Calming the Storm

I suppose I can’t write a blog about chaos and comfort without giving some credit to the guy who rides the wave with me.  So, Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you this, An Ode to Mr. Scrambled Eggs.

My Dearest Mr. Scrambled Eggs,

When I start to lose the reins (which never happens), life has a way of reminding me how far we’ve come, how lucky we are, and why you’re the only person I want in the seat next to mine on this crazy train.

  • When I shuffle into the door, a panting, sweaty mess, with one kid riding my calf, one kid sobbing in my arms because he fell asleep while I was sitting in traffic and no longer remembers anything about his life, and lunch bags, grocery bags, and blankies precariously dangling from my arms….and there you are, carefully setting 4 impeccably-plated dinners on the dining room table.
  • When I walk past those 3 quickly-snapped photos (which you hung for me after I couldn’t get those stupid $1 frames to stay in place) of the 4 of us on a bench in Asbury Park, gleefully eating vegan ice cream in our winter coats on a day so very blustery that even Winnie the Pooh would have given up and gone home.
  • When you work one of the dreaded 20-hour Friday shifts, walk in the door resembling a (still stunningly handsome) zombie, but sleep for a mere 3 hours because, “I don’t want to miss any weekend time with the kids.”
  • Every time I walk into the living room and see Grace climbing you like a jungle gym as you calmly explain, “Grace, I’m not a jungle gym…” and do absolutely nothing to stop her.
  • When Vince gives you a 20-minute, “I just ate 17 ice pops” level of excitement tutorial about dinosaurs, and you not only patiently listen but also muster up your “Wow!” face every time he rattles off a fact that is either a.) Untrue or b.) Actually quite boring.
  • Whenever I start violently hurling my clothes at the wall because everything is too tight, and you sneak up behind me, wrap your arms around my waist and tell me all you see is a beautiful woman…and I snort that you need to get a stronger prescription for your contacts, and you roll your eyes and throw your hands up in defeat….
  • Whenever I forget about all those snug-fitting pants that are angrily balled up in a corner and start craving something crazy like an avocado milkshake- even though you just sat down to watch that tv special we taped 2 months ago- you disappear and magically reappear 20 minutes later with an avocado milkshake.
  • When I come home from one of “those” days- the ones that include hourly text messages with various explicit phrases and fantastic scenarios detailing why we should just “quit our f*&%ing jobs and move to New Zealand!” (I hear they have great schools)- and you’re waiting in the doorway with a very large glass of Apothic Red.
  • When you come home from one of “those” days, and I’ve warmed a towel, chilled a beer and left them in the bathroom so you can take a nice, long, “Eff you, Wednesday” shower, but the first thing you do is put your head on my shoulder, close your eyes, and exhale.
  • When you say things like, “You know the only bad thing about tacos? When they’re all gone.” Seriously, I want to marry you all over again.
  • When you find yet another cheeky way to avoid participating in any of my attempts at a date-night selfie.
  • When, during one of our beloved educational road trips, you insist on driving around for an hour while the kids nap in the car, giving me ample time to wander through a historic library and drool over literature like tweens drool over a boy band…
  • When I finally collapse into bed at night, turn over to switch off the light, see our wedding picture hanging next to the $5 “My Happy Place is With You” painting I impulse-bought at Big Lots, turn back to see you snoring next to me, and realize that frilly little sign is the truest thing I’ve ever read.

You will notice that, as you are fastidious about organization, I’ve prepared my long-winded tribute as a bulleted list- much like the PowerPoint presentation I created and read aloud to you during my crusade for Baby #2. But I digress…

Thank you for always knowing how to calm the storm.

Love,

Mrs. Scrambled Eggs

 

Wild, Free Spirits

We cuddled this morning.

This is huge- HUGE. You’re not exactly…well, I would describe you as…ok let’s start from the beginning.

For nine long, nauseous months I wondered who you would be.

I’m not a fan of stereotypes, but I did catch myself daydreaming about brushing shiny, curly hair, sharing polka-dotted headbands, and painting tiny nails to match my own…all things I do with your brother, but I figured it might be slightly different with a little girl. So anyway, here I am, queasily daydreaming about having a little miniature of myself…

And then I met you.

You came out wailing and flailing- not the sweet cries of a newborn baby, but more the guttural growling of a hibernating bear roused in the middle of February.

I quickly learned that while your brother enjoyed (edit: still enjoys) hours of story time, back rubs, and slow-dancing the night away, you wanted none of it. You pushed books out of my hands, covered yourself with your blanket and turned away from me before I could read one word, sing one note or plant one kiss on your chubby cheeks.

I spent months wondering what I was doing wrong, and then it hit me (much like you do when your milk is in the wrong cup) – I’m raising a strong, free-spirited human. You are fierce! You are independent! You don’t need any stinkin’ cuddles! You don’t need any stinkin’ dancing! You don’t need any stinkin’ Adele songs whispered in your ear!

One problem.

I am mousy and clingy and I need all of those things.

Alas, the more I tried to force the cuddles, the more I learned that what you really thrive on, my dear, is space. The kind of space one might give to a cat. You rub up against my leg every so often and sit on the counter to watch me cook, but if I get too smoochy you slap me, shriek and run. I’ve gotten used to this.

I’ve gotten used to the fact that “sitting at the table” actually means “climbing onto and rolling all over the table.”

I’ve gotten used to the fact that I will need to wrestle you like a tiny bobcat to get your shirt over your frantic, static-shocked curls every morning.

I’ve gotten used to the fact that putting you in your carseat will usually entail getting scratched, punched, and growled at, and that I should never, under ANY circumstances, wear dangling jewelry during the ordeal. It will be swiftly destroyed.

I’ve gotten used to the fact that if I try to help you brush your teeth, open your applesauce or put your shoes on, you will shriek “I DO IT!” before struggling, doing it horribly wrong, and declaring proudly, “I DID IT BY MYSELF!”

I’ve gotten used to the fact that you think licking the food off the floor is more fun than eating it off the plate; that you will drink the bath water and try to spit it long-distance into the toilet bowl no matter how hard I try to stop you; and that your favorite place to sit is in the window sill. Preferably naked.

I was completely unprepared for you.

And you know what? I love every minute of it.

After five years of being immersed in the sweet, affectionate, soulful person that is your brother, I am learning so much from you. Your fearlessness, fierce determination and unshakeable spirit thrill me. They also give me heartburn, but I figure that’s par for the course.

So when you woke up just before 6am bellowing for a milk refill, I stumbled into your bedroom just grateful that I’d get 30 minutes to wrestle you into your outfit before Vince wandered in and asked for chocolate milk at a specific temperature.

But as I headed for the kitchen you stopped me and pointed to the couch.

“Mickey Mouse on?”

“Sure, Gracie. Here’s Mickey Mouse- I’ll go get your milk.”

“No, Mommy sit….cuddle?”

As I flopped into the chair in complete, half-asleep shock, you snuggled onto my lap, covered us both with your blanket, and whispered, “We cuddle, Mommy,” into my neck.

If that chair didn’t have an armrest I would have been on the floor.

We watched as Mickey Mouse found coconuts for the Clubhouse Coconut Party; I brushed your curls with my fingers (for about 4 seconds, until you gently but firmly grabbed my hand and said, “No. Mommy, No.”); and we sang the Hot Dog Dance song (not exactly Adele, but I’ll take it).

It was Heaven.

And then you ran into Vince’s room yelling “Wake UUUUP!!!!” and climbed onto his art table and I wrestled you into a clean diaper and Rocco pooped on the floor and Vince complained that his milk was the wrong temperature and that he couldn’t get all the boogers out of his nose….(deep breaths)…and we were back to our regularly-scheduled program.

But we cuddled, you and me.

I guess even wild, free spirits need their mamas every now and then.

So…matching headbands tomorrow? No? Too soon?

Ok, well…I’ll be here.

 

Wanted

Things I Hear Every Morning

Son

“Mommy, just wait until Daddy gets home tonight. He’ll fix it. He’s an engineer.”

“Mommy, maybe you should let Daddy do that later. You’re not an engineer. He’s an engineer.”

“No thanks, I can do it by myself. I’m an engineer like Daddy.”

“Look! My shoes look just like Daddy’s shoes! We’re twins.”

“Daddy likes chocolate milk just like I do, you know.”

“Do you think Daddy will want to watch the Dragon movie with me tonight?”

“Do you think Daddy will want to play Legos with me tonight?”

“Do you think Daddy will need help with the yardwork tonight?”

“Do you think Daddy will want to go to the movies with me this weekend?”

“Look! My toothbrush is next to Daddy’s toothbrush!”

“I think I want to shave all my hair off so I look more like Daddy.”

“Daddy’s car is so cool. I really wish we could go to school in his car.”

“Daddy is my best friend forever, you know.”

“I miss Daddy. Can we call him? (sniffle)”

Daughter

“Where Daddy?”

“Daddy sleeping?”

“Daddy at work?”

“Daddy come home now?”

“No! Daddy dress me!”

“No! Daddy brush my teeth!”

“Go swimming with Daddy?”

“Blow bubbles with Daddy?”

“Look! Look! Daddy’s shoes!”

“Look! Look! Daddy’s glasses!”

“Look! Look! Daddy’s Mickey Mouse Cup!”

“NO! Go in Daddy’s car!”

“Want Daddy. (sniffle)”

Things I hear every night

Son

“Mommyyyy, I want YOU to give me a bath/fill my cup/tuck me in/read me the books!”

Daughter

“Mommy! Mommy! Mommy, need milk! Mommy, I pooped! Mommmyyyyyy!”

Husband

“See? I told you, they don’t like me. They never want me.”

What You’ll Never Know

The routine has been chiseled to perfection.

I carefully cover you with the blue blanket (not the green one, per your instructions), at mid-chest, because when it touches your shoulders it sets off an invisible alarm that jolts you out of a sound sleep. I collect the empty bottle of milk, which you requested to stall me, from under one of your feet. I collect the untouched bottle of water that you requested after I presented the milk. Balancing them in one hand, I bend down to rescue your beloved puppy from the floor and slide him into the bend in your arm.  You sigh and stretch- I retreat to the corner like a ninja, waiting to see if I have to dive behind the crib or just wait out a momentary bout of restlessness.

Once you settle down I straighten from my Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon pose; check the temperature on the air conditioner (again); place a kiss onto my hand and then to your forehead (also checking for any fever that could have sprung up in the last 3-4 minutes); and whisper “I love you alllll the way to the moon and back.” Then I tip-toe out of the room praying that the squeaky door won’t wake you.

As I sprint down the stairs and quickly pack your lunch so I can catch the only tv show I (occassionally) have time to watch, I wonder…will you ever know? Will you ever momentarily open your heavy little eyelids, see me moving through my mom tasks with the precision of an acrobat on a high-wire, and somehow remember? Will you have some foggy recollection of a plush puppy being carefully slid into your arm? In 25 or 30 years when you’re reading “Guess How Much I Love You” to your own baby, and you get to the part where Big Nutbrown Hare tells Little Nutbrown Hare that he loves him alllll the way to the moon and back, will you suddenly have a warm, fuzzy feeling surge through you?

Now as one hand fills tomorrow’s cups with milk and the other spreads peanut butter onto a slice of bread, my mind really starts to wander. What about all the other things you’ll never know?  Like the peanut butter, for example. You think you like a lot of it, but when it oozes out of the corners of the bread you declare “Mess! Mess!” and demand a napkin; so I carefully spread it as evenly as fondant on a wedding cake, eliminating any gobs that will send you into a fit (you get that over-zealous need for neatness from your father, by the way).

Then there are Amy’s Bunnies- they don’t sell the chocolate bunnies separately (because why would they?), but they do sell them mixed with vanilla bunnies. Well, you don’t like the vanilla bunnies (why would you?), so to avoid the angry shower of bunny mayhem raining upon me from the backseat of the car, I carefully remove all traces of bland vanilla bunnies from your snack bowl before giving it to you. Will you ever know this? Probably not. Are my thighs thanking me for discarding all the vanilla bunnies by consuming them myself? Also probably not.

What about all of my other mom wizardry, like finding the right ratio of lavender and tea tree-scented bubbles to bathwater, or convincing you that my kisses cure boo-boos? Or my expert method of proving that you’re tired, even when you are certain you have enough energy to dance until the sun comes up?

First I say we should have a dance party; you race up the stairs, turn on your musical drum kit, yell “Mommy dance!” and start jumping and wiggling around like that person at a wedding who’s had one-too-many right before the Chicken Dance comes on.  I jump and wiggle with you for about ten minutes, then ask you to dance with me. You of course oblige, and I pick you up and start spinning and dipping as you giggle and squeal.

After a few spins I twirl over to the drum kit and turn it off, suggesting that we instead dance to the music on your mobile. In your dizzy dance stupor, you yell “Yay music!” not realizing you’ve now sealed your dreaded bedtime fate. Once the mobile is cranked up, I accidentally brush past the bedroom light, turning it off, and begin to  slowly sway around the nursery with you. Before long, your strawberry blonde curls are resting on my shoulder, your arms are wrapped around my neck, and your breath is a light, even breeze on my back. I softly ask “Oh, are you sleepy?” The answer comes from somewhere in a dream that your mind has already started to weave.

“Night…night….Mommy.”

“Night-night my beautiful boy.”

And just like that, in only 25 easy steps, I have convinced both of us that we’re exhausted.

But how will you ever know? Maybe you won’t.  Although… whenever I’m sick I remember the warmth of butter and honey smeared across a piece of toast, placed carefully on my mother’s nightstand, waiting for me to wake from the nap I always took on her side of the bed (because only her side of the bed made me feel better). Whenever I hold an orange, I faintly hear my grandmother asking if I wanted “boats or smileys” when she cut them up for me. If I smell a certain perfume, I’m transported back to the very rare Friday night when Mom would get dressed up in her favorite high-necked red dress with the shoulder pads (it was the 80’s, don’t judge),  Dad would put on his dark gray suit, and they’d go to dinner. But first, they’d tuck me in- and I’d fall asleep with her sweet perfume in my nose and the memory of her gold cross dangling near my eyes as she leaned down to kiss me goodnight.

So maybe all these feats I’ve spent so much time mastering are just things you’ll never know. But then again…maybe one day when you’re resting on your couch, fighting a nasty cold, you’ll remember chamomile tea, waffles with jelly in every square, foot massages and Mickey Mouse marathons, and it’ll cheer you up a bit. And maybe one day, far in the future, you’ll be absently walking around a small shop in a small town (because if we are raising you even remotely correctly you will love small shops in small towns) and the sweet scent of lavender and tea tree will somehow find its way to your nose…and you’ll smile.

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Timmy & Lassie

Sometime between turning off the Yankee game and making one last sweep of the house for stray sippy cups, I realized my little shadow, Rocco, wasn’t at my feet. I crept towards the kids’ rooms and saw that Vince’s door was cracked open, so I peeked in. There he was, our little sausage with legs, wiggling around on the carpet.

My heart immediately grew three sizes. That faithful old dog had nosed his way into his favorite little boy’s room just to be near him. Perhaps I could bring his pillow downstairs for the night- that would be such a nice surprise for Vince.

“Gosh,” I thought, melting into a big puddle of sentiment (as per usual), “I really underestimated just how close these two have become!” Over the years, Rocco’s hesitancy has really blossomed into a true companionship with Vince. They watch movies together; they share snacks. And now he couldn’t even bear the thought of being separated from his little buddy even overnight. As I stood just outside the door, watching his pure glee as he wiggled and danced next to his “brother’s” bed, my mind was flooded with so many warm memories.

I thought back to my childhood companion, Dasher, who patiently let me cloak his fluffy black and white fur with my baby blankets. And then there was Sammy, the energetic puppy who slept at my feet each night, gently tapping his paws as he dreamed. Maybe Rocco & Vince would end up sharing a room for the rest of Rocco’s years, huddled under a blanket fort while Vince read books by flashlight…

As I was envisioning this epic Bromance, Rocco trotted out of the bedroom and, to my sudden horror, I realized that dance wasn’t a glee wiggle. That was his “Ahhh, I feel better” shimmy.

I’m pretty sure Lassie never snuck into Timmy’s room at 10:30 at night to crap under his arts and crafts table.

And then had the audacity to ask Timmy’s mother for a cookie.

Sometimes I really think I’m losing control of this zoo.

Kissing

“Do you know why I’ll never get married, Mommy?”

I’m in the middle of pushing a cartful of groceries through a rainy, windy, crowded parking lot; shimmying around like Elaine from Seinfeld to keep my purse from falling off my shoulder and my dress from flying up over my head; and grasping a tiny toddler hand.

So of course now is the perfect time to discuss life’s biggest issues.

“Ummm…ya got me. Why not?”

“Well, I’ll tell you. Because you have to kiss.”

I want to put my hand over my mouth to catch the laugh before it comes out, but between the cart, the dress, the purse and the toddler hand, it’s too late.

“Mommy, no. It’s not funny. It’s disgusting.”

I should stop here and tell you, lovely reader, that my son is quite possibly THE most affectionate little boy on the face of the Earth. He spends his entire day giving us spontaneous hugs and kisses, holding his little sister’s hands, and assuring my husband and me that we are “just so beautiful and handsome.” So naturally, I’m curious to see where this is going.

“Why is it disgusting? You love to kiss us.”

“Yes but that’s different. At school, Harper (the current girlfriend and, I’m crossing my fingers, possible future wife) hugs me and I always hug her back. But I’m not kissing her! That’s just yucky. And I don’t care if that’s what people do. I’m not doing it.”

He’s looking at me with the same expression his father and I shoot towards each other when one of us brings up getting a puppy or having another baby. And I’m trying my best not to smirk- I swear I am- but all I can think about is ten years from now when I catch him making out with his date on my front porch.  I’m definitely going to remind him of this conversation…after I pull them apart, of course.

“Well I think kissing is great. Vinny Bear, one day you’ll meet someone and be so happy that you’ll want to show them, just like Daddy and me. You always see us hugging and kissing!”

As I haul fragrance-free laundry detergent and vegan ice cream and gluten-free cookies into my truck, what I really want to tell him is that the part of marriage he should dread is finding allergy-friendly groceries for under $4 million a week. And that’s when it hits me.

One day he’s going to pick out vegan ice cream and gluten-free cookies with someone else. He’s going to give his morning hugs and kisses to someone else. He’s going to have existential conversations in the ShopRite parking lot with someone else.

There will be no more “dance through the aisles/sing the shopping list/visit the lobster tank” routine. Of course this will make me happy. Of course you want your children to grow up and start their own families.  But, but… I’m not ready! And because, in case you haven’t figured this out yet, I’m the Queen of the spontaneous emotional meltdown, I begin to silently agonize over this as I buckle him into his car seat and adjust his Spiderman flip-flops. My baby, my best buddy, my little red-haired cuddle bug, is just a heartbeat away from ABANDONING ME!

“Yes, I know you two kiss each other all the time,” he interrupts, spitting a cherry pit into his Ninja Turtle snack cup.

“That is why you guys are GROSS.”

Well then.

Maybe I still have some time.20160904_133954

The Pink, Girly Meltdown

I was ok until we got to the hats.

We were putting together our registry on a Friday night, watching Modern Family and eating dill pickle-flavored popcorn. Snuggled up on the couch with the dog, wearing comfy sweatpants, and clicking away on all the cute little things that danced across the screen, I should have been over the moon.  Thrilled.  Tickled, even. But I wasn’t.

I was reasonably happy at first.  Little leggings with polka dots, bath towels with owls, pink rattles with frogs…all very exciting and new after the last three years of construction toys, insect shirts, and roaring stuffed dragons that set themselves off at 2am. To be clear, you can go ahead and play with those construction toys, wear insect shirts and own a full set of roaring dragons- I’m all for it. But feminist or not (and I am), those polka dot leggings did make my heart skip a beat or two.

Once we got to bibs and bottles I started to feel a little stressed. Everything was frosting pink and read “Daddy’s Princess” and “I Love Cupcakes” in frilly script lettering. This is foreign to me. My dad is one of my best friends in the world, but I was never anyone’s princess, and as much as I am addicted to cupcakes I don’t really enjoy dressing like one. It all just seemed like an insult to women. Why can’t my daughter wear blue? Why can’t she have an insect shirt? What if she wants to be a…a…a bug researcher, whatever they’re called? An Entomologist. I didn’t just look that up (yes I did).

Then we got to hats. “She’ll need some hats, right?” Dad said innocently, not yet fully aware that his wife was slowly melting down like a snowman in July. He scrolled to a- you guessed it- bright pink one with cherries on it, and I said quietly, “no, not that one.” “Ok,” he replied cheerfully. “How about this one?” Pink with bunnies. “I don’t like that one either,” I said in a slightly more shrill voice. He laughed and scrolled down to a horrid-looking teal one with obnoxiously-large flowers. “That one!” I declared triumphantly. Sure it was hideous, but it was teal! He raised one eyebrow in disbelief and I quickly relented. “Ok, yeah, that’s kind of ugly. Just register for this one and let’s move on please,” I grumbled, pointing to a white one with multicolored grapefruits slices. He added it to our registry then turned to look at me, finally grasping the fact that I had turned into Alice and was already about halfway down the rabbit hole.

All I could focus on as I paid my ticket and hopped on the Panic Express was that in four months I was going to give birth to someone who was going to wear outfits that had more tulle than a wedding venue, and I didn’t know how to handle that. I am a woman, yes. A woman who, according to your dad, has an excessive amount of shoes and costume jewelry (I don’t- he should see my friends’ closets), but having a daughter was literally taking my breath away.

“It’s kind of hard to do this if you’re going to be so unhappy with everything,” he said semi-gently. I tried to feign a cheerful expression but all that came out was the kind of face you make when you mistake a lemon for an orange in your sangria.  The jokes on Modern Family sounded stale, my sweatshirt suddenly felt like it might suffocate me, and the popcorn tasted like nothing more than salt. And just like that, I fell to pieces.

“I can’t do this! I can’t handle this! I can’t have another baby, with all the bottles and the breast pump thing and the leggings and boots and bows and pink teddy bears and pink blankets and why is everything pink?! Why does everything have to be pink???!!!”

And then it hit me. Hard. This wasn’t about pink. It was about what pink meant to me. Pink meant a girl. A girl, in my family, was an overly-emotional, anxiety-riddled mess who had a relationship with her mother that would be any therapist’s dream (seriously, my therapist probably puts a big heart around my appointments in her book).

My mother and I didn’t have a healthy relationship until I was almost thirty years old. I spent my whole young life feeling like she didn’t understand even 2% of who I was or what I needed. Only after we reconciled did I realize that she had spent all those years feeling just as deserted and lonely by the holes left in our rocky relationship. So I wasn’t terrified of pink leggings- I was terrified of the little girl who was going to be wearing them.

What if you already, as a 20 week-old fetus, didn’t like me? What if you never looked at me the way your brother does as I sing him to sleep? What if I didn’t know how to fasten the bows and I hurt your hair, which sent you running to your father the way I used to run to my grandmother every time my mother tried unsuccessfully to untangle my knots?

These questions took up residence in my brain and invited some friends to join them. “What if she thinks I’m stupid” stopped by with “what if she gets pregnant in high school” and “what if she says her grandmother makes better meatloaf than I do?” Eventually they all held hands and sang a chorus of “what if she just hates me for no reason at all?” By the time I got to my check-up on Sunday morning I was almost certain when that ultrasound wand was pressed onto my belly, I was going to see your face emblazoned with a disgusted, disinterested expression, and possibly a middle finger raised in my general direction.

But what I saw, instead, was a foot. A tiny little foot, with tiny little toes. It was snugly crossed over another tiny foot with tiny toes. And it was tapping. You were curled in a little ball, tapping your foot. My breath caught in my throat. I do that. I sleep in a little ball, and I tap my foot. And there you were, tap-tap-tapping away. Just like me. I felt the noose around my brain relaxing just a smidge. I saw your heart beating, your mouth moving, and your fingers wiggling. You suddenly seemed remarkably less like a fire-breathing dragon and bore a striking resemblance to a baby.

And then I saw your face. And that moment, that moment I feared would take my breath away- it did. But not for the reasons you’re thinking. You didn’t look disinterested or detached or any of the things I had so ridiculously feared. You looked….happy. You had a big, peaceful grin on your little face. And your face- well, it was my face staring back at me, in miniature. My heart started beating a little dance number, and as I sat there staring at you, completely in awe, the tornado stopped swirling, the anxiety faded to the back of my mind, and all I was left with was….you.

You weren’t terrifying in the least. Sure you’d hate me eventually- but it didn’t have to be the tsunami I feared- maybe just a few strong thunderstorms. We’ll make it, you and me. I can learn to gently untangle knots if you can learn to like my organic, dairy-free lasagna. We can go shopping for pink hats with cherries and insect shirts together. Maybe you’ll even want to borrow some of my boots (I know your dad would be thrilled with that).

Yeah, we’ll be ok. I think we’ll make it just fine, little girl.

Stars (or “The Slightly Over-Wrought Version of How We Got Here”)

“Wow, look at the stars, Mommy. There are a million stars!”

I paused the frantic to-do list in my head and looked up at the sky while the dog pulled me toward his favorite patch of grass. Wow. There WERE a million stars up there.

“This is why we bought this house, right Mommy? So we can see the stars?”

I looked down at your tiny figure, lit by the antique (ok, really old) lamp post shining warmly in our front yard. Standing there wide-eyed in your football pajamas and bare feet, you radiated an innocence and awe that I wished I could hold onto forever.

As I smiled at you, the last 12 years of my life flashed through my mind. I wanted to tell you about the 5 apartments.

The first one, a basement with damp carpets and spiders so mutated that I swore they grew larger when I tried to kill them.

The second one that we spent a week scrubbing and spackling (57 holes in the living room wall) before we could even set foot inside.

The third one, where we met two of our lifelong friends, and where you began your journey.

The fourth one with the slightly unhinged neighbors who had domestic disputes with their cats and let their chickens roam through our yard.

The fifth one, where our living room wasn’t technically in the apartment, and where we grew so depressed we almost gave up on ever having a place of our own.

I wanted to tell you about that one night when we sat on the floor of our bedroom in Apartment #3, looking from our $155,000 in debt to my unemployment application, held each other’s hands and cried.

I wanted to tell you about the first year of your life.

It was the year I learned to make so many meals out of a bag of lentils that I could probably open a legume-themed restaurant. It was the year we moved to Apartment #4 to give you a better life. It was the year your dad earned his college degree, came home and told me about his long-overdue promotion, and wrapped me tightly in his arms, where we stayed in a deliriously grateful embrace between the stove and the refrigerator while you napped upstairs.

I wanted to tell you about the nights I sat up in bed and listened to police cars, fire trucks, and trains whiz by Apartment #5. I wanted to tell you how much I had hated cooking in that closet-sized kitchen; or how tiring it was to carry you, your sister, and 8 grocery bags up the street in the dead of winter because we weren’t allowed to park in the driveway.

I wanted to tell you about the meticulous checkbook balancing, the ½ full cupboards, and the days when I had to choose between apples and tortilla chips.

I wanted to tell you about the countless car rides we took while you and your sister napped in the back seat- sipping coffee and pointing out houses that held some resemblance to our dream home…and promising each other we’d find it one day.

I wanted to tell you, but I looked at your sweet, blissful little face and all I could say was, “Yup, Bud. This is why we bought it.”

Then I thought about what I’d accomplished so far that night.

Baskets of laundry and rounds of dishes; cleaning out the fridge; gluing the sole back onto your brand new shoe; feeding and bathing a little girl that lives by the mantra “Live Naked; Stay Dirty; Eat Only Ketchup!”; slicing a watermelon that no one would actually eat; and making a cup of coffee with no coffee in it because in my rush I forgot to add grinds.

But I hadn’t looked at any stars.

“Want to sit on the porch and star-gaze with me?” I asked.

You scurried onto a rocking chair and craned your neck as far as you could, pointing out every star you could find. When you grew quiet, and I glanced over to see if you were ok (because let’s face it, you’re rarely quiet), you were staring up with a smile on your face, clutching your favorite blanket around your shoulders like the little old man that you are. Quietly, you breathed to yourself, “It’s so beautiful out here.”

All the things I still had to do faded out of my ever-whirring mind, and I looked around at my yard, in front of my house, in my quaint little corner of the world. It WAS beautiful out here. We had done it. We had finally made it. All those years, all the struggle, all the dreams and the fears and the doubts, all the lentil meatloaf…maybe one day I’d tell you. But for now, for this moment in time, I was just going to sit in my rocking chair, on my porch, with my little old soul of a toddler, and silently thank my lucky stars.

Welcome to the Scramble

Welcome! Whether you’ve stumbled across my blog because you saw the title and were looking for a frittata recipe; I know you in real life and begged you to click into it so it looks like I actually have readers; or you’re really interested in my weird little life- thank you for visiting!

How did it all start? Well. Begin with one husband; add two spicy toddlers, one sausage-shaped dog who thinks he’s a child, and several goldfish that keep mysteriously going belly-up; mix with one career that has nothing to do with the $50,000 in student loans at which I’m slowly chiseling away- and there you have it. Welcome to my life.

Every minute of my day seems to toss me around like an egg in a pan (now you get the title?) But there are these moments…these calm, other-worldly gems that sneak into the day-to-day circus and remind me that, despite the chaos…who doesn’t love scrambled eggs? Well, except my vegan cousin, but you get the point.

I wanted to capture these moments to share with my children later in life, so I started jotting them down. Then I thought, hey, there are lots of parents out there! Why not share with them too? And there are so many non-parents who read blogs! Why not scare the hell out of them? I mean…illustrate for them the serene joys of parenting…right, yes. That second one.

In any case, welcome to our craziness. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

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