I have a sixth sense. With my sixth sense I know the instant someone under the age of 16 needs to pee. I know, what can I say? I am blessed. I could have been blessed with powers to foresee when danger is approaching, or when someone is committing a crime..but no, I am fortunate enough to know when kids need to go number one. I only mention my extremely rare and precious gift because we have someone else in this family with a sixth sense, and that is our beloved, skinny cat Lulu.
She has a better gift than I and that is the power to know when someone is in need of comfort. This pretty little kitty can sense heart ache a mile away, and she comes running. Honestly, it's odd. Shelby is her favorite. And like a digital thermometer, she can read Shelby's mood to know if she needs to stroll on over and give Shelby a furry drive by with her body, and then throw herself on to Shelby's lap, with her motor running in overdrive, purring and butting her head up against Shelby's stomach, so that Shelby's knee-jerk response is to lower her head to this cat and begin a reciprocating love fest. Here is Lulu keeping guard over Shelby at night, as usual.
Last night as Shelby and I were doing her homework Lulu, who knows the golden rule in our house about not jumping up on the kitchen table, leaps up and lands right on Shelby's math sheet. She sits her tiny butt on that sheet and then puts her head up to Shelby's cheek and starts licking her face. How she knew that Shelby was starting to melt down because she was tired and we had gotten started on this too late, I do not know. But thanks to this feline version of the canary in the coal mine, I knew that whether she had completed the pages or not, it was time to finish. For the sake of Shelby's self worth.
As I say that, it sounds weird. It's not that forcing her to finish the homework would have killed her. But I do feel like I am the guardian of her precious inner strength, her feelings of her own value. And that is something that I take very seriously. Whether it's guarding from physical or mental fatigue, stress, unkindness, or sarcasm, I feel that I am her protector. I don't want her to live in a bubble, and she doesn't. I just know the threshold of what her little soul can take and I feel it's my duty to keep her safe.
Here's a random one of Garrett sleeping, amidst his twenty blankets, in his yard-sale-purchased-Lightning McQueen Bed.
I have finally learned to slow down. It took me ten years. Better late than never I suppose. With this guy, he is a lover and an explorer. Snow is not something that hinders his journey, but just makes it that much more exciting. Today we were walking to the market for some groceries, and then we were going to pick up Dalton's asthma medication at the pharmacy across the street. It took only about four times as long as it would have if we would have driven there. But it was forty times as fun...for both of us.
This past week I've been to some Sundance Fim Festival movies in Salt Lake. It's nice because the theatres are just minutes from my house. I've gone with some wonderful girl friends from my book group. This film below was my favorite thus far. It's called Finding North, and it's about hunger in America. The panel that was on stage answering questions after the movie included the directors. They were all women- very inspiring.
This band, The Civil Wars, did the music for the film. It was hauntingly beautiful.
In between movies we went across the street to Squatters for some food and drinks. I love these ladies. They are so genuine and generous.
We squeezed in next to this curly haired cutie from San Fransisco, and had a fun time chatting with him. Even though he is older than me, I found myself feeling ancient. Because he is single and roams the states looking for good snow. While I am married with three kids and roam my house looking for old sippy cups. Different strokes. But on this night it felt good to rub shoulders with people in that other world that I gave up at the ripe old age of 19, just to peek in to what it's like to just live for yourself.
These past two weeks have been wonderful and hard all at the same time. Isn't life like that? Rich and lively with friends, blue and forlorn with the winter weather. Inspiring with thought provoking films and conversations. Lonely with others standing right in front of you. Busy and fulfilling with little ones always in need and me always in love with them. The hardest has been the slap to the face from a cause that I used to hold so dear, but I now have fallen out of love with. I will go in to detail later when I have a bit more perspective. To get a card from my darling friend Lynn, telling me that she's thinking of me, was a godsend. Then to get this card a few days later:
And this arrangement delivered, helped me to see this glass half full, as it always has been, but I sometimes forget. I have a few ideas as to who sent it. There is a good chance that it is from my mother, who even when I am down on her is still my number one cheerleader. That never ceases to amaze me. There is a chance that it is from my darling friend Kate, who let me talk her ear off on the way to, from, and in between our Sundance films, about the bumps in the road I'd encountered as of late. She did what any good friend would do, and agreed with me 100% on my views on everything (wink) though it did feel really good. There is also a chance that it is from someone else. Just as anonymous notes of unkindness make you second guess who could have it in their heart to waste their time wishing for your unhappiness, the anonymous deeds of kindness make you see every face as a friend and someone who is in your corner, wishing you the best. I loved it...so thank you anonymous friend. I needed it.
Oh my gosh, I know this is the longest post on the planet. But in my quest and desire to enjoy the journey this year, Shelby and I shopped at our local market and made an experience out of it. They have the coolest exotic produce, and we walked through the isle, reading about each of them and guessing what they'd taste like. We decided to get this little treasure. I can't remember what it was called, but after a dinner (cooked by me OMG) we decided to cut it open.
We'd been told that the seeds were poisonous, and when we cut it open it looked pretty intimidating. Is this what men see when the lights are on, down there? I didn't go in to the sexual similarities between our mystery fruit and the mysteries of the nether regions of the female anatomy, but ANYWHO...it was cool. The texture of the fruit was like a grape. The spiky outside peeled off, and the tricky part was eating around the seed. It is from Viet Nam and we felt pretty exotic having sampled this little treat.
We also got some pieces of sugar cane from the market to let the kids suck on for desert. They thought that was super cool to see where all of that white granulated goodness that they are semi-addicted to comes from. Garrett knocked over a glass jar of spaghetti sauce and had a crying fit over it- you know the ones where they are crying so hard, no sound is coming out. And he was mad as a hornet...probably at the injustice of it all. Here he had spent the last fifteen minutes counting out five cups, filling them with water by himself, and putting them at the table by himself. Then doing the same with the plates, and silverware. The napkins were his crowning achievement which he individually crumbled and set on the plates so it looked like a giant wad of toilet paper was being served for dinner. We were cheering his first time at being the big guy helper...and then there was shattered glass and sauce all over the floor and himself. Poor guy could only be consoled with a bowl of Ben and Jerry's Mint Cookie ice cream in the tub.
11:00 AM on a Friday. It's sunny. The kids are all at school. Garrett was sad when I left. I had to watch through the one way glass for thirty minutes so that I could feel awful about it. He was OK by the time I left. He doesn't say anything at school...is just a little mute. Where at home he is a spit fire. I want him to come out of his shell there...but he's nervous, and new.
My mother asked me the other day, why I blog. Why I let everyone read this day-to-day goo. I asked her why not? She is from the generation, and the culture where you just do not air your dirty laundry. In fact, you spray some Fabreeze on it, and pass it off as newly washed. I get it. Why would you want to show off your pit stains? But I guess I look at it as keeping the blinds open. Sure, I am going to close them when we're doing the deed, or I'm going to the bathroom. But for the rest of the day, I need to see the sun shining. I want to be able to wave at the neighbors as they pass by, walking their dogs. And if the price paid for being connected to the world outside my walls is that some peeping tom occasionally catches me picking my nose or watching Real Housewives in the middle of the day in my underwear, well- that is a price that I am willing to pay. Here's to life- the warts and all.