Photo: A collaborative effort between Ursa Major and Ursa Minor. I’m calling it “Joy is a Collaborative Effort.” Glitter glue and colored pencil on white paper.

It’s Friday morning. One of the last Friday mornings of this incredible summer, and I’m feeling really good. I got up at 6 to bake the weekly muffins–the husband has been so good as to give me the car today. He was up at 6:20 to get his own life rolling. I thought that maybe I could sneak in a blog post after I got the muffins in the oven, but alas, he’s down here too, stomping about and makin’ noise. It doesn’t matter anyway, because as soon as I turn on the coffee-maker, the boys are going to wake up, too.

As I tried to sneak downstairs this morning, I mentally lamented about the loudness of the stairs themselves. While I think I’ve figured out the right places to step so as to go down as quietly as possible (indeed, I got down here without disturbing the bear cave), it was still a louder process than I would have liked it to be. The oven, too, scared me a few times as it creaked and popped into life during the preheating process. I suppose this is all part of the fun. The house will get used to me, and I now have the pleasure of getting used to and loving this house.

Some of you will think I’m incredibly silly, but I do believe that houses have spirits/souls. I think that they feel us and see our intentions. Not in some weird horror movie “I’ll eat you if you don’t scrub the floors” kind of way… I just think a house knows when it is loved or when it’s just a set of four walls for some schmuck who resides within. This house has been a Bermuda triangle for us–sippy cups have gone missing, alarm clocks have mysteriously stopped working (The Husband and I both overslept 3 times this week! THREE TIMES! Despite alarms supposedly being set!), socks and pajama pants showing up in funky places. Part of it is me still finding my groove, but I know another part of it was the house knowing we didn’t love it and we weren’t planning on staying. We weren’t looking at this place for its assets, and it has a lot of them. We were only tolerating this place because of its location.

I’m looking forward to making this little place a home. The husband and I are already squabbling about which picture is going to go where. And can you believe that we have his and her closets and my husband has stuff up in both?? That’s gonna be rectified this weekend. The rudeness!

I’m sad that I won’t have the garden that I’ve been so craving. But a few flower boxes on the deck, I think, will add a lovely personal touch and will only accentuate the beautiful colors of the changing of the trees behind the house. We’re very lucky that we have a view of beautiful ancient trees behind us. There is a main road behind it that we can hear, but we can’t really see it, which is a great thing. There are a lot of things that I can say about New England, but there is one thing that cannot be denied: This place was made for Autumn. and you know what I just realized?? I’ll have the pleasure of greeting trick-or-treaters this year! And Ursa Major can probably trick-or-treat this year!! Ohhhhhhhh my goodness, the happiness that just came to my heart!

And I’ll tell you something else–the boys had a great end to their week. It is so true what they say about stress: They feel it and feed off of it. No matter what kind of brave face we adults think we’re putting on, no matter how much we try to stick to the routine, children know when you are stressed out. After letting go of this house yesterday, you felt every last ounce of negative energy leave this place. I don’t think Ursa Major pushed his brother once in 24 hours. A miracle! And they collaboratively played and created together, putting together the crazy messy glitter concoction that I’ve featured above.

I have two sweet, smart boys. Ursa Major is narrating life right now in colorful and interesting ways. Currently, his favorite thing to do is to introduce everyone in the house.

“Mama, this is Daddy… and he… he just came from the car. He, he just came from work. Can you…. can you get him some water, Mama?”

“Mama, this is [Ursa Minor], and he’s a baby. and he… he wants some apple juice. Mama, can you give him some apple juice?”

“Hey, [Ursa Major], what are you? Are you a baby, too?”

“No, Mama, I’m not a baby.”

“What are you then?”

“I’m [Ursa Major]!”

“[Ursa Major] is just an [Ursa Major]?”

Laughing hysterically, “Yes, Mama!”

Oh, and this one is probably my favorite.

Ursa Major drops his fork. He looks down at the floor, very concerned. “Ohhh noo! Mama! Uh, Mama? Mama, I dropped my big fork and…. I need a new fork! Can you get it?”

Me, not impressed. “When we want something, what do we say?”

“Mama? Can you get me a new fork, please?”

“Do you really need a fork?”

“Yes, Mama, yes, I need a new fork, Mama.”

Isn’t he the cutest?

And I have an Ursa Minor story, too.

Here in the townhouse, the middle level is sorta “open concept” but the pantry creates a little wall that separates the living room from the kitchen. The boys think that it’s fun to run around in circles between these three rooms. This, of course, drives me crazy. Well on Wednesday, Ursa Major decided that it would be a great idea to chase me around, and I obliged him. Ursa Minor, who was hanging out with Daddy, was content to watch. Around and around we went. Ursa Major is a quick little thing, but he could never catch me. Ursa Minor watched for a few minutes and then asked to get out of The Husband’s arms so that he could take up the chase. Two toddlers are screaming and having the time of their lives chasing me around the house.

But then Ursa Minor stops in the middle of the chase, stays in one place (next to daddy) and when I come bounding around the corner, he’s like “DEEE DAA!” which is basically “taaa daaa” in Ursa Minor speak. Why chase when you know Mama is gonna come back this way? Smart baby! Well, I avoided him and kept on going. Ursa Major is still chasing me in the same way that he’s been for a few minutes. Ursa Minor joins the fun again. At about the third go-around, he turns to run in the opposite direction. I come bounding around the corner again and “DEEE DAA!” He’s caught mommy.

Ursa Minor, I have to keep reminding myself, is 18 months old. I don’t know when, developmentally, you’re supposed to figure out that kind of thing, but I’m not so sure that it’s 18 months old. Smart. Freaking. Baby.

It has been a challenging summer, and it is coming to a close. I’ve always viewed Autumn as the start of a “new year”–I’ll always be on a student/teacher clock. Autumn means beautiful colors, good food, not too hot and not too cold, new TV, snuggle-up books, apple picking and harvest stands. It means school buses and children’s giggles. It means moms huddled up in gossipy corners. I’ve been a student for many Autumns, I’ve been a teacher for many others… This year, I get to have my first true “mom” Autumn. I just can’t wait.

but first, one last summer hurrah. I’m going on vacation next week.

I’m excited about getting back down to the South and rejuvenating. I’m going to allow the mighty Atlantic to take all of my troubles and wash them away. I’m going to graciously accept new energy from the sun. I’m going to revel in the presence of my family. I’m going to quietly tolerate my in-laws and loud-mouthed cousin. I’m going to say what will probably be a final goodbye to my paternal grandmother, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s and is moving to Florida. I’m going to eat as many steamed crabs as I can cram into my stomach. I’m going to drink enough beer to be relaxed and happy, but not so much as to not function (as I’ve done during beach vacations of old!).  I’m going to love every single minute of watching my two boys negotiate their first experience with the beach.

We have to appreciate the challenges as much as we do the rewards. I’m grateful for the challenges presented to me over these few weeks, and I’m even more grateful for the lessons learned.

In the course of composing this post, I baked muffins, prepared bacon and brewed coffee. I fed my husband and saw him off to work. I greeted my grocery deliverer and put away my groceries. I’ve been up for two hours. I still have to get the boys up, dress them, feed them, wait for them to poop and then take their little butts to the park to meet up with friends. Then I’m back here to bake some bread and do some writing. Groove is in the heart, ya’ll, and it would seem that I’m getting mine back!

There is so much that I wish for you on this quiet Friday morning. Mostly quiet moments to enjoy the rustling of the mature end-of-summer leaves. I wish you moments to accept some new energy from the sun, and to breathe in the last bit of warmth from this season. I wish you moments to bask in your children’s last fleeting moments of summer freedom. They’ll be on a school bus ever-so soon (if not already!). Most importantly, I wish you warm, loud and well-loved homes filled with joy.

I’m on vacation, but I’ll be blogging. See you next week!

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2 thoughts on “Quiet Thoughts: Loud House, Home House

  1. That’s frameworthy right there! Especially since it’s a collaboration.
    I wouldn’t think it odd at all to tell the house out loud that you are starting to appreciate and even love it.
    Enjoy your vacation.

    • Thanks, Sunny! I do think that this piece will get a prominent place on the fridge. 🙂

      And thank you for the well wishes. I really need this vacation!

      It’s funny, when I wrote that part about the house having a soul, I was like, “I know that at least ten people are going to roll their eyes at this.” It’s a silly notion, but it is just the way I feel. I’m glad that you don’t find it strange!

      Have a great weekend!!

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