Notebook: December

Bits and baubles, chicken scratch and ramblings, daily and nightly thoughts swirling like the whipped cream in hot cocoa;  my virtual little pocket notebook.  Inspired by Sy Syfransky’s monthly “Notebook” in the Sun Magazine that graces my eyes each month.


Co-sleeping.  Whether wholly or partially or “musical beds” as well call it in our household, I truly believe that the very practice heals wounds and transgressions.   After a rough day, noticing how our limbs entangle and their hot breath dissolves into dreams, I allow my guilt and anger and pent-up cluster of emotions to surface and then melt away.   It has to be that they feel this lifting of cloudy energy, right?  That they are lulled into sleep by the beating of my heart outside of my chest?   I whisper my “I’m sorry’s” to them, and brush the hair behind their ears, and visualize unconditional love wrapping their hearts snugly like satiny, soft ribbon.  Their chubby cheeks bounce back slightly from my kisses and I rub their tiny knuckles like a worry stone.  I am absolved of all in this confessional and given a reminder to do better tomorrow.

Indigo fell asleep in my arms one breezy afternoon.   I gazed at her nutmeg brown eyelashes.  But for the first time, I noticed that the very tips are blondish, as if they’d been dipped into a honey pot.   Magical.

The pretzel stick I pulled from the bag is two pretzels twisted together, Jacob’s ladder-style..  They are making mad passionate love or dancing a brilliant tango.  I don’t feel right separating them, so I ingest them intact; together; hugging.  The next one I pull from the bag is also two pretzels, standing parallel and joined at the lips.  The bag is full of pretzel people.  I am now a little freaked out.

Poised and ready to put up the small, fake holiday tree (nothing says cheer like plastic! Sigh.  I’m a sucker), I asked Jason to pull it from the garage for me.  “It’s broken”, he said as he brought it inside.  “The brackets have come off”.   I frowned.  Later, he made an impromptu trip to the grocery for some eggs so that I could whip up some cupcakes for my dairy-free friend.   As he walked in the door, he deposited a huge box on the ground.   A new tree.  A pretty little pre-lit one with rainbow colored light.  Happiness in a box.  A kind, pure act and it warmed my plastic-tree loving heart.

A true ah-ha moment:  I am done bribing, begging, pleading, yelling, tricking, crying Kaia into cleaning her room in preparation for company.   Why did it take me so long to discover that, in the end, it’s not worth it for either of us?  That the time and energy wasted (literally, 24 hours) could be well spent making glittered bookmarks together for holiday gifts?  That I could laugh at Kaia in her $2.00 clearance Bat Girl costume while she did crafts?  That we could snuggle in the hammock outside and discuss the shapes of the clouds.   That the gooey brownies we mix together and lick from spoons are far tastier than the salt of anger from our lips?  And so, dear friends and family:  Next time you visit, if the house is messier than you expected, know that we tried with good intentions to clean.  But if Life called, I listened.   I stopped and knelt in front of my daughters’ ocean and acorn eyes and say “Yes, LET’S!”.   The messes will get cleaned;  they always do.  Always in the moments I least expect, when the spark of TRUE (and not conditional) altruism is lit in their souls.   Let this be their remembrance of me;  our mutual gift to one another.

I watch, always with a tiny bit of grit in my stomach, as women are guided into the “stranded beetle” position to birth – supine,  legs pulled up and back.     My recoil comes not due to anything other than this thought:  When would a woman, birthing alone and/or on her own accord, EVER assume this position naturally? I’m wracking my brain trying to figure out a scenario.   Shoulder dystocia? I could see a woman side-lying if she were tired.  But on her back, using her last bit of energy to pull back her own knees? When women are left to birth how they choose, I notice they choose squatting, kneeling, hands and knees, standing, sitting on a birth stool or toilet, dangling,  semi-reclined with knees up, lunging, or some variation of a semi-active position.   I have NEVER seen a woman choose the “stranded beetle” position on her own (midwives and doulas, feel free to comment if you HAVE seen it, as I’m sure there could be good reason).

The Fed-Ex delivery woman who arrived in the middle of this note made me cry.  Okay, just teary-eyed and all misty.   She handed me my package and noticed our gentle lab sounding ferocious in the background.  Without flinching she said “Ohhh, let’s see the barking doggy” and he stuck his snout outside to her open palm, already embedded with a doggy bone.   Procuring the bone with his jowls, he hopped across the threshold and rubbed against her legs.  “Awww, all good dogs deserve a bone”, she cooed as she leaned down to pet him and give him love.   We thanked her.  She took her time, she was unhurried, she was thoughtful and kind.  She ambled back to her truck without the traditional rushed gait of most delivery folk.  I could tell she took pride in her job and in making people smile.  How rare.  Or perhaps it’s just rare that I notice.  So now, I will take notice.  Thank you, Fed-Ex lady, for bringing a bit of unexpected joy into our house.

I am in love with these boots. These are sweet too.  Drool and sigh and gaze, that’s what I do. It’s been a long hunt for the perfect boot.  Maybe Santa will cough up the dough and wrap these leather beauties in fabric with a big bow on top for me?  I’m tempted to buy them myself with my next check and call it a combo solstice/Christmas/birthday gift

I rifled through my coupons to find one for the Auntie Anne’s pretzel shop that we frequent often.  Buy one get one free.   Perfect for this day;  65 degrees, a cool Fall breeze, and pretzels in the park with my girls.   In a bustle and holding Indigo on my hip, I tell the older lady at the register about my coupon and give it to her.   “Two regular pretzels”, I say with a smile that is echoed ten-fold by my daughters.   In my mind, for some crazy reason, I actually think at this moment that the coupon is for two free pretzels.  Gratis.  No strings attached.   Just waltz up and get TWO FREE PRETZELS!  WHAT A DEAL!  The lady bags them, hands them over the glass counter, and we all say “Thank You” loudly and proudly, excited for the warm-bakery goodness in our hands.   She tells us to have a great day and grins.  The girls even say BYE BYE!! and we walk away.  In the truck, on the way to the park, it dawns on me that I didn’t pay.  Not a dime.  Two pretzels for free.   A bit mortified, I replayed the transaction in my mind.  Unhurried, we didn’t just grab and go.  The lady never even approached the cash register to signal it was time to pay.  The mood was light and happy.   i sighed, thankful for the gift and promised I’d pay them back next time we go.   Can you say space cadet?

I am homesick.  What’s new?  As of late, though, I cannot even view photos that remind me of home without getting short of breath, a mini-panic attack of sorts.  For example, the ones that really get me in the gut are snapshots of the inside of a home where a wooded, dreamy yard is visible through – usually large- windows.   It’s as if I see my soul perched up there on the branches of those trees, nested inside the robin’s home.  The only way I foresee solving this heart-wrenching saga is using by that $100,000 check that REALLY is going to arrive in my mailbox at some point and building a timber-frame home in the woods.   Easy? No.  Possible? Why, of course!  In my deepest bones, it’s all already waiting for us, wraparound porch and all.

The tree is up, holiday carols pumping from the speakers, browsing of Etsy commenced.  I am ready, Father Winter, to usher you in your brisk breath to the mountains of this desert.  Bring on your long, dark nights and quiet mornings.   Bring on the gitter and glitz of tiny lights upon rooftops.   Bring on eggnog and hot cocoa and soup brimming with mounds of veggies.  Bring on those lovely, supple boots and the dozens of ways I’ve learned to tie a scarf.  Bring on the kisses atop the cool, pink noses of my scrumptious daughters.  Bring on the white Christmas, pretty please.  And obscenely cheap airline tickets, okay?

(Thank you to my girls, who watched an old school Snoopy cartoon, and got into the butter, icing, and bagels while I wrote this).


10 Comments Add yours

  1. Brooke says:

    I love the night time kisses and secret whispers of aplogogy and love, promises of better tomorrows. Beautiful moments that I treasure.

  2. jeanette says:

    Darling, i love you beyond all possibility or probability – do you know that? Do you really know it? Because I do.

    As always, your words are like warm whispers to my soul. You are my soft place to fall – even in cyber space.


  3. Chelsea says:

    Ahhh – co-sleeping bliss. Always my kids start the night in their own beds, but 75% of the time, they end up in our bed before the sun comes up. We really secretly enjoy the cuddles, except the kids sleep diagonal or horizontal and my husband and I end up clinging to the edges of the bed.
    Just last night Sammy and I were sharing a pillow and I heard our dog bark in my dream, and right after, Sammy called out in his sleep “no, doggie, no!”
    Were we dreaming the same dream, or was I hearing the dog in his dream, or vice versa?
    Oh, and those boots are delicious!

  4. I thought I would never co-sleep…but now my bed feels empty without her! I always ask myself why I even decorated her room, as she is never in there 🙂 Thank you for being such an inspirational mamma Leigh…really, thank you!

  5. Becca says:

    Oh woman, you remind me that at the end of this life I will do not want to be remembered for how clean my floor were but for the stories I’ve read, and the swings I’ve pushed, and the tickles I’ve dispensed. Thank you, I needed it.

  6. mb says:

    YOU are HOME. know that deep in your bones. and you are worth more than 100K. priceless is what you are.

  7. mb says:

    oh, i did choose to birth Mia that way, at home. Mainly because I was SO tired and I had no birth tub at that birth. i dont think it was ideal, but it did work for me. and if never felt like i WANTED to get up and move. but afterwards i KNOW I DID or someone suggested that i did, i probably would not have had gnarly tears and Mia would not have gotten a bitty bitty stuck like she did.

    love you

  8. Girlfriend, when is your birthday??? I’m a December baby. Do we need to have a joint celebration while I’m here?

  9. Kelly says:

    Leigh, I am also dealing with homesickness. I am finding that not having been home for Christmas in over a decade is taking a toll on my emotions. I am feeling your pain on that one. I too want that house that you showed the photo of! OH TO DREAM.

  10. Aimee says:

    I do love your posts like these. Touching on everything I’m thinking about and finding that I’m not alone. You are blessed. Your girls are beautiful and your outlook on like is like a breath of fresh air. I especially liked the part about living life instead of worrying about a messy house. Gosh, is that my life or what right now… Thanks for being so honest. It’s such a pleasure to read.

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