Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Ferocious cat

This is Lola. The stray kitten who, 10 years ago, walked out of the woods at six weeks old and adopted me despite my initial resistance to the idea. The kitten who ran up and down the walls of my apartment like something out of The Matrix until she was so out of breath her tongue was nearly blue.  This is also the little furry beast who once scared off a pet sitter, refusing to allow her to even get near our bed. And the same ferocious feline who has (on multiple occasions) 'trapped' fully grown adults in various rooms and hallways of our house and had them yelling "Help! I can't get past the cat!" There was no persuading that they should just walk past and pay no attention to her hissing, growling fit - she is only ten pounds after all.

Needless to say, while she and I have always had our special love and understanding (she understands that she always has a nook to curl up in next to my belly, in the bend of my knees, on top of whatever body part she feels is most comfortable at the time; I understand that her affections may be full on in one minute, gone the next, and that from time to time she will suddenly spring up and leave long red claw marks on my leg for one reason or another - it's just what she does), Lola has not won many friends over the years. After getting over the early stages of their relationship when Lola would happily poke one sharp claw deep into the tip of Will's big toe while he was happily, innocently slumbering, they have been spotted from time to time deep in a furry cloud of kitty love session when Will is somehow able to paralyze her in the strangest of contorted positions and scratch her chin in utter purring kitty ecstasy. But then he'll be just a little late in delivering her morning wet food and she will follow him around the house echoing her strange yowling protest, pawing at his leg like it's a kitty scratching post until he fulfills her heart's desire. Or she'll waltz around on the dining room table to lick the banana peels (because they have always been her favorite), paying no mind to his flailing tirade over dirty kitty paws on our eating surface. Oh yes, and there was that time she spilled a glass of water on my beloved laptop. That certainly didn't win her any affections.

So when Ava was still in my belly and we were preparing for her arrival, we feared the worst. We placed tin foil (the one thing on earth that can cause Lola to run in sheer terror for her life) over every surface in the room, inside and under her crib in the hopes that Lola would learn to at least stay away if not have some mercy on our tiny helpless babe.

Two years later, I walked in on this...

Ferocious indeed.

I am still amazed by the keen sense that animals seem to have - innately knowing who they can trust, who is without fear, who is most vulnerable, who is always up for a play session, who will love them deeply, endlessly. Lola allows - no, gloriously, purringly enjoys - Ava to handle her and interact with her in a way that no other human can approach.

When asked who her best friend is, today Ava replied, "Lola." It seems both have found their soul mate.

Friday, January 13, 2012

This moment

{this moment} - A SouleMama Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


There is so much to be done in preparation for someone so surprisingly little. Those early day needs are simple: hold me, feed me, let me rest, keep me dry, just love me. And, yet, I know how such a little being and his little needs can fill a room, a house, fill a family so that is brimming with - everything. I await this first introduction with the humbled experience of a mama. It is a heady, expectant feeling, but one seasoned with awareness of the hugeness that lies ahead. And there is some trepidation, for having  finally reached a point in my parenting that feels so easy, where Ava and I have eased into a rhythm that calms and enriches us both, in transitioning to family of four we must all start over in a sense. How long until we all find and settle into our new, ever-changing but comfortable sense of daily rhythm and ease? 

On the brink of uncertainty, I prepare for this little one by doing what I know how to do, and what I know will be helpful in those early glassy eyed days...
the diapers, the burpcloths, the blankets, the booties, all washed and ready to envelope soft sweet-smelling skin.
the space, calming and serene, that speaks welcome, you are safe here.
the freezer stocked tight from weeks of double-batch stews, muffins and breads.
the oh-so-tiny sweater knit by my mama when she was preparing for her own arrival, worn first by me, then by Ava, now waiting for you, little one.
and maybe one more pair of warm woolies (if you'll give me just a bit more time to finish them), because it turns out Minnesotan winters really can be cold.

There is still more on my list to do than will ever get done. And all these details will undoubtedly fall by the wayside when this so little, so big one enters our lives. So now we cherish these last, sweet moments, days, weeks together as a family of three - and we wait...

Monday, January 9, 2012

A new year...

As we turn the page onto 2012, I realize it has been nearly a year now that I've been tuning into this space periodically to record the goings on of our lives, document some of my creative pursuits, and reflect on some of the wonder of our daily rhythms. It has been a year of great transition and growth; deepening of old traditions and creation of new. And the coming year no doubt holds even more growth and change, most imminently with the babe that we await; it is close enough now that if I don't respond to a phone call or some other correspondence quickly enough, friends excitedly assume baby has arrived. Nope, not yet.

We celebrated our transition into this new year with a tradition we began one year ago. Inspired by Sarah Ban Breathnach's Good Riddance ceremony in Mrs Sharp's Traditions, we sat down by the fire and unsealed our lists of "things to bring into 2011" that we had created a year ago on December 31, 2010. Not resolutions, more like written verbalization of things we'd like to call into our lives, turn our attentions and energies towards in the new year. It was interesting to see both the things we still hold close to our hearts and those things that maybe have fallen by the wayside and seem less important to us just a year later. Naturally, Will stuck to our 'rules' and limited himself to 10 pretty specific items; myself, well, let's just say I couldn't resist adding things like "joy!" to mine - which led to a page entirely covered in my scribbles (a few more than 10).

After some reflection on our successes (and shortfallings) with respect to our lists, we turned our attentions to those things from 2011 that we felt ready to let go of - our good riddance lists. I see this as somewhat akin to the Taslich ceremony that falls at the time of Rosh Hashana (the jewish new year), in which participants symbolically cast away into a flowing body of water those things they would like to remove themselves from. I'm grateful that it was quite easy to keep this list limited to 10 items. Once our lists were complete we offered them to the flames and watched them shrivel into black carbon ash. Good riddance!

Finally, we thought ahead to 2012 and all that we wish to call into this new year of great, unknown possibility. I find a certain excitement comes with sealing a document with sealing wax, knowing that it will be safely hidden through another 365 days of change - to muse on the possibilities of these next months and then let go of them as we step forward in reality.

I caught the last three seconds of the ball dropping and called it a good new year. True, we live in central time zone now - but on that night at 9 months pregnant, 11pm was all this mama could handle.

I wish a belated happy new year to you and would love to hear about the traditions that carry you in transition to another year. I look forward to another year of sharing in this space whenever I can. I am so grateful that you join me here.