Friday, October 17, 2014

Someday, I'll Know

You guys.  Craziest thing happened to me this morning.  I found myself surrounded by 28 first graders.  28 FIRST GRADERS.  The most spastic, eager, enthusiastic, shy, naughty, funny, ants-in-their-pants having crew I've ever done time with. 

I was nervous about my first day volunteering in Genevieve's class.  Now I know why!  And I'm already looking forward to the next time. 

I waited in the rain for the school bus this afternoon.  A couple my parents age walked past me as the bus approached.  The woman smiled kindly at me and said, "It's Friday, no homework tonight!"  She's been there.  She knows.  The end of the week creeps up and piles exhausted kids on top of exhausted parents.

One of the benefits of living within a stone's throw of two bars is that take-out is an option for Friday night.  When Drew and I are all done with things like cooking and cleaning up after dinner while getting homework done and juggling daggers and paving the long road to bedtime we default to the Old Edison Inn for some damn fine ribs. 

As Drew carried half asleep Marguerite upstairs to bed I memorized their sweet silhouette.  Someday, I'll have been there.  I'll know.  And I'll miss these Friday nights.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Quote of the Day

Genevieve left for school with an altoid container full of rings that she bought at the dollar store.  She came home with an altoid container full of cash.

Me:  G, where did you get all that money?

G:  Well, I wore one of my rings to school one day and a lot of my friends liked it.  So I told them I could get more and they could buy them from me.  I bought more.  Each one for a dollar.  And then at recess I sold each one for two dollars.

Me:  Speachless.

Pink Flamingo

Marguerite:  I can cry if I need to.  It's my body.  I can have this wetness on my face as long as I need to.

Me:  You're right.  Cry when you need to.  But wrap it up soon because we need to head to town in 20 minutes.

Marguerite:  I might still have this wetness on my face.  Even in the car.  It's my body....

That's where we're at these days.  Lots of long cries in front of the mirror.  Herself as her audience.  Witness to her every whimper and tear.  Egging herself on.  Me trying not to laugh at the excessive drama.

She makes up for it by doing things like hiding a freshly picked bouquet behind her back so that she can surprise the cat with it when she gets home.

We have a tool in our house that reverses any bad mood.  It was discovered by Genevieve.  Sometimes at the top of the stairs.  Sometimes peaking above the kitchen counter.  Around the corner of a door. 

If and when you find yourself feeling blue/pissed/frustrated/generally stuck in bitch mode, just visualize this and soon you'll be laughing.  Even if you still have wetness on your face.

That's right.  A pink flamingo puppet that creeps around the corner at just the right time.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Curling In

My garden misses me.  I miss my garden.  The best we can do for each other right now is an October bouquet.  As soon as my back heals I'll be back out there breaking it in the garden.  Promise.

Fall has settled in.  School schedules, ballet, and homework have stopped shocking us and the warm golden haze of summer lovin' has crinkled at the edges and drawn us closer in. 

Playing inside has it's own magic.  Less fresh air.  More dressing up.

I leave you with this.

My merdevil.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Quote of the Day

Marguerite:  My WHOLE name is Marguerite Sevigne Vallee Gallery.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Tender Now

I was in my early twenties when a close friend broke the news to me.  It's not all rainbows and butterflies, Andrea.  I was devastated.  Her real life words stung.  The thing is - it really had been all rainbows and butterflies.  Sure, there had been hard things.  Hard times.  Hard feelings.  But never too much to overshadow optimism.  Kindness.  Happiness.  Love.  Hope.  Health.  Dreams.

Three weeks ago today I had a full rainbow and butterfly eclipse.  My life swept me off my feet and landed me in bed.  For days.  And days.

One minute I'm on my hands and knees picking up the zip lock baggie full of goldfish crackers that Marguerite distributed wildly and widely on the floor of the bathroom - an oversight of a three year old mixing the joys of pirouettes and snacking.  Seconds later I'm immobilized.  My back screaming in pain.  My legs unable to move.  Boom.  Game over.  Bedridden.  For days.  The most panicky and claustrophobic inertia.  Drew and the girls tending to my EVERY need.  My little girls without their mama, ramping up to a level of self sufficiency that was heartbreaking. 

Mayday.  I called for my mom.  She packed and traveled in a day.  She guided me out of the woods and kept my family fed, schooled, and out of squalor.  Did I fail to mention that first grader head lice, matched by a spontaneously broken vacuum cleaner AND washing machine greeted her at the door?  I have no other words for this than a shit storm.

I know it could all be so much worse.  I know that the golden love of family enabled me to weather this.  I know that perspective shaves off the calluses of life.  Tender now is my kindness.  Happiness.  Love.  Hope.  Health.  Dreams.  And fucking BIG double sun dog rainbows and monarch butterflies in my sky.

Sunday, August 31, 2014


Plans were in motion for months.  This was it.  My inaugural sojourn away from my kids.  A bus.  Two planes.  From my familiar Pacific coast to the East coast.  Away from my little family and into the fray of upstate New York.  More family was there.  Family I haven't seen in 24 years.  My hazy kid memories trickled back, and were fortified by new and old stories with Aunts, Uncles, Cousins.

My mom and I met in Seattle, and even with an all-nighter under our belts we talked and laughed nonstop on the plane.  I'm sure the guy sitting next to us would have rather been next to a screaming baby - and for the first time in 6 years we weren't accompanied by screaming babies.  Nobody needed a thing from us.  We had each other to lean on and mother hen when needed.  A neat little circle of giving and getting.  Balanced just right like only a mother and daughter can.

I'd never met my cousin Paige.  We started talking like we'd always known each other.  Stayed up late telling stories.  Connected by Petrangelo blood and a grain of salt.  We're lifers now.  I know it.

I came home to really dirty and perfectly content kids.  I worried like crazy that they were going to be weeping disasters without me.  The weeping was all mine.  They had an AWESOME time with their AWESOME dad and claim to have not missed me at all.  Is your hair blowing from the wind that just came out of my sails???  These girls.  My focus.  My all.  Them without me was "no bigs."  Me without them was one rail tie shy of a train wreck.  

There's a handful of life experiences that are reserved just for moms.  There is a place that only we can stand.  And a place that only we can get left standing.  It's a beautiful and heartbreaking place.  A place that daughters need.  A place that daughters walk away from to forge our own way.

Marguerite:  Well, I did miss soft.
Me:  What do you mean?
Marguerite:  I missed your soft tummy.  Your soft boob pillow.  Your soft hair.
Genevieve:  I missed cinnamon sugar toast.

So there you have it.  My purpose redefined.  Sugar, spice, and all things....soft.