Shimmer.

They are too rowdy to be inside. They slam the door despite my repeated scoldings against it. They are full of facts and attitudes, laughter and groans, restlessness and energy. And even though I cannot help but roll my eyes and shake my head sometimes, my heart fairly explodes with love when they share a secret to keep from me, a boyish rough-and-tumble, a silly made-up game.

It’s the beginning of summer — when my oldest allows her younger sister to become her closest confident and chosen playmate for a time. The oldest will be eleven at the end of summer. These summers of play are limited, I know. And they are so beautiful in the backyard, screeching, laughing, filling up their clothes with grass stains. Their hair streaks in the sunlight and I am reminded of one of my favorite lines from Walt Witman:

“You must habit yourself to the dazzle of the light, and of every moment of your life.” 

One more summer of careless childhood abandon for the older, and full on glorious golden-day summer for the younger who is finally a “big kid” at seven years old. I want to be greedy. I want these days to never end, even though both will be in here soon bickering about nothing and claiming they can’t find anything to eat in a fully stocked fridge.

And now I am filled with an urgency to get outside. To leave the laundry and the dishes and the overflowing-with-Tupperware cupboard. Because my daughters, they are in the backyard. And they are shimmering. They are shining.

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Uncool.

I am terminally uncool. I know this. Consider the evidence.

Exhibit A: My kids’ initials spell G.E.E.K.  That was totally unintentionally done, but now that it is so, I have a necklace that proclaims it. I’ll post a pic and a link someday when I’ve showered and don’t look like what I am–a summer SAHM mom who doesn’t give a rat’s patootie what I look like when I’m blogging in my basement.

Exhibit B: Little Miss G is ever so slowly giving up her Nickelodeon crap for this: <a href=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/uvwCLGCozIk“>The best science-fiction-fantasy series going right now. And it’s British! YAY! I really have to thank my brother for this. If he didn’t come and commandeer our television at least once a week, none of us would have taken the time to watch. I’m ashamed of this, because staying up late with my dad on Sunday nights to watch this Doctor <a href=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/PwkYhLiY_fM“> is one of my fondest childhood rituals.

Exhibit C: I went to this guy’s concert last Friday, and loved every single minute. Every time I hear a Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, or Katy Perry song, I want to stab myself in the ear, but this? This is good stuff. I’ve been humming this song all weekend.

Guilty as charged.

Wha-huh?

So, how does a delinquent blogger make up for six weeks of silence? Mostly nothing much has happened, but a few big things have happened… so how about a pictoral retrospective of the past six weeks with a promise to fill in the gaps eventually?

We celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary.

Which made us feel pretty much like this.

Scoff if you wish, but I totally saw zombies hitching a ride on a trailer on the way home from work one Friday afternoon. Behold, zombie legs:

Despite the fact that it rained a lot, the sun and clouds played quite nicely together for a few days.

We had a nice, low-key Easter Sunday.

We found a new home for Tula. Long story. Details later.

Which brings us up to Mother’s Day. Grandma Wanda is the coolest. Don’t let her age fool you one bit.

I’ll try not to be gone so long this time.

I can’t figure out if this was a compliment or an insult.

Yesterday was Matt’s birthday. (Happy birthday, little bro!) The girls and I were in the car and this happened.

Super L: How old is Uncle Matt today?

Me: 29. (HA HA, btw. I didn’t make any old man jokes at your expense yesterday, but the blog is fair game.)

Little Miss G: You’re older than him.

Me. Yep.

Super L: Why is Uncle Matt bigger than you if you’re older?

Little Miss G: Because he’s a man!

Me (thoughtfully): Well, honey, I don’t think Uncle Matt really is all that much bigger than me. We’re almost exactly the same height. (Sorry, Matt, but it’s true.)

Super L considers this for a moment, and then says:

“Yeah, but he’s flatter.”

Umm… Thanks??? or Ouch???

 

                         

                                        Flatter than me. → 

If only I knew.

Monday morning, we were getting ready for school. It had actually been a better than average morning, especially good for a Monday. I was sorting out socks to find a pair for her and Super L to wear when Little Miss G said something particularly hurtful to me. I let it get to me, and it stung because she touched upon something that I’ve been trying very hard to improve. And I have improved, but it has cost me in other ways. And basically, while fuming and bristling at her remark, I came to this conclusion: She just doesn’t know.

Unfortunately, that did not stop me from very slowly, and with measured precision, lay into her. Rather than blow up and shout, I expounded on the half-dozen ways in which she was out of line. Please forgive the metaphor, but I set my eight year old daughter in my cross-hairs and basically vented a week’s worth of aggravation in a lecture that lasted no less than 10 minutes. I basically argued her into a corner from which there was no escape. My husband will readily tell you that my ability to do this to is quite formidable. The fact that I verbally overpowered her simply because I could is really just wretched. Especially especially when I knew that she just didn’t know how much her words would hurt me, and to a certain extent, how inaccurate her assessment was that morning. And the longer I lectured her, the worse I felt. I can only imagine how she felt.

After dropping both girls off at school, I called John and talked to to him about it on the way to work. As usual, he was so good. He offered up some insights about her; he spoke some truth about her that I think we both needed someone to say–namely that she is a little girl, particularly for her age. A sweet little girl who is nowhere near as comfortable in her own skin as her younger sister. And sometimes we just expect too much from her.

He was right of course. Within a her strong body lies a delicate soul, even though she herself can be quite rough with her words and attitude. And I am often not fair. I am beginning to see that she her reticence to share her feelings may not be so much a choice she is making to be private, but more from being unsure as to how to say what she really means. And it’s no wonder that she would hesitate. Monday, she tried to tell me something, and I blew it. I shut her down. If only I knew when she is going to give me another opportunity to listen.

If only I knew what it was like for her, to walk a mile in her kid-sized shoes. Sometimes I feel like I am about seven years behind in understanding her. I can’t help but wonder if this is the price I’ve paid for working so much when she was a baby and a toddler. Did I miss some magical time that would have given me the ability to sort that beautiful puzzle-heart of hers? Or, worse, do I continue to miss it despite my efforts to be more balanced in my career and personal life? Is she showing me the pieces and I’m just not noticing them?

Or, is this just who my precious girl is, and anybody worthy of her love is going to have to wait on the shore of her heart, gaze into the rippling waves, and wait until she is good and ready to give them a clear view of what lies beneath the surface? If only I knew.

[see? I can’t even choose a metaphor for her and stick with it.]

It’s hard for me to admit that I have a difficult time identifying with and understanding my daughter, although I suspect it readily shows to some of my more observant friends and family members. I’ve failed her so many times, and it hurts to say so because she’s my beautiful puzzle. My precious one. The one who is going to make me work really, really hard. Her heart requires no less, and she certainly deserves the very best… even the kind of best that sometimes hurts to give.

But to know her better is my treasure. And so I’ll stand on her shore for as long as it takes.


February randoms.

1. It has been awhile since I posted a picture of Little Miss G. She is eight and a half years old now. I don’t write about her as much because, well, she’s older. And she wants more privacy. And she doesn’t bust off with hilarious, unedited commentary the way her sister does. (See below.)

2. Today is Super L’s 5th birthday. To celebrate, John took them to Dairy Queen. (I was at work otherwise I would have beent here, too.) Super L was sitting next to John, and as they sat enjoying their ice cream, John (ahem) passed gas. A few moments later, he noticed that SL had stopped eating her ice cream. When he asked her why, she responded, “It has toot on it.”

3. Tula is feeling so much better that she has reclaimed her title as Royal Pain In The Arse Extraordinare.

4. Oh, and happy belated 3rd birthday to this little ‘ol blog ‘o mine.