Saturday, June 9, 2012

"Stop this train" John Mayer

I love music.  I recently reacquainted myself with some of my old purchases on itunes.  You know those songs that when you were going through something, you played them over and over almost like an anthem or a soundtrack of your life.  I remember when I was going through the end of my marriage I would go hiking, walking, biking and roller blading and I would listen to music, sometimes I would get sad, angry, happy, but mostly I would feel empowered, inspired by what I was listening to.  I wonder if artists truly understand the impact their lyrics make on people.  Do they realize that their words give us strength and then sometimes bring us to tears?  I wonder.   

When I was home for my mom's surprise 60th birthday weekend I talked to her about life and how fast that time was flying by.  She told me that the older you get, the faster it goes.  Drawing on the old adage, time flys when you're having fun, does that mean it gets better as you get older?   It made me think of the song by John Mayer, "Stop this train."*  This song makes me reflect on my own life and the rate at which it is going. 

I have been through a lot in my 35 years here on this earth.  My journey has been long and painful at some points and absolutely beautiful and wonderful during others.  Like most people, I experience days that fly by and moments that seem to drag on for hours.  Unfortunately I find that when I am happiest I can hardly hang on to the swiftness of the moment.  I remember last week walking down the stairs with Max.  He was holding my hand and we were going step by step.  I stopped myself about half way down and made sure to enjoy each of the remaining steps, to enjoy the feeling of his little hand in mine, his deliberate steps and his pride at walking down the steps like big boy.  I savored this blink of time because I knew that in no time he would be bounding down the stairs needing no help at all. 

One of my biggest blessings, as well as my greatest curse is the fact that I have a photographic memory.  I can replay events and memories as if I am watching movies in my mind.  It's funny, when Savannah and I were on the phone a few days ago,  she told me about a picture of her and I when she was a baby.  We were both wearing overalls and white shirts.  Twins.  She was my date to a Bishop Dwenger football game at Concordia Stadium.  I remember walking around with her, running into old friends and holding her tight as I walked up the bleacher steps.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  That is what is scary.  Now she is almost as tall as me and probably wouldn't be caught dead dressing like my twin.

Yesterday Sage asked if we could ride our bikes to school like we had done a few weeks ago.  I was worried about the rain, it was drizzling a bit, but there was a greater chance in the afternoon so I suggested we walk instead.  Walking was nice, especially once you entered the forest part of the path where the big trees  provided us with a nature made umbrella.  The girls were excited as they waved to their friends on the bus and by the fact that they were walking instead of riding.  We ran a little so that they wouldn't be late, but still stopped long enough for them to pick their first raspberry of the season.  I won't forget the sound of the birds, the rain on the leaves, their laughter and Max making his funny noise that means dog or animal, almost like an over-exaggerated gulping noise.  One thing I love about Facebook is my ability to log these memories.  I can record for one second where we were and what we were doing so that in the years ahead I can trigger that video in my mind.

Anyone who has ever had a little one knows how fast they seem to grow up.  Jerry and I were watching old videos of Max and it took my breath away to realize that something that seemed to happen yesterday, happened a year or more ago.  It reminded me that I need to get a video of one of Max's favorite words, "guys."  He is so funny how he calls the kids, "guys."  He sees them outside or knows they are up/downstairs and he wants to be with them or wants to show them something while we are driving in the car, he tries to get their attention, with "guys, guys."   Or how he says "beep beep" or "vroom" for trucks and cars.  Or his almost Boston/NY accent for how he says mom, "maamm, maamm."  This baby/toddler train I am on is one of the fastest there is and I would do anything to slow it down. 

Max's first real ride
Right now our days are filled with school, homework, housework, meals and errands, soccer on Saturdays and outings on Sundays.  Wild Waves is now open and we have spent our last two Sundays there riding rides (I realized on my first roller-coaster ride of the season with Saxton that my ability to handle the up and down and and upside down has faded.)  and playing in the water.  Last weekend Jerry and I wound up by ourselves in the lazy river with Max.  He was too little to go in, but I bragged about his swimming skills and they let us take him.  As we floated around and around he slowly became so relaxed he almost fell asleep, I did my best to take one of my mental videos and enjoy every moment.  Later Auntie Kendra held him as he slept for a while (she had forgotten her suit) and Jerry and I were able to ride some water rides with the kids.  I loved it.  I remember racing up the stairs with our rafts and our screams as we shot down the slides.  No cameras allowed, but that's okay, I have it stashed away in my mental album.  Sometimes old memories pop up of when my Ex and I would take the kids to Water World in Denver and I let them play.  After all, losing those would mean losing their childhood.

Life is flying by, but maybe that it isn't so bad.  That means I am happy.  I love my husband and our quiet moments together, doing things as simple as watching TV, playing Words with Friends, checking on the kids before we go to bed, going to Chambers and taking Puppy to the dog park and then the kids to the beach  or enjoying a meal at our favorite restaurant on the water and watching the boats go by.  Life is simple sometimes, but that doesn't mean the moments aren't still special.  Like last Sunday Brayden must have given me a dozen bear hugs in a row, for no reason.  He'll probably never know how much something as little as a quick hug, could mean so much. 

Monday I watched Sage sing the Star Spangled Banner at the AAA Rainier's game and giggled with her as we danced like crazy people on the jumbo tron and then waited after the game for autographs.  Memorial weekend Sage was at an overnight and Saxton and I went to the farmers market on a little date.  We walked around and had a wonderful day.  Today when we went back I smiled as she reported to Sage all that we had done and how much fun she had.  She is building her own video file to play back someday. 

In a few weeks I will be building new memories with my Savannah and Sam.  As we talk on the phone and get more excited to see each other we build the anticipation of those moments.  However I know my time with them will be my fastest train of all and I will be doing everything to slow it down. 

Music is funny, as I listen to the Dave Matthews song that is currently playing, my mind is remembering all sorts of things and I allow it to do so.  After all my memories are my journey and I respect the path I have been on and will enjoy the path that I continue to walk.  I just can't forget to attempt to slow down the train that might carry me and walk step by step instead. 

*"Stop This Train"
John Mayer

No I'm not color blind
I know the world is black and white
Try to keep an open mind but...
I just can't sleep on this tonight
Stop this train I want to get off and go home again
I can't take the speed it's moving in
I know I can't
But honestly won't someone stop this train

Don't know how else to say it, don't want to see my parents go
One generation's length away
From fighting life out on my own

Stop this train
I want to get off and go home again
I can't take the speed it's moving in
I know I can't but honestly won't someone stop this train

So scared of getting older
I'm only good at being young
So I play the numbers game to find away to say that life has just begun
Had a talk with my old man
Said help me understand
He said turn 68, you'll renegotiate
Don't stop this train
Don't for a minute change the place you're in
Don't think I couldn't ever understand
I tried my hand
John, honestly we'll never stop this train

See once in a while when it's good
It'll feel like it should
And they're all still around
And you're still safe and sound
And you don't miss a thing
'til you cry when you're driving away in the dark.

Singing stop this train I want to get off and go home again
I can't take this speed it's moving in
I know I can't
Cause now I see I'll never stop this train

(think I got 'em now)

Friday, June 8, 2012


Sage came up to me with obvious tears in her eyes, tears she was desperately fighting back because she was at school and she didn't want to possibly embarrass herself in front of her friends.  I asked her what was the matter and she told me that she finally won the cakewalk, but the girl in front of her who also won took the last box of DOTS.  She said she asked her for them, but she had said no.  My heart melted as I hugged her and told her how sweet she was to try, then we went to the prize counter and picked out a Hershey's with Almonds instead.

On our way out to the car after the carnival I hugged her again and told her that I will never look at another box of DOTS again and not smile.  After all, she had spent most of her tickets and night trying to win me that box of DOTS.  After we ran out of our initial tickets, I dug in my purse for every last bill and quarter so she could buy more tickets and try again. 

Sage made me this when we got
home from the carnival.
This quest all started when earlier, after Saxton had won, I had hinted for DOTS and she chose a cupcake instead.  It was no big deal and she was sweet enough to share it with Max.  However, Sage had taken note of my request and made it her mission to win me those DOTS. Her and sometimes Max, would march around hoping to land on that magic number.  Max was so funny because he would clap when people won and dance when the music started.  At times we were a team and would all pay a ticket, in hopes for the illusive winning cakewalk number.  In the end it was a lesson in the fact that sometimes when you loose, you still end up a winner.  As a mom you live for DOTS moments.  It is those times, when you almost can't believe how much you can love a person. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

"Danny Boy"

Today my sister-in-law Kendra and I were discussing the "positive" aspects of our fathers.  If you have read my blog in the past, you know that my relationship with him is full of sadness and heartache.  However, in order to come to peace with the negative, I believe you need to remember the positive.

One of my oldest and fondest memories of my father, is of him singing to me as a child.  I was little, maybe three or four and I remember him singing Irish lullabies to as at bedtime.  Sadly, this tradition ended not too long after that, but it is something that has stayed with me all these years and a tradition that started anew when Savannah was born.

Tonight after I had put Max to bed he started to cry.  This is unlike him, he normally giggles as we put him in bed as he welcomes his blankets and his bed.  However, he has been cutting new teeth and has been very uncomfortable.  Last night he was up for quite some time in the middle of the night.  So I went in his room, scooped him out of bed, sat down with him and began to sing "Oh Danny Boy." Immediately he settled on me and I could feel his whole body relax. 

As I gently rocked him back and forth, as I sang to him, I began to reminisce about similar memories with Savannah, Sam, Sage and Saxton.  I remember singing to them as newborns and rocking them sometimes sitting, sometimes standing. There were even times when I was encouraging them to sleep in their own bed, that I would sing leaning over their crib with my hand patting their back or between the crib bars until they fell asleep. In the wee hours of the night when it was all I could do to keep my eyes open, the songs seemed to flow out of me without effort and always with love.

One of the most emotional times that I sang was when Saxton was in the NICU on a ventilator.  Seeing her with a tube down her throat and tubes everywhere was one of the most heartbreaking moments in my life.  I remember she was crying, but because of the tubes there was no noise.  At that point I couldn't hold her, but I could sing to her.  I wondered if she would recognize the songs because I sang them to Savannah, Sam and Sage while I was pregnant, and I believe she did because as I began to sing, she immediately quit crying and calmed down. 

Years later, when my Ex and I were going through the end of our marriage and things were really hard on the kids, I continued to sing.  I would go in each of their rooms and sometimes bring lotion and rub their feet and sing to them.  They each had their favorite songs, Sam really liked "Danny Boy," the girls often requested "Edelweiss," from the Sound of music and "Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ra."  (I still remember my dad giving me the words to this song when I was pregnant with Sam.  It was one of the songs along with "Danny Boy" that I remember him singing to me.)  Savannah's song has always been, "You are my Sunshine." 

I have happy memories and sad ones.  I remember singing as tears ran down my face and onto my baby's sweet head.  At times when my heart was sad, I would find as much comfort and peace in singing a lullaby to my children as they may have felt hearing it.  During happy times I would sing sometimes just to slow down life and take time to cherish my little ones.

Tonight as I was singing to Max, Saxton came out of her room in tears.   She couldn't fall asleep.  So I put a sleepy Max in his bed and headed into Sage and Saxton's room.  I took her hand and Sage's and began with the words, "Oh Danny Boy, the pipes the pipes are calling..." Soon Saxton's eyes began to close like her sister's and she was on her way to sleep. 

My dad and I don't talk anymore, he cut off communication with us almost three years ago.  This has been very hard,  but I realized today that he still holds a place in my life each time I sing an Irish lullaby.  I can't fix the wrong that I have done or the wrong that has been done to me, but I can try and take the gifts that I was given and pass them on to my own children. 

And now, just a few weeks away from getting to see my Savannah and Sam, one thing I look forward to the most is singing them to sleep.  In the meantime, I have been known to break out in song via technology, because no matter where they are, my little songs, filled with love, will find them.