Emma selfies

I promise she does NOT see me do this.  Especially the duck face!


the thoughts

All the thoughts, you guys. All the thoughts and feelings that have been going through my head with YesAllWomen and the WarOnFreeRangeParenting, the Shootings and OtherHardThings in the news these past days.  Shock/horror/disgust from all the stories. More faith lost in the goodness of humanity. More news that makes me wonder how to protect my precious, precious children from the growing evil out there, and how to raise them to be kind, respectful, strong, responsible people who are aware but not afraid of life. Who can tell me anything and have my unwavering love, but never a blind "not my child!" eye.

I've been thinking about how blessedly naive I was in my Vienna-wandering days, walking home alone at 2:00 a.m. after a night out in the city.  2:00 a.m.!  Alone!  A 19-year-old girl!  And in Venice I left the hotel early enough to watch the sun rise and the city come to life, alone. In Italy. You guys.

I've been blessedly naive and free from abuse, assault, and the accompanying shame; blessed to be surrounded by kind and good men who have helped to keep me safe throughout my life.  Until recently, I was largely unaware of how rare that is. How unfortunately rare.

And all I can do, I guess, is to teach my kids about boundaries. Set them, respect others', expect (and demand, if necessary) that others respect yours.  Keep an open dialogue - and a weather eye out for anything amiss.  For my part, as Mad-Eye Moody says, CONSTANT VIGILANCE!

Most importantly, I want them to know how loved they are, always and forever.  Not just by me but by a much greater, more powerful, perfect and infinite Being.

It's just not practical to stick them in a tower deep in the woods with no way up or down.  Tempting, but not practical.


May the fourth be with you

Dear William,

It's your fourth birthday!  Your fourth and last birthday in this cute little house.  We're moving soon, and you know it, but I still wonder how you'll do when it actually happens.  I'm excited to have more space for you to play - inside AND out - and I'm even more excited to not have people knocking on my door at any given time asking, "Did you know your kid was outside??"
(Thank you, well-meaning people. Yes I know he's outside. Yes I know we live on a busy street corner. No I'm not worried about him.)

You've learned lots of new things in the last year. You can write your name and "mom" and "dad"; recently you even started sounding out words to write on your own. You loved your year of preschool with Miss Lana and Miss Diana (AKA Grandma), and it didn't take you long to figure out when to use the right names for them. They taught you so many new songs that I didn't know all of them. That was frustrating for us - when you were asking how the song went and I couldn't tell you!

In the last year you got potty trained, took a week-long vacation to Aunt Heather's in Idaho, got bunkbeds, started tumbling, went camping for the first time, started going to Sunbeams instead of nursery, and you got another baby sister. You love little Lex, and she loves you more than anything. Anytime she hears your voice she starts looking for you. You're always asking to hold her and feed her bottles. It's nice to have some helping hands around.

Your favorite things right now are superheroes. Anything with a cape or a weapon! You and Emma are pretty much fighting constantly but you still won't play without each other.  You've both become masters of "excuses to get out of bed."  You're becoming an annoyingly picky eater.  You used to eat anything I put in front of you but now we remind you EVERY DAY that you DON'T KNOW IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT BECAUSE YOU HAVEN'T TRIED IT YET.  This clearly hasn't sunk in.  You just don't believe us.

Not a week goes by without me thinking that you are a genius of some sort. Your memory is a fearful thing to behold. Your dad and I are always asking each other how we can keep you intellectually stimulated; luckily, we have another year before we have to think about public school.  Whatever is in store for you, it's gonna be big.

It's a little strange for me to think that you're now my boy and not my baby.  You are such a joy to be around, and our conversations are never ever dull. I'm so excited to see what this next year brings!

Love you,