Monday, December 31, 2007

"These I Loved"

My little one and me walking walking mid-day on a quiet street down to the forest where the deer lay. The rustling we hear, "Shhhhh, I think I see one." And off it has gone, a little one herself. Now we are off to pick some wild daisies, they are the prettiest in her golden brown hair that shimmers in the sun.The green grass prickles our toes as we walk barefoot down to the springs. the mist rises off the water as we dive in feet first. The ice cold spring water bubbles all around us as we imitate it. We laugh, we laugh so loud that our echos are heard across the vast lake. We hear giggling and screetching of joy bounce back towards us and I hear, "let's do it again." What sweet joy it is to be so carefree for such a time.

Inspired by a poem "These I Loved"

"What's the Weather"

"What's the Weather"
"What's the Weather"
"What do you see"
"What do you see"
"Tell me what the weather is"
"Tell me what the weather is"
"Won't you please"
"Won't you please"

This morning as I dress Mia, she sings a few verses of this song. "Mama, sing with me." But I couldn't sing this song because I did not know it. Just then I burst into tears, some happy tears, some not. My baby learned this song in pre-school. "Mia I don't know that song, sing it to me so I can learn", I respond. I guess part of the tears is because I was strong the first week school began as Mia learned to separate from me. She has been doing well and I am so proud of her, but there are several house a week where I don't know what she is doing and I will admit that scares me. She has been by my side for the last 2 years and 9 months. The only time I was away from her was when Luca was born. Other than that I have never been apart from her. I promised myself that I would not hold on too tight. But I just didn't expect this so soon. I struggled all summer with the decision to send her to pre-school. I have made much more difficult and profound decisions in way less time. But I know this is what is best for her. I love when I pick her up from school and she says ,"Mama you came back, and That was great." Oh, how I will treasure this time in her life.

I'm not Italian, I'm Upstate

The sun begins creeping in as I lift my boy out of the crib. He snuggles next to me and nurses himself back to sleep. He is nestled between both of us cozy and warm. As we drift back to sleep I stroke his golden brown hair.

We hear rustling in the bed next to us. She is rested and bright eyed as we hear "Luca's awake." She climbs into bed with us. All four of us lay safely in the small full-sized bed. The closeness brings me comfort. This is my family, we four are a family. Waking up on a weekend upstate, Papa asks his girl, "What do you want for breakfast?" Mia says, "Pasta". "Oh darling, you are Italian", laughs Papa. She adorably responds, "I'm not Italian, I'm Upstate!" Luca starts tossing and turning and POP - he jumps up to a sitting position as he does every morning. Mia looks at us and grins, "Luca's awake, good morning Luca."

Sunday morning, September 23, 2007

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Parents Rising (in Astoria)

Talking with my cousin, whose sweet daughter is 10 months old, I realized that there's a lot more that I could be and should be doing to advocate for parents. She is helping start an organization in her area that will hopefully lead to workplaces being more family friendly (places to pump at work/breastfeed, more tolerance for parents who want flexible time, etc), and also to help families get access to good quality childcare.

Yes, people have been having children since the beginning of time. And having a child at any time in history has meant sacrifice. Having a child, caring for children, becoming a parent and learning how to be a parent is hard work- and always has been. I don't expect it to be easy. I'm sure that it was not easy for my mother and father, and for their parents, either. But the family unit has been changing- women used to stay home and now often want to or have to work. Grandmothers and Aunts and extended families might have once been nearby. Today, families are often very spread apart.

I think that it's really important for families to help each other. Belonging to my meetup group has been great- I have met other wonderful families who have become my family here in Astoria. My neighbors have been helpful friends, also. I've learned about parenting and the ins and outs of finding childcare, schools, etc from my friends, co-workers, listserves and message boards. I've given advice when I could, also. It's so important to have these outlets when we are separated from our extended families, or just plain don't have any.

But I think that I could do better. I'm hoping to start a "momsrising"/"parentrising" group in Astoria. I'd like to talk to our politicians about finding ways for families get excellent childcare, family leave, paid sick days, good afterschool programs, and flexible work.

New York has some good programs in place, but life can be very hard for families here. For Astorians, we might be interested in finding out how to make afordable housing for families. And work on our daycares, schools and afterschool progams, too.

Also, I think that it would be a good place to start to find out ways how we could help other families in Astoria. I'm not struggling financially, today at least, but there are so many who are. And so many who need advocates so that they can have a voice.

I'm going to have a "parent's rising" party at my house in the next month or so- I ordered their dvd that can show us how to start- and I want to see if our Astoria chapter can set an agenda of items that are important to us. And we'll see how far we want to take it- we just may end up shooting off a few emails to some politicians, or we might really try to look at changing policies/schools/childcare around here.

I'll be posting about it on our meetup site, but want to include anyone in the Astoria hood who would be interested. Of course, all "parents" are welcome- momsrising has dads in it too! Email me.......

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Astoria McMansion Needed

I grew up in New Jersey- birthplace of the hiddeous McMansion. Not that I lived in one growing up- we had a 60's split-level (which is even more super New Jersey). We pretty much escape them in Astoria, thank God. Other areas of Queens have more modestly sized homes torn down for stucco and brick monstrocities.

Out of snoberry I turn my nose up at the McMansion. I hate what it represents to me- wasted space, grandiosity and a cookie-cutter display of greed. But, this weekend I finally see the need for them. A McMansion would hold all of the stuff that I've accumulated. How did this happen? Well, two little kids, a packrat husband and me, hoarder of books, arts and craft supplies and the spoils of working as a speech therapist for 10 years (toys, books, crates of papers).

There's lots of stuff- some I have let go of and some that I have to let go. There's some furniture in my garage (which is our current main storage space) of which I need to say "farewell". There are a few boxes of various "memorabilia" (keeper of that will remain nameless), and why does my husband seem to collect boxes of cables and wires for electronic gadgets- surely most of the gadgets are gone (or in a box in a garage), so why keep the cables? But he assures me that they are important to him, and so they are. There are things large: a stove, a window, a refrigerator. There are small things: boxes of papers, old notebooks. What is really junk, anyway?

And kids stuff! It's all over the house and the garage, too. As my baby outgrows his clothes, I quickly stuff them into bags- some I have distributed to friends and some I now need to find homes for. There is no room for nostalgia- I kept one little shirt from his early days to remember how little he really was.

But the rest is junk. I tell myself that I should pick a weekend and try to reorganize, prioritize and just get rid of it all. But when will I find the time? There are so many other things that I want to do besides clean my garage. So until then, I will have to live with my overflowing closets and garage.

Unless I decide to ditch Astoria and jumbo mortgage my way to a McMansion......