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lately, we’ve been:
walking through central park
playing in the magnolia trees
glued to the news
spending afternoons with friends
ordering matching dresses for the girls
pretending it’s more than 55-degrees fahrenheit
getting ready to run
spinning in circles
painting toddler toenails
working hard, playing hard, laughing hard
it’s a big juicy life here, even on the dullest day.
lately we’ve been drinking it in. living with a grateful heart and sensitive spirit.
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happy monday, my friends.
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Today is Maya Angelou’s birthday. From the first time I read Ms. Angelou (I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, a Christmas gift from mom when I was 12) I was moved, intrigued, fascinated, amazed, comforted, and calmed. I’ve returned to her over and over again since then. Her books of poetry on my shelf (also gifts from mom) are well-worn and fall open to my favorite passages; sometimes when I need perspective I open the books at random and drink in the words as advice. Her words and spirit have been my companion throughout my adult life, they guide me as surely and directly as scripture for the soul. I know it’s So Oprah to say it now, but my world is a better place because of Ms. Angelou. She has led me to write, compelled me to sing, made me listen; her words have soothed me when I needed it, scolded me when I needed it, and so often helped me love myself in the darker hours.
“Pretty women wonder where my secret lies
I say, it’s in the reach of my arms, the span of my hips, the stride of my step, the curl of my lips.
I’m a woman, phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman, that’s me.”
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Today is also the birthday of Beaver Bass, my father. Well, my first father.
I have two, you know?
I have a biological father (Beaver), but I also have the father who married my mom when I was six, adopted me, and was never a step-anything, just my real honest-to-goodness Dad.
Over the years, I retraced roots/routes and built a grown-up relationship with Beaver. At that time, and in years since, Dad and I talked about him, about where this other dad could possibly fit in the picture. Dad and Mom understand. Beaver was my dad, too, in a different way.
I loved him with my whole heart, flaws and all. He loved me with his whole heart, through the fractured lens of those flaws. He gave me wonderful things to remember, truly. Music and humor. He gave me an amazing gift when he stepped out of the picture and let Daddy raise me, and I am so very very grateful.
But still, I miss Beaver. My other dad. My biological dad.
He died unexpectedly while I was pregnant with Emma.
He died young, but lived a long life by 50.
He died peacefully, having found so much more of himself in those last years.
He died without knowing I was pregnant (his first grandchild).
Still, I’ve never told the girls about him; didn’t want to complicate things, didn’t know how to explain. I think the time is soon, though (it’s not that big a deal, is it? I mean, it was big at the time I was living it, but as a story-to-tell? more anecdotal than compelling).
Eliza looks so much like him, sometimes it almost startles me.
…and yesterday, as we were walking, Emma said “Eliza looks like a beaver,don’t you think so?”
Yep, she does. More than you know.
Happy birthday, Beav. Today we’re listening to the Grateful Dead and Miles Davis, thinking happy thoughts of you.
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File under: things to remember
The way the snuggle, the way they play, the way they laugh.
The way The Little looks at The Big, emulating and admiring. Absolute trust and pure love.
The way The Big looks at The Little, protector and pal. Setting a conscious example, nurturing but not coddling.
The way they treasure each other’s company.
They way they look forward to each other.
The way they cooperate.
The way they dance.
The way they learn together.
They way they give and share, with each other and everyone around them.
Some of it’s Standard Issue sibling stuff, but it runs amazingly deep, beautiful to watch.
There’s something between them that’s so familiar and affectionate, so true and comfortable.
There’s something between them that can’t be put into words, but must be nurtured from my end with encouragement and wonder; not putting them in competition, but always being supportive and proud of each other’s best, always being the first with a comforting hug when it doesn’t work out.
There’s something between them that inspires me.
If all women treated other women like this, I think, the world would be a better place. We would be stronger, bigger, braver.
But that’s not quite it.
If all PEOPLE treated other people like this, the world would be safer, more loving, more bold in all the best ways.
Some days, many days, I think I’d like another one, a third Little to add to the crew; we’re missing one, I sometimes feel in my mama-soul. But then again….I don’t know.
This magic might be just perfect, and the gentle care and feeding of this precious bond might take everything we’ve got.
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[tangentially-related: this project is awesome. expect more on this later.]
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clearly i struggle with this space. i’m a pretty open book, but some things aren’t mine to share. i’m a pretty open sort, but some emotions run so deep that words can’t express. i’m willing to tell my stories, but wary of causing conflict or creating drama with others’ perceptions of my words and stories.
so really, i don’t share all that much.
positive little messages.
i show you the bruises, too, but never really the scars, and never really the fresh wounds.
not that it’s all that deep. but sometimes it is, and i’d like to feel safe writing about it. i’d like to know that i can share my truth, share my stories, and they’ll be securely and gently tended to here. i’m not sure that’s the case, though. i’m keenly aware that not everyone is on my side; not everyone is rooting for me. i don’t expect everyone to get my particular brand of quirkiness and honesty, but i need to know it’s safe before i lay it down. throughout my life, there’s always been a judging voice that said “how dare you? who do you think you are?”. i’m trying to decide where and how to file that voice.
ah…just some stuff i’m thinking about now.
i think i’ve written this exact post before. must be time to really deal with it.
also, this: “When people show you who they are, believe them.”
and this: Easter was beautiful. Having my mom here to help for the week was (as predicted) immensely helpful and truly got us through our most hectic time of the year unscathed. Getting together with our family was a treasured treat. That well-earned glass of champagne after Sunday Mass was blissful. Working for a music director as supportive and talented as AR makes me sing better and breathe better. Seeing my girls in their Easter best (with blue satin sashes, no less), dressed and accessorized by their loving daddy, my loving Mister, was sweet sweet sweet.
and now i’m starting to emerge from the post-Triduum coma.
so many things to think about, decide, build. so many ways to grow. i’m just taking a deep breath and a big think before i leap.
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hope your holiday (whatever you celebrate) was glorious, and that spring is being a gentle bunny so far.
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[monday list: 11 very random things in my head]
~ it’s holy week. so many programs to design/print, so many chants and psalms to rehearse/sing, so many Masses, so much, so much, so much.
~ my mom is flying in for the week to save the day/make life easier…
~ …just in time for another little snowstorm. i’m not one to complain about the weather, but honestly: i.am.over.it. so very ready for tulips in bloom, walks in the park, and a light spring jacket.
~ my happy color: dark turquoise blue. i wear it on my feet, my fingers, my neck; makes me breathe well.
~ emma is one of the three little kittens in the school’s spring musical.
~ eliza is talk-talk-talking up a storm (although you may need a translator to understand clearly), and visibly growing every day. thinking it would be beneficial to put her in a pre-school program for the fall. subsequently thinking it would be beneficial to win a nice sum of money to put toward the tuition at a fall pre-school program.
~ did i tell you the news? eliza is left-handed! yes, she is.
~ i’m kind of obsessed with these pictures i posted saturday. i’d like to pretend it’s just the velvet-and-pearls that are making her look so much older, not the thinning out of the cherub-cheeks or the long legs. [sigh]
~ we have watched the movies monsters, inc. and despicable me (approx.) 4500 times in the last week. not bad, really.
~ finishing up the school yearbook this week. because i needed something to do with my time, obviously.
~ my favorite carry-it-everywhere, positively-never-leaks “travel coffee mug” is broken. i’m more emotional about it than i should admit, mostly because i lived a life of coffee-stains-and-drips before i found this perfect mug. a suitable replacement has so far proved hard to come by. i’m thinking maybe this one will work (?), but if not, anticipate a slightly soggy binder of music by mid- Holy Week.
[bonus: three things i'm grateful for today]
~ bedtime snuggles
~ moving forward
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how about you? hope the week starts off right; not too warm, not too cold, not too big, not too small, just right.
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