April 30, 2011

Karmic Balance

Quiet Time
SI on a tricycle at the park
It's been a very difficult week.  As with any difficult time in our lives, we sometimes lose perspective.  Fortunately for us, we can always refer to our mantra of eternal levity, "At least it's not brain cancer!"

Also as with any difficult time in our lives, there is a balance of things that are wonderful and then things that ruin the wonderfulness.

My parents came into town for a visit!   We hadn't seen Grandmommy and Poppa for about three months, during which they've been jet-setting across Europe.  Because that's what they do.  We spent the week taking turns being very ill.  First, M with a nasty cold.  Then me with the same cold.  Then Poppa with food poisoning from the airplane.  Then DD with roseola.  Then Grandmommy with that same stupid cold.  We only had two nights out of about ten where we all got to enjoy each others company simultaneously.
DD LOVES the swings!

But the thing that made this week so difficult?  One of our cars is about to die, and through a series of unfortunate and unreasonable events, this means that after taking one of his two sick days for the year (yes, two for the year) in order to deal with keeping our car legal, the DMV actually slammed the door in M's face and locked it.

Then he came home, discovered that he'd somehow infected his computer with an extremely vicious and malicious virus, and it's looking like the recovery is beyond our scope of expertise.  Remember, this is while he still needs to use the very specific software on this computer to study for his finals... which start on Wednesday.
SI has decided that Poppa needs a shovel

But like I was saying... karmic balance.  Yeah, all of that stuff above sucks.  But there was something truly wonderful going on simultaneously.

Our kids.  SI and DD were on their best behavior, in the happiest of moods, and feeling entirely cooperative for the entire week.

Even while she was sick, DD was full of smiles and laughter and snuggles.  They LOVED having Grandmommy and Poppa around!  Every day was just one adventure after another.  DD learned a few new skills (Poppa showed her how to shovel sand into a bucket), SI learned a few new words... they were basically perfect.

SI climbing to the slide
Every time I'd say to my children, "Who's ready for a nap?" they would both go running off to their bedroom, grab their frog loveys, and patiently wait to be plopped into their cribs and tucked in.  Then, as the grownups would leave the quiet nursery and close the door, my father would look at me and say, "I hate you."  His kids didn't let him sleep through the night for about the first seven years, and they did not take naps.

Last night, after reading my daughters a few bedtime stories, after chasing them around in their silly towels, and after getting some hugs and kisses, we turned out the lights and watched a movie.  And the children, who could hear this activity, hung out in their beds and giggled a bit, and then peacefully went to sleep.  He joked that either me or M must have made some sort of deal with the Devil, and M laughed as he said that we did.  Brain cancer first, perfect children afterwords.
DD will never abandon her shovel

And I know it sounds ridiculous.  But I really think they pretty much are.  Perfect children, that is.  I know, I know the old Jewish proverb: "There is only one perfect child on earth, and every mother has it."  But I do think my kids are pretty much perfect.  They're just EASY.  They're mild tempered, they're cooperative, they're snuggly and loving and sort of clowns.  They're smart, and different, and they play adorable games with me.

The sand box is a big hit with my kids
DD turns nearly everything into a phone, which she wanders around talking into and occasionally passing off to me.  SI wants to read absolutely everything- from Grandmommy's pamphlets about her vaccinations (they're off to South Africa next) to every single book she can get her hands on.  A few nights ago she tried to get Poppa to read her Little House in the Big Woods for her bedtime story.  And when he explained to her that it was too long and that he'd read it to her in a few years instead, she simply sat in the rocking chair, flipping through the pages and pointing out the occasional phrase.  She did this for about fifteen minutes while DD played "Simon Says," perfectly happy to let her sister have all the attention.  After all, she was busy reading.

Today we had a really lovely moment.  I was sitting on the couch, reading a book to SI, with DD snuggled in next to me, pretending to talk to somebody on a mirrored rattle.  Roger's and Hammerstein's "Cinderella" (a life-long favorite of mine) was on the TV, and I kept pointing out the dancing to DD while SI tried to sing along a little bit.  They both just wanted to hang out, in a relaxed, stress free sort of way.  It was beautiful, and more than anything it was easy.
SI loves landscaping

My kids are easy.  Sure, they're still toddlers.  It's still impossible for me to get everything that I'd like to do DONE, it's still difficult to go new places and visit all our friends... but they are ridiculously easy children.

So of course school is awful for me and M.  Of course we keep rotating illnesses and car or computer related catastrophes.  Of course M only gets two sick days a year, and our finals correspond but our vacations don't.  Of course we don't get to go to all of our family baby showers, pre-deployment BBQs, holidays, and birthday parties.  Of course we don't get to do about seventy percent of the stuff we'd like to do.  Because we're already paying for it.  We have achieved some measure of karmic balance.
DD could live at the playground and be happy forever

So whenever we're feeling down, hard-done by, and generally angry at the universe, it's not just reminding ourselves that, "At least it's not brain cancer!"  It's also taking a deep breath, and re-reading a Dr. Seuss book.  And all the sweet laughter, the tiny little arms giving tight and sincere hugs, the endless adorable fist-bumps... all of that is an emotional refund.  The universe reminding us that parts of our life suck, but the absolute most important part that there is... our happy little family...

That's perfect.


  1. This is a beautiful post. I'm sorry for all of the crap you are going through, but how blessed you are to have such wonderful children. Children do that, they always seem to remind us what's really important and keep us from losing our grasp. Hang in there! Hopefully things will look up for you soon!

  2. New follower. Life is full of things unplanned and unwanted. It gives us something to talk (blog) about!

  3. I love how you put everything into perspective. On the days I moan about how my toddler won't sleep through the night, I must also remind myself that at least he is happy and healthy and loved. You have a great attitude!

    Stopping by from Mom Pledge.



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