March 25, 2013

Baby Cows

I don't really care what the thermometer says.  The calender doesn't really matter, either.  Spring is here.

How do I know?  Baby cows.  There are baby cows in one of the fields that we pass every day on the way to school.  We watch for them with anticipation every spring and last week, I just about jumped out of my seat when I saw the first one.  And then there were two the next day.

We first noticed the baby cows (yes, I know they're called calves, but we've always called them the baby cows so that's what I'll stick with) two years ago during Jack's first year of preschool.  We often see the mothers nursing their babies near the fence on the way to school and, well, I'll just say it . . . it's magical.  The car gets silent for a few seconds and then there's a collective "awwwww" every morning.

The last two weeks have been particularly stressful.  I needed to see those baby cows last week.

There may be snow in the field, but the baby cows are there, too.  Spring is here.

March 18, 2013

Dear Claire, months . . . er, 11 - 15ish

Dear Claire,

Oh darling third child . . . I love you so much.  It's been a long time since I've written a letter and I don't even know how to sum up the last four months.  Had I written monthly, every single letter would have been very different.  You've transformed from an easy going, smiles-all-the-time child to a scowling, has-her-own-opinions-and-her-own-timeline child.   You're not difficult.  Sometimes I think you are, until I remember that I'm just comparing you to how you were four months ago, and not to truly difficult children.  You've just developed an attitude.  I think it will serve you well in the future, but right now it just makes things more challenging.  You scowl at every new person you meet, simply because people laugh at you every time you do it.  Along with your attitude has come this high pitched shriek that I have nightmares about.  It's your way of being heard in a noisy house with two very active brothers,  I know.  Nonetheless, your dad and I cringe every time we see you winding up!

One thing that hasn't changed is that you still LOVE me.  You prefer me to anyone.  Even when one of your grandmas is around, you eventually make your way back to me.  I love it when we see each other for the first time when I get home from work, or when you wake up.  Today was probably my favorite.  Your dad got you up from your nap and you heard my voice in hall.  "Moooom!" you screamed.  You can mimic your brothers' way of calling me so well.  You scream "Moooooooom!" from your crib each morning and after every nap.  I don't even know that you think of it as my name as you do a way to get someone's attention.

Today, though, I heard you scream it from your room as Dad was changing your diaper.  I peeked my head around the corner into your room and then pulled back real quick.  You gasped and then gave this low, continuous chuckle that made both your Dad and I laugh.  I feel the same way about you.

The lessons I'm learning so far in 2013 revolve around expectations of relationships and, well, not to have them.  Actually, no . . . I wouldn't actually say that I'm learning this in 2013.  I would say that I'm realizing this, after 34 years of experience.  Don't place expectations on relationships, because they'll likely be unmet and you'll often walk away disappointed.

The exception to this rule is, of course, my relationship with your Dad.  My expectations of what our marriage would be like have far surpassed anything I had hoped before I met him.  I hope you'll feel the same way about your husband someday.

I know that the paragraph before last makes me sound bitter or jaded, but it isn't meant to.  I guess I'm just more aware.  Whether it's friends or family, often things just don't turn out the way you think they will.  Friendships that you are sure will be close forever drift apart, simply because of circumstances or geography.  The expectations you have of how relationships with family will play out aren't always met.  There are also acquaintances that you never really expect much of that become some of your best friends.  Had someone told me this 15 years ago, I would have scoffed, thinking that I had control over these things.  But there are some things in life that just happen.

I tell you this because I sometimes wonder what our relationship will be like 20 or 30 years from now.  Will you call me?  Will you see me as a nag?  Will you hold a grudge toward me about something that I said when you were 6, that you just can't let go of?  Will we be friends?  Will you admire me?  Will you talk to me about your classes or relationships?  It's so hard to imagine that you, for whom I make every decision now, will someday be completely independent from me.

Will we get together for lunch?  Will we live close to each other?  Will you ask for my advice?  Will you ask me not to give so much advice?  I will try not to be overbearing or worry about this too much.  But if you're reading this right now and you're 30, give me a call, will you?


March 16, 2013

Jack's 5th birthday party

Jack turned 5 last June.

That's right . . . almost a year ago.  I'm a little behind.  Admittedly, these photos aren't the greatest . . . most were taken on my phone at the last minute as guests were arriving.

He wanted a super hero birthday . . . he was so into super heroes.  Any super hero.  He still is.

All of the kids made their own capes . . . we had a kit for each child that came with a satin cape, their initial, an initial backer and lots of felt stickies to decorate with.  Once they were done decorating, we didn't really see much of the kids until it was time to open gifts.  They ran in circles playing "super hero" and were thoroughly entertained!


We also had pre-assembled capes for Claire and Hayleigh, neither of whom were mobile at that point!  So sweet.


We did everything in a super hero theme, though over the course of planning, it morphed intro a comic book theme, kind of.  Jack didn't care, so I didn't either.