I Heart My Girls

It's been some time since I last posted. It seems to go like this--spurts of energy for blogging and then a dry spell and then a return to the posting (at least I hope I'm back at it for a little while). So, it's been nearly a month since Valentine's day, but I at least wanted to give it a little attention, as it was a notable one for me this year.

I don't, or I guess I should say didn't, care much about the holiday. It has always seemed like sort-of a silly, Hallmark holiday, focused so much on consumption and scripted symbols of love. Don't get me wrong, chocolates and roses, in my opinion, are really as good as they are supposed to be. However, being told that we need to buy them for our sweeties on a certain day and, of course, the more expensive the better, rubs me the wrong way. M. and I have sometimes observed Valentine's Day in our own way and sometimes not bothered at all. Throughout our relationship, we've always done little, sweet things for each other, and I've tended to love the surprise sweetnesses the most.

Also, it turns out, working with victims and survivors of domestic violence for nearly a decade has made me a wee bit cynical. I now seem to automatically associate typical Valentine's Day romantic pageantry with the make-up phase in a violent relationship, where the abusive partner says he/she is going to change, when everyone says it will never happen again and all is perfect, etc.

But this year it felt different. This year, instead of being annoyed by the whole thing, I couldn't help myself. I made pancakes in the shape of hearts; toast with heart-shaped cinnamon sugar; hearts from paper; silly Valentines for J's class (with her help), and a heart pillow for each girl. I realized what I know their grandparents figured out long ago: Valentine's Day is another opportunity to tell your kids you love them like crazy.

And I do. Valentine's Day or no, I can't stop showering my lovelies with kisses and endearments. It feels like the most natural thing in the world.

But, very, very sadly, when I go to work, I learn that it is not. I so often have found myself listening and witnessing the stories of people who have not felt that their mothers have loved them. At times, the results of these feelings have been far more devastating than other abuses my clients have been through.

As I've watched other, slightly younger clinicians learn this work, I've found that this aspect of the work, mothers not showing their love enough, appropriately enough, strongly enough, has been one of the hardest for them to bear. Witnessing the hurt that people experience when they don't feel loved by their mothers is heartbreaking. However, perhaps strangely, I'm drawn to this part of the work. And, luckily, it doesn't seem to push my buttons that much.

Through thinking about this Valentine's Day, I know more of why: I know my momma loves me endlessly. She tells me so all the time and has for as long as I've been around. I know how to do this loving-your-kids-and-telling-them-so thing without much thought; I've been learning it my whole life. And, I know that I'm passing along the same lessons to my girls.

Also, since becoming a mother, I've found myself bringing more parenting thoughts into the therapy room. I've been teaching some of my clients, who did not have enough loving experiences as kids, how to make things different in their parenting. It seems to be really hard work, at times, but the healing seems to be very profound when it comes.

So, this Valentine's Day, I not only found myself goofily making hearts out of everything, but I also discovered some profound gratitude. I'm grateful for the ways that loves flows so easily in my family, from me and to me. Grateful that I've got these amazing little girls to shower with love all the time. And, grateful that I've found work that lets me share these experiences, in little ways, with others who are hurting in hopes of helping them hurt just a little less.


Fast Felt

I've been learning about my creating self as this making-stuff-constantly thing continues. It turns out I really like little projects that I can get done pronto; these days I don't seem to have a long enough attention span for any longer term projects. I really like things I can get started and finished in about a day's work (which could mean several hours or minutes, depending on what is allotted on that day).

I guess this isn't really much of a surprise. I'm not the most patient person, I'm a bit manic at times, and I tend get really into and somewhat obsessed by the project/thought/activity of the moment. And, it turns out I've brought two little girls into the world who also seem to possess these traits. It's going to be interesting around here in a few years, me thinks...

Recently, my obsession has turned to little storage objects to help discourage the ever-present (and soon taking over the world) clutter in this house. So, I've been starting to plot and plan some objects for this purpose. Specifically, quickie objects to this end.

Over the weekend, I made a mediocre fabric bucket. It holds bags of dried fruit just fine, but is not terribly pleasing aesthetically. More serious work with π is needed.

Monday, though, the focus was wool and felting:

Here's my odd little felted box. Not sure yet what it will hold, other than the sweet little felted rocks we also made Monday. This felting project was a perfect fit for us. Quick, easy, tactile. Perfect for a momma wanting instant craftiness and a three-year-old wanting hands-on control.



We've all been feeling unwell (the three girls with an upper respiratory virus and M. with an unhappy back) for the past couple of weeks, and consequently, not much leaving the house has been happening. We've been doing lots of nice, slow home stuff...

The number of hours I clocked with C. in the Ergo over the past few weeks, especially when she was feverish and teething, is rather astonishing. And led to rather obsessive knitting (what else could I get done when she was only happy when I was rocking back and forth in one place?).

I thought this cotton/linen tank top was going to be a long-term project. Nope--7 days.

We've also been doing lots of baking and cooking and, when we have had appetites (don't worry, M's never faltered), eating and eating. Today I was inspired by Origami Mommy's post, and we turned a bit of the oatmeal ricotta bread dough into sweet Korean pancakes that were heavenly!

We've also been doing a good bit of art--papier mâché bowls, fingerpainting, and lots of writing and coloring.

Despite all this good stuff, though, I'm so relieved we're on the mend. I do need some time away from the mommying throughout the week and being able to breath and move without aching seems like a lovely idea. Although it was hectic with catch-up, work was a welcome change. It felt a bit fresher than it has in a bit; I've been in a bit of a rut. Guess I needed a bit of forced down time.