Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Compensating for the lack

Sometimes I get annoyed with myself - like last night. We were socializing with friends and upon returning home, I took inventory of the evening and - uugghh. I talked too much. I told too many stories about myself, and as soon as I got home I was wishing that I could have them all back. I've been conscious of this for some time now, my propensity for over-disclosure. I wonder what it is in certain settings that compels me to share. Share. Share! I think I'm fairly decent at keeping other peoples' secrets; I wish I were better at keeping a few of my own.

Anyhoo...I've been a bad blogger. That is both good and bad. Bad for the family record. Good because life has been busy and very much absorbed in "things that really are." I like that. But now I have a backlog of stuff to talk about. Perhaps a list is in order...or just a lot of fragment sentences and jumbled thoughts.

It's been really hot. Hundreds of degrees. And plenty of sunshine. But two times in the last ten days we've had marvelous little storms blow in and break the strangle-hold of heat. When the sky turns gray, my heart goes aflutter. I can't throw the windows open fast enough. Last Wednesday I had just returned from a late-morning temple session, when suddenly the back porch was speckled with precipitation. I could not get out of my dress fast enough. The storm only brought rain, no thunder, no lightning (unusual for Texas), so of course, Henry and I went out to play. The man next door pulled up in his car, and upon seeing two drenched souls in the alley, rolled down his window and asked, "everything okay?"
"Every thing's perfect," I assured him, "just playing in the rain."

The second storm was eery and violent - lightning and thunder aplenty (no splashing through street puddles). We sat, me and the children, snuggled up in a pile of comforters and pillows on the floor in Lily's room, in front of her gaping window and savored the fresh, damp breeze that the fan blew in. Henry kept looking up at me and saying things like, "oooh, this is sooo cozy." And "this is the coziest, funnest day I've ever had, mom." It was sublime.

I know this just reeks of self-centrism, but I like to pretend that these summer storms are packages and if I could read the tag, I just know it would say:

To Emily
Love, God

I feel like all I write about anymore is my affinity for the rain. Hmmm...what else?

Yesterday we met Nate at work, cooler packed with sandwiches and snacks, chilled limeade waiting to be savored. We headed over to the front lawn of the temple, spread our blanket in the shade of two giant trees, and nourished ourselves on the calories and the company. It was perfect, if a little hurried as Nate had obligations waiting back at the office. Hmph.

By some measure of grace and luck I've been unusually patient with the children lately. And genuinely enjoying them almost without exception. (I type that fairly certain that by some cruel twist of irony we'll have a hairy day today). Henry entertains himself remarkably. He disappears into his room for an hour at a time, lost in a make-believe world of guys, cars, coat hangers and cotton-filled friends. And maybe my favorite thing about him is that he always notices beauty. He excitedly points out sunflowers patches and wildflower meadows on the side of the road. He stops at the floral stand every time we visit Tom Thumb and smells the roses. The other day they had bouquets of sunflowers near the registers and he was so excited to show them to me. And then he bent down and smelled them and said, "Ah...these smell perfect!"
Every time things like that happen, my heart fills with a silent prayer that he'll never be numb to that kind of beauty. And that he'll never be too busy (or too boy) to stop and smell a flower.

And Lily? What can I even say about her? She waddles around this place like she's got very important things to do all day long. I need to devote a post entirely to her, her progress, the funny little things she does (like dropping her binky into obscure drawers and baskets, to be serendipitously discovered days later by some unsuspecting cleaner-upper). I can hardly believe the assertive little peanut that sits in her high-chair shouting indiscernible orders is the same child that was uncannily quiet and content for the first five months of her life. Even though her volume frazzles me by dinner time, I love to watch her spicy side emerge. Cannot imagine my life without her; she is sunshine.

Other than the fact that I cannot keep my house clean, life feels in pretty good balance. I've worked out an awesome set-up that allows me to exercise daily. Lily naps, Henry snuggles up in my bed with his portable DVD player (headphones!) and his blankie for quiet time, and I hop on the treadmill. Some days I say no to the DVD player and Henry and I just chat...but that's a little tiresome as he talks the ENTIRE forty five minutes, asking questions about every fact of life and insisting on thorough answers. Most days I opt for quiet (bless those headphones). I mention this because I think the exercise helps with the general feeling of life-balance, even with the miraculous patience I mentioned above. Sunday and Monday nights I even managed to play the piano for an hour while Nate played manny: cleaned the kitchen and got the kids to bed. Haven't played like that since high school. Sang hymns like prayers; loved it. Love the kitchen cleaner/kid putter-to-bedder, too. (sigh!) There are just too many wonderful things to do (too many verses of All Creatures of Our God And King to sing) to keep the house clean. Still, the clutter irks me.

Monday afternoon we played hospital with the stuffed animals (again). I love to play with my children, but I only have about forty minutes (on a good day) of focused play in me...then my mind wanders to the sink full of dishes, the e.mails that might be waiting in my inbox, the phone call I'd really like to make. And I try to find a way to sneak out unnoticed, which never works. Monday afternoon it was the prospect of a chat with my dear friend, Sarah, that distracted me from administering "medicine" and applying band aids (stickers) to stuffed bears and pigs. When I finally broke away to make the call, it was such a treat. I've had a few occasions to chat with friends recently - and each time I come away inspired, wanting to be better. (Thanks Sarah. Thanks Kate (and I'm going to make those sugar cookies - and soon!). Thanks Anne.)

I could sit and ponder for a decade and I'd still be puzzled by the fact that plain ol' clumsy me attracted such dynamic, funny, creative, thoughtful friends. It is a blessing I cannot count often enough.

A little boy with blueberry muffin breath just plopped down beside me. And I hear his sister stirring in her crib. Time to get on with the day...



  1. I always replay conversations over in my head and feel vast and deep amounts of regret for the talking I did. so I feel you. I really do.

  2. If you are an over-sharer than I most definitley am! I feel like you are always so good about asking lots of thoughtful questions and I end up blabbing my head off all about me. Let's chat on the phone sometime soon, k? It's been a long time.

  3. HA! Just had a little bloggy-dinner with Brooke and Martha last night. So fun, but in the morning, I replayed all my social awkwardness and had to email an apology. ;-)

    So glad there is some rain at home. Maybe my flowers will get some extra help.

  4. I always leave social situations wishing I wasn't such a social wallflower and could have opened my mouth more. Unfortunately, when I do open my mouth I definitely tend to over share. Glad to know I'm not the only one.

  5. This is my most favorite post, well I have a lot of favorites on your blog. You are real. I adore that about you. I think we are a lot alike, you are just better at using your words than I am. You describe your like so beautifully. I love it. I am an over-sharer, and After having 2 couples over last week I realized that I think I am a one woman comedy show. I need to learn how to talk less. Maybe that will happen when I have my own kids :) Yours are beautiful, I want to be just like you when I grow up!

  6. Oh gosh. If you're an oversharer I don't know what that makes me! And don't worry. Your secrets are safe with me. =)

    Beautiful post Em.

  7. I know you didn't write that to get this...but I have NEVER thought of you as an over sharer. I always feel like that's me when we're together, you are such a good listener and question asker. I love how you put your life into words, what a treasure for your children, and you, when these busy days are gone. Love you!

  8. Delicious. Only one complaint, though -- you posted those darling rain shower pictures of you and Henry, but did you share any photos of the little verbal peanut that shouts commands from her high chair? No, you DID NOT. I'll just have to content myself with waiting a few weeks until I can SEE HER IN PERSON!!

  9. I just love talking with you Em. You are one of those friends that I could talk to forever if I had the time. I have never thought that you tell too many stories about yourself. And the stories you do tell, I absolutely LOVE hearing. I love hearing about your life and about your adorable children. You are a wonderful friend.

  10. I love people who share. I tend to be on the quieter side and just love listening to life snipets of those around me. So I'd say keep it up!

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