Monday, July 28, 2008

Thank You, Grandma Rogers

My Grandmother, Caroline's Great Grandma Rogers sent this to me this morning, and as I read it, it reminded me of the "Confessional" post I made. Let this be a reminder to all mom's, especially myself, about how fast time flies and how precious is our time with the innocent souls in our care. Thanks for sending this to us, Gram!

To My Child Just for this morning, I am going to smile when I see your face and laugh when I feel like crying.

Just for this morning, I will let you choose what you want to wear, and smile and say how perfect it is.

Just for this morning, I am going to step over the laundry, and pick you up and take you to the park to play.

Just for this morning, I will leave the dishes in the sink, and let you teach me how to put that puzzle of yours together.

Just for this afternoon, I will unplug the telephone and keep the computer off, and sit with you in the backyard and blow bubbles.

Just for this afternoon, I will not yell once, not even a tiny grumble when you scream and whine for the ice cream truck, and I will buy you one if he comes by.

Just for this afternoon, I won't worry about what you are going to be when you grow up, or second guess every decision I have made where you are concerned.

Just for this afternoon, I will let you help me bake cookies, and I won't stand over you trying to fix them.

Just for this afternoon, I will take us to McDonald's and buy us both a Happy Meal so you can have both toys.

Just for this evening, I will hold you in my arms and tell you a story about how you were born and how much I love you. Just for this evening, I will let you splash in the tub and not get angry.

Just for this evening, I will let you stay up late while we sit on the porch and count all the stars.

Just for this evening, I will snuggle beside you for hours, and miss my favorite TV shows.

Just for this evening I will be patient as you get ready for bed, and I will simply be grateful that God has given me the greatest gift ever given.

I will think about the mothers and fathers who are searching for their missing children, the mothers and fathers who are visiting their children's graves instead of their bedrooms, and mothers and fathers who are in hospital rooms watching their children suffer senselessly, and screaming inside that they can't handle it anymore.

And when I kiss you goodnight I will hold you a little tighter, a little longer. It is then, that I will thank God for you, and ask him for nothing, except one more day...

---Author Unknown


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Call the FAA!

So last night before bed, Caroline announced to us that we shouldn't come and check on her for awhile as she would not be there and we'd be wasting our time.

Calvin: Why? Where are you going to be?

Caroline: I'm going TDY.

Me: TDY? TDY to where?

Caroline: To Mount Olympos. I'm supervising a project for the Gods. They want to know how long it takes a human to fly from Stuttgart, Germany to Mount Olympos.

Me: that so?

Caroline: Yes, and I'm packing right now.

Calvin: What are you taking?

Caroline: My running shoes, my memo pad to write down notes about my trip, and Violet.

So Calvin and I wished her a safe trip and asked her to let us know how it all went when she got back.

Ok, she said, no problem. We kissed her and sent her off for her journey.

Ten minutes later, as Calvin and I were watching a movie (this is, of course, after we got through giggling over her imagination) she stomped back in.

"Mommy! Daddy! My flight is delayed. We can't take off yet because we've forgotten something essential."

Calvin and I in unison, "Essential?"

"Yep, we need Juicy Juice. Quick! Got some?"


Friday, July 25, 2008

Well, I need that part....

I was cuddling Caroline, right? And I was overcome by this feeling of pure adoration for my sprout, so I told her. This is how the conversation went.

M: You are my whole heart, Caroline.

C: I am?

M: Yep, you are my heart AND my soul.

(short pause and a thoughtful look)

C: Am I your liver?


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Confessional, and A Reminder To Other Mothers

At your Great-Uncle Kevin's house, March 2002.
Play "cooking" with your Great-Grandma Rogers
Studying the flower garden at your first pre-school. I always loved your dimply chubby little hands so much.


It's a gloomy day today---54 degrees, drizzly, and just not a great time to be outside. So we drove to the farm that's about 30 minutes away so we could get a few bottles of fresh milk, which you love. You always want to put the coins in and fill up the bottles yourself.

Now that we're back you have your friend, Mila, over to play for the day. And while you both entertain each other and play-act and giggle your little hearts out, I am using the time to clean out my "craft closet". I say craft, but that's really just a nice way to put "closet in which all the junk gets put until it's time to move." And when we open the door and it all falls out on our heads.

Going through this closet is no mean feat---it's a full day's work at least. (Obviously writing here is break time for me). It is just chock full of stuff that shouldn't have been saved-----paid bills, scraps of paper, old string I thought I might use one day (??), Christmas letters from acquaintances we don't really know that well, etc. In short, no fun. Only occasionally, do I run across something that can be legitimately called "craft" stuff. Scissors, yarn, stickers, stamps.....all that.

But I am running across other things too, things which are far more precious, and things I should have found a better place for than in that closet. And these things are both wonderful and heartbreaking at the same time. Wonderful because they have to do with you.....memories of you, pictures of you, keepsakes for you. Heartbreaking because these things have reminded me once again how fast you're growing up and how much time I squandered not recognizing that. Some of the things, like the little clip of hair from your first hair cut, framed in a card, make me giggle--- remembering how you just would not hold still for the hairdresser. Your little bobble-head kept turning back and forth as your eyes kept looking for anything to stare at other than your own face in the mirror. Apparently you weren't as in love with your little face as I was. ;)

Other things have just brought tears to my eyes. Like your earlier photos. Looking at the pictures of your toddler self is hard. For one, I think I spent more time taking pictures of you than I actually did DOING things with you. I spent so much time snapping the camera that there was very little time spent in just getting to know you. Or at least it feels that way. Your toddlerhood is a blur in my mind and not nearly as clear at the photographs. I wish I'd taken fewer photos and played more games instead.

The second reason I'm feeling sad about them is that they remind me of my own impatience. I don't know if it was because you were my first and only and I didn't know better and I was just trying to be perfect and efficient, or whether it was something else altogether, but I do remember being way too impatient. I was impatient for you to hurry when you were toddling along on your chubby legs, impatient for you to hurry and spit your words out when you were learning to talk, impatient for you to listen instead of repeatedly getting into things I told you not to. I remember snapping at you for getting into drawers I'd told you not to get into, and I remember snapping at your for hanging on my leg when I was busy and couldn't pick you up. I remember one time in particular when we were visiting a friend's house and I'd told you twice to not play with their window shades but then caught your little chubby hands headed right back for those shades as soon as my back was turned. I snapped so harshly that you turned to me and began crying. I will never forget that. I felt guilty and horrible the instant I did it.

It's not that I snapped at you constantly, because I didn't, and it's not that I don't remember cuddling you and comforting you and giggling with you, because, Thank God, I do remember those times too. It's that those things--the things I'm not proud of-- tend to stick in my mind. The things I feel guilty about are the memories I don't want to keep, but they're also the ones that won't go away. Perhaps that's for a good reason. Perhaps that's my conscience reminding me to be more patient and more vigilant with the priceless hours. Either way, I wish I'd learned faster. I wish I could have somehow known before you were born that I would have to change my pace. Instead, I had to learn the hard way. I wish I'd known that those days would fly by, and that walking slowly with you, even when I was in a hurry, would have been worth the time it took. Being late for anything at all would have been worth the pleasure of watching you wobble along on your funny little legs. It was ok for you to take your time. And it was ok for you to learn at your own pace. Instead of snapping "No!" when you headed toward things you should not have been touching, I should have found something better to distract you with and I should have enjoyed watching you explore instead of considering it a nuisance. It was alright for you to take your time learning to speak---I should have listened more to what you had to say in the way you wanted to say it. I should have spent less time saying "Not now." and "I'll play with you later."

I will always regret that. Every moment with you was and is precious. It took me a few years to learn that, and the years I wasted trying to be a perfect mother are the years that I was anything but. I know a little better now. I'm still not perfect and I still make mistakes, but I love you enough to keep trying. I only hope that when you're grown up, it will be the good memories of your childhood that you keep.

From now on I'll try to look more at the here and now and less at the future. I'll continue to enjoy watching you grow up and I'll continue to try to let you do it at your own pace. I'll worry less about cleaning the house and try to enjoy making a mess with you more often. We're in the middle of your summer break and I have to tell you that I love waking up and getting breakfast with you every day. We don't have that luxury during the school year when we really do have to hurry. So I'll continue to enjoy what I've been loving for weeks now----spending time with you, going to the market with you, listening to the stories you make up, watching the movies you love and eating popcorn with you, listening to you laugh. This is way better than any photo.
I love you, Caroline.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Questionable Symptoms

So all throughout the past school year, Caroline's teacher, Herr Zappey, had the kids keeping journals. In them they recorded pretty much whatever they wanted as long as it was to do with happenings at home or in school that affected their own lives.

And at the end of the year, he took the journals and sent them home with each student to write in----they will turn these journals in when they go back to his class in late August. It's a pretty great idea, don't you think? Maintain the creativity, work on spelling and penmanship...all that.


Well, Calvin and I were reading her journal the other night and just marveling at Caroline's imagination, her eloquence and sometimes just the simplicity with which she recounts some stories. She's got a great grasp on the art of telling stories. But the simpler ones...the ones without embellishment.... were, for some reason, the best ones to us. Here's an example of one in which she tells us what happened when she and her friend Giada attempted to adopt one of the world's more helpless creatures:

Giada and I had a pet worm named Sebastian. But he died of diarrhea.
His funeral is today at lunch recess.
The End.


Calvin says that's 7-year-old-ese for "Squeezed the sh*t out of".


Tuesday, July 8, 2008


...the Muppet has left the building and the blonde hair is back. I worried for awhile when that french lavender stuck around longer than it was meant to.


The Lately

Wow...I have been slacking in the blogging, haven't I?

Times have been good around the Hall house lately....or at the very least, busy, and Caroline has been the self that only she can be.

I've had to spend a lot of time with my ball team, practicing and going to tournaments, and Caroline has gone to all the practices and all the tournaments with me. While we're there she alternates between sitting in the stands with Calvin and watching, or running off to play with the other players' kids. By the end of each day she's completely filthy and sweaty---awesome! She needs that, like all kids do. ;o)

Her imagination hasn't suffered much either. She has built up an entire ark of imaginary animals who follow her everywhere and on whom she can ride when her "legs get tired". There are horses named Mazda, Honda, Toyota, Infiniti and Helga (?!), as well as a "seeing-eye cheetah" named Cheetoh.

She reads as voraciously as ever and is working this week on Mrs. Frisbee and the Rats of Nimh and The Black Pearl.

Here are a few photos of Caroline's life lately:

Making faces with pal and neighbor, Mila.

Running on the beach in Sweden.

Looking for sea shells.

Goofing off with Daddy in Sundsvall.

"Reporting" Mommy and Daddy for kissing. :o)

Yep, she definitely inherited Calvin's "serious" face.

Hanging out with her Dad on the rocks.

Playing in Nykoping.

The next two: Pretending to be Artemis, with her bow and arrows. Nykoping Castle.

Chilling out in the backseat during the drive from Nykoping to Sundsvall.