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Juggling practice

Little paper “decorations” are taped all over my house,  stuck via finger-print covered tape to the walls and french doors.  The discarded clippings litter the floor. I gather them in my palm as I move from task to task after bedtime, trying to resist the urge to rip masterpieces from the walls and hide the scissors.

I leave on Saturday for ten days – the longest I have been away from my family since we first created these little people – and my urge for military-style organization is violent and palpable. It’s work to soften my face, to let the day happen with its crumbs and its laundry and its tiny pieces of paper.  I mandate showers on Sunday morning, on the off-chance, I admit, I can’t fit them in again before Saturday, and Quinn bellows his rage at me through the heavy, baby-shampoo scented air of the bathroom.

“I’m so mad at you!”

“I know.”

“It’s all your fault. You made me take a bath.”

“A bath!  Sacre bleu! I am the worst mommy ever!”

“Well, not weally.”

Not weally.  Aw, Quinn, my paper-clipping-blizzard-creating number one fan.

My thyroid is fine.  I stressed inordinately before the ultrasound – not because I thought I would have cancer (not weally) – but because I thought they would want to stick a needle into my neck to prove the absence thereof and I would not quite, but almost maybe sort of actually have something horrible.  My life-long hatred of needles, which I had nearly overcome during three pregnancies thanks to a string of excellent phlebotomists, has returned full force as a result of the elephant tranquilizer they jammed into my butt during the hemorrhage after the miscarriage.  I barely managed to force myself to get a flu shot this year and I BELIEVE in flu shots. Like, on my knees, hands waving in the air, speaking in tongues believe. The only end-of-the-world scenario I actually fear is a global flu pandemic. Bring on the life-ending meteors. At least that seems quicker than watching a killer flu approach via horrible CDC maps with growing red circles radiating out from population centers.  We might survive here, but I would have to accept the threat early and deign to flee to The Land to avoid contact with people.  And yes, I would say it’s highly likely that my need to avoid a composting pit toilet could mean the demise of my entire family from the next killer flu.

We all have our limitations.  Better to embrace them.

Last week, my writing was featured not only for my usual Friday Mamalode spot, where I wrote about picking my battles, a skill I have all but lost in my insane need to have EVERYTHING perfectly in order before I depart, but also at Scarymommy.  Jill asked if she could republish one of my older posts, To My Sister’s Gorgeous, Clueless Friends, and I was thrilled beyond words because I love her and because an almost unfathomable number of people read her site.

It was a pretty cool week  and I haven’t said a word about the 40th birthday surprise that took my breath away on Thursday night or how all day Saturday, my LTYM co-producer and I held auditions for our THIRD (!!) annual show in Spokane.  People hand us their hearts at auditions and we try to hold them so gently while we have them.

I try to juggle it all – all of the hearts including my own – give each one the time it needs cradled in my palm and the time it needs up in the air. It’s not hard, not weally. Or it is hard, but so worth it.  Saturday, I will set them down, very, very gently for a short time, board a plane, and fly to Portugal for my 40th birthday.  The day the second half of my life begins, the day our last baby was due, I will be on a horse on the southern coast, pretending I don’t have hearts waiting for me at home.  I suspect, before ten days are done, that I will crave the squishy warm weight of love in my hand, its breath hot on my face, its beat that is the insistent tempo of my days.  Before ten days are done.  But not at first.

30 Responses to Juggling practice
  1. Anne
    February 25, 2013 | 5:10 pm

    Happy 40th! Have a wonderful trip!

  2. Korinthia
    February 25, 2013 | 6:13 pm

    Enjoy every moment of your trip. I hope it’s beautiful. So much juggling to look forward to in your 40s so appreciate the break while you can. Happy Birthday!

  3. Mel
    February 25, 2013 | 6:51 pm

    I was just counting my blessings and note that many of yours are the same. I send you wishes for peaceful, joyful, gentle entry into your 40th year.

  4. kwqrs
    February 25, 2013 | 7:06 pm

    I must admit a wave of deep envy when I read these words… “I leave on Saturday for ten days…” Sounds so amazing, delicious and PEACEFUL. Husband has been working nights, 13-hour shifts, for the past 3 weeks and I have had our brood on my own. Sleeping in them middle of the bed was nice at first, but being the only one to answer cries of “mommy” in the night & juggling the days alone, not so fun.
    Wishing you the happiest of birthdays, safest travels & deepest enjoyment of your adventure! Am a little bit ahead of you in the 40’s… it really is a great place to be.

  5. Issa
    February 25, 2013 | 7:11 pm

    Happy birthday my lovely friend. I can’t wait to hear about this trip after. Have a great time with your sisters.

  6. magpie
    February 25, 2013 | 7:20 pm

    Have a wonderful time! And a delightful birthday!

  7. Jenng
    February 25, 2013 | 7:21 pm

    Happy Birthday – I hope you have a truly amazing time on your trip!!!

  8. Kyla
    February 25, 2013 | 7:26 pm

    Juggling hearts is a very accurate way to describe home life. You hope everyone gets enough of you while still giving a little time and love to yourself. So glad to hear you are devoid of thyroid issues! Enjoy your well-deserved vacation!

  9. Robin from Israel
    February 25, 2013 | 7:54 pm

    What a stupendously wonderful birthday gift. A way to both remember who you are beyond mommy, and to simultaneously fan the flames of your love for the squishy ones waiting at home.

    But mostly, a chance to breathe. To just be.

    Happy birthday my friend. May it be all that you dream and more.

  10. Annie
    February 25, 2013 | 7:58 pm

    wow! 10 days! Happy Birthday! Many wishes for a trip that is wonderful and refreshing. Enjoy!!

  11. Elaine
    February 25, 2013 | 8:46 pm

    Wow, such an amazing present and OH the memories you will make!! Enjoy yourself, my friend. And Happy Birthday!!!


  12. Gayle
    February 25, 2013 | 9:24 pm

    How incredibly awesome to be taking a trip. I’ve watched my youth slip away without the travels I’ve dreamed of. If I could change one thing it would be several trips a year with my husband to see the world. Not going to ever happen, but I dream. I hope you make some wonderful memories.

  13. Candice@NotesFromABroad
    February 25, 2013 | 10:50 pm

    Oh what a lovely way to spend a 40th birthday !
    I must admit, I remember my 40th very well.
    My lovely man took me to Paris.

    Happy Birthday !!

  14. anna see
    February 26, 2013 | 12:13 am

    I know your trip will be restful and rejuvinating and wonderful! Have a blast w/your sisters! Happy 40th birthday, my friend. Laughter and tears…

  15. Christine
    February 26, 2013 | 2:07 am

    You make me feel like 40 won’t be so bad. (I get there in June.) Have a wonderful trip.

  16. Alexicographer
    February 26, 2013 | 3:47 am

    You had me at growing red circles.

    Have a wonderful trip. Wear a helmet? I think there’s lots I’m more blasee about than you (actually, I have been assured that horse people make the best travelers because — among other attributes — we are used to substandard bathroom facilities. I scoff at your desire to avoid a composting pit toilet!), but I myself probably seem (am?) militaristic in my insistence on head protection.

  17. Ann
    February 26, 2013 | 3:48 am

    Have a fantastic time!!! Happy 40!

  18. tracy@sellabitmum
    February 26, 2013 | 3:57 am

    Happy 40th! And enjoy this so completely. xoxoxo

  19. Mommynamedapril
    February 26, 2013 | 4:47 am

    Happiest of happy birthdays. And girl, you’re barely into the second trimester of your life. I won’t tolerate this inanity about the last half. xoxoxo

  20. Alison
    February 26, 2013 | 8:20 am

    Your violent, palpable need for organization echoes mine.

    Have a wonderful trip, it sounds wonderful, horse and all.

  21. Alison
    February 26, 2013 | 8:20 am

    Your violent, palpable need for organization echoes mine.

    Have a wonderful trip, it sounds wonderful, horse and all. Happy 40th!

  22. Annie
    February 26, 2013 | 2:42 pm

    The juggling – yes! I have to say I am amazed at how much can be juggled at the same time. No wonder I forget the simplist things. Luckily my kids have good memories and help me!

  23. Arnebya
    February 26, 2013 | 7:08 pm

    Ah, 40. I shall join this beautiful club in October. I’m sure you’ll have a fabulous time. I’m not a good juggler. All my balls are on the damn floor and I can’t stop staring at them trying to decide which deserves to be picked up first.

  24. Lisa K
    February 26, 2013 | 10:13 pm

    Happy birthday! March is a great month for a birthday (mine is in a few weeks). Have a wonderful trip, sounds amazing.

    I am SO with you on the Global Flu Pandemic fear. So, my advice, if it’s not already too late: DO NOT watch Contagion. I made that mistake and it took weeks for me to stop freaking out about germs and flus and the like. :)

  25. Jen @ And Two More Makes FIVE
    February 27, 2013 | 4:11 am

    May the freedom and peace of your trip envelop you, wrap its arms around you, and comfort you through the loss now also remembered on your momentous birthday. That you would look back another forty years from now and hold this day in your heart.

    And so freaking excited for your 10 day trip! :-)

  26. Jessica
    February 27, 2013 | 2:38 pm

    Your words are always just perfectly strung together. Have an amazing 10 days away, I will be thinking of you as I have an hour long debate with each of my children to bathe. xo

  27. Lady Jennie
    March 4, 2013 | 4:05 pm


    Love you.

  28. Louise
    March 5, 2013 | 6:32 pm

    Happy birthday – I’m weally excited for you! I love the thrill of going somewhere that I’m unknown to everyone but myself and my companion. For me, that’s often the movies…but, ya know, I’ll take it.

  29. Louise
    March 5, 2013 | 6:34 pm

    Happy birthday – I’m weally excited for you! I love traveling to places where I am unknown to everyone but myself and my companion. For me, it’s mostly the movies, but ya know, I’ll take it!

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    April 8, 2013 | 12:49 pm

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