Tag Archives: sap

Download a Delightful Children’s Quotes Mini-Book!

I’m in love with this darling little free printable from Delightful Distractions.

The book can be printed and used in a multitude of ways — you can cut it into strips to make a tiny book for your purse, cut it in half for a medium sized book, keep the pages intact for a binder, or cut each little square out to make little notes for the fridge and such to remember those quotes.

Click here to go print yours!

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Free Printable Parenting Manifesto

“Above all else, I want you to know that you are loved and lovable. You will learn this from my words and actions–the lessons on love are in how I treat you and how I treat myself…”

Here’s a lovely free printable for parents from Brene Brown, to help us remember the important things in this journey.  Be sure to check out her lovely article about it in the Huffington Post too!

Happy nearly-Friday! 

 

 

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Seasons

Forgive me if I post a little sap today.  This time of year brings back a lot of memories and I thought I’d share them.

This September marks 17 years since my last miscarriage.  Or since the start of it, I suppose, since that one (my twelfth) sort of began in September, two days after our wedding, and lasted for several months of questions and waiting and bleeding and a D&C and more bleeding and finally emergency surgery on New Year’s Day. 

That was a very long fall.

I wrote this poem that fall, trying to hold on to the hope that I could ever become a mother.  I thought I’d share it today.

autumn 

past quiet farms with their rows of trees,
past the wide fields of blonde, spent crops,
past the thin lakes where the pelicans drifted,
we drive in silence, squinting
at the eastern sun with its blood-red tints.
i know this road by heart.

each friday, and then mondays and wednesdays
too, we made this trip.  at first
full of hope, then fear, and then
acceptance.  i have grown used
to the needles, the tests, the death.
for a month i have kept her anyway, waiting.

 and some say i handle it wonderfully.
 and some say to just try again.
 and some say to get my sh*t together
 and come back to work.

the doctor says they don't know why.

we drive on to the hospital.

out the window, i watch the crisp trees
shed their own deaths.  for seven years
these seasons marked my failures.
i do not mourn their green. i am tired of grief.

we drive on, past all that once grew.
winter is coming, again.


(Alicia Bayer)

Two and a half years later, we had our first baby.  We were not sure if we’d ever have a child and then we had Victoria, then Anna, then Jack.  We decided to be practical and stop at three, and then were delighted to be wrong when Alex surprised us and became number four.  We were even more delighted to be wrong last year again, when I thought I was too old for babies and we thought we were being so careful, and baby Fiona blessed us with her delightful presence. 

It’s fall, and I’m watching the pelicans drift on the lakes, knowing they’ll soon by flying off until the weather warms up again.  Every time I look at those magical white birds, I remember that day so long ago.  I am so amazed by my luck and my blessings. 

I have never liked fall, but more and more it reminds me of that moment 17 years ago, watching the pelicans and holding on to hope in spite of logic. 

And I’m so thankful for that change of seasons.

Photo by Jack (age 9), edited by Anna (age 12)

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Flight

Victoria wearing wings made out of an old sheet, Summer 2000 (age 2)

I am alone tonight. 

I was alone last night, too. 

This is the first time I’ve been absolutely alone (without at least one of the kids) for this long in over thirteen years of parenthood!

Daryl and the kids are volunteering at a wonderful event called History Fest out of town.  We volunteer there as a family every year, but this year I am too pregnant to go along and take part.

They are staying at Grandma and Grandpa’s house and I was going to go with them and stay there, too, but I haven’t been feeling very good and I have so many things I wanted to get done around the house before Monday (when our baby comes!).

So at the last minute, we decided I’d stay home on my own.

I have friends nearby who can come if needed, and Daryl and the kids are not too far away.  And I never, ever, ever go into labor early. 

I’ve actually enjoyed my new-found time alone!  I’ve accomplished a ton of things around the house, got lots of extra sleep and have relished the quiet in this house this is so used to being so noisy!

Just the same, it will be nice to have my family back tomorrow.  I suppose I’m good at chaos.  🙂

This time on my own reminded me of a poem I wrote years ago when I only had two little girls.  I think about the lines of this poem often, because after all these years it still sums up how I feel about my family.

I plan on updating it soon, to reflect the changes we’ve gone through since I first wrote it.  Just the same, the meaning remains.

I thought some of you might like it….

Flight
……

    I know women
    who would lose their children
    like throwing off a robe,
    unbraiding a red ribbon
    and discarding it, to let
    their wild selves fly free.

    I know women
    who put aside their children
    like cheap jewelry by the side of the bed.
    I know women
    who never seem to wear them at all.

My girls, I do not want
to be free of you.
You are like my wedding rings
which I could have easily slipped out of
but wear
every day that my heart beats.

I want you near me.
My girls, my husband,
when I see a sunset
I want these two eyes
to be part of the eight who see it.
I want our laughter and stories
to be so tangled
that our memories weave into one dream.

This is my time with you.

Soon enough, you will be off
swimming your own new seas.
Soon enough, we will step back and watch you
blooming and bursting in solitary ways
in your own fresh, separate skins.

How could I waste this?

Oh my darlings, you are not my cage.
You are my wings.

~Alicia Bayer

 

 

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To My Child, On Mother’s Day

I wrote this poem years ago and posted it on the Magical Childhood site, and thought it was fitting to post again today…

To My Child, On Mother’s Day

I loved you when you were a dream,
a plan of who I wanted to be as your mother.

I loved you when you were a seed
of hope, excitement and giddy amazement
growing and dancing in my belly.

I loved you when they put you in my arms
and you stopped crying to stare at me and fall asleep,
when your soft, tiny body sank into me
as if every part of me had been made to hold you.

I loved you for the way you watched the world
and hungered to learn and love even before birth.
I loved your raw anger, joy and wisdom,
full strength in such a tiny body.

Now, I watch you continue to burst onto the world
and I love you for every quirk of who you are.
For your long eyelashes, your quick smile, your caring,
your stubbornness and your creativity,
for your laugh, your cries, your kisses,
the way you look fresh out of the bath,
and the feel of your perfect hand in mine.

I loved you before we met.
I think I have loved you forever.
I will love you for always, for all that you are
my beautiful, magical child.

~Alicia Bayer

Mother's Day, 2007

Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful mamas out there!  I hope your day is filled with laughter and love — and a few goodies!  🙂

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Savor it Anyway

There’s an image that I keep in my mind for the rough days of motherhood. 

My kids and I were with our friend Tiffany and her kids, and we stopped at a nursing home to visit her elderly mother-in-law.  Alex was less than a year old and one of those babies who was generally happy as long as he was in my arms every second of the day.  Sometimes he’d even be happy in someone else’s arms.  You just couldn’t go about thinking he’d be okay with being put down for any length of time.

My Jack was four and he took off down a hallway with Tiffany’s son (age 5 and also named Jack).  I handed Alex to Tiffany and took off after the Jacks.

As I raced after the happy, loud boys, I passed several elderly women in wheelchairs.  They were all parked in a row outside their rooms.  They each held a baby doll.

I had never heard of doll therapy for Alzheimer’s patients and I had never seen elderly women with baby dolls.  I have since learned that they’re very helpful for these patients and there are even charities that help provide dolls.  At the time, though, the sight of these women cradling these small plastic babies nearly knocked me over with an instant wave of empathy and emotion.

I felt for those women, and it broke my heart to see them cradling those dolls.

Motherhood is exhausting.  It’s a feast or famine enterprise where we work tirelessly with no breaks for years at a time.  At some point, though, if we do our jobs right, it’s done.  This is going to end, and while they will always love us and need us, this job we’re doing now is temporary. 

I know towards the end of my life (should I get lucky enough to get old), the thing I will miss more than traveling, more than gardening, more than painting or writing or shooting pool or walking on a sand beach will be this.  I will miss rocking a baby, comforting a child, knowing all the answers, being someone’s superhero, making it better… Mothering.

Hopefully I will get a chance to be a grandmother, godmother, mentor, foster mother… there are many ways to keep on loving children after my own have left the nest.  This time, though, is unique.  This is the only year that Alex will be two, that Jack will be six, that Anna will be nine and that Victoria will be eleven.  One time only, never to be seen again.

I’m all done with babies, unless a really unforeseen accident occurs.  I’m keenly aware that I’m almost out of little girls.  I feel lucky that Anna relishes her youth, since I am in no hurry to put away the ballerina gowns and Barbie dolls.  I know that Jack is leaving his little boy years and I need to relish this goofy, creative, funny, loving boy that he is right now, as trying as he can also be at six years old.  I am in no hurry for Alex to potty train or start speaking in sentences.  He can dawdle in toddler time.  He can cling to me and need his mama.  And Victoria, my first baby — she’ll always be my baby but she’s turning into a young woman before my eyes.  Talk about bittersweet.

Lately my boys have been driving me up the wall and back on a 10 minute loop pretty much from dawn to dusk (and after).  My girls have been fighting with each other, and there have been plenty of days when I am tired of putting on my Mary Poppins hat and have yelled at the whole lot of them.

When that happens, I take a breath, take a break, and start over. 

It’s a crazy life, but I’ll miss it when it’s over.  Even with the crying, even with the fighting, even with the mayhem, I savor it anyway.  These are my babies.  This is my one and only wild and wonderful time of motherhood.

Babies can be clingy.  Toddlers can be maddening.  Kids can make you crazy.  Savor it anyway. 

Someday the house will be quiet and clean.  What fun will that be?  Who needs quiet and clean?  😉  Well, maybe lots of people!  I know I crave it.  But at the end of the day, I have my whole life to have a clean and quiet house.  The clock is ticking much faster for how long I have to make mud pies, have tea parties, read picture books, make puppets, give piggyback rides, have girl talk, build block towers, race cars, cuddle and all of those other wonderful duties of parenthood.

I think if my 90 year old self could come back and talk sense into my present day self, that’s the message she’d give me.  Life is short.  Get over the small stuff and love the heck out of your little ones while you have them, whether they make you crazy or not.

Savor it anyway. 


(photo by Tamika Moore)

 

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A Walk in the Moonlight

Tonight was not the easiest of nights.  Daryl and the girls had "media night" for the play they are in.  They have practice every weeknight and tonight they left early in full costume to rehearse act one and meet the press.  As with the rest of June, I was on my own with two little boys (one of whom can drive me to distraction!).

It was a long night.  Alex found the litter box and the scoop and left a trail down the hallway carpet and all the way down the stairs.  He dumped things out.  He wrote on Daddy’s new recliner with blue marker.  He accidentally scratched Jack.  He threw fits.

There are some nights when it takes all you’ve got to make it to bedtime, and tonight was one of those nights.

I got him cleaned up, the recliner cleaned up, the hallway and stairs cleaned up, and got him acting better and asleep.  I even got a bunch of enthusiastic toddler hugs and kisses before he dropped.  The rest of the house was trashed but it was a success in my book.

When the girls came home, we ended up having an impromptu music history lesson when I had Victoria look up "We are the World" on you-tube and talked about how Michael Jackson shaped his generation.  Then I was still wired from the evening and asked Anna if she wanted to go for a walk.

My kids love taking late night walks.  I’m not sure what it is about walking with Mama under the stars, but it has always been a treat to my kids.

Anna was still in her prairie girl costume, bonnet and all.  We held hands and walked around the neighborhood, talking.  I told her how I held her in my lap when she was a baby on the front lawn in the moonlight and made her promises.  She walked me to the magical cornfield and told me to make a wish for the fairies.  She also told me how so-and-so texted her boyfriend at rehearsal about the bench the kids were using.  She said she felt lucky she got to take late night walks with me.  I told her sappy memories and gave her hugs.

When we got back, I asked her to send Victoria out.  I’m glad Victoria is not too old to take late night walks with her mama.  I showed her my bulletproof roses that the neighbor thought were "brambles" and mowed down for years.  They grew in full shade on the north side of the house for years before we moved in and loved them into full bloom.  I told her how our back yard used to be nothing but grass, and how we bought 5 tiny lilac trees and 2 dogwoods to line the back and now they’re twice as tall as we are.  The gardens, the climbing tree, the raspberries, the roses taller than the garage… it’s all new since the house became ours and now it seems like it’s been there forever.

We went walking off down the side streets and I told her how we went walking on a night like this when she was a baby with my friend Jen and her daughter, Lizzie, and how we stopped in the moonlight for me to bend down and talk to her in the stroller.  I was being sappy and adoring her, and Lizzie turned to her mother and said in her most reverent five year-old voice, "That’s love."

I told her again about how many miscarriages I had before we had her, and how Daddy and I used to fight over who got to hold her.  I told her how much we loved her and how proud we’ve been every day of her life.

When we got home, Jack snuggled up in my lap while we watched late night TV and he fell asleep while I stroked his hair.  We never got to the books I meant to read tonight or the art project I kept wanting to do.  I hope the snuggling and the extra orange juice popsicles made up for it a little.

It’s the end of the night now, and it’s miserably hot inside.  We don’t have central air, just a window unit downstairs.  I’m hot and tired and there’s still more mess to clean up in the morning.  Tomorrow, Alex will wake in a fantastic mood and commence trying to drive us all crazy again. 

It was a trying night.  There were messes and tears and mayhem.  There’s no denying it.  But what I’m taking to bed with me tonight is the kisses, the snuggling, walking hand in hand with my daughters and making wishes by magical cornfields.

The rest will still drive me to distraction, but I still think it’s worth it.  🙂

Goodnight all.  Happy Friday!
~Alicia

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