What I Do Remember

I can’t remember every detail of every child…every first word spoken…every first step…every favorite food…

They ask. They want to know. They want to know the little details of their lives…the little things they did when they were too young to remember. But I don’t remember, either.

I don’t remember Henry’s first word. Partly because we were so confused about his speech. It would seem to develop, and then it would disappear, and we wondered if it was ever really there at all.

I don’t remember Ella’s first word either. Kate said “Coco.” William said “quack quack.”

I don’t remember anyone’s first steps except Ella’s. Mostly I remember how all five of us were watching her; how all of us were together in one little corner of our house.

I remember that Kate would eat anything. Except broccoli. I don’t remember what anyone else liked. I do remember that William would throw his plate when he was done eating.

It bothers me. It bothers me that some of those memories are missing. I have them written down somewhere, I’m sure. In a baby book or on a slip of paper or an old calendar somewhere. But I can’t remember them. I can’t call to mind what it was they were wearing, or where we were or how they sounded.

But I do remember other things.

I remember the first time Henry said “horse” and the first time he heard a bird sing.

I remember how quiet and thoughtful Kate was, always, and how she sucked her thumb when she was uncertain. I remember how the smell of her was intoxicating.

I remember the first time William smiled after his stroke, and how many eggs he ate when they finally cleared him for food.

I remember how Henry and I would curl up together in his toddler bed at night…how he would stretch out and how round his belly was. I remember his profile…that cute button nose and his soft cheeks. And how there was always music playing even though he couldn’t hear it…I refused to stop playing his music. I remember how he would twirl his hair around his finger.

I remember rocking Kate at night, in her tiny little room in our old house. Looking out across the square at the Christmas lights and singing Silent Night to her while she slept. How warm and perfect she felt cradled in my arms.

I remember what William used to say to us, every single night before bed. I love you night-night sit in the chair up here the one by the door I love you night night in one long, run-on sentence.

I remember the day we told the kids about Ella, and how we were going to have a new baby in the house, and how they all screamed and jumped around and how I felt so overwhelmed with joy that I cried. I remember how that baby girl used to strip down to her undies every single day and fall asleep on the couch. And how her favorite word was “no” for a little longer than I appreciated.

I used to dream about what our children would be like…what our life would be like. My dreams were like a fantasy — there was never as much heartache in my dreams.

Nor was there near as much beauty, nor splendor in my dreams, as there is now in my memories.

What I Do Remember

Living the Dream

I was up early again…what is with the not sleeping?  This morning it was 4:38 when I woke up.  I went downstairs, made coffee and did a little reading.  I read a piece about dreams, having dreams and making your dreams come true.  And I sat there and thought, I don’t really have a dream…it already came true…I already have my dream come true.

I already have my dream come true.

This morning my dream come true looked like this:

7:30 Me telling Ella to get herself ready for school (which includes four basic things every.single.morning. It does not vary:  1-get dressed. 2-put your jammies and undies where they belong. 3-brush your hair. 4-brush your teeth.)

7:32 Me telling Ella to get ready for school.

7:36 Me telling Ella to get back in her room and don’t come out until she’s fully dressed.

7:38 Me asking Ella what she is supposed to be doing instead of showing me how the handles on her glasses case can look like a smiley face. She forgot what she’s supposed to be doing. It’s understandable because she’s only been doing this for the last 1,000 days or so.

7:41 Me telling Ella to get back in her room and finish getting ready.

7:44 Me, with my hands over my face asking Ella what she is supposed to be doing.

7:46 Me finishing Ella’s hair for her because her idea of getting all the tats out is not a fully-matured idea.

7:48 Me telling Ella to brush her teeth. And not to forget her sweatshirt because it will be cool today.

7:50 Hugging her goodbye. Smelling sunblock in her hair. Feeling how small she is. Wishing her the best day ever…

I watched the old man drive off with those two redheads. Henry was playing with a rubik’s cube.  He has learned algorithms to solve the thing…hasn’t solved it yet but he will.  And Ella in the back…her little tiny self smiling at me with that wonky tooth of hers and waving to me.

Then I took a glance at her room.  Her jammies and undies are on the floor. Her sweatshirt is still sitting on her bed. And I’m pretty sure she didn’t brush her teeth either.

Yep.  Living the dream.

Living the Dream

Dreams of a Girl

Kate in Tree NST

My beautiful girl,

One Autumn twelve years ago, I remember rocking you to sleep.  In the background played Silent Night and as we rocked, bundled under a knit woolen blanket, I watched the twinkling and flashing of Christmas lights outside.  I was so in love with you, Kate.

What I would give for one more night like that.  To hold you in my arms, soak in your warmth and wonder about you…about how wonderful and smart and sweet and pretty and gentle you might be someday.

And yet my dreams of what you would be were never quite as beautiful as you are.  I never could imagine what it would feel like to walk beside you, your small hand in mine as we picked flowers together, or gathered shells on the beach.  What it would feel like when you looked up at me, to show me what little treasure you had found.  Never in a million years could I imagine the way my soul would feel when you race by me on your horse, the sun on your face and your flaxen hair flowing behind you.

I never knew what it would feel like to watch you make music, your thin fingers draped across the strings and your brow slightly furrowed as your eyes focus on the notes.  I never knew how the joy in my heart would pour out in tears as I watched you sing the most beautiful song I’ve ever heard.

When you smile, your face glows.  When you laugh, your eyes twinkle.  And my heart sings.

At night when we are curled up under blankets reading books together, I feel the most content; maybe because that’s the way it used to be, back then twelve years ago.  We are warm together, while outside a cold wind blows.

You are my dream come true.

Now, you have dreams of your own.  I think your dreams are just as beautiful as you are.

With all my heart and soul, I love you Kathryn Sunshine.

Dreams of a Girl

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There is just nothing left in my head after three days heavy on accounting.  I don’t know how people do this for a living.  I really don’t.  My mind is numb after a couple hours.  Let me tell you a fun little story. Imagine me, waking up this morning all happy and fresh and ready to go, grabbing my coffee, and hopping onto my computer.  And trying to open the document I worked on for hours the previous day, and I can’t find it.  Because apparently I didn’t save it.  Or I saved it in some wierd file that I cannot find.  And it is the absolute worst part of the accounting process…the internal controls part.  In a word…sucky.  And I had to do it over.  All over people.    Four more hours of documenting our internal controls. 

***

This weekend was so beautiful I actually contemplated the idea of running.  I mean like for exercise.  

Me:  Kate, I think I might start running.

Kate:  YOU?

Me:  Yeah, me, why not? 

Kate:  Well, um, it just doesn’t really seem like you.

Yeah, she’s right.  I’m just going to go back to cookies.  They’re more like me.

***

Later in the day, Kate and I had a conversation about the temperature, and how men always seem to be warmer than women.  I asked her why she thought that was, and she said maybe because men are more active.  “You know, Daddy is always outside and doing stuff, and you are always inside.”  Mm-hm.

“And what do you think I do in there all day?” 

“You know, you’re just kind of still, and doing work on your computer.”  Mm-hm.

And the laundry just magically does itself, the supper is prepared by the phantom chef, the groceries are purchased with my personal assistant and the nanny chases Ella all day long.  Among all the other stuff I don’t do.  Because I need to be still. 

***

Having dreams about blog friends.  Nothing wierd.  Just normal.  Like we’re having coffee or something.  Or squeezing key limes.  Darcie, I had a dream that I bought a bag of those key limes, and you wouldn’t believe the amount of juice that came out of one of those teeny tiny little limes.  And I actually thought, in my dream, “I’m going to have to tell Darcie about this.”   

I wonder why people buy those key limes…are they better?  I mean, because they are SMALL.  And I’m just thinking it would take a lot of them make any measurable amount of liquid.

***

Henry has learned how to skip.  He is the first one of the kids to learn how to skip before kindergarten.  A little triumph for him.  The children are always assessed for skipping in kindergarten.  Apparently there is some correlation between the ability to skip and the ability to read.  Or something.  I don’t know.  Anyway, there has been no correlation so far in my home with skipping and reading.  Both Kate and William learned to read WELL before learning to skip.  In fact, I don’t even know if William can skip yet.  I haven’t checked his skipping skills lately.  And Henry can skip, but not read.  So there you have it.  The theory of skip-readability has been disproven.   You’re welcome.

***

Want to know what song I’m singin’ in my little head today?  Crunchy, Munchy Honey Cakes.  You’re welcome.  There has been a steady stream of Wiggles tunes penetrating the solitude around here since The Man is home all week on his funlough.  Who really says muslix flakes anyway?  Is there such a think as muslix flakes?  I mean other than the cereal?  Can you just go and buy muslix flakes to use in your cooking?

Alrighty.  TTFN.  Crunchy munchy honey cakes…crunchy munchy honey cakes…crunchy munchy honey cakes…crunchy munchy honey cakes… 

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Miscellaneousness

madame-bluebird1.  We have these bluebirds.  They live in a house right outside my family room window.  It’s a quaint little house, whitewashed with a copper roof.  I thought the bluebirds had gone for a while (do they fly south?), but today they were back.  I spotted what appeared to be two males, which I thought was odd, because I’d never seen two males together before, just the male and female.  Upon closer inspection, there was also a female.  Hmmm.  Okay.  I sat and waited for a while, and another male showed up.  The “lady” (and I use that term loosely, because what ensued didn’t seem too ladylike to me)  went inside, and then a male followed her, and then came right back out again.  At one point, 6 males were counted flying around that house.  Waiting outside the door.  Pecking at each other.  Jockeying for position.

I’m going to call her Roxanne.  I’m not sure what kind of establishment Roxanne is running over there, but we’ve got young children that are watching this.  Sheesh.

2.  Dreams I had last week:  a)I was recruited for an all star volleyball team.  Forget that I’ve never played volleyball in my life.  The trainer told me I was way too thin and I needed to bulk up.  I explained that I had been thin my entire life, and that’s just how I am.  He said I was unhealthy.  b)I had a dream that I asked my husband if the kids knew.  He said “of course they know we love them.”  To which I replied “yeah, but do they know that we love each other?”.  Profound, don’t you think? and c)I dreamt I got the wrong turkey.  I bought a turkey for Thanksgiving, and I woke up in a panic because I thought I accidentally got a turkey breast instead of the entire turkey, and how-stupid-could-I-be-now-no-one-will-get-a-drumstick!  So the first thing I did in the morning was check on that turkey I bought.  The man said “it’s so hard to be you.”  Yes, it is.

edhochuli13.  We have this funny ritual in my house.  Tickling.  Well, it’s not so much the tickling that is the ritual, but how the tickling is stopped.  You see, in my house, the tickling only stops when the tickle-ee says ‘Ed Hochuli.’  So we, as the ticklers, tickle mercilessly.  Do you know how funny it is to see a four year old boy laughing so hard he can barely breathe and trying to say Ed Hochuli at the same time?  It’s pretty darned funny, that’s how funny it is. 

4.  The man came to me and declared that it is terribly sad when a four year old boy is convinced that the 19th of November is his birthday, even though you have told him repeatedly that it is not…that his birthday is actually December 19th.  Yet on the night of November 18th he goes to bed thinking it is his birthday tomorrow even though you tell him over and over that no, it’s not your birthday tomorrow, and then he wakes up on November 19th and says “it’s my birthday today!  Where are all the presents?”  And you have to break it to him (again) that it’s a whole nother month until his big day.  But, it’s nothing a little pumpkin chocolate bread won’t fix. 

5.  The Boots (cosmetics, not footwear) isle at Target.  First of all, you’ve got to be sly when you look at this stuff, unless you want the boots lady painting you up in the middle of Target.  I bought some concealer once, and when I was running low it, I knew I was going to have to face this lady if I wanted more.  So I was slick.  I waited until she was missing from the isle and snuck up there to get my stuff and bolt.  Well, I forgot whether I wanted the I or the II, and in the 3 seconds it took me to make up my mind she appeared out of nowhere.  “Can I help you find something?”  I told her I already found it, but thanks anyway.  Then she asked me if I was sure that was what I wanted.  Because I’m dumb and clearly don’t know how to apply cosmetics, as evidenced by the poor job I had done earlier in the day.  When I told her that yes, I already have some of it, and this is what I want, she asked if I was wearing it.

me:  “Yes, I have it on, but it’s been hours since I applied it.”

Boots:  “Really?”

me:  “Yes, I’m wearing it, but I put it on early in the morning.”

Boots:  “Oh, well let me try some of this on you.”

me, because I’m such a dishrag:  “oh, okay.”  Passers-by snicker.  

Boots:  “Are you sure you applied the concealer today?  The circles under your eyes just seem a little dark.”

me:  “yes.  I have four kids.  I got up at 5:00am.”

Boots:  “Maybe you need to put it on a little more thickly.”

me:  “Are you trying to insult my make-up application skilz, or are you insulting my looks?  You can take your concealer and conceal it somewhere that the sun doesn’t shine.”

Actually, I didn’t say that last part there.  Because I’m weak like that.  I felt like it, though.

6.  This week I decided it was high time that we repaint our kitchen.  We have talked about it for months, but since I have absolutely nothing going on this week, I just figured it would be a splendid time to begin a new project.   Because you know, right before a major holiday is always a good time to start a project.  In your kitchen.  Where you’re supposed to be cooking for the biggest feast of the year. 

So I chose the color.  It’s called Warm Brownie.  And frankly, I think that name just screams kitchen paint.  Anyway, I sent The Man off for the paint.  (Which by the way, don’t expect to send any man off to the Home Depot to just get one little thing and hurry right back).  And I took a little nap.  But only because he was gone for so long. 

So he comes back, and I made up this grand schedule of how we’re going to get the painting done and all kinds of housework done and the grocery shopping done, and it looked pretty reasonable.  So I gave him the schedule for his information, and then do you know what I did?  I went out to lunch with my friend, and painted pottery for 3 hours while The Man worked on the to-do list and painted the kitchen.  I think he probably wonders how it worked out that way.  Sometimes, I think it must be hard to be him.

And that is the extent of the miscellaneous for this week.

Miscellaneousness