Tuesday, May 29, 2012

EAB Fun Run

He had been on the sidelines since he was a few months old. Now it was Sam’s turn. He was more than ready, mentally preparing for all of one week.  As we were walking out the door Saturday morning to drive over the American School where the race was being held, he made sure to remember his water bottle (sippy cup). He paused at the door and asked Elise and I, “Where are you guys going to be standing?” He wanted to leave his water with us, but wanted to make sure he would be able to find us along the course. It had never occurred to me that he didn’t know he was going to run one lap around a 200 meter circle spraypainted into the grass on the school’s field. In Sam’s mind, he was going to wedge himself into a starting shoot with 5,000 other Brazilian kids, wait for the starting gun, then go sprinting off into the distance, around a corner and disappear, only to meet up with us a few miles or kilometers later, just like mom and dad do when they do their races. This would explain a lot of the pre-race jitters that were still to come.

 When we arrived at the school, we paid our entry fee. Sam received his race t-shirt, his first. But refused to put it on. But all the other kids were wearing it, we explained. You have to wear it to run, we reminded.  Finally, we forced the shirt over his head. Sam started to cry. He begged and whined to take the shirt off for the next thirty minutes, even as we scouted the course and scoped out the competition. He didn’t stop crying until all the four and five year-olds in Race 1 began to line up.

Per Brazilian tradition, they were lead in alongamento (stretching) by one of the teachers. It was pretty amusing to watch several hundred tiny limbs flailing through the air. In all honesty, it is even more amusing to watch grown adults go through the same ritual. It painfully reminds me of junior high gym class. Hence, neither Elise or I usually participate. After the alongamento, it was race time.  

They ran in two heats. Girls first, then boys. As the girls took off, Sam clapped from the infield. His jitters gone, we hoped, it seemed as though he was finally getting into the sport. Good thing, too, because he only had a few minutes until his race.

The boys lined up next, in two lines. Sam was in pole position, he had perfectly placed himself in the middle of the pack. Soon, they were off. He went sprinting by us in his black Adidas, poofy hair bouncing by, arms pumping. He held strong at fifth. I missed some of the back stretch as I tried to take a movie on Elise’s iPhone and hold Clementine.

200 meters later, he was beat. His tiny legs had spun themselves out. High fives all around. Even from Petey. He knew the drill. Water, then straight for the post-race fruit buffet. He high-tailed it on to the rest of our day, before the big kids 3k held our car captive in the parking lot.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

(Googoo) Gaga

I'm on the right track baby I was Bjorn this way.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Clementine: Two Months

Past month(s):

Mother's Day

It seems like just yesterday we used to shower my mom with home made cards, macaroni art and gifts my dad we purchased just for her. We used to try to make her day so special and she'd always respond in the same way, with thanks and hugs, but I always felt she wasn't fully accepting of the importance of her role in our lives, of the macaroni gifts. I mean who doesn't deserve construction paper macaroni art? She appreciated it, don't get me wrong, but she always said Mother's Day was for her mom. I never quite understood. 

Each year since Sam was born, four years ago, I'd been excited having been freshly inducted into the Mother's Day celebration. I'd never turn my nose up at another day to receive gifts. I mean really, but this Mother's Day was different. I woke up hopeful that another day would unfold in our household: chaos, feedings, gifts, chaos, breakfast, macaroni art, coffee, feedings, gifts, chaos, hugs, chaos, bedtime, gifts. I like our routine no matter how chaotic and no matter how many gifts, but instead I awoke thinking less about the gifts piled beneath my Mother's Day tree (kidding) and more about my mom, and less about me being a mom. Holy crap I'm a mom?! 

Sure, I have my own children now, THREE OF THEM, but the love I have for my mom and the heartbreak I have for being so far away, was placed beneath a holiday pressure on Sunday the likes of which could create Mother's Day diamonds. Wait for it DeBeers. "How can I possibly show her  in just one day, from so far away how much I love her and how much I appreciate her?" Impossible. I couldn't even seem to get her on the phone.  So instead of fully embracing each moment of the chaos on Sunday I withdrew, missing my mom and simultaneously wondering how so seemingly overnight, I'd gone from here:

My baptism circa 1980. My mom, tiny me and my grandma Eve, Clementine Eve's namesake.
Mom and I, Wallowa Lake, OR. 

Thumper and I. (Do not  you dare look directly into my bermuda shorts.)

To here:

Surely I fell asleep somewhere in that kiddie pool filled with wild geometric patterns, saddle shoes and rabbits and awoke in my mom's shoes. Both of us suddenly the same just 30 years apart victims of the same joy, the same chaos and sheer wreckless abandon that driving on the Autobahn, in a mini van, at speeds well in excess of 100 miles per hour, blindfolded, with one hand on the wheel and the other grabbing for lost snack traps and replacing pacifiers affords. I've always appreciated my mom, but words can not begin to describe how I appreciate her now.

And I DO feel the same now, as she did then about Mother's Day and now I understand. I accept the crayon drawings of me beneath a flower garden, "because I didn't know how to draw you above it," and the macaroni art. And I am thankful, because these kids make me a mom and they make me an amazingly happy mom, but I am not worthy, not yet. Not in the way that my Grandma or Grandmama was when I was a kid and the way that my mom is now.  For now, I am not ready to take off my mom training wheels and ride out into the main road by myself on my banana seat bike on Mother's day. For now Mother's Day is for my mom. I shall continue to practice with my mom's hand on the back of my parenting bike and one day when I know I've practice long enough and that I've turned three small people into loving, well mannered, open-minded and caring citizens of the world, I'll celebrate, wheels off.

...but this year while all the littles celebrated me, I quietly celebrated you. Cheers to you mom.  Next year we're going BIG, together.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Farewell Concert


 Live on "stage" in our laundry room

Performing a farewell concert for Nanny (and me as I cooked dinner).

It's getting crazy(er) around here by the day folks!

(Sound a must!)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sam & Clem. Big Brother, Little Sister.

Like peanut butter and jelly. His "little girl" has finally come along. She slows him down, she softens him, she adores him. He adores her. He kisses her head a hundred times a day and runs his fingers through her fuzzy soft hair. He rubs his fingers on her cheeks to feel how soft they are just like we did to him when he was a baby.

"Mom, I never want her to become a big boy like me. I want her to stay a baby forever."

But what you don't know now, that I do, is that she will become your very best friend.

Just like you push her in her stroller now, you will push her in her sled down hill "runs" you've both built up with snow jumps. You will help her change her pink rubber tires on her tassled pink bike. You will desperately try to keep her away from your toys, but this will be an easy task compared to keeping her away from your friends.

You will go to her first apartment when you get off late from work when she is scared and you will stay with her until she feel safe. You will help her change flat tires, mufflers and stereo systems in her first car. You will help her move and you will help her move on.

You will love her no matter what she does and you will always be her big brother.

She will always be your "baby girl." She will always love you as long as you love her.

I know this is true, because I am that little sister and I always will be.