The Explodation Mark

thunderstorm

When was the last time you felt truly excited about being alive?

When did you last laugh out loud for no reason at all, but just because something made you really happy?

Let’s admit, these are not every day emotions. For many people, they can be more the exception rather than the norm.

And yet, why shouldn’t we be excited every day?

What really holds us back from joy?

I’m gonna guess it’s just being adults. Grown-ups don’t or shouldn’t get too excited, we think. Focus on the tasks at hand…over-think the problems…groan about what isn’t right in our world.

But kids know best that happiness and excitement just can’t be contained. My son calls it, having  an Explodation Mark. (I didn’t bother telling him the punctuation sign is actually called an EXCLAMation mark!)

It usually happens just before his favorite LEGO DVD starts…he jumps around…cheers and gets all crazy…

“Settle down,” I’ll say.

“But mom! I’m just having an Explodation Mark!”

Or upon me announcing that it’s time to go to the gelato bar now—

Uncontrollable excitement.

“Settle down now!”

“But mom—I’m just having an Explodation Mark!”

Or when someone—anyone—scores in the football match…

“Yeeahhh! TOR!”

“Settle down!”

“But it’s just my Explodation Mark!”

zirkus2

Well, this week, I have been having a few explodation marks of my own—and they weren’t even the kind that begin with stress and end in tears (usual for us moms, you know!)

They were the happy kind, the blissful kind, and even the jump-up-and-down kind, like my son has at times.

And I realized, it was because, recently, I have made up my mind to get more excited about life.

No matter how stressed I feel…

No matter how uninspired home chores can be…(No matter that my daughter just plopped my phone in the mop bucket and killed it.)

No matter what life surprises with or the challenges each day brings.

rainbowhunting1

Explodation Marks can even be just bursts of gratitude.

Or, they can be moments of peaceful silence.

Explodation Marks can be that serene feeling, watching a sunrise

Or a fantastic thunderstorm.

Explodation Marks can be long hugs between you and your partner

Or of course they can be more than just hugs.

summer1

Explodation Marks are really saying, what my other kid has learned to say over and over again, her first actual English word:

“WOW!”

When I hear her say it, I am reminded to always see the wow, and say it—even if only silently, in my heart and mind…but sometimes, out loud, too:

Wow, Life, I am grateful for these moments with you.

Wow, Problems, you sure know how to challenge me!

Wow, Stress, you again?

Wow, Fear, you really think you are going to win?

Wow, Nature, let me never forget your beauty.

Wow, Universe—you continue to surprise me.

Wow, dear God, you are truly amazing.

kite

And you know what?

The more I see and say wow, the more explodation marks I allow myself, the more Real, True and Authentic, meaningful experiences come into my life.

More magic happens. More amazing people cross my paths. More serendipity. More Wow.

If you want your world to come alive, allow yourself some childlike awe, some Explodation Marks. Have more fun, and you will feel more alive, guaranteed.

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Filed under Adventure, Fun, happiness, Inspiration, life, spirit

NumNum!

Kids make the best cartoon characters. Old people too, but since I have daily access to these pretty animated kids, I’ve going to be drawing them more. With great opportunity at mealtimes to crank out some silly faces.

Image

Check out this artwork as a T-Shirt and Pillow design here in my store :) It’s caled “NumNum”, because that’s her word for her favorite thing in the world: food.

 

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New Year; New Home

Life has been good to me. I’ve traveled some pretty fantastic places around the world, wound up in adventurous terrain, been lost in enchanting and exotic locations, and called many of those destinations home.

But the latest has been by far, the best. The most beautiful.

Check out my new living room/terrace view:

evenings

To the left, I can see where my husband goes to work, where kitesurfers soar over the waters on windy days. In the center, the glistening lights of a little town across the lake sparkle even more in the evenings, when our living room couch doubles as a bed and we can sit/lie and and sip wine together–how’s that for romance? And to the right, the lake continues on southward, traversing through valleys that lie below a cluster of snow-capped mountains, its waters winding through towns and foothills, rippling silently into the distance.

We are still settling in, figuring out where the kids will go to school, how we will continue life in this tiny town, and attempting to learn the language.  But it’s a good start, and a wonderful place to wake up to every morning. We even have a little garden that our tiny gardener has been keeping well-watered.

garten1I thought it was timely that we got the keys to our new house on the same week that I turned 33. The day after my birthday, we moved in, began a new journey as a family. Another chapter closed; a new one begun.

Who knows what the future has in store? Who knows what’s waiting out there? I don’t, just yet.

But I’m excited to find out. Thrilled that, in this beautiful place I’ve been brought to, I find inspiration to paint, being surrounded by my loved ones–my children, my husband, and my friends…even though most of our connections are online these days.

There is beauty everywhere, and I will continue to discover it, though here in Italy one doesn’t have to look very far.

terrace1

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The Accidental Lamb Roast

lamb1This recipe begins with a story about married life.

My married life, the one in which, from day to day, there are highs and lows, sacrifices and joys, tiny, insignificant spats, colossal problems, infused with everyday learning when you (hopefully) get better at being—and having—a partner.

Initially, we’d argued over what meat to buy for dinner, and then eventually decided on beef. But then, at the groceries last minute, I’d changed my mind to chicken. In a huff, he’d bought the beef instead, and I’d complained to myself that a single cut could cost as much as 9 euros. As insignificant as these little details seem, it can end up ruining a potentially productive, harmonious day and give everyone a very nasty mood.

The husband went to work, and I decided to marinate the beef before taking the kids down to the lake. Tossing it with an Asian-style recipe, the kind where you check what you have in the fridge and spice cupboard, I added everything together with, most importantly, that magic element that is every single Asian dish.

It wasn’t until 7pm at night, when we’d all gotten home, and I found myself thinking that something wasn’t right. The meat I’d marinated looked way too pink to be beef, but didn’t feel quite like a pound of pork either, neither lean enough to be rabbit.

“I think we accidentally bought lamb,” I said. (With a mental “oops”, because I have never, ever in my life attempted to cook lamb. Seems to be such a fancy dish, the kind that scares an amateur cook more accustomed to Asian stir-fries and such.)

“Read the label,” the husband answered. “Lamb is agnello in Italian.”

Of course, I’d thrown the packaging away that morning, so had to go fish it out of the garbage, before seeing that it was, indeed, Agnello– a delightful piece of baby sheep…and, to my dismay, that I’d unintentionally ruined it with soya sauce and honey!

But you know who rocks? Jamie Oliver. I found myself on his cooking site, and his ingredients for a delicious roast lamb were not much different than the ones I’d tossed together. Following his easy, straightforward instructions on how to oven roast a piece of meat with potatoes, I crafted my very first leg of lamb.

It was a complete surprise, how simple this recipe was. The soya-sauce and honey mixture made a perfect caramel crust, glazing the potatoes and carrots exquisitely.

“It’s the Easter lamb,” my husband joked, and we both laughed at not even realizing the timeliness of this themed feast. Accidental deliciousness.

It did turn out to be a feast. I’d served it with a fresh feld salat, tossed with sautéed mushrooms and fresh goats cheese (recipe also below), a liter bottle of vino rosso, Nero D’Avola, grilled corn on the cob and toasted baguettes.

As the husband carved out the meat, the good bits with their sweet but not too sticky flavors left me thinking that this must be the kind of dish that makes the heart sing. Makes you forget the crazies.

I turned up some jazz radio, we lit the table candles, uncorked the wine and enjoyed the glow. Is there anything more rewarding than watching your boys eat to their hearts’ content?

lamb2Today, I’ll be poring over these 46 lamb recipes from Jamie Oliver, who, did I say rocks? I hope you, too, had a happy Easter with your loved ones, celebrating the start of Spring and the return of warmth just before Summer.

via paradisoThere are so many important elements to a happy life, but you’ve heard them already. I’ve decided that the most important one, in terms of marriage, is being able to whip up a feast for your man…every single night.

The Experimental Marinade: lamb3

Olive Oil

Garlic, sliced

Onions, chopped

Drizzle of Honey

Dash of Salt and Pepper

Generous amount of olive oil

Fresh Rosemary and Thyme, Sage

Secret ingredient: Soya Sauce

Mix everything into a bowl, and let the meat marinate in fridge for at least 4 hours. I stuffed some of the marinade into a chunky part of the shank, which I sliced to make a pocket before filling.

The Roasting:

  1. Preheat oven to 400/200 degrees
  2. Place meat on the grilling rack, with a roasting tray underneath to catch the tasty dripping juices and for potatoes later.
  3. Pour the leftover marinade sauce into this tray
  4. Boil potatoes (optionally leaving peels on) then let simmer for ten minutes
  5. When potatoes are done, slice them, drizzle with more olive oil, salt and pepper, then toss them into the tray with fresh sprigs of rosemary and continue roasting
  6. Optional: Add sliced carrots to the tray of potatoes
  7. Continue to cook everything for an hour. Set the table.

The Serving:

  1. Order your boys to sit down. Serve the salad with a glass of wine while the aromatic scent of roasted meat and rosemary fills the kitchen.
  2. Enjoy each others’ company: quiet the kids with Grissini sticks and roasted, buttered corn on the cob (I’d added the corn to the grilling rack about the same time as the chicken)
  3. When one side of the potatoes has been slightly caramelized, turn them over
  4. When the lamb is done, cover it with foil and let stand for 15 minutes
  5. Transfer to a large plate with the potatoes encircling the meat
  6. Serve with love and watch your men enjoy

Sauteed Mushroom with Goat’s Cheese Salad: salad2

Champignons

Goat Cheese, creamy variety with a milky flavor and not too sharp or salty

Feld Salat or any salad variety of your choice

Garlic

Fresh Basil leaves

Salt, Pepper

Olive Oil

Butter

Saute the mushrooms and garlic in a frying pan of butter and olive oil. And the very end, tear basil leaves with your fingers and add to the mushrooms.

On a plate, arrange the bed of salad, layer this with the mushrooms then top with crumbled goats cheese. Serve while the mushrooms are still warm, with a light prosecco and buttered fresh bread.

Happy Feasting, buona Pascua! :)

como easterP.S. We’ve just moved back to Lombardy, Italy. Here is my new bedroom view every morning. You can’t see in this frame, but it’s magical how the bottom of the mountain touches a serene lake. What a sight to wake up to. I appreciate my life all over again and try to remind myself to always, always, always be grateful.

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For Alexandra

journal alexandraMy one and only daughter turns one year old today.

I haven’t considered buying her a material gift, first off because she’s too young to appreciate anything that isn’t edible—and second, because she’ll be getting a whole lot of presents from relatives at the big party in a few hours (she shares the same birth date as her German grandfather).

But I have decided to do one thing, starting now: I’ve begun a journal, just for her.

My thoughts, notes and musings to her. I want to record these memories, our times together, what she knew,journal2 what she loved, what she did, what she said (and how she said it), what she attempted, and what she accomplished…how she cried, how she touched my heart, how she frustrated me, and angered me, and loved me

…and how enormously I loved her.

baby girlOf course it will be many years till she reads it, but it’s important to start recording these moments now.

As I began to write in this journal, I realized it was also what I wanted as a child. I wanted to know my mother’s reflections…I never knew of her hopes or dreams—whether for myself or for her—and some of the early years of my life are lost with no record of those times (my mom and dad split up when I was five).

But it’s okay.

I have made my way through life with experience for a teacher, and I know now that my parents both love me unconditionally. Still, sometimes, I wish there were more of my mom (in those faraway moments of 1981) to remember.

So, I am gifting my daughter something I never had—insight to her mother’s feelings, dreams, and desires.

…unspoken thoughts, meant only for her.

journal4

Whether she is 13 or 31, or 50 or past then, she will know that her imperfect mom still found a way to pursue a perfect love—the one she found with her.

And perhaps she will realize then, the incredible gift of life to my soul that she, my Alexandra, gave me.

alexandra

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Sketchbook Assignment #1: Same Picture/ Different Views

I recently signed up for the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) by CalArts, entitled Live!: A History of Art for Artists, Animators and Gamers with Jeannene Przyblyski, Ph.D. I’m so excited to learn about so much that I don’t know yet! I am also inspired by the fact that there are thousands of students around the world taking this course for free, made possible by Coursera.

Our first assignment in this eight-week course is to make two sketches: one, that stands for what I think art really should be, and the other, what I think people in the world think art should be.

That seems so broad, with so many possibilities about what other people think it should be. I felt stuck…I tried to sketch but could not capture it in just one picture. It ended up being a whole lot of written words in my sketchbook!

But it got me thinking, about one tiny aspect of this, and recalling a personal story…

If we talk about “the art world”, what comes to my mind are galleries, exhibitions, art collectors, auctions, and artists trying to make it up the ladder of “success”. And in that world, there are many intellectual people, many sincere artists, but also probably many that just go see art for the sake of the status, the crowd they want to be associated with—I come from the Philippines, and this was often the case, in a country where art is not “as accessible” to everyone.

I remember, as a young teenager, though I loved going to art exhibits to see the works, I didn’t really enjoy “that crowd” so much. I did not understand the mind of an art critic (definitely something I hope to learn more about in this course!), or the mind of an art collector, for that matter. I only knew that I loved to create, and wanted to learn more about creating. Plus, many of my friends were artists and it was something we did together, for fun.

Years later, in 2005, I held my own solo exhibition at the Sheraton hotel of Kamapla, Uganda. I’ll tell you that story some other time, but the particular moment that this assignment led me to think about, was when—as a result of that exhibition—the Kabaka (King of Buganda) purchased my painting. What an honor and experience.

Here is a photo of that artwork, entitled “My People”:

MY PEOPLEAs it became public knowledge that the king himself owned my art, I was soon getting more phone calls, and people wanted to buy “that painting”. Of course they couldn’t have the original; only a duplicate.

And I made sure to tell them, “It won’t be exactly like the picture—it will be similar, as I can never reproduce one exactly like that one.”

No one seemed to mind. Sometimes, they didn’t even know what the picture was. They’d never even seen it, or a picture of it. They’d say, “Just paint me the one the king bought.”

I ended up selling reproductions of that painting eight more times.

Although I love this particular piece of art, only I know what inspired me to paint it, and the moment I came in contact with this tribe. Those who paid to own the artwork itself will never really feel what I felt at the time, a respect and sadness/concern for the community where this nearly-forgotten tribe lived, way up on the mountains.

So I use this picture in my assignment, not because I think art SHOULD be like my art, but to represent what the process of art means to me.

To me, the picture was a symbol of:

  • Exploration (both the long journey to reach the tribe, as well as the process of creating this with pastels on felt paper)
  • Expression (The personal process of creating something)
  • The power to change one’s circumstance, or one’s outlook
  • Communication
  • Life (Art should be vibrant, exciting, striking, I often use deep colors)
  • Awareness (Hardly anyone knew that this tribe, called the “Ik”, existed. I wanted my portraits of them to tell their story, to show their faces, fears, and dreams)
  • Bridging cultures (too much to say on that!)
  • A personal experience we can (and sometimes, should) share

I know what the painting meant to me at the time…but it became valuable to others for an entirely different reason. So if I am allowed to do so, I’d like to use this picture for both illustrations.

Thanks for reading! I’ll update about the new things I’m learning from this exciting course as we go along.

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And You, and You

poem

Penned a simple little poem for my children today…

Winter walks on windy days
Just me, and you, and you
Through silent paths, through snowy slopes
Through shades of gold and blue

I need not walk alone today
For I hold not one, but two
Together, in this magic weather
Just me,
And you,
And you.
***
17 Feb. 2014

feb stroll1

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February 17, 2014 · 9:14 am

Wide Awake in Winter

winter2Do you know how snow-dust sparkles? I never knew—until yesterday.

If it is a sunny day, like the ones we’ve been having lately, then winter dances and pierces and sweeps through the senses.

Those snowflakes didn’t just flutter down. They swirled and twirled and whirled like magic. Crisp. Gleaming. White.

Pure white—but sometimes, when the sun’s reflection bounces off of icicles and snow-dust, suddenly, one sees vibrant colors. It is ten degrees below freezing point—and yet, walking through the woods, I feel warmth.

winter walk

This month, the start of the New Year, I am doing lots of celebrating—a magical winter spell sets off the perfect mood; I gaze at the way sharp shadows of light strike the snow at 11 o’clock.

Did you get to celebrate something today?

Celebration isn’t always fireworks, candles and cake. Sometimes, celebration is simply being thankful. It’s acknowledging. It’s saying, “Yes, this is where I am meant to be, and I’m going to make the most of it.”

schnee3Celebration can also be commemorating: observing, honoring, and remembering.

I am honoring my daughter’s first babbles, her awkward “dance” (bouncing) every time she hears the sound of music, and the murmuring exhale she grunts when I tell her she’s eaten quite enough today.

schnee12I am remembering the squishy sound of my son’s gummistiefels as he sloshes through every muddy pile of melting ice.

schnee11And the way his concerned four-year-old voice pierces my train of thought loudly:

“Mom, the baby’s alive!”

(He means, she’s woken up—I must get back to mommy-work.)

schnee5So I’ll be realistic too. Not every moment is met with joy. There is the mundane, day to day that being a mother requires: endless nappy changes, dishes to wash and little people to keep happy and well-fed. Trips to the doctor’s office, meeting with the school principal, laundry to sort, hang, and fold. And always, a floor of toys to sweep.

And maybe, that’s why we need to celebrate the special moments more. Even the ones we think aren’t quite that special.

I take this 3-kilometer walk every day to pick up my son from school. The same routine. My fingers are frozen as we trudge through the show. But I try to make each day on the same route a new experience.

snowy walkThe sunlight’s glint is never exactly as it was yesterday; the village sounds are never just the same. On some days, I find horse-riders trotting through the streets; other times, snow-sweeping tractors plowing through the neighbor’s gardens.

I’ll admit, it wasn’t always so for me. With my first pregnancy, I was also in this same village, and I felt cold, and isolated, and bored.

narnia1It was a new experience in a foreign country (a new continent!), and I’d had all the usual moods a pregnant woman goes through. Not used to eat cold herring and schwarzbrot for dinner, I craved the warmth of tropical islands, the chaotic mess of the city. And oh, yes, I missed speaking English with other people!

It wasn’t easy, that first long winter, before my son was born. And of course, the days following, as a new mom, were even tougher.

But this time around, I’m getting a second chance at choosing: choosing joy over self-absorbedness, artistic expression over boredom. Choosing to see the sun through the shadows, to notice the way nature unfolds, envelops, and captivates. Choosing to appreciate and reciprocate the love of my family here, who care for us so well.

snowy walk3As I walk the same snow-swept paths along the edge of this Eastern German forest trail, I’m glad to be just where I am today.

Sometimes, my daughter is fast asleep in her stroller, and other times, she is wide awake.

Wide awake, I’ve realized, is how I want to be.

Exploring the world with the senses I’ve had all these years, but now finding new ways to use them.

Finding new ways to come alive.

schnee9

Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul.
Oscar Wilde

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Notes on Twitter and Trains

wb2Did you know that, as a boy, Jack Dorsey, was fascinated—no, obsessed—with trains? And that, his interest in the dispatch center and the way they communicated eventually led to his invention of the popular social media tool, Twitter? It’s been told that as a kid, he often hung out at the train track with his brother, waiting to capture them zooming by on camera.

Yesterday, for something different and fun, we travelled old-school style, in a very old, original steam locomotive engine!

photo of our train track by wikimedia

photo of our train track by wikimedia

The Weisseritz Valley Railway, or Weißeritztalbahn dates back to 1881. Although the track has been reconstructed due to severe damage with the 2002 flooding, its locomotive and cars are the original, basic design. It’s a great way to see the Erzgebirge mountain views here in Saxony.

And today, it wasn’t about getting to any destination at all. This was purely for the excitement and enjoyment of our transportation vehicle. Winding through all that nature, I couldn’t help but feel like we’d time-traveled back hundreds of years ago. (Interesting read: What nature does for your productivity.)

wb1We simply took the train to the very last station (about 45 minutes one way), stopped for lunch at a Greek restaurant, ate way too much Suvlaki, and then rode the steam engine  right back.

My son was fascinated, as usual. My daughter, her first time to ride the train, watched just as intensively as we chugged up the trail that followed the Weißeritz river, and waved to everyone who stopped just to see the steam engine go rolling by. I’ll bet they were also surprised to see three Asians waving back at them from inside the locomotive!

wb4We’ve ridden countless trains since Karsten was born, been to the German train museums numerous times, and when there is an opportunity to watch one pass, we do so with all the hurrah and excitement. Aren’t kids a great reason to start doing things “just for fun” in your adult years?

I hope that, as we greet the first few days of 2014, if you have made new goals for yourself, mapped out and marked destinations you’d like to reach, that you remember to enjoy the getting there, too.

Happy new year; happy journeys!

wb3http://www.weisseritztalbahn.de/

wb6P.S. Speaking of Twitter, you can find (or connect and follow) me here. ;)

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Notes in the Night

Tucked beneath winter’s dark blanket, held magically under a silver moon’s spell, it sounds as if all Saxony is fast asleep.

All, except my daughter, that is.

The tiny one has kicked off her blankets and socks, crawled unceremoniously out of bed, and proceeded to drag me along after her, to play. At 3am.

Jetlag can be cruel.

While she gnaws at toys in the old box we opened up from when her brother was a baby in this house (our in-laws), I contemplate.

last day bay2The year has come full circle, and I am just where our journey began, before that little girl was born. At the end of 2012, we’d moved back to tropical Philippines, from a biting cold Germany.

I’d needed help with the new baby and toddler, since a C-section operation was expected. Household help and nannies were no luxury in Asia, and I knew it would be many months of recovery before my body could be back to normal. Besides, I was homesick—for chicken adobo, and social neighbors, and the sharp/sweet fishy taste of bangus belly, and cinnamon sand between my toes.

My husband agreed—begrudgingly—to move us all back, and we set up house in a quite historical little place called Subic Bay.

last day bay1It was here in Olongapo City that the Americans had stationed their troops for many years. But since the fatal eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in the 90’s resulting in a giant evacuation, and other historical events, the Bay town was now a tourist stop, for leisure and slow living. We thought it would be a nice place to live with the kids, in stark contrast to Manila’s grit and grime, where we had no intent on raising them.

On the first day of March, just as we’d scheduled, this feisty girl was born, steps from the ocean’s mouth.

And when I saw her, so strong, so dark-eyed, so full of life, spunk, and at times, complete seriousness, the name my husband suggested (well, we still debate who came up with it first) stuck.

Alexandra.

a.aug2It took a few months, but I slowly recovered, thanks to my mom who arrived to help us for a few weeks, and to “Mary Poppins”, our indispensable nanny.

Three months later, both children contracted pneumonia and were hospitalized, one after the other.

In the thick of this crisis, I learned the most about being a mother. The strength I never knew I had: the kind that fights for life, never gives up hope, and never succumbs, even when the tears and trials are too many. When the kids had recovered and the worst had passed (as it always does), I also got back to healthier living, exercising, regaining myself.

Life was precious, as it always had been; only now, I’d come to cherish it even more.

pi2I found my creativity resurface with a coffee-table book project for the Philippines’ Dept. of Tourism (soon to be released), editing work, and my online magazine.

In the year that was 2013, it seemed too, that the Philippines as a country, suffered horrendously. Natural disasters occurred nearly every month; rife with civil wars and political drama. It scares me to list the recent events that happened just this week, as we were leaving: a bus falling off the highway near my parent’s house and killing over 20 people; murder at the airport where an 18-month old baby’s life is lost to the bullet; holdup at the mall.

When one becomes a parent, priorities change: suddenly, all you care about is your children’s safety, security, finding a place they can come home to and feel no fear.

And as much as I love many things about the Philippines, we knew we wouldn’t stay forever.

No place in the world is perfect, and this side of the planet has its downsides as well. But when you can’t have it all, at least you can choose where is best for the moment.

o22And now, in this stage of our lives, when the children are young and need a solid foundation, fresh air to breathe, structure and nature, we find ourselves back here in Middle Europe again. Here, my partner and I, then a young and carefree couple, walked through enchanted forests, climbed ivory sandstones, drove through golden fields and swam in Spring.

So we’ll stay here awhile in this beautiful place and nurture them. I hope they’ll make fond memories, too.

My children, my pride and joy…they were the best things about this year that was. The source of  my ecstasy and exasperation, frustration and freedom.

Freedom? You ask.

Yes.

Because, in a strange way, they keep me untied down. They teach me how to easily let go, say goodbye (or “until then”), and start all over.

juni1From these tiny tots, I’ve learned how to move house in a single day and not look back. Or, how to go back, because second chances may just be in the cards. How to adapt and embrace change.

So many days, my son has asked me, as we’ve packed our things into boxes and bags, as we’ve gotten ready for takeoff, and strapped ourselves safely into constricting airplane seats, “Are we going on an adventure?”

And each time, I’ve answered him, “Oh yes—yes we are.”

It is in this exact moment, recalling our adventures, that I hear my boy laughing in his sleep. Not a tiny chuckle, but the giant, uncontrollable kind of laughter.

I smile along, knowing they’ve also taught me to enjoy life, heartily and for no reason at all. To laugh out loud, and dance all crazy, just because it feels good, and it’s fun.

And now, excuse me, my daughter’s just done a stinky…this note must end abruptly.

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