My Baby Bears

“Then, Baby Bear closes his eyes and sees nothing but deep, soft black.”

-from Baby Bear Sees Blue by Ashley Wolff

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On Thursday nights, Aaron plays his saxophone with the creatively named Thursday Night Music Club.  It’s just me and the kids, and although I used to dread running the nightly parent marathon by myself, I now kind of like it.  We get into bed a little earlier to read books, and always, I finish the night with William snoring on my chest and Clara cuddled close to my hip.

I remember my greatest fear as a child was that our house would burn down.  I would spend hours awake on the top bunk, with a sleeping Samantha below, and strategize my escape through the smoke and flames.  Inevitably, I would soon sleep and wake up and my mom would be there and I wouldn’t even know how to be afraid. For better or worse, there was no such thing as fear when Mom was in the room.  Like a baby bear, I could snuggle into the momminess, settle down, smile or sleep.

With my kids snuggled close, I feel something rich and dark, like a soft black, between us. I try to relax with them even deeper into it. It is something that I think only the Romantic poets, and all their fascination with the sublime, could understand. Really, I think what it is, is the space mothers leave when they so fully abandon themselves to love their children.  It is the softness of love—a kind of cool, calm void where a mother had emptied some of herself to make room for her kids.  I feel my kids resting in that place that I like to keep open and ready for them.  So they can fall asleep, and so they don’t have to be afraid of anything.

They are growing up faster than I can type.  As Aaron left for rehearsal tonight, Clara called after him, “I want to play the saxophone when I’m big. I want to be like Daddy.”  Then, as Dakota nosed the trash can lid open, she says, “No, Sir, Kota! Not good, Sir!” On the way home from day care, she says, “Chris bite me. Blake bite me. Two boys bite me. I not bite. Biting, hitting, pulling baby’s hair—not good.” And, now, after so much prompting, she’ll say “thank you” when you give her something. I’ve noticed two things about my high school students. The kids who get the best grades, who are the best and brightest, 1) say “please” and “thank you” and 2) don’t own a smart phone. I figure if we can teach Clara some manners, we’re good.  Also, as we get closer and closer to being potty trained, Clara will stick a wipe in her butt and run around the house, proclaiming she has a tail, like “Kota.”

And, so the days are always too full, just bursting at the seams, with so many things to be grateful for. 

We start spring break next week. Beyond ready.

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Showing off her fancy dress.

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She already makes me proud.

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Clara is showing William how to crawl.

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And, he likes it.

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Can’t get enough of that baby.

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Baby BFFs.

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Grandpa Alan and Grandma came to visit a couple weeks ago. Aaron took them out on a riverboat tour of the Wakulla River. William loves to pull Clara’s hair. Sometimes I wonder if he doesn’t take some small delight in feigning baby ignorance about getting Clara back for all the toys she steals from him.

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Rock Star rockin’ the baby Fedora.

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Couldn’t resist the “like father, like son” shot before church.

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Birthday girl licking her fingers and birthday candles.  Aaron made this cake—as in homemade this cake—for Clara.  Always just a little too tired to do anything over the weekend, I was going to whip out the Funfetti frosting and cake mix for Clara’s third, but Aaron dusted off the measuring cups for his sweet baby girl. She was more excited about the cake than the presents.

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