The Long Path

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My wife and I used to spend our Sunday afternoons at the wine bar. Tucked into one of the corner couches, wine glasses in hand we talked for hours. Dreaming and imagining and creating a life built entirely with words. Our family was conceived on those afternoons. The “us” that we  would eventually become originated right there. Together we looked forward into the world of marriage and careers and children, imagining how we might craft a life that felt like our own. It was a deeply precious time.

I’ve been thinking about those afternoons a lot lately. Preoccupied you might say. Nostalgic for the days when this life was nothing more than a beautiful idea. When the whole thing could fade seamlessly into the background when the check came. Because it’s hard to think these days. There is not a lot of space for contemplative dreaming. Life with young children is hardly a life of the mind. It is perhaps the furthest thing from it. It is a life of the now, the right this moment. And as much as I know that this too is a gift, on most days I don’t really understand it. The gift of it I mean.

As impossible as it seems, our actual life is even richer and fuller than our theoretical one. The reality is so much more than we could ever have imagined. Of course the more is where the trouble gets in. The distance between the theoretical and the actual is entirely a matter of amplitude. More joy, more anxiety, more beauty, more exhaustion. More, more, more. All of it is just so very much to manage, to hold. And there of course is a piece of the lesson. Life isn’t a thing to be managed. Grasping only tightens everything up. Less holding, more opening. That’s what is called for.

Unfortunately there is quite a bit of distance between knowing a thing and knowing it. That long path between the head and the heart. That’s where I spend my time these days. Creeping always towards the safety of the mind while this lovely, impossible family tugs me into the wild fray of the heart. I can think of no better way to spend my days, but I can imagine plenty that might be less chaotic. Luckily this life offers little space for imagining.

Now we spend Sunday afternoons in parks or alongside train tables. We pour milk and wipe bottoms with the sounds of little boy laughter and hysterical wailing alternating in our ears. There is precious little space for words, but I’m beginning to discover a space that exists outside of that. Finally. A space of doing and being, together. It’s not the safe, tidy space that we once shared. It’s more than that. During those moments when I have the grace to open up and let all of it in, it’s almost more than I can bear. My wife disentangles our youngest son from our oldest while explaining (again) that in this family we respect someone when they tell us “no” and I catch her eye. Just for a moment. She is weary with the conflict and the nearness to bedtime, but when our eyes meet she has a smile. Just for me.

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Kindergarten Looms

Last week a friend posted a picture on FaceBook that I can’t stop thinking about. The picture was of a tiny school desk. That desk featured a laminated sticker with a smiling apple and a very familiar name written in tidy teacher hand.

One of Yogi’s friends started kindergarten! Kindergarten! Sure, this is one of Yogi’s older friends, but still. We’re talking school here. Real school. Surely this is all too soon, isn’t it?! I think it is. I keep telling myself that I have a few years before I’m ready for a picture like that, but I’m not sure a few years will be enough. I don’t know how it could be.

Once the initial panic subsided, I went straight to my happy place. My imagination. The place where all scary things can be diffused. Oh how I love it there. No need to think of scary things that are beyond your control when you can just hang out somewhere that you made up your own damn self.

When I wasn’t following the Monk on a tour of all the things that really should be Monkey-proofed in our home, I spent the afternoon enrolling the boys in another kind of school. A hippie, neighborhood commune kind of a school. The kind where a handful of parents with totally complementary skills and personalities get together to figure out the best way to PREPARE OUR CHILDREN FOR LIFE. No big deal, right? I’m thinking small numbers here (bc let’s face it, I can’t handle lots of people), maybe 10 kids. Something like 5-ish families.

This kind of small-group model would eliminate most of my big concerns about homeschooling, at least in the early years. Everyone would get the benefit of learning from different kinds of teachers while remaining in a comfy, cozy social group. The kids could move from house to house throughout the week and of course all of the families would serve healthy, yummy lunches and snacks. Another benefit of our small size would be our ability to get outside the classroom and take trips with relative ease. And then there’s getting outside, as in the out of doors. I’ve heard some frankly harrowing things about the kind of time kids are allowed to “play” in primary school in our area and it worries me. A lot. Of course in our school we’ll be outside as much as possible.

We’ll be playing and learning and eating high quality food and perhaps gardening.

Anybody know of a place? I’ve got 2 (or 3?) years to find it or make it myself.

Another Lesson Learned

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Playing in the sand with some of our peeps.

I’ve read (and taught) the research on “loose ties” and I understand that all sorts of fabulous mental health and wellness outcomes are associated with the size of your social network. I get it in that it makes sense and seems like it should be lots of fun, but I’ve never gotten it on a gut level. I’ve always considered it to be one of those things that’s good for other people. Although I’m quite pleasant in a neighborly smile and wave kind of way, I’ve very rarely been enthusiastic about the idea of having more friends. Two is really my limit and I function pretty well with one. This isn’t because I’m opposed to the idea of other people, it’s more because I’m totally into it. I’m so enamored with my people that it’s hard to imagine maintaining that level of connection with  anything like a network. Daunting really.

Then my life changed. I left my career and began staying home with very young children. It took me quite a long time to realize it, but without my long accustomed network(?) of colleagues and administrative staff and students and random people at the gym, I was lonely. I hadn’t realized that all of that just being friendly added up to something. That it was not just the being a decent human being thing, but also something that offered real connection.

As I became more involved with my Mom group the loneliness began to ease and what has replaced it is something I would never have expected. It’s not just that vague connectedness that came from having a friendly kind of engagement with the world, it’s something else all together. I think it’s what all those social scientists have been going on about. It’s a network. A sense of having people. Maybe even a kind of village.

Yogi and I went to our first gathering with these folks when he was about 8 months old, so it’s been a little over 2 years now. In that time I’ve seen many of these people almost every week. That’s a lot of time together. These women may not be my soul mates, but they are important to me just the same. These are not the kind of intense emotional connections that I’ve previously understood to be real friendships, but I’m understanding (slowly) that these women are my friends. I care about them and I care about their children. I trust them with small intimacies and know for sure that when I’m in need, any number of them will be right there.

It’s really the needing that’s created this shift. I need these women in a way that I’ve never needed anyone before. Before having children I managed my own self just fine thank.you.very.much. I looked towards friendships for interesting conversation and shared understanding and also for entertainment (I do enjoy a quick wit). Given the few spaces available in my dance card, I found my people early and just hung on. And then I moved and a few years later moved again. And before we had gotten our feet under us in our new town, we had Yogi and then the Monk. So, things changed. I changed.

These days I need things like interest in yet another conversation about how everyone is sleeping and new ideas for what the hell you can feed a toddler that is not a goldfish. I need someone who notices when I’ve actually brushed my hair and is thoughtful enough to mention it. I need someone to invite us over to their house because they remember my wife is on call and understand that I am a handful of steps from the deep end. I need that look that says “I totally get it” when my kid loses his sh#t at the park again upon realizing his shovels are not on the stroller.

What I need is kindness and I’m very grateful to say that I get it. More of it then I ever expected really. This awareness is yet another one of the fabulous side effects of motherhood. Before these kids I wasn’t open or vulnerable enough to realize that kindness is everywhere. It’s all around really. It doesn’t have a “witty conversationalist” criteria or even a “has a thing in common with me” requirement. It comes from so many directions and I’m over the moon to finally understand that.

Gay Adoption or If We Could Just Get Married I Wouldn’t Have this Problem!

Warning – If you’re in a “quit your bitchin’” kind of mood, I would suggest skipping this post. Lots of whining ahead.

 

It is a beautiful spring day*, my wife is off work and when the boys wake from nap, we’re going…………….

……….to get fingerprinted.

Lovely.

I haven’t had a lot to say about the 2nd parent adoption process here. We are lucky enough both to live in a place where such legal protections are available and to be in the financial position to take advantage of them. Those facts alone were enough to occupy me during our first adoption. I was grateful for our social worker and attorney and even the judge who conducted the hearing. The only anger or sadness I felt was on behalf of all of the families for which this was not possible.

Unfortunately, that was last time.

Yogi’s adoption was conducted as swiftly as possible and I was recognized as one of his legal parents well before his first birthday. Monkey turned one last week and only now are my wife and I forcing ourselves to begin jumping through all of the hoops that will get us a piece of paper that makes official the fact of my status as parent to this child.

While it’s true that our lives are busier now that we have two children, it is not true that this is the reason for all the feet dragging. At least not my feet. If all of this were up to my wife, we would have had this box checked quite some time ago. Unfortunately, it’s not all up to my wife. As the “oh, so you didn’t actually have the baby” part of this duo, I’m an essential part of the process. I’m the adopter. She’s the birth Mother.

So, why the change of heart? I wish I knew. All I can tell you is that when we had our first meeting with the social worker (months and months and months ago) to discuss Monkey’s adoption, I felt none of the “isn’t this lovely?” gratitude that I had felt (with the very same social worker) during the same meeting for Yogi. The pile of papers that we waded through (again) felt less like a path to somewhere I wanted to be than a stack of busy work you might have gotten from a substitute teacher in grade school.

In case you’re not familiar with these hoops, here’s a few highlights.

Unfortunately,

  • A clean criminal background check (at the federal, state AND local levels),
  • Proof of health and life insurance,
  • Letters attesting to my fitness as a parent from five separate people (three of whom must not be related to me),
  • A clean bill of health and thumbs up from my family physician,
  • Two letters attesting to the health of each of my boys from their pediatrician,
  • A copy of every official government document I have,
  • My wife’s latest tax return,
  • Three lengthy sessions with the social worker,
  • Ridiculous outlays of cash, and
  • A court date

do not a Mama make. Of that, I am quite sure.

What I’m saying is that this time, the whole thing feels less like a blessing than an insult. Somewhere along the way I’ve gotten tired of being grateful for crumbs. It might have been all the recent conversations around gay marriage. As glad as I am that such conversations are happening, the tone and content of the debate has gotten to me. Worn me out frankly. I’m tired of everyone else getting to pontificate on the reality of my family. Bone tired.

As if getting all angsty about marriage and adoption and all the rest weren’t enough, now I’m just pissed that I’m pissed. I mean, I am a loving person, dammit!

Perhaps the example that best captures the off-ness of this situation is my wife (hoping to find some good in the bad and not exactly known for her party enthusiasm) lauding the celebration/ritual potential of Monkey’s adoption:

My Wife: ” Well, you know we could make a day of it, really make things special. A Monkey and Mama day”!

Me: “This is NOT a day I want to celebrate! This is not OUR day and it is certainly not the day that I became his Mother. No, bad idea.”

My Wife: “Yeah,  I see that.”

If you have any extra patience, perhaps you could send some her way. I’m a real delight to live with at the moment.

 

 

* It WAS a beautiful Spring day when I started writing this post. 😉

Because I Can’t Seem to NOT Write About It

I’m (once again) all jumbled up inside. I’ve got so many things I want to write about and now that I’ve got the time to focus (the boys are having breakfast with Mommy) all I can think about is the thing I don’t want to write about. The thing I fear (know?) is not mine to write about. But…. it won’t go away and that has to mean something. I’m going to trust it.

This is about the loss of a child. Please don’t continue if this isn’t something you’re up for today.

As a member of this blogging community I’m not a complete stranger to child loss. Those of you who have walked this path and made the choice to share your experiences have truly graced us with your stories. I have read your words and in the reading I’ve cried along with you. As real as I know that connection to be, it cannot erase the physical fact of distance. I heard your words, but I wasn’t holding your hand as you spoke them.

That changed a few days ago.

A member of my Moms group and a woman who chases kids around my living room every Friday morning lost her baby this week. Her routine 20 week ultrasound revealed that her baby’s heart had stopped beating. The morning that she and her husband had been looking forward to for weeks morphed into almost 48 hours of forced letting go. By the time she arrived at my house to pick up her daughter (this baby was to be their 2nd) her voice was shaky, but she needed to speak.

She was admitted to the hospital and induced. She labored in ways that were both the same and wholly different from her labor with her daughter. The doctors told her not to push. She delivered a tiny, perfect baby boy. They were asked to make decisions about his remains. She and her husband held him and spoke his name. They told him about his family. About his big sister and their family dog and cat. They kept holding him. She wrapped him in the hospital nursery blankets and asked her husband to place him in the crib. Then they left the room and the hospital without him.

She’s home now with a body that has given birth to a baby that can’t be nurtured. Her milk is in, but her only child is long weaned. Postpartum hormones are making all of it worse. Her husband could only manage one day home from work.

Here is what I learned from her.

  • She lost her child. Her son. Her second born. She didn’t lose a pregnancy and she didn’t have a 2nd trimester loss. While those things are technically true, they skate around the emotional heart of the matter. Although the mechanisms may be different, this birth will shape her life and the life of her family in ways that are no less significant or far-reaching then the live birth of her daughter.
  • The birth of a healthy baby is dependent on the precise unfolding of a myriad series of possible outcomes. No matter what you believe about god or the universe, the birth of a baby is a miracle. It is an impossible, unimaginable miracle.
  • Pain is pain. It honors no dividing lines. Greater than or lesser than have no meaning. It’s universal.

I think what I really want to say to you who have lost children is thank you. Thank you for trusting this community with your stories. With your children. We won’t forget them.

If anyone has thoughts about how to support a family dealing with this kind of loss I would love to hear them. I want to help my friend, but I’m not sure about the how of it. For now, I’m staying in close touch and listening, but any suggestions would be very welcome.

Both And

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The more off kilter I am, the more black and white my world becomes. I think it’s a kind of coping strategy. A way to order and manage and keep things inside my mind under control. Not a trace of grey here! Everything is good or bad, right or wrong, beautiful or terrifying. Either Or. It may be false, but it sure is neat and tidy.

In the last few years I’ve begun to lose my ability to see the world in quite this way. I think it has to do with being a part of this family. Something about the intensity of these relationships has burned right through the dichotomy. Long before Yogi and Monkey arrived I understood the falseness of this kind of thinking. I totally got it on an intellectual level. I am a psychologist after all, but at a gut level those boundaries made me feel safe and I hung on to them  for dear life.

These days it’s impossible to escape the BothAnd-ness, the wholeness, of everything. There is not one thing about life in this family that is not colored with shades of grey. Two boys playing together in a bathtub is incredibly sweet, but it is also a riot of splashing and resisting getting your face washed and the occasional wailing episode that follows any head bump. Rocking your baby in the dead of night is a precious thing, but your neck is sure to get a crick and night is cold without socks.

What I’m saying is that it’s a lot. This everything-all-at-once kind of living. So far this year has been a crash course in BothAnd-ness. Every time I turn around something is either spectacularly lovely or soul-crushingly awful. Shootings followed by births followed by explosions followed by pregnancies followed by loss followed by healing. And on and on it goes. In both the great big world “out there” and my own personal little world “in here”.

Just yesterday Yogi and I were at our neighborhood Farmers Market preparing to buy our weekly “pop-so-ba” (popsicle to the non-Yogi) when we were met with toddler disaster. After beginning the popsicle enthusiasm the night before and walking all the way from the bagel shop where we had breakfast to the market talking only of the popsicle (a distance of maybe a mile and a half), we were met with no wireless connection for the card machine and no cash in our pockets. This could mean only one thing. NO POP-SO-BA!!!! As Yogi was preparing to launch into a frenzy of devastation, an older man handed me a strawberry popsicle. Just the flavor Yogi had requested. He smiled as I thanked him and no sooner had I handed Yogi his prize than my hero was asking whether I liked chocolate. I hadn’t intended to order one for myself, but I accepted gratefully and enjoyed every bite.

It was a little thing. A small every day kindness, but it filled me up. Helped me hear the birds singing and the fierce blueness of the sky on our walk home. I had spent the morning in my head. Thinking mostly of how terrible everything seems. How a man from Tupelo MS could put ricin in the mail and how anyone could ever set off an explosion in the middle of a marathon and how families that dream of babies lose them while families that feel complete learn that they are not. How any of this happens and how it keeps happening. None of these things are things I’ve been able to let go of. To pry out of my clenched little fist. The popsicle didn’t make all of that go away like magic, but it did clear out a little space. Space to notice the rest of the world. To see the new flowers all around me and really hear the chatter of family. To make room for the beauty alongside the ugliness.

Kindness will do that.

Too Much

A child who feels absolutely everything with an intensity that can be overwhelming, raised in a family that is repelled by (and afraid of) strong emotion, occupies a curious space.

From my earliest memory I understood that the sadness, the disappointment and even the joy that swirls within any family system would be claimed in my family by no one but me. Everyone else was just fine. I was frequently “too much” (crying, laughing, worrying) for my parents, but I could never figure out how to be any other way. Although therapists I would see as an adult helped me understand the ways I did learn to deny and disconnect myself from all of those messy feelings, there was still quite a heavy burden to bear. The only way that my child self could manage to bear it was to do it alone. To take it in and let myself feel it, but never, never to let it out. No talking, no sharing, no actual acknowledgement to anyone but myself. Unfortunately, the tools we learn in childhood are so very hard to dismantle.

I know better now, but I don’t always do better. Sometimes the world just seems to be entirely too much for me and the only place I know to go is inward. This isn’t where I want to be and it’s not where I need to be. It’s certainly not a tool I want to show my children how to build for themselves. So today I’m letting some of it go. Giving voice to the turbulence that has been swirling in here and keeping me silent.

Sandy Hook. While my boys were shaking morrocos and racing cars in their living room at our weekly neighborhood play date, that school and all of the souls inside it were being terrorized. I didn’t even know it was going on until I turned on NPR as we headed to the grocery after nap that afternoon. As I listened, I couldn’t stop myself from crying. This was not little tear rolling down the cheek kind of crying, this was sobbing/losing your breath/assuring your toddler that you’re ok kind of crying. When we got to the store I crawled in the space between their car seats and held both their hands. I explained that I was sad, but that I would be ok and that I was so, so glad to be their Mama.

There are so many layers to this awful, awful thing that days later my breath still catches when my mind wanders in that direction.  It’s entirely incomprehensible. It’s not a thing that can be understood, but it’s so very hard to just let it be. To love your own children the very best you can and let the darkness remind you only to shine your own light.

Saul. And then there is the family who embodies this light in the darkness like no one else. Their story is theirs to tell and they do it with wide open hearts, but I urge you to check in over at .breaking into blossom. and send all the love you can muster in their direction. Their recent loss has me reeling. How something so unthinkable could happen to such kind, loving people is more than I can grasp. More than I want to, really. However, R and J are making their way through this with an inspiring grace. They make me even more grateful to be a part of this community.

The Monkey Bump. The surgery was Monday and the boy sailed through like a champ. According to Yogi, he has a boo-boo, but it’s looking better every day. They didn’t even stitch externally, they just sealed him up with glue. Weird. Given my terrible tendency to dread obsessively (what a surprise that is, huh?!), we all lucked out when the surgeon worked us in at the last minute. We had to time to get the boy ready, but not really enough time to get lost in the “what if my baby doesn’t wake up?” crazy. In spite of the shortened time table, I still managed to wear myself out fairly completely and by the time we settled the Monk into his crib post-surgery both my wife and I felt like we could sleep for a week.

All of this has left me feeling both more vulnerable and more grateful for my family. Having the opportunity to parent these boys is a  blessing. It’s scary to be a parent. Scary to love these tiny little people who can get sick and hurt us and even leave us. We need each other. We need other parents to lean on and to support. We need to hear each others stories. I need it for sure. Thank you for listening to mine.

Yes, I Did say Wife: Life as the Token Lesbian Mom

In my life as a psychology professor I used to talk quite a bit about tokens. Given that I was a prejudice and stereotyping researcher I wasn’t talking about the fair. The literature on tokenism (yes, that is a term) originated as an effort to understand the experience of  the lone racial minority in majority environments, but it extends well beyond race. If you are the only one of your kind (with respect to race, religion, sexuality, gender…. the list goes on) in a group, you are a token.

The research on tokens reveals that (surprise, surprise) the experience is an exhausting one. As the lone point of reference for your kind, there is a tremendous pressure to represent your group well. Even the task of representing your group “well” is overwhelming, because what does “well” mean? Does it mean accurately or favorably or aspirationaly? And then there is of course the impossibility of any one person serving as a stand in for an entire group. It’s a set-up. Unfortunately, it’s also just the way it is. Categorization is one of the primary ways that our brains make sense of information, so until people having significant interactions with people who are considerably different from them becomes the norm, tokenism is here to stay.

So, how does this relate to me?  Well, because I am THE lesbian Mom. (THE in the only one sense, not the be all and end all sense). Although we are blessed to have more than a handful of gay couple friends with kids in our very own town, the bulk of our interactions are with people for whom we are “the lesbian couple with kids”.

This token thing is new to me and I can’t say that I like it. I’m not entirely new to being the only one of something in a group, but I am new to feeling the pressure to represent. I’ve been the only out lesbian all sorts of time and I am frequently the only vegetarian at the table and I was even the only non-racial minority in my last department (making me the token white girl!), but none of these experiences have felt like this one. There is something about being a Mama with a wife that is different.

Likely due to the fact that how our family is perceived will have real relevance in the lives of our boys, I find myself much more attentive to how I am presenting myself. As the only gay family at Yogi’s school and the only lesbian Mama in my Mom’s group, I am hyper conscious of the fact that there is some weight on my shoulders. Not just the weight of creating the best environment for my own boys, but of functioning as the only gay family that many people in my community know. As a notoriously low self-monitor, all of this analysis is wearing me out. Now I can be quite consumed with the minutiae of my interactions with people who are close to me, but I have no experience with being concerned with what acquaintances think. Suddenly I practically have a checklist:

  • Am I being friendly and approachable?
  • Am I communicating in a way that lets people know that they can ask me questions about my family* if they have them?
  • Am I being straightforward about the structure of my family without being “in your face” (whatever that means)?
  • Am I responding to questions in a way that lets Yogi know that these kinds of questions are routine and nothing to be ashamed of?

I guess what I’m saying is that life as the token lesbian Mom is exhausting. The weight (no matter how much of it I create myself) is heavy. It makes me even more grateful for the spaces in my life where I’m not the only one. Within our church, our gay parents group and even our neighborhood we are blissfully part of the herd. I am thrilled each time I see or meet a gay family because I know that their very presence is helping to make life easier for Yogi and Monkey.

Is this another example of my tendency to get analytical when I’m anxious or have you felt this way?

* I’ve had more than one Mom ask me for ideas about how to respond to their child’s questions about why Yogi doesn’t have a Daddy.

The Baby Changes Everything: Body Image

In my efforts to understand what precisely it is that people mean when they say, “The baby changes everything”, I’ve got another to add to the list.

The Way I Feel About My Body*

Given my tendencies towards perfectionism and what more than one professional has termed “the obsessive features of my personality”, it is surprising that I’ve never had any significant body image issues. As a woman who lives in this time and this place I of course have totally whacked out ideas about how I should look vs how I actually do look (I’ve been paying attention after all), but it’s yet to cross the boundary into pathology. I’ve spent much of my post-puberty life longing to be described as “tall and willowy”, but I’ve never gone to unhealthy lengths to reach that goal. Although I’ve done more than my fair share of grumbling about it, I’ve (mostly) accepted the fact that I will never be mistaken for a ballet dancer. These hips appear to be here to stay (oh bone structure) and I’m certainly not getting any taller. So before Yogi was born I was occupying this Yeah, I like it ok. Could be better, but it’ll do. space when it came to body image.

Then I became a Mama.

My physical interaction with Yogi from his earliest days was driven by a desire to help him feel safe. I wanted to hold him close and tight and let him know that I was there. As he’s grown older I’ve become so grateful for my ability to throw him up on my shoulders and spin him around until he’s dizzy. When Monkey was born I was thrilled to discover that I can carry both boys (one on each hip) for quite a distance. I love the fact that Yogi can ride horsey on my back each night before bed and not for one second do I bemoan the broadness of my hips.

My body is perfect for the job of being a Mama to these boys!

I’m sure that many a ballet dancer could do the Mama work that I’m doing in their own fabulous way, but I don’t need to look like one to do what’s important to me. Now the only body-related aspirations I have are to be as healthy as I can be. I don’t want to lose weight and I don’t want to discover the secret to trimming inches from my hips. I want to see these boys grow and I want to use this body to nurture and create safety in their lives.

 

* It just seems like something that should be capitalized, doesn’t it?

Happy Day to You!

It’s Mama’s Day at my house and I couldn’t be happier. Although Yogi was here for Father’s Day last year, our second parent adoption had not been finalized and I was not yet (in the eyes of the government) his Father. This year I am and I’m claiming the day with gusto.

It’s a bit of a challenge to have much of a pampering kind of holiday when you have a not-quite-two year old and a one month old (Happy Month yesterday Monkey!), but it’s been fun nonetheless. Yogi offered my first gift this morning by trumpeting “Mama!!!!” from his crib at 5:30. There was no talking him into additional sleep and the morning was a flurry of block stacking, Easter egg hunting (yes, he is STILL trolling the house with a basket filled with plastic eggs), coloring on the porch, and car racing. There will be breakfast in bed one day, right?

We somehow managed to get ourselves dressed and fed in time for a very special church service this morning. A few times each year our church does Child Dedications in which little people are welcomed into the community. The minister says a few words about the family and the congregation pledges their commitment to nurture the spiritual life of the child. This morning was Monkey’s morning and he donned a handsome pair of overalls for the occasion. Big brother Yogi was a part of the ceremony and when it was time for the four of us to walk down to the front of the church, he seemed downright proud of his role. He held Monkey’s rose while the minister spoke and I was wowed by how confident he was. I think of him as being a bit reserved and even somewhat shy, but there was none of that this morning.

Everyone was eager to meet the baby and after all my crowing about Mama’s Day, I got more than a handful of well wishes on my special day. We haven’t made it to church since Monkey’s arrival and so being there this morning felt even better than it usually does. I really do love that place.

After church we planned to go for brunch at a neighborhood restaurant before nap, but…. when we got there they weren’t even open!! Man did that make me feel old. I guess that place is more of a post-hangover kind of brunch. Happily, there is always the bagel shop so we didn’t go hungry or have to cook for ourselves.

As I write, both boys are napping. When they wake we’ll be headed down to the park for some folk music and food trucks. Mommy and Yogi on the bike and Mama and Monkey in the car – unfortunately it’s too far (and hot) for a stroll. We’re planning a picnic dinner for Yogi and post-bedtime sushi takeout for ourselves.

There have been very few moments of quiet or solitude today, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. My life is louder and more chaotic than I ever imagined it could be, but it’s deeply, deeply mine and for that I am grateful.

How does your family approach these gendered parenting holidays? I’d love to know if you’ve got time to comment. Whatever the answer, I hope you’re enjoying this beautiful day!