune, I walked out of that store with two pairs of heels, one pair of Steve Madden socks (all my socks are developing holes) and one pair of lavender tights for twenty dollars. Total.

It doesn't surprise me that God answers my prayers, especially one as (pathetically) oft-repeated as this. And it really shouldn't surprise me that he answers prayers through my son. After all, despite my threats of selling him on ebay, Nathan is an answer to a year and a half of heart-felt prayer, himself.

It is exceedingly appropriate, however, that the answer to my prayers was chucked at me by my 15-month-old son. Literally.

That's so us.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Don't Have Kids

Jon loves being a dad. I get told all the time by spouses of pilots he's deployed with that he pretty much goes around proselytizing for parenthood. Which is really sweet. It warms my heart to see and hear how much he loves his family.

This is what Jon missed yesterday on our trip to Salt Lake City. This is the sort of thing that dampens spirits and makes people want to have their tubes tied. This is why I don't push my friends to have kids.

Traveling alone with a toddler is a very brave thing to do and I, therefore, am a brave woman. I packed very light, I had my brother purchase a car seat on his end, so I wouldn't have to check one and I bought a small umbrella stroller that I could check at the gate. I am brave and I am a savvy traveler. I am not, however, smart, because I did, after all, travel with a toddler by myself.

The first flight was fine. No real problems or anything. It was pretty much the same level of stress as taking a toddler to Costco and purchasing large items. Not fun, but not bad enough to make me avoid it. We landed, unruffled, in Phoenix, where we ate and I chased Nate all over the airport, hoping it would wear him out.

He was, indeed worn out and for the first forty minutes of the flight, he slept like a sweet little blonde angel with rosy cheeks and striped socks. If I could stop the movie there, you all would run to your spouses and beg for babies.

But, then, he woke up.

"But, then" is like the fine print on an "As Seen on TV" special.

He woke up a little off and started to cry, which soon turned to a scream. Screaming isn't fun, but it's totally doable. THEN he started to thrash. And kick and WAIL and SCREAM ('scream' and "SCREAM" do not mean the same thing). I am not kidding when I say I have never seen a child act the way Nathan proceeded to act for the remainder of the flight. It was like trying to hold an angry, rabid wolverine. On steroids. With a thorn in it's eye.

My child thrashed and arched his back and screamed and SCREAMED and turned in thrashing circles in my lap, trying to escape something like it was burning him. I had no idea a human being could act like that. The whole plane was either concerned or penciling, "Get Sterilized" into their day planners. I had the guy next to me offering to help, people in front of and behind me offering help, THREE stewardesses at ONCE standing at our row, asking questions, offering wet paper towels, food from first class and asking on on earth they could do to help.

It really was horrible. Purgatory is here on earth. It's called parenthood and I just made up for 26 years worth of sin.

I may not be smart, but I still think I'm brave and travel savvy. And I'm awfully good at pretending to be cool and collected. I stayed calm the entire 40 minutes he had his fit and I calmly walked off the plane (he had stopped crying from pure exhaustion by then) and collected our things and picked up our luggage at baggage claim and layered my wolverine for the cold weather and waited outside for my brother and only let out a few choice words when it took me 20 minutes to install the carseat and made it back to eat dinner and go to bed by 9:30, San Diego time. But when I wrote my "this is how things went" email to Jon, I cried. Because I only pretend to be calm.

Which is all to say, whatever you may hear from my husband, do not have children. A purgatory sentence is best served off a commercial airplane.

Friday, December 2, 2011

One Billy Goat Gruff

Recently Nathan has been trying to climb onto things. His little-boy-ness is so innate. Like climbing, for instance. In the past 2 weeks, I've looked over from the stove to see Nate with a desperate grip on the other side of a kitchen chair, grunting like an over-burdened ox and trying to heave his body up. In my infinite wisdom, I let him struggle. Not for his character's sake, but rather for my sanity, because I knew that once he could climb, it was all over... again... like when he started to walk.

The other day, I heard the familiar scrape of a chair being pulled out from under the kitchen table and the ox-grunts as he tried to climb, but when silence ensued, I looked up and he was standing on the chair, grinning like a fool at his mother as if to say, "Look what I did, Sucker!"

He then, being a newly established Billy Goat, proceeded to climb on top of the kitchen table.

In my infinite wisdom, I choose to empty the table of fragile items first, instead of hauling him to the floor, because I knew he would just climb back up while I was saving my hoard of breakables, that were up there for the sole purpose of being out of his reach. I got most of them and as I was going to grab the last one - a vase wrapped in paper - my own dear godzilla, destroyer of all that is good and holy, grabbed the corner of the paper and unrolled the glass vase onto the floor, where it shattered.

It wasn't even my vase.

And it was a special order.

Sometimes I get to this point in the story and I can't decide on the next line. A sentence is never enough to express my feelings, which are usually a mix of exhaustion, extreme exasperation and a tiny bit of hidden affection. He may be a horrible rotten monster who destroyed my body and is slowly chipping away at my sanity with his Billy Goat hooves, but he's my rotten monster. And for some unknown reason, I have a hard time being mad when he grins at me so endearingly with each new dangerous accomplishment.

Which is why babies have survived to this day. If they hadn't learned to grin before they were two, the human race would be extinct. And if we were extinct, there would be no one to feed Henry.

Therefore, God was not only looking out for the future of the human race when he programmed "smile" as one of the first learned tasks, but also for large yellow labs.

So I have a vase to replace.

And such is life.