Thursday, December 8, 2011

An Utterly Autobiographical Rant About Motherhood and Other Stuff

"I understand how you feel. All of us are overwhelmed sometimes. We are all stressed out sometimes."


Sometimes I can't breathe. Sometimes I can't move. Sometimes I can't bear the touch of tiny hands on my arm. Or any other hands anywhere else.

Do you know the weight of three small children on your shoulders? 35 kilograms. 77 pounds. It's the weight of a universe. A helpless universe waiting to learn from you how to live. It pushes you into the ground, gravity's innocent helper. Am I grounded? Fucking A. Not that I want to be.

I am begleitet. Accompagné. I am never alone. They haunt me but are not ghosts. They are real. Calling the exorcist will not help.

Personal space? ...huh?... Not a real thing. They hover, they cower, they scrabble, they strangle. They insert and they expect. I don't know how long there will be room for me in this space.

DO YOU FEEL THIS OFTEN? Then maybe we can sit down and talk about it. If not, shut the fuck up and mind your own business.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Seasons of change

Some autumnness for my friend who wishes for it. You can also look back at Falling from last year. It IS a gorgeous time, especially when the sun can shine and make the earthy rainbow glow. 

Birthday cupcakes.

A sea of leaves.

Feathery tree.

Colors and VINO.



Melon Street.

Misty church.

Misty barn.

Chloé, trees and leaves.

Playing in the leaves.

Don't fuck with my leaf pile!

Gold abounds at the playground.

Leaf half crown. Fail.

Me and my red cup.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Yesterday's casualties of hands-off parenting:

1. couch upholstery after milk was shaken from bottles,

2. bright green comforter cover and pillowcases, orange fitted sheet after early childhood artistic expression involving old peach-hued lipstick inherited from my mother,

3. old peach-hued lipstick (see above),

4. container of chocolate powder,

5. "Leo & Popi" DVD (very annoying kid's show, so this is more of a blessing),

6. bathroom rug after toilet brush was used to clean the toilet, the floor and the walls (I assume, I wasn't there),

7. my sanity.

On the other hand, during the periods between moments of destruction, they:

1. had tea together,

2. did puzzles,

3. looked at books and

4. played cars in the toy garage.

So although the destruction sum is higher than that of peaceful activities, and my sanity is a precious price to pay, I think we've got a good balance here. They've learned how to entertain themselves and that's going to last. Eventually they will also learn NOT to play with the toilet brush, lipstick, chocolate powder and milk. Or at least they'll hopefully learn to clean up their messes before I find them.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Out of order

I love public transportation. I love that somebody moves me greater distances so that I can walk the shorter ones. I don't have to drive, sit in traffic, or find a parking space. I get to be outside, get some fresh air. Nobody is strapped in a car seat and Aidyn gets to ogle the other trains, tracks and cars passing by. It's a gaggle of fun for everyone.

Sometimes, though, a piece of the transportation system breaks down. This could be a strike. Very annoying but at least you can know beforehand not to venture out to the train or bus station because...there are no trains or busses running!

Or, your home train station could be renovating ALL the elevators between the end of August and the end of October. With a sign saying that for our convenience, we can use the handicapped-friendly and (presumably) elevator-functioning train station in Ludwigsburg. Which we get to with the...train. Huh? Or, more precisely, What The Fuck?

What made it worse the other day was that a completely different station had elevators on the fritz. The first one, going from the street level to mid-level, had the white-bar-on-a-red-background "out of order" sign but the elevator came and the doors opened and closed so we took it. Mid-level to train, on the other hand, also had the sign, but there was neither door opening nor movement. Good, I thought. Children are awake, we walk down. But then Aidyn wanted to take the up escalator, sending Chloé into near hysterics. Then I had to calm Chloé, lure Aidyn to the stairs, catch up with Mia speeding down the stairs and navigate said stairs with an empty (of children, at least) double stroller.

Finally, in Deutsche Bahn's Best Move Yet (fortunately not on the same day), as we (aforementioned three children and I ) were entering the train, the conductor decided to close the doors while I was half in the train and my son was COMPLETELY NOT IN the train but standing on the platform between two doors. Heaving of doors, yanking of small boy, two crying little girls and one incoherent scream in English later, everyone was in the train and by the time we'd reached our destination three stops later, I had forgotten to go yell at the driver. Of course I was also maneuvering the entourage toward and then down the stairs since the elevator was not working...

So perhaps the lesson here is not to trust public transportation. Or no one cares about kids? Or elevators are for wimps? Or just shit happens.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


About three weeks ago we started to feel the chill and smell the crispness of autumn. The season stalled, though, and today, finally, we're experiencing the true end of the end of summer. It's been beautiful and I am grateful for this Indian Summer following the cold and rainy roller coaster of a summer. We've done our best to live outside these warm sunny weeks, and today we will say goodbye to the sun outdoors: we will dance and play in her rays and we will dream in the night of vitality and try to remember when we wake tomorrow that there are seasons of both life and death, and rain is as important as sun.

The flowers are dead 
But the leaves are blooming 
Fall rainbows.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I think it's so funny that there are so many blogs out there by parents with one child. Totally frustrated with their lives. Often unable to cope with the stress of having a child.
I mean, there is sometimes some good writing, and they're not always talking about being stressed by their offspring - sometimes it's something political regarding raising children, or help for stressed parents or it's just fantastically funny and so we don't care what it's about since we get to laugh about shit we experience every other day as parents.
But I can't help but think, SHIT, wait until you've got another ankle biter (or two, or three, simultaneously or otherwise)...biting. Let me see how crappy you think your life is THEN.
Indescribably, probably. That's why no one writes about it.
Just kidding. It's not that no one writes about it. Of course people write about it. At 11:20pm, desperately hoping that their 2+ kids are going to sleep through the night, or at least until 5am.
It's a tragic life.
Really, though, the other bloggers are right about at least one thing: we should stick together. Burgeoning writers, all of us, we need to support others in the same position. Use our popularity to draw attention to others who need same.
So, in my off time, I'm going to look for said parenting blogs, read them (and not just the most current post!) and give them a link on my unread blog page.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Diary of a Night

It's just a dream.

8:30pm. Those first two hours were fantastic. We sat on the couch. He caught up on his work e-mails on his work computer. I caught up on my Facebook. We watched Flashdance in German.
Maybe "fantastic" is an exaggeration. But at least we didn't have to worry about any children screaming, spilling on the couch or beating each other with a mini broom. Plus alone time with the spouse.

10:30pm. He went to bed. I wasn't tired so I watched the last episode of True Blood. And fell asleep. Because I WAS tired.

Midnight-10minutes. Chloé woke up. I told her to go to bed with Daddy.

Midnight. I went to bed. I spent the next three hours fighting for my place and pillow. I think Chloé just wanted to cuddle, but her cuddling was ... invasive.

3:30am? Mia came in the room whimpering. Crawled in beside Daddy (there was absolutely no room on either side of me, anyway). A few minutes later, Aidyn arrived. He wanted space beside me, but, as you know, there was none. I tried to comfort him but ended up passing him over the other two towards Daddy. He was having none of that. Daddy got up to get milk for the newcomers.

4am. After Aidyn expressed his discontent at having no room in the bed, I went with him to Chloé's bed. To no avail. He just cried and tried to escape. So we went to his room. Same. So I decided to give up and go into the living room and wait for him to get re-tired. A few minutes later we were joined by Mia and Daddy. Milk was doled out again. We were shortly joined by our first born. I sent Daddy to bed, since I knew that's what he wanted, and I'm better at having less sleep. I'm also more likely to kill the children in the night, but I thought we'd just have to risk it. Shortly after Chloé joined him.

4:45am or so. I took the annoying small people to Chloé's room. After at least 15 minutes of intense hair kneading and invasive cuddling (again), we all fell asleep. I proceeded to dream of a large bed with only me in it. It will apparently remain a dream for a long, long time.

7:40am. We are drawn out of the room by the light of day and threat of spouse to leave the house soon.

7:50am. Mia wants something and starts crying. Aidyn cries out of sympathy or because he wants the same thing and both feel the injustice of the world. Or at least the injustice of their parents. The day has begun. 

The Moment

This afternoon I was coloring mandalas with Chloé. Miraculously we were left alone by Mia and Aidyn for most of the time; apparently quality time spent with their sister is acceptable time away from me. Until they got hungry, then something else had to be done.

We colored to Cecilia and Colorful, Daddy I'm Fine and Drops of Jupiter. Phil Collins wrapped it up just before we had to cut pear and serve up some yogurt as a snack for colorers and pre-colorers alike.

I was thinking while coloring with all of these different pencils and crayons what a leap of faith it is to color a small space with a fat pencil or crayon. You put the utensil approximately where you think it should go and do your best to stay in the lines, only hoping where its bulk blocks your vision. And then when you do go outside the lines because the pencil was too fat or you were too impatient, you have to forgive yourself and find the beauty and uniqueness in the mistake. Faith in your own particular artistic genius.

It was a moment. Now it's over and they're screaming and crying in terror, I don't know why, maybe Aidyn is sitting on Mia's head, or maybe Chloé has forced Aidyn into the chair to have tea with her. Or maybe they're just frustrated and we'd better get the hell out of the house before we all implode and take the whole neighborhood with us.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Little Girls Lost

Once we lost Chloé. One Saturday in Ikea. It wasn't really surprising: we'd been so remiss about keeping an eye on her for so long and she'd never disappeared, it was inevitable that at some point we would lose track of each other.

I used to get lost regularly in Ikea. Only recently have I memorized the flow: sofas, tables, shelves, dining, beds, desks, wait, is it beds then desks, or desks then beds? Well, anyway I can follow the arrows. And I stay away from the shortcuts.

We were looking at something for the kitchen. Maybe she didn't see us and thought we had moved on. So she moved on. When we finally looked around to check on her, she was gone. Not standing next to us, not in the next aisle. Not in the next section. I started to panic.

Luckily a couple in the mattress section (two over from the kitchen) wondered about the little girl wandering alone and asked her her name so they could announce it over the speaker. This I heard and ran to the mattresses to find my first lost child.

Yesterday we lost Mia. But not in Ikea. In Stuttgart. At our favorite restaurant with a closed (haha but not completely!) courtyard where the kids can run around a bit and play in the sand ("Strandbar") and parents can enjoy their lunch.

I was talking to a friend and her husband while Gaetan was off with Aidyn somewhere. Chloé was climbing around on my lap and on the bench. When Gaetan came back, I realized we hadn't seen Mia for a few minutes. "Where's Mia?" I asked. "I don't know," he responded. That's the kind of parents we are. We care, but, based on personal experience, sometimes we don't know.

Now our experience has changed.

We looked in the sand.

We looked on the stairs. On the other stairs. Under the tables.

We looked in the bathrooms and inside the restaurant. I started calling her. "MIA!"

I went out of the courtyard towards the street and subway entrance. "MIA! MIA!" Around the corner. My mind filed the fact that there were no police cars, ambulances or fire trucks marking an accident involving a very small person crushed or thrown by a car.

I ran back into the courtyard. "She's gone," Gaetan said. Cool. Calm. I wanted to scream, "WHAT!? WHAT DO YOU MEAN "she's gone"?! SHE'S NOT A BUCKET THAT'S GONE MISSING FROM THE SANDBOX, SHE'S OUR DAUGHTER!!!" but instead I walked through the courtyard to the other side, the square with the antique market. Nothing.

I walked back in to the restaurant calling her name. I swear I heard her whimpering at some point but it must have been an other kid because she wasn't there.

I ran back around the other side of the building, constantly calling her name. Into the subway station. Out of the subway station. A couple asked me if we were looking for our daughter. I said yes and she was very small and wearing a purple shirt.

I went back through the courtyard to the other side. "MIA!" I cried to the antique market. "MIA!" I heard called back. Heh? Some kid joking around? "MIA!" I called again. "MIA!" I heard again.

"MIA!" I screamed and looked in the direction of the returning call. "HERE!" yelled a woman waving her arm. SHIT, I thought, she was yelling "here!" not "mia!" and please please please let that be her.

I ran over, leaping over any obstacle that got in my way and there was my mini Mia. Not crying, not even looking worried, just standing there, holding this woman's hand. I grabbed her and fell on the ground with her and kissed her and held her and told her I loved her.

And meanwhile the woman who found her was telling me how good she (Mia) was and how I did a good job and I wish I had asked her what the hell she was talking about because either Mia was good because she trusted a total stranger or I was good because I let my child wander away. I don't know. I just wanted to take her back to the rest of the family and be on our way so I did and we were.

I suppose the morals of the story are:
A courtyard isn't closed unless it's closed.
You can't talk to friends when you have almost-two-year-old kids.
If your child tries to escape the playground, they'll try to escape a Biergarten. Or they may just be trying to pet a dog. Either way, they're gone.
My children definitely have at least one and possibly twelve guardian angels. But I don't know how reliable their charity is.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Out with the old, in with the new?

I'm going to be 40 next year. I left the town I grew up in 22 years ago, and my home country 11 years ago. Almost everyone from my past is gone, and the ones who weren't gone are drifting [in a different direction than I am - or so it seems]. Everyone who is new is missing the past. They have no background info about how I tick. We share nothing but the present. How can they know me in such a short time? How can I know them?

I feel like I have nothing to hold on to. I slide up and down the the time line and watch the faces roll by. But none of us stops.

I went "home" - although the whole time I was there I referred to Germany as "home"- and all of my homesickness and yearning seemed to dissolve. Not dissolve -> disappear (through fulfillment, for example). Dissolve -> be absorbed into the environment, and myself. They weren't fulfilled at all, just decayed into tiny molecules that could hide among the atoms of everyday. And they're still there.

All of my prospects and memories are trapped in the past. I can't resuscitate them or reanimate them. They are no more. And all the music and dreams that call them are just futile shocks to my soul. I can't go back. I can't pretend to go back for a nanosecond. I can't even visit. The world has become new and and all that I have known and loved exists only in dismembered, scattered drops.

If I were to read this written by someone else, I'd likely tell them to stop whining and move on. But sometimes we are reminded of our losses and it helps to recount and mourn them. Don't you think?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Of cribs and beds

After they spent three weeks of sleeping on beds without bars, we decided Mia and Aidyn were ready to move out of their cribs and into tiny beds.

Since then, we've questioned this decision.

Bedtime stretches from 8 to 8:30 and there's screaming involved: "AIDYN, go back to bed!" "MIA, what is WRONG?! Lay down and go to sleep!" Nobody wants to go to bed in the new bed.

The first night, Aidyn cried out at 2 am. I found him standing between his bed and the wall, screaming at the giraffe he couldn't see. Mia I almost stepped on trying to get to Aidyn. She had fallen out of her bed and not waken up, just continued to sleep on the floor between the beds. I felt terrible.

The past two nights have been the same story: Aidyn cries, Mia's on the floor sleeping. Aidyn does not want to sleep in this "new" (it's the same bed, just without the crib slats) bed when he wakes in the night, Mia does not want to go to sleep in the evening. (This may also be because it is pretty much daytime here at 8 pm when they are scheduled to go to sleep. Nighttime in Colorado looks different... Not to mention that we didn't exactly enforce the 8 pm bedtime on vacation.)

I hope they will get used to the new beds. Soon.

Looking back, I realize we did the same thing to Chloé: we returned from vacation and less than a month later we put her in her own room. New experiences, jet lag and insecurity issues be damned. Bad parents.

I don't know, maybe living through all the change, we feel inspired to change as much as we can. Take it to the limit. Live on the edge. Take charge of something in the chaos.

I'm sure they'll get through it, with a little time. My kids are trained at adapting to change. I do it to them everyday.

In the meantime, I'm practicing not sleeping. Again.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Struggling away at my 23 in-progress posts, I realized that I had real news:

I'm ALONE. COMPLETELY alone. All three children are on a 5-day vacation with their grandparents 630 kilometers away from here!!

I can wake up whenever I want (which, unfortunately, is still 6:30am; old habits die hard), take a shower for as long as I want (which can be VERRRY long, hours even), wander aimlessly around town at 12 noon, have wine with lunch - and be able to enjoy it, walk out of the apartment to: get something from the cellar, buy wine next door (it's a wine shop, no worries), or just sit on the stairs if want, just like that.

Right. I don't know what to do with my time.

But that doesn't matter. It's MINE. For 3 years, 9 months and 29 days I haven't had time that belonged solely to me. And the last, let's say, 2 years and 2 months (counting the pregnancy in this one) have been fucking demanding on the time that used to be mine.

Don't get me wrong. I love the shit out of those kids. Pretty much every 1.7 minutes I think about one or all of them (happily these thoughts aren't bound to juice retrieval, diaper changing, yelling or similar). We skyped yesterday and it was great to see them. Aidyn launched himself at the computer (he really loves me). Apparently the grandparents had all three of them sitting picturesquely in front of the camera while their camera froze. Bummer. But it was fun and there were no tears here or there.

Let's face it, we all love each other and we're all enjoying our separate vacations. They get cookies every afternoon and Tractor Tom every evening and I get freedom. Oh, right, and don't forget the quality time with spouse. We went to a crêperie last night at the time we're usually tiptoeing down the hallway to keep the sleepers sleeping. And the night before we went to rent a movie from the 24-hour place, which we haven't done since...well, for almost 4 years. We can turn up the volume! Ignore the cat bouncing onto the door to get out in the middle of the night! Well, no, I can't. I am still getting up to threaten him with bodily harm and, finally, feed him.

Oh well. Life isn't perfect. You can't always get what you want, but sometimes, you get what you need. Like Mick sang.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Angels and demons

Every time I post a picture of my children sleeping, everyone says something about how these are the moments that make us love our children. I understand this sentiment completely. While awake, these little devils can make our lives a nightmare: screaming, fighting, refusing to eat, taking everything out of the kitchen drawer, strewing dirt all over the balcony, hanging on us when we just want a brief moment alone, the list goes on and on. When they sleep, they do none of  these things. They are magnificent in their silence and stillness.

But I think my favorite times with my children are when they are awake. When Mia and Aidyn are playing hide and seek with each other; when Mia walks into the room in her overalls and I realize she looks just like her cousin Asia when she was little - and like me; when Aidyn laughs out loud from being kissed on the neck; when Chloé says, doing her determined strut next to the stroller, "I can walk, Mammée (this is how she says it), reeeaaallly far. I can." And she does. When any of them looks at me and smiles. It's cliché, but true. When they're lying naked on the changing table and I can lean onto them and kiss their tiny lips and round cheeks and give them raspberries on the belly and yell "Naked baby! Naked baby!" and watch them squirm and hear them squeal.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

My life in spring.

Taking a break on the middle floor of the playground tree house.

Windows to my soul.

So beautiful, even in a bike helmet.

Up close with the Mia monster and her pink hat.

My Tiny Man.

There are tulips just growing on the side of the path. Just like that.

A chartreuse tree in front of an azure sky. Maybe this is my favorite season. At least on days like this.
Magnolia. Do these even exist in Colorado?
Just one magnolia bloom. They fascinate me. So big, so tough, so fuchsia.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Somebody's reading my blog!!!

I was just reading the stats page. I feel inspired! Somebody gives a shit about what I'm saying! Or at least, somebody's accidentally calling up my blog, which gives them the opportunity to care about what I'm saying...

I'd better get working.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Parallel universes

I was joking when I claimed to my dad that we couldn't live in multiple parallel universes simultaneously.
But now I think we can. Because I do.

Everything that happens in my brain cannot fit into this reality. It just can't. There are inconsistencies. Time lines change. The children are young, then old. The same event has different results. Do I live in a 3-bedroom apartment, or a 4-bedroom house on an acre of land?

THIS is why I can't throw away those bottles that Chloé didn't like and the twins are too old for. Or the clothes size 3-6 months. Or the half-dead plant. Or all those scarves. Someone somewhere sometime might need them.

I suppose this is my effort at not moving on. I am generally obsessed with moving on. I say, if it's in the past, it's done. Continue into the future with another lesson learned.

Except where I can imagine an existence with some object, I can't let it go. It's become a part of me. A carcinogenic parasite with claws. Together and apart we live as mothers and writers, happy and sad, here and there, alone and the center of the universe.

So in the end I can't move on. I can't even take a step. Not even a baby step. I trip every time. I'm surrounded by clutter and treasure and dust and gold and laughter and sorrow and sweet dreams and nightmares. They stall my passage.

But in which reality? All of them? Or just one? Is it my denial of the multiplicity that hinders me? Should I close my eyes and allow my hands to move whatever obstacles are identified by my mind in whatever world it ponders?

Maybe. It's disheartening to imagine so many futures in so many lives and nothing in this one.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Beloved Reader,

I just want you to know that I am working on several posts. They mean a lot to me and I can't wait to share them with you.
But my life keeps getting in the way. I can't find the time (and when I find the time, there's no energy) to get it written. The children, the cats, the laundry, exercise, organizing the family trip in June, Facebook (I admit it, it gets done first, but it's quick and low quality), the curtains (still not hung) and housework (only the bare minimum) have come first. And 25th.
It's killing me. I want to write. I MUST FIND A WAY.
Until then, I remain,
Your RC

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Those pesky thoughts

It's 3:30 again. Oh, no.

I had a thought yesterday that maybe I was at peace with my life and myself since I was able to sleep through the night after my last 3:30am wake up (or, as through the night as is possible with three small children and two asshole cats). But I guess I was just really tired.

Because here I am again, kept from sleep by these pesky thoughts.

I can't even imagine summer. A time when my feet and hands aren't cold, when I can slip on my flip flops to go outside, when I don't have to struggle Mia and Aidyn into four layers of clothing to leave the house. When the sun will bleach out the carrot and tomato stains. When I don't have two hours of dark in the morning (or five on an early day like today).  When we don't have to readjust the car seats every other time for coat volume.

I've discovered what "blog" really stands for. It's an acronym: Baggage Left Online (un)Guarded. This is where we leave those briefcase bombs waiting to go off in our psyche. Our issues, problems, scars from the past, we shove them into a box and hope they won't escape. But now, with blogs, we can open the box in cyberspace, freeing ourselves (hopefully; those issues have a funny way of finding home no matter where you leave them), assuming  that our past isn't hazardous to others.

Today is writer's group. I wanted to rewrite the crap I wrote for last time and continue the story. But I haven't done it. Nor have I finished reading the story I'm supposed to critique. Guilt all around.

I want to write. But after a day of being a mother my words seem to hide. Or I'm just so tired I can't find them. Sometimes something inspires me, but usually my evening is just writer's block and Dexter or The Mentalist.


Thursday, January 27, 2011


I always love listening to my 80s music. I am transported.

But every time, I ask myself, what do I miss? The 80s? My life? Me? What do I wish I still had from then? Is it the music? The friends? The innocence?

I think it's the simplicity. But not the simplicity of the time; the simplicity of our age. We were teenagers. No, I don't mean to say that this is an easy time. It's a horrible time: full of change, uncertainty, fear, emotion. We're so overwhelmed by life, and by ourselves, everything seems like a huge hurdle, and we either want to cower before it or destroy it. That's the simplicity: it's all about me. MY fear, MY emotion, MY hurdle. And although I don't know what to do with these things, I have a certain power. Teachers, parents, adults want to make up my mind, but in the end it's ME and I decide.

No, it's not simple then. But it looks simple now, looking back.

*Although it's hard to say, really. Because we always remember good times, even when the times weren't good. Especially when there are enough years between then and now. And between now and the 80s, there are a lotta years.*

We just watched The Big Chill, whose German title is The Big Frustration. The title seemed appropriate, watching it as an adult. The Frustration of Now. Now vs. Then.

As teenagers, and much more in college, we discovered ourselves. We chose who we wanted to be. We fought for our new-found identity. We were sure that we knew who we were.

But then, some years later, we found ourselves in relationships. It was no longer about ME. It was about US. And we said NO! We are not WE. I will always be ME. I am not US. And then he left. Hmph.

So we gargled the WE and then found ourselves parents. No discussion there, it's no longer about ME. It's not even about US. It's about THEM. Shit. So we ask ourselves: Who the hell am I?! I was going to change the world. I looked at the man in the mirror. I was, I was.

But now all we do is keep everyone else happy. Not at our own expense, maybe, but we've put all of our wishes, our hopes, our dreams, our EARTH-SHATTERING GOOD INTENTIONS on a back burner so that we could have a family. So where does that leave ME?!

Stripped of our privacy and without a world to save. Okay, maybe we don't want to save the world, but we'd like to relax a little. Have a drink, dance to some 80s music. SLEEP. Have an opinion that has nothing to do with feeding, raising or tolerating a toddler. ENJOY LIFE. It can't all be about self-sacrifice.

Optimistic me is sure that it's not. But I'm still not sure who the hell I am or what the hell I want to do with myself. And I DO know that I don't have time to figure it out at the moment. Maybe next year...

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Light

Yesterday, instead of again trekking the main shopping strip here in Stuttgart and eating at our semi-comfortable regular restaurant, the wee ones (the two wee-est since Big Sis was at school) and I walked an extra, I don't know, kilometer (after walking about 2 kilometers), to eat at a café which was listed on the web as "child friendly." I'm pretty sure they claimed the existence of a play area and high chairs.

Was I disappointed? No. Mia and Aidyn ate a good lunch in relative peace. Because of the high chairs they made available to me? No. Mia sat on my lap and Aidyn sat on the bench next to the table. I don't know, maybe they were just hungry. My food was great - and I was able to eat it in relative peace. Because of the fantastic play area with all the latest toys for 15-month-olds? No. No play area. But since the café was EMPTY and we were sitting on a step that they could go up and down (and up and down and up and down) and near a ramp which they could go down and up (and down and up), they were occupied long enough with little effort from me that I could enjoy my food. My only regret is that I didn't have a glass of wine with lunch. But I always hate when things deteriorate into chaos (which is not unusual) and I'm sitting there sipping wine. What a mom.

But all in all the café experience was a good one. I also learned that they have Sunday jazz brunch, which sounds intriguing. But given its real-life non-child-friendliness, I think we'll have to wait a few years.

The moral of the story? We're not at the end of the story yet. But the moral to the first part is maybe: Don't believe everything you read on the internet.

What I loved most yesterday was that we took a new path. I love new paths. Even if the stuff there is not terribly different from stuff I've seen before, it doesn't matter. It's SOMEWHERE ELSE. And this was really different. I have no problem with window shopping and wishing for material things, but at some point it gets old. I left the shopping zone to find streets lined by monster stone buildings from the 19th century. Of course, I knew those streets and buildings were there, I'd just gotten so used to looking at books and clothes and shiny jewelry that I wasn't aware of all the little businesses at the bottoms of those finely carved monoliths. (Okay I'm sounding like the shallowest of the shallow but this is where habit gets you.) An ad agency, a shop selling a local artist's jewelry, an art gallery. It was inspiring! This was where people were sharing their creations with the world. And I realized that I wanted to create things and share them. I want to create, forge, build, launch! Take my ideas and make them real, then display them for everyone to see.

I realize the naiveté of these thoughts. But honestly when you feel like you're drowning in the obligations of your life, whether they're job or children or friends or whatever, it feels good to get lost in inspiration and see the illumination of your buried passions.

I was so hyped when I got home, I just wanted to talk about it all evening. But of course I got derailed by bath time and dinner and bedtime stories. And he doesn't get it anyway. He's got the job he likes and the family he loves, and and that's enough. He's not pursuing a dream, he's enjoying what he's got. The dreaming is my job.

Yesterday's little adventure was my light. Now I see where I want to go. It could be my New Year's resolution but instead I'm just going to do it.