On dreams.

I could say once upon a time I had dreams. Dreams of being successful, having a “good job,” finding Mr. Perfect, getting married and having two little babies. Dreams of big nice house, with rolling green grass, gorgeous flower beds and a living room and kitchen to make a magazine jealous.

I never did though.

I never had future dreams. I never dreamed of graduation and college. I never dreamed of jobs and careers and how I would survive in life. I never dreamed of future partners or spouses. I most certainly never dreamed of babies.

I was, to put it simply, impractical.

I dreamed of making art, not necessarily being successful, actually I usually imagined myself poor and bouncing from friend to friend’s houses. I dreamed of dying young and tragically and then, finally, being recognized as the artist I was.

I dreamed of one day finding out that I was something else – a witch, a fairy, a mutant – something magical. I dreamed of having powers and being reclaimed to secret worlds.

I dreamed of aliens and space and the world ending and going to live in the stars.

Years and years later I still dream impractical dreams. I dream big and bold and fantastical dreams. I still dream of magic and adventure. I still dream that one day I will have powers beyond my imagination, wings, or that a man in a blue box will fly me away.

Every so often I tether a few balloons and bring myself down. Then I dream of owning a farm and making yarn. I’ll dream of writing and illustrating children’s books, or even writing just a book. I will dream of selling my art because I can and want to, not from a need. None of these are still the most realistic dreams.

Mostly though, I still just dream of magic and adventure.


don’t give up on the lavender

lavender sprouts

It was Valentine’s day and the first day off that my husband had gotten in about 2 months and our first time alone together in that time. He now worked nights, seven days a week. I won’t lie and say that I was adjusting well to his new job or that the changes were easy for our family. The children missed him at bedtime, they missed him tucking them in and giving them goodnight loves. Our second son was still distraught that his father had to give up being his den leader. Though I think the youngest two and I had the biggest adjusting to do, we had to change what we did in the mornings and afternoons and how we played in the house to accommodate this sleeping presence in our day.

And me, I felt alone.
I no longer had any time alone with my husband, when he was home and awake there was always at least one child awake with us as well. Quiet nights of sitting and watching tv, talking, being silly or romantic together – they were no more. I was left alone to deal with four children, a baby and a dog for all but two to three hours in the afternoon. I felt hollow, like a shell missing its soul.

But there we were, finally together, just the two of us having a date day thanks to my parents keeping all of our little ones. In the middle of that precious time together I started getting down again, realizing how happy I was getting to spend time with the man that I loved and how brief that time would be. We were at the bookstore, waiting in line to check out when it hit me. I was staring at the knick knacks and novelty items that keep you company and tempt you while you wait to pay when I saw it. There sitting on the counter was a shelf display of happy yellow boxes of tiny pots of seeds to plant. And there, right in front of me, was the last box of lavender.

I love lavender. I love the smell. I love the color. I love the look of the plant.
So, I grabbed one.

I didn’t immediately set the plant up. It found a home on top of the microwave, occasionally getting knocked to the floor or buried under bills. I wanted to plant it, but I knew, with that dark despair that always seemed to cloud me, that I would just kill the lavender. And I just couldn’t bear the thought of that. I couldn’t stand the idea that I wouldn’t be able to grow and keep alive that ridiculously over priced little flower kit.

Then my second son had a project for school – he had to grow a cabbage plant and see how big he could grow it by the end of the year. We are plant challenged at our house, with much love – too much – and overeagerness we always end up killing them. So, I did what any good parent would do, I googled tips to keep plants alive. The biggest tip that I found was to place the plant in a container that would allow water absorption and then to place that in a cup with water in it.

And it worked. We grew cabbage.
Then somehow we kept ending up with more plants, and we kept those alive too.

Our family started adjusting more to my husband’s new work schedule. We started to grow used to the weird hours and finding ways to spend quality and intimate time together during different times. We learned to cherish phone calls during breaks and the busy season has ended so now we even get some weekends together. We were learning to find happiness, joy and peace again.

In April I dug the poor lavender box out from where it was relegated to the back of the top of the microwave and I decided it was time. I was planting the lavender. I emptied the box and saw the tiniest most adorable planter. I read all of the directions, and I followed them, too. I wanted this lavender to grow. I felt so full of hope and delight that soon, I would have my own baby lavender.

Then nothing happened, and nothing kept happening.
Each morning when I checked the other plants in the kitchen window, I checked my little lavender planter, and each morning it was still bare. I didn’t give up though. I would refill the dish it was in when I noticed it was dry. I made sure that it got sunlight. Some days, I will admit, I did feel a little defeat, because maybe I just wasn’t meant to grow this lavender. It was stupid and pointless to keep this little pot of dirt sitting there. But I just couldn’t bring myself to throw it away or to stop watering it.

I haven’t really looked at the plant in days. I just stick my finger in the dish to check the water and go about my things that I am doing in the kitchen. Today, as I was looking out the window at my husband getting ready to mow the yard I noticed something. There, hiding under some little bits of brown clingy to their tops, were a few bright green little sprouts. After a month of babying them, a month of doubting them and myself, and several months of agonizing over them, NOW I finally had baby lavender sprouts.

baby scented (10/365)

i want my baby to smell like me.
this deep down primal part of me balks at other scents.
forget the smell of baby powders or soaps,
i want him to smell like my sweat and my milk.
when i pick him up the first thing i do,
(without even thinking)
is smell him, sigh and smile.
he is mine.

i hesitate when others ask to hold him.
especially other women.
when he comes back to me he smells wrong.
not like me. like them.
he smells powdery and flowery and wrong, wrong, WRONG.
it makes me want to rub him and hold him close.
it makes me want to glare at those ladies.
it makes me want to feed him so he smells of me and my milk.
to show everyone that this is MY BABY. mine.

it’s the animal inside of me.
it’s the part of me that has evolved to protect my young.
it might sound weird to you. maybe even gross.
but, honestly, i don’t care.
i want my baby to smell like me.
my sweat, my milk. me.

today i feel so little (6/365)

today i feel so little, so small and insignificant.
like if i were to blow away no one would even care.

i feel like no one likes me, no one wants me about.
like if they tried hard enough they wouldn’t see me here.

i feel so tired – so very, very tired.
tired all the way down to my littlest toe’s littlest hair.

i feel alone and small and tired and invisible.
i feel like today is just too long.
i feel like all of me is done with the rest.
i feel like my heart is crying big sobbing tears.

i feel like today my emotions are a little overwhelming.
like they aren’t quite sure what they are about.

i feel like i’m not me, not a whole me.
like someone else is sitting in my skin in my chair.

this is who i am (1/365)

i am happy, even if i am not smiling.

i am exhausted, all. of. the. time.

i am a ginger and i accept this.

i am always leaking milk.

i am blind if i am not wearing my glasses.

i am bigger than i would like to be, that’s not even counting baby weight.

i am loved by so many. i am deeply loved by those who matter.

i am silly, immature, and highly sarcastic.

i am a gray sort of sparkly – fun and bright, but not in an always obvious way.

i am a reader and knitter and daydream taker.

i am optimistic and almost never realistic.

i am a planner of never followed through plans.

i am sometimes sad. sometimes very, very sad.
but most days i am just glad.

i am happy, even if i am not smiling.
and this is my self-portrait of who i am.

The princess dilemma.

You shouldn’t pick on little girls for liking princesses and pink and all of that other girly crap because it creates unrealistic expectations or bad body views or a sense that they need someone to come save them. I constantly see it under attack and as the current thing that is horrible for your daughter and what will ruin her.

As a mom of only one girl, and three boys, I don’t spend an overly large part of my day on princesses. While Bella might love them, and yes, she’s very firmly in the Disney princess stage, they don’t rule our house. Do you know what does? Superheroes. Even the two year old has a deep love and appreciation for the Avengers.

So lets take a moment to look at superheroes instead. Most teach boys that they need to be big, strong, and tough. A lot of times they start as someone timid, weak, nerdy, that no girl would ever want. Then something happens that completely changes them – a lot of times to almost unrecognizable – and they are suddenly big, muscley, able to beat other people up, and all of the girls suddenly want them. Even the nerdiest and smallest of them all – Spiderman – starts as weak and scrawny and laughable, then after the spider bite he has muscles, no longer needs glasses, and is full of confidence in himself. None of these things are brought on by things that they themselves did, or if they were, it was always some sort of freak accident. That’s not even touching on the other world superheroes who boys want to be but could never actually be since these dudes aren’t even human. While superheroes do teach boys some deeper issues like good and evil and how to handle power, deep down, under that it promotes that they can’t be happy with themselves how they are. Nothing that they can do can change that. You can never become a superhero on your own – skip Batman and IronMan as I can guarantee that your son will probably never be a billionaire orphan with control of a huge company to be able to design and create gadgets and suits that will give them the illusion of powers – you need some outside mystical, freak, alien accident/trauma to happen to you.

Please explain to me again how princesses are bad for little girls to like and how they create unrealistic expectations of life and self-image issues. Start your tirade against princesses over and include superheroes for little boys and get back to me. Until then remember, it’s not just toys, media, and society that raises your child, you have the biggest impact and your child is going to take his or her cues from you. You want them to be strong and confident in themselves and their body – then YOU need to show them how to be those things. Yes, media and peers play a large role in your child’s life but you shouldn’t let that be a safety net for issues that you yourself don’t know how to handle or as a blame-all for the bad or negative things.

Quit blaming princesses for all that is wrong with little girls today or even your own shortcomings. Blaming fiction or a color is just a cop out. Enjoy them as they are, something to help you or your child escape the real world for a brief moment. Something that helps them build their imagination. Something to just enjoy.

i remember falling in love

i remember falling in love with a boy who wore glasses.

i do.

i remember where i was and when it was, and how amazing is that?

i was in seventh grade, sitting in math class. coming in the door i sat in the middle of the back row on the left side of the classroom and there was a window right behind me. seventh grade was a hard year for me, i was changing faster than i could keep up with. i didn’t feel twelve. i didn’t feel like a kid, i didn’t feel like a teenager. i felt… confused a good chunk of the time.

it was fall of 1999 and i had gotten this book from my grandmother the christmas before, but i had yet to look at it or read it. she swore up and down that she had only heard good reviews of it, and from everything that she had heard that it would be a book that i would love. i was doubtful of that. true, she knew my taste in books well; for they were very similar to her own, but i was still hesitant. buying and selecting books is a very personal thing. i had gone through all of my books that i knew i loved, and i wanted to try something different, so that day i picked up that book and i stuck it in my backpack to read at school.

i didn’t have a chance to open it and start it until my second period math class. the teacher told us to get out our books, and what we would be going over – and since i have always had a deep and vehement hate of math – i decided that would be a good time to start the book. i sat there, with the sun coming in from the window behind me, the teacher talking some gibberish, and pencils scratching around me and i read…

Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number 4, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.

and i never looked back.

i don’t think i paid attention to a single class that day, or talked to anyone at lunch. i was sucked in and so in love with this new world that i couldn’t be bothered with the details of this one.

i remember being so relieved when i found out that book two had been released just a few months before so that i wouldn’t have to wait for it. from then until july 2007 i played a long game of hurry up and wait. i would get the new books and hungrily read through them in one or two days and then have to wait and wait endlessly for the next. i remember feeling so sad when i was half way done with the seventh and it dawned on me “this is it, there are no more.”

i got excited for the movies too, of course. but the movies never held that same spark and love for me. i do love them and i gladly sit and have harry potter movie marathons, but the books hold this special, dear part of me.

many teens and kids today who love harry potter just don’t quite understand that. they had this magic and wonder in their lives for almost the whole of them. me? magic entered my life at the same time that it entered harry’s. it was something wholly new and these kids who had to deal with it and experience it  – they were me. they were my age, growing as i grew. their stories were always new, i hadn’t grown up hearing them, or watching the movies. there was no one i knew who even read the books until after the first movie came out. it was this special world of magic, that was just for me. each time i read those books i went to a whole new world that no one i knew had ever experienced or dreamed. kids and teens today, they can’t get that from harry potter, not like i did.

i remember falling in love with a boy who wore glasses. i was twelve and sitting in the sun in the back of class and not learning a whit about math that day.