Monday, September 25, 2006

How much of parenting is overcorrecting things gone wrong in your own psyche?

Yesterday Gertrude spent the better part of the afternoon walking down the street to ask if her friend could play, pausing with her finger poised to ring the doorbell as she wrestled with her shyness, and then walking back home.

She has asked her friend to play many times before, but she's always had her big sister at her side. This time, Matilda was at her dad's house. And Gertrude was bored, so I told her to go see if her friend could play.

I watched her from the kitchen window. I told myself, don't enable. Don't enable! She needed to do it herself to know she could do it herself.

This was me I saw, walking back and forth between the houses, or holding a phone receiver in one hand with my finger poised to dial a friend's number, my heart pounding and my confidence wavering. This was me, sitting on the porch step alone watching a group of kids across the street because I couldn't find the words to say, "Can I play?"

This was me staying home instead of going out. It was me with a single ticket to a play.

Back and forth Gertrude went, each time starting out from home with determination, armed with what I'd told her over and over: "Just say, 'Can Kylie play?'" Each time she dragged her feet back home without her friend and begged me to come with her.

I watched her out the window and argued with myself the entire time. She's still so little! And she's shy! No, she's old enough to walk over and ring the doorbell. She's perfectly able to communicate with other people. She knows what to do.

For the hundredth time, Gertrude marched down the sidewalk toward her friend's house. I heard a screen door screech open. And then I heard the little neighbor girl’s voice ring out, "Hi, Gertie!"

Even from my window in the kitchen, I could see the broad smile break out on Gert's face.

It was nothing compared to the smile on mine.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Seven years ago I married this person, who also happens to be my strength, support, love, and lifetime companion.

About eight years ago he offered me a diamond and asked what almost seemed to be a rhetorical question.

Six months before, I was working away at a mindless cubicle job when I looked up and saw the man I was meant to marry. When we met, I recognized him. That's the only way I can explain it. It was like rediscovering something I'd lost so long ago I'd almost forgotten I was looking for it.

We dated less than six months, which is a ridiculously short amount of time to get to know a person. But we already knew each other. The six months we did wait was just to prove to our families that we weren't entirely rushing into things. Two weeks might have seemed a little abrupt.

So seven years have passed since the day we officially made that commitment, and eight years plus 196 days since I was lucky enough to find the one I'd been missing since the last time we found each other.

And counting.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Do you ever wonder about the narrative your grocery cart tells? Yesterday I found myself standing in the checkout line with three gigantic packages of triple-roll toilet paper, frozen egg rolls, diaper wipes, and beer.

"I'm going to get smashed while binging on prepackaged Chinese food that will ultimately cause me to crap myself to the extent that I might need soothing, moist intervention!" it seemed like I was broadcasting to my fellow Schnucks patrons.

This was the perfect follow-up to me being unintentionally pantsed by my overexcited preschooler in front of the entire parent pick-up lane. Her rubber sandal caught in the hem of my skirt as she rushed at me for a hug, and before I realized it my elastic waistband was hugging my knees.

It's amazing how long it actually seems to take to untangle yourself from a hug, put down a squirming child, and yank your skirt back into place when everyone's trying really hard not to notice what color drawers you're sporting.

Friday, September 08, 2006

A series of uninteresting updates...

Gertrude's sweater? Finished knitting while on retreat with my department yesterday (yes, it is a fantastic retreat when one can knit through most of the activities). I have some reknitting of the sleeves to do, which shouldn't take more than a few days. And it's okay, because I've just purchased The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns which is pretty much the most useful book ever, and I should never have to reknit too-tight sleeves again.

Gary's cycling sweater? It's finished and blocked, and all I have left to do is a little detailing, but I keep putting it off because that part is neither fun and immediately gratifying nor mindless and relaxing. I like all things knitting to fall into either of those categories. Actually, all things in life should be that way.

Our anniversary roadtrip? It's almost here, and I couldn't be more excited. Seriously, I keep thinking about how much fun it's going to be to ride our bikes down to a cute little cottage in the heart of winery country where we'll spend the evening holding hands and making silly faces at each other (that's because of the fatigue and alcohol, of course).

Friday, September 01, 2006

Once upon a time (nearly a year ago, in fact), you all helped me pick out some Mermaid-colored yarn for the 2nd Mystery Shawl knitalong:

Mystery Shawl Yarns!

I started knitting it on some priceless handmade wooden needles crafted by yaya. Here's the little guy just starting to spread out:

Mystery Shawl - Clue 1 done

After this point it was pretty slow going:

Mystery Shawl 2 - Clue #2 completed!

And many, many months later, after lots of giving up and modifications of the original edge pattern, the Modified Mermaid Mystery Shawl broke free of the needles and climbed up into the sun to stretch and spread its lace in repose.

Modified Mystery Shawl posing

And see? It works like I assume a shawl is supposed to!

Modified Mystery Shawl modeled