Friday, April 20, 2007

Finding beauty in the two of you

Dear Andrew & Abby,

I've been struggling with what and how to write to you this week. It has been a bit of an emotional week in the world. On Monday, someone hurt and killed a lot of people including himself in a place where they all should have been able to be safe. No one really still knows why, and I think that makes everyone even more upset. Grown-ups like to be able to explain things, especially to you kids. When we can't, it's hard. This week also has marked the anniversaries of two other events where a lot of people were hurt and killed, for barely understood reasons.

I've been sad about these things all week, and wondering what I would say to you if either of you asked about some of the things you have seen and heard, despite Daddy's and my efforts to shield you. I'm guessing it is being talked about at day care and at Andrew's school. So far, neither of you has asked or seems to be having nightmares (Andrew had nightmares about planes crashing after September 11, 2001, even though he was only 2 1/2 at the time).

And then today, I read this quote on my daily quote calendar:

Think of all the beauty that's still left in and around you and be

That was written by Anne Frank, who you will both learn about in school one day. She was a little girl who lived during a very scary time in a place that is not as safe as where we live. She was very brave when it was almost impossible to have hope.

Thinking of her and her ability to still find the good in her world, today I'm thinking about a few things you two have been up to in the last couple of weeks that help me find beauty in life, even when I'm sad for some of the things going on in our world.

Abby has recently been having a lot of fun pretending to be a mom or a dad and assigning the rest of us different roles. Apparently, she has picked up a lot of ideas about what it means to be Mommy and Daddy. One day last week, she announced, "I'm a mom. I need a Diet Coke." Hmm...I wonder where she could have picked that up? Then, a couple of days ago, Daddy allowed her to have one of his fudgesicles. She happily climbed up into the rocking chair and announced, "Now I'm a dad!" She's also developed some pretty strong opinions about things and is noticing the world around her. The other day when pulling in at day care, she pointed out that the car next to us was "cute." "Oh, yes," I agreed, "it's nice." "No," she said, "it's CUTE." Today, she wore a long sleeve shirt underneath her short sleeve t-shirt, just like Andrew likes to do, because it's also "cute." And last night, she fell asleep on her bedroom floor. On purpose. Daddy put her back into her bed before we went to bed for the night, and this morning, she woke up very angry, crying and yelling "I want to sleep on the floor!" So she moved back to the floor for the few minutes before it was time to get up.

While Abby is learning what it takes to be a mom and a dad, and shunning her bed, Andrew is consumed with baseball. He started Little League a couple of weeks ago, and I think Daddy and I are starting to settle into the routine a little better. Games don't start for a couple more weeks, but practice is scheduled for Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. He's not the best player on the field, but he is pretty good. And he is very optimistic. At the scrimmage game last night, he missed a pop fly, but instead of focusing on that, all he could talk about was, "Did you see that hit I made?!" Even after I said yes, he told me all about it any way. In teeny tiny detail. Reanalyzing and replaying every moment...hmm...I think I know which parent he got THAT from (yes, I'm looking at you, Daddy). Even though he wouldn't admit it in a million years, I think Andrew is struggling to adjust to the extra activity and has been pretty tired. He's alternated between moody, sweet, grumpy, and hyper much of the last week or two. Summer should be fun.

And there is some good news in the Bedtime Wars. While not perfect, or even conflict-free, bedtime has been slightly less of a nightly battle. Mommy has not had any more moments of debate about whether or not to call in reinforcements from down the street, hire someone outright to put you to bed while Daddy and I sit at Dairy Queen and wait, or to just run screaming into the night. This makes for a much happier mommy. And I'm sure you both find it much more enjoyable in the house without the Mommy Ogre making nightly appearances.

I think it has also helped that this sadness about the events going on has helped to give Mommy a little perspective about the truly important things in life. You two are tops on that list for me, and if that means that we have to fight it out a little at bedtime, I guess I can deal with that. To paraphrase something I heard recently, if that's the biggest complaint I have, then I'm a pretty lucky Mommy. We may live in a sometimes scary world, but here at home, life is good.


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