Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Hunting for Wisdom

As a mother of two babies in January, I find myself looking, searching, pawing my hands across the cold earth, hunting for wisdom.

I’m restless, impatient, bored, lonely, and often cold.  And my back aches.  A constant throbbing in the middle of my spine as if I am carrying around a brick with my back muscles that I can’t ever put down.  I want to put it down.  I’m sick of carrying it.  But alas, I have a twenty-three-pound one-year-old who hasn’t yet learned to walk, and a thirty-pound three-year-old who needs to be scooped up into his carseat.  My job is physical.  And my job is contstant.

I find myself biting my tongue.  A lot.  Literally, not figuratively.  Biting my tongue while I’m on my hands and knees wiping peas and bread crumbs and milk puddles off the floor, biting my tongue when I’m picking refrigerator magnets up of the floor for the fifth time that day, biting my tongue while I’m trying to change a diaper on a squirming baby, biting my tongue while I’m trying to wipe the bottom of a squirming three-year-old, biting my tongue when I hear a crash and a cry and a “MOMMMMYYY!!!”  It’s a miracle it is still whole, in my mouth, bracing itself for the next dumped toy bucket.

So, I do yoga.  What a Godsend.  For one hour I get to lay on a mat, listening to soft music, while I stretch my aching back as someone tells me to “love my spirit.”  Twenty-three hours a day I am privileged to take care of my family, to cook them meals, to give them medicine, to kiss their owies, to wipe their bottoms.  But in yoga, for one hour, it feels like somebody else is taking care of me, asking me where it hurts, telling me to relax.  On Monday, at the end of class, I started to cry, a full release of all the tension I was carrying around with me.  And today, at the end of class, as we were doing our “Savasana,” which is the yoga term for “I’m pooped and I’m going to lay down now,” the sun appeared in the room and it lay across my face.  It felt so warm and soothing, I couldn’t move from that spot, even when she told us to.  It was like medicine.  For my spirit.

Yoga doesn’t fix it.  It doesn’t make January or refrigerator magnets go away (the garbage can is so close and so tempting).  It doesn’t make the ache in my back go away either.  But it helps.  Yoga and Goldie Hawn. 

Goldie Hawn was on Oprah’s Master Class this week imparting some of her life’s wisdom.  Yes, Goldie Hawn has some wisdom tucked away in her blonde hair and her big, toothy grin.  She said when she was eleven, she was so afraid of the atom bomb that she started to read the Psalms.  And it helped.  She said her religion brings her joy.

So, I tried it.  I got up early, before the boys today, 5:45 a.m. early, and I hurried downstairs to pour myself a cup of coffee and read a Psalm, quickly, before anyone could cry for me.  I read Psalm 2.  Psalm 2:12 says:  Blessed are those who take refuge in Him.  I wrote it down and decided that today, maybe instead of biting my tongue in half, maybe I would say this line to myself instead.  Maybe it would remind me that someone else is taking care of me, asking me where it hurts, telling me to relax, like a blanket of sunshine across my face.  Medicine.  For my spirit.

Thursday, January 5, 2012



About this time on this day last year, I was holding you for the first time. I can hardly remember now how little you were on that day. I do remember though that sometime before you were born, I was wondering how it was going to work, how I was going to love you and Finny at the same time. Finny had been my whole world, my whole focus—how was I going to share? The midwife told me that my love would not divide; it would multiply. She was right.

Every day since the moment you were born, that love has grown exponentially. And now, at one-year-old, you’re the best you’ve ever been and only getting better.

You’re our comedian. At the ripe old age of one, you are already working on your act. You know when you have an audience, you like it, and you aim to please. Showtime is usually meal time where your dah-dahs lead to razzberries which lead to full force head shaking. And with that frohawk of Jerry Lee Lewis curls shaking back and forth, it is entertainment. Give this boy a piano and a microphone and he will sell out shows. Goodness gracious.

You’re our independent one. You love a buddy, but you’re great at playing by yourself too, and you’ve never been much of a cuddler. Unlike your older brother, oftentimes as a baby you didn’t necessarily want to be soothed, you didn’t want your forehead rubbed, you’ve never wanted a pacifier and you didn’t necessarily care to be rocked either. Sometimes you would push me away as if to say, “Leave me alone! I can do it myself!” Classic second child.

But lately, my little independent one has wanted a bit more cuddle time. Sometimes you do just want to lay across my chest and be rocked to sleep, sometimes you do just want to be held, and often if you’ve been left to play by yourself for too long, you’ll come charging across the floor to climb my leg or you’ll “boulder” your way across the kitchen cabinets just to be close to me. I like it.

Beyond your great affection for me and your “dah-dah-dah-dah,” I love to see how much you love Finny. Three of my very favorite words these days are, “Come on, Charlie!” followed by contagious giggling. Finny is so excited by all the new things you are doing, and he’s constantly pointing out to me all the ways you are getting bigger.

“Mommy, look! Charlie is crawling! Charlie is standing! Charlie is playing with the kitchen! Mommy, Charlie can drink out of my cups now! He’s getting bigger! He’s becoming a big boy!”

Sometimes, I will find the two of you just sitting in your fort, rolling all over each other and laughing like little wolf cubs. Other times I will find Finny wrenching toys from your hands, pushing you down, kicking you, or pinning you to the ground, but I’m sure it’s making you stronger.

You’re our Bear. You are The Bearbees, The Bear, Charlie, Charlie Bear, (never Chuck). Your independence, your easygoing nature, your sense of humor and your Jerry Lee Lewis curls are all the wonderful things that make you The Bear. That, and the fact that at twelve months old, you already have man hands. I think they are bigger than Finny’s. It’s unnatural. They are more like paws than hands. If you start sprouting chest hair before you’re five, I’m going to have to do a little research into the VanHimbergen lineage, see if at some point the VanHimbergens lived in caves and caught salmon with their teeth.

We love you, Charlie. We’re so glad you came to make us laugh, to make us smile, to show us just how much our love could grow.

Happy Birthday, Bearbees.



Man Hands:  Only a few minutes old and already your hands are the size of a twelve-year-old's!

Papa Bear, Brother Bear, and Baby Bear

The only thing bigger than your hands, is the size of your smile.  Love it.