Friday, December 14, 2012

Heart String

I didn't take the boys to school today
because I went in at 5am 
and James was with his dad.

I went to work 
and I made plans for picking them up,
for stopping for dinner,
for an early Christmas with my sister tomorrow.

I made plans I always make
for a tomorrow 
I always believe is guaranteed.


28 people died.

Initial reports say 20 children.



I sit here at this computer trying to translate pain 
into pixels 
into words 
on this screen.

A feeble attempt to share my prayers
and my sadness,
my disbelief 
and my horror.

Overwhelming grief
over the sheer barbarity of it.

I don't remember 
how I felt about Columbine.

I was in high school in California 
and that happened in a high school in Colorado
and I just didn't connect.

When Virginia Tech
slashed through the headlines
I was in college,
and up until graduation day 
I'd jump if a door unexpectedly swung open 
while I was sitting in class.

But today...

today was different.

Today was different because 
I am not just a human with a heart,
I am a mother.

I am a mother
who drops off her school-age children
believing they are safe
and that I will see them 
in the afternoon.

I am a mother 
who cannot fathom the unbearable pain
of losing my child in any manner.

I am a mother
whose stomach churns
at the thought of these families
and what they must be trying to process.

Something happens when you become a mother.

It's as though your heart grows arm and legs 
and wanders off into the world unprotected,
becoming an achilles heel.

And you tie yourself up to every child 
and every mother,
and their pain becomes yours.

Because that could be you,
because that could be your child.

Dear Newton, CT,

May your terror and sadness be met with love and light,
may peace and comfort find you,
and may joy reach you again some day.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Single Grateful Thought

Thank you year of twists and turns

and ups and downs,

new jobs and lessons in humility

and disappointment,

long hours and magical ones too,

women and friends who feed my soul,

a family upon which I stand,

and three men who are my home.

May your day be blessed and charmed.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Fall Fotos (from Fridays and Beyond!)

We're posted at Nana's house,
storm clouds outside a-brewin'
and the smell of banana bread
inside a-bakin'.

The UCLA(yay!)/USC(boo!)
game is on the television
and Lucas is playing video games
while James plays super spy.

Fall is here
and my cup runneth over.

These moments are so sweet.

And now,
a zillion pictures...

Annual tailgate par-tay.

The best place to be on a Fall Saturday.

UCLA's good luck charm.

How he feels about Wednesdays.

Why they love bathing at Grandma's.

BFF Sundays.

Movie watching hat.

An award winner, his dad, and his beaming mother.

Sweet baby.

I heard this song this week
 for the first time in ages
and remembered how much I love it
and the movie it came from.

Change your heart...
it will astound you.

Beck - "Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometime"

Happy Weekend. xo.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Parallel

My Jiminy Cricket

Hello ye neglected blog!

A million things and hours in traffic,

Halloween party planning and throwing,

tae kwon do belt testing,
Cub scout joining,
no internet having
and old laptop owning.

All that and more
and you'll understand
why it is I can't always get
to this spot right here.

This place to stop and collect my thoughts.

I live 27 years in 24 hours
and I make dinner and check homework
and read Harry Potter before bed
and kiss my boyfriend as we pass each other
in opposite directions
on the way in or out of the house.

I fill my mom role
and my employee role
and my girlfriend role
and sometimes it all just smears together
and I cross my fingers and hope for the best.

Sometimes who I am as Christina
crashes and burns
into who I am
as my boys' mommy.

Tonight Lucas looked me dead in the eye
and told me he was disappointed in me.

"I can't believe you're still smoking."

And I am.

I do.

After years and years of trying to stop
I haven't been able to stay stopped
and my kid is not ok with it.

Earlier this year I promised I would quit.

And I did.

And I had.

Until a few months ago when
I found myself back at the start.

I never smoke around my children
but he's on to me.

Looking in my hiding spots,
calling me out on what I thought were
"top secret, kids in bed, late night" smokes.

My son is learning about drugs at Red Ribbon Week
and he knows cigarettes cause cancer
and tonight he said,

"Mom...I don't want you to die."

And he meant it.

And it killed me.

And I told him what he said is important,
and that I'm not going anywhere,
and that I know smoking is terrible
and want to quit but it's not that easy.

That I'm not
not quitting
because I don't understand
or care about his feelings.

That I love him so much
and I'm sorry he feels this way
and I want to make it better.

And then...
I snuck my cigarettes out of my glove box when he wasn't looking.


Every so often I'll sense
an obvious collision between my identity as a mother
and that of my 29 year old self.

Tonight was one of them.

When it happens,
it leaves my stomach in flips.

Last month we finally
signed Lucas up for Cub Scouts,
and the night of his first den meeting
I read an article about a 16 year old boy
being denied his Eagle Scout award
because he's gay.

And boom...confliction.

I don't know the right or wrong of it.

Where I end and they begin.

The magical formula
of maintaining autonomy
whilst mothering two children.

The grace necessary
to endure my sons' faces
as their mother's veil of perfection
begins to shift.

Knowing it will eventually fall.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

On Marriage

Calm down
no one's getting married any time soon,
let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Had I gotten married at any point in my 20s
it would have been solely because
I wanted to throw a party.

I wanted a wedding
not a marriage.

The idea of forever and ever
was colored by a fantasy pen;
all pretty dresses and flowers
and presents.

Lots of presents.

I finally broke the news to my mom
that the time for elaborate plans
and insanity has come to a close.

If anyone decides to put a ring on it,
it'll be in a backyard
or a forest.

I would say that up until recently
I had no idea of what a relationship was made of
let alone a marriage.

No clue about a partnership
or maturity
or unselfishness.

Me: Party of 1
all day every day.

When I got pregnant with James
his dad made a half-hearted proposal
while I sat on his lap at my kitchen table.

" you want to?"

"Yeah.  I guess."

I spent the next two weeks 
researching elopement
and the Santa Barbara courthouse
and finally decided 
that I just couldn't do it 
without my parents.

And so the idea was tabled until we imploded
and never got back there again.

He didn't want to marry me.

I wanted to marry him,
but only to save face.

Like somehow if I was married
you wouldn't see that I had gotten pregnant accidentally.


Or that I was in a failing relationship
and it was unraveling 
and I felt like a fraud.

I think about how sure I was that I wanted
to be married to my first love
at the ripe ol' age of 18.

It makes me laugh.

How positive I was that everyone was crazy
when they said 
we'd be completely different people in our 20s
and 30s and so on.

I know a few couples who make it look really easy.

And I also know a few divorcees.

I have nothing but admiration for my friends
who took the leap young,
but I feel pretty far from it at present.

It's seems that the happier I am in my relationship
the less I feel a drive to validate it to others and myself.

Because I see now that all this time
I only saw marriage as a way to show the outside world
that I was loved and worthy
and I don't have to do that right now.

Because I have the blessing of contentment
and it is 

And it's way better
than that ridiculous Robbins Bros. ring I picked out
two lifetimes ago.

Friday, September 21, 2012

A Zillion Weeks of Fotos

In no particular order,
here are weeks and weeks
of fotos.

As the the seasons have changed
although the temperature 
has not gotten the memo.

As the boys became
a 3rd grader 
and a pre-schooler.

As we ate grilled cheeses
and made forts
and baked bread on lazy Mondays
when we were all off.

As I became obsessed with "Game of Thrones"
and posted up on the couch 
which I never do
and actually kind of love now.

As first handprints 
and "Back to School" night
and car dance parties
continued to fuel that part of me
that wonders if it is in fact possible
to die from too much joy in your heart.

The sun is setting earlier,
Halloween is popping up here and there,
I hope the weather cooperates soon
and Fall makes a legitimate debut.

There are apple pies to bake
and cuddles to make.

I'm sort of obsessed with the new album by
The Walkmen.

I don't need perfection,
I love the whole.

The Walkmen - We Can't Be Beat

Happy Weekend. xo

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Weekend with Giants

We left at 7am on Friday.

2 cars packed with people I love
and camping gear
and snacks
and a book I never cracked.

Off to Sequoia where I had never been,
where my cell phone was worthless,
and died an hour in so I don't have pictures.

Where you have to put all of your food and smell good stuff
in a metal locker.

Because there are bears.

I drove up and Paul only reprimanded me once for my revving.

We made it in 5 and half hours and it was beautiful
and we set up camp 
and stopped by a lodge to call the other car
and pick up some wood.

"Have you seen any bears lately?"

I asked this partially expecting the kid behind the counter
to say no.

"Nope, not here. *pause* But they've been around Stony Creek."

(aka our campsite)

"What'd they do?"

As I nervously smiled and glanced over at Paul
who thought this was hilarious.

"Oh rip up a tent and mess with someone's trailer."

The kid was being very nonchalant.

"Yeah *nervous laugh...sigh...nervous laugh* but no one was in it right?"

"Oh no...the guy was in it.  Turned out he'd been BBQing all night
and went to bed in his clothes."

Needless to say
 I OCD'd all weekend about food smells
and food out 
and scrubbing Lucas down 
with unscented baby wipes.

I may or may not have choked 
on my beating heart Friday night
waking Paul in tears 
because I was convinced
every pine needle falling from every tree
and every twig snapping
was a black bear coming to eat us.

Saturday the two of us woke before dawn
and headed for a spot called "Lost Grove".

We moved Lucas to Paul's mom's tent
and took his uncle along with us.

We drove in the dark to an unmarked spot,
walked down a dark, sparse trail
to quiet peace of heaven amongst the 
trees and moss and woodpeckers.

I went for a walk and Paul took pictures.

We came back and made bacon and pancakes
and my coffee had grounds in it but I didn't care.

We spent the day,
7 of us in one car,
walking and climbing
and laughing
loving the weather
which was a stifling 73 degrees.

Apparently Los Angeles nearly died in the sweltering heat while we were gone.

We came home and made bacon wrapped hot dogs
and I secretly wondered if the bacon smell would attract the bears
and then we had s'mores and I drank hot tea
and for the second night in a row
Paul read Sherlock Holmes to Lucas and I
until we fell asleep.

On the last day we made breakfast and broke camp
and the other car left for home
and Paul and I drove for 7 hours through Kings Canyon.

It was beautiful and peaceful
and I don't know how and when we got so good together
we are so good together.

We made it home Sunday night and unpacked
and washed dishes
and made a replacement list for the supplies.

We took hot showers
and my hair still kind of smelled like smoke
and we went to bed
and I didn't have to be afraid of bears.

We retire the camping gear until spring.

Sad face times infinity.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Admissions in Disheartening Decisions

I don't want to write about it because
I'm afraid to be judged.

I don't want to write about it because
I'm afraid you'll judge him.

I don't want to write about it because
it makes me feel sad.

And anxious.

And like we've failed in some way.

People have always had opinions
when it came to my children.

From the women sharing their
labor stories with me in an elevator,
to my well meaning mother
chasing after me with the boys' sweaters.

I still remember bursting into tears
when the daycare provider convinced me
that my then 2 year old Lucas was speech delayed.

No speech delay here...
the kid barely draws
a single silent breath.

Sometimes I take the advice
and sometimes I don't.

Sometimes it angers me
or leaves me feeling insecure;
and sometimes it doesn't.

My non-speech delayed son
walked at nine months
and was climbing trees
and playing in mud
and hanging upside
pretty quickly afterward.

Nimble fingers and quick-mind,
taking things apart
and putting them back together;
working to figure out
how this world worked.

His Pre-K teacher told us he had
problems focusing and staying on task;
we felt he was just bored.

How many worksheets can a 4 year old do?

His Kindergarten teacher said the same thing.

He's just a boy we thought.  Boys are hyper.

His first grade teacher said it again.

She doesn't like him. He's being bullied.

His second grade teachers (all 3 of them)
said it too.

We have to do something.  Third grade is hard.

It was at the end of last school year
that we decided to look further
into the causes and conditions
of ADHD.

We felt it was over-diagnosed.

We didn't want to medicate our son
(he's already on one for his epilepsy).

We didn't want him to feel different.

We didn't want the eternal thems and yous
to treat him differently,
but it was all becoming more and more

And after conferencing with his
phenomenal teachers last year
and meeting with a great
behavioral science team,
we knew we had to do everything
we could to set him up for success.

Which is why last week
we started our son on medication.

And I felt like a failure.

I felt like I hadn't tried hard enough
to help him in other ways.

I felt terrible for putting a
chemical in my perfect son's body.

I cried because I gave myself
5 minutes to feel really fucking guilty
and really fucking sad
and even sort of angry.

I still don't know how I feel
other than ferociously protective
which is why I'm writing this
even though I don't want to.

It's a letter to the universe
asking Lucas' future self
for forgiveness.

We really are trying to do
what's best.

The medicine is not a cure all
and I refuse to believe it is
a forever thing.

I'm trying to do best by my kid,
but that can be so difficult
when the water seems so murky.

Be gentle with us

Monday, September 3, 2012

Friday Fotos on Monday and Life in General

Paul is quizzing Lucas
on subtraction flash cards
as I type.

They are getting frustrated with each other
and it is hard not to intervene.

There is chocolate chocolate chip 
banana bread in the oven.

James is with his dad until 6pm
and I miss him on quiet, lazy days
when I bake and am totally relaxed.

I wish he was here
to stir and eat and be kissed.

All last week I felt like this video...

Talking Heads - Once in a Lifetime

I think I was a gypsy
in a past life. 

It would explain why
sometimes when life is 
really, super good
or really, super hard,
I feel like the roots that ground me
are also strangling me.

A good friend and fellow blogger
wrote last week about "keeping it real"
and I totally understood.

Because so often times 
we of the digital age 
are inclined to share 
a sanitized version of our real lives.

The good days,
the pretty Instagrams,
the laughter and the love and the joy.

Today I can write about the past 2 weeks
because I am no longer in the midst 
of the past 2 weeks.

The truth is sometimes
it's really hard to be a mom.

I have one child who is constant energy and opinions
and another who is a crier;
and sometimes I don't like them very much.

The truth is I am in a relationship
with a really great guy,
and I love him and it is so god damn good,
and good and great
are not synonyms for perfect.

The truth is I bear the scars of every non-great guy from before,
and my head is loud and it doesn't always say nice things
and sometimes I have to fight myself
not to burn it all down.

The truth is I suffer from depression
and other forms of soul sickness
and sometimes for no reason at all
I wake up and I am painfully

It used to be that if I felt like I was feeling recently,
that I brought everyone else into the ring with me.

I am so glad that that is no longer the case.

I am so glad that I'm not immobilized.

I'm so glad I still managed to do all of this:


on a boat...

on a beautiful day...

and not throw up.

Spend a Saturday morning...

...finger painting with all three of my favorite guys.

Find moments of sweetness...

...and humor...

...and love...

...and more humor...

...and ice cream.

 Pool parties...

...and being thrown never getting old.

Photo booths...

...and night swimming.

Time for warm bread.