A Mouse Tale

Below is the email I sent off to our yoga instructor, Margaret, this morning after Steph and I attempted to get together for some much needed post-vacation yoga. Dearest Margaret, Steph & I planned to finally get together this morning and do some yoga at her house, as Kristian is out of town.  Here's how it went: Text from Steph at 5:30 a.m. stating all three kids were already awake and would I please come anyway for moral support. I arrive at 6 a.m.  Steph nearly in tears, Crew, having been up since 4:30, happily playing and Sadie almost back asleep on the sofa. From 6-6:30 we catch up.  We discuss getting in some sun salutations, only to be interrupted by a dramatic solo appearance of the mouse, of which Steph is deathly-about-to-hyper-ventilate afraid, who has decided to take up residence in her living room vent. From 6:30 - 7:30 we hunt and chase the mouse around her living room, only to find our valiant efforts unsuccessful. At 7:15 we make plans to send Dan over later to deal with crafty rodent. At 7:30 I need to leave.  I abandon best friend to her tired children and new housemate. Does the intention of yoga count??  :-)  Ah, this IS the stuff of life, isn't it?  What a riot. Namaste, Darcie

Queen Anne's Lace

Queen Anne's LaceThe Queen Anne's Lace is blooming everywhere, and it resonates with me.  Clusters of pure white flowers on tall flexible stems, waving to me occasionally in the mountain air.  Each perfect little cluster of blooms reaching out in its own simple way to the world, yet grounded firmly into the same stem and root system. I write from the top of a mountain ridge in North Carolina, home to my in-laws, near Boone and the Blue Ridge Parkway.  We are spending some extended time here this summer to enjoy the dry mountain air and local attractions.  People pay thousands of dollars to vacation here, and we have the good fortune to be lovingly welcomed at the cost of our gas to travel.

Dan can work, I can do yoga at the local studio and have my fill of Expresso News lattes and health food markets, while the boys get to run in and out willy-nilly, watching bird feeders, playing with their dad's old toys, swimming at the local pool, frolicking in the creek and all sorts of other mountain goodness.

In the few months since my last post we all have transformed a bit, moving on through life quite intentionally, excruciatingly slow at times and at warp speed the rest.  I pause often to look around and assess the situation - are we okay?  Who needs attention?  What do I have available to give?  Are all our souls in shape?  What is making me crazy and how do I make it easier?

Dan continues to travel every other week to Atlanta.  The time there with colleagues refuels him with the much needed energy to persevere through his solo act when he is in Minneapolis.  He needs his bicycle more often than he gets it, and performs the balancing act of daddy, husband and friend with passionate intensity.  Just don't ask him to fix anything around the house.  We order up Papoo for that and we all stay sane.

Elliot had a successful year of 1st grade, making his teacher and us infinitely proud.  It concluded with a rather crippling spell of seasonal-autistic-sensory-system-failure anxiety, leaving him, his teachers and us rather exhausted with worry.  However, he rallied two weeks later with an awesome week of camp at school, giving himself exactly the boost he needed, not to mention my mommy heart.  In the spring he amazed us all with his role in his class play, and by the end of the year he was in the thick of it socially, making friends and departing his role as the observer on the periphery.  Most recently he has declared "no more haircuts" and is sporting some curly long locks in his effort to look like a rock -n- roll singer.  He is the epitome of quirky-cool.

Quinton turned turned five and immediately stopped needing me.  He wakes in the morning seeking out play with his brother instead of mommy cuddles, has constant play date requests with wonderful children, and makes up sayings like "it's thin as a wink, Mommy!" with startling cleverness.  No more preschool for our house.....off to kindergarten in the fall with his favorite mate, Tristan.  His latest episode of "grown-upness" aired this morning with a request.  "Mommy....I want to try going to sleep tonight without a cuddle."  "But I think I will miss our cuddle, Q-Q, even your big brother has a cuddle at bedtime, it's okay, you know."  "I know Mommy, but I want to try.  You'll be okay."  Sigh.  I must allow.  It won't really settle in as a new routine, will it?

As for me, a new phase begins.  I've been looking into part-time work and started studies to become a Waldorf teacher.  A year of digestion and sitting with it has left me eagerly looking forward, scared and committed to a new turn in the road.  For the first time ever I am content with the travels, not knowing precisely what the arrival point will bring.  I trust my gut, intuition and community of resources.  A messy balancing act I call living "inside the fire with my sleeves rolled up."  But occasionally there is the elegant and simple moment of balanced family bliss - the Queen Anne's Lace.  Something to be noticed and more importantly, relished.

Single Parenting Captain Underpants

Cousins in D.C.

Dan's been traveling for work....a lot.  Well, 50% of the time anyway, which for some is light but for us is more than the usual.   This will continue on through March, so I've been doing a healthy amount of single parenting.  We're doing okay with it, I think.  I basically turn into Drill Sargeant Mommy while he's away, and run a pretty darn tight ship.  This is mostly successful, but Drill Sargeant Mommy is just really not so fun, so we are all delighted with the return of Fun Daddy's energy, which then of course brings along with it the welcome return of Relaxed Mommy.

While we were in D.C. a few weeks ago the boys' cousin Kevin (pictured above with Cousin Emily and the boys) passed along all his Captain Underpants books to Elliot.  These books are quite hysterical to the young boy breed, as they are potent with bathroom humor.  Highly energized stories of how Captain Underpants, in his uniform of cape and well....underpants, battles interesting and deeply developed characters such as Wedgie Woman and the hairy toilet with monster eyes and jaws.  Elliot and Quinton find these books extremely titillating, and we now have a house bursting at the seams with bathroom talk.  Yes, blog friends, come on over for rich conversation on vomit, diarrhea, farting, wedgies, peeing on socks (apparently this a wonderful method for warming your feet) and lets not forget the plain old-fashioned poop.

My mother-in-law Arlene told me once that there is nothing sillier than a 7 year old boy.  I'm here to testify that this is the truest statement she's ever made.