Friday, March 12, 2010

This is how we do it...

When I was a sophomore in high school, every day after the final bell rang, kids would drive out of the school parking lot, windows down, so the whole world could hear the same song, every single day: "This is How We Do It" by Montell Jordan. And if you had told me then that 15 years later, I'd be blogging about that song in my baby's blog, I would have cringed. But here I am.

Because every once in a while, it's the song I hear in my head when I'm playing with Hadley and feeling particularly happy about what happens in our house. Like today, I was blowing bubbles in the kitchen. At our house, we blow bubbles in the kitchen. It's who we are. So today, I was singing, "This is How We Do It" to Hadley as I blew bubbles (except that I only know two lines of the whole song, so I just kept repeating myself.) And she looked at me like this:

So I stopped.

But now I'm thinking about how we do things at our house and why. We blow bubbles in the kitchen because it's fun and harmless, and I don't want to be a mama who never does anything fun for fear of ruining something that's replaceable. I want to remember not to trade the chance to make happy memories for the comfort of knowing the floor isn't sticky from bubble suds.

We also dance wildly in front of the big picture window--lately, KC and the Sunshine Band is among our favorite sources for dance music--and hope someone is watching. We are proud of our moves. We swing on the porch swing and stare at the people who walk or drive by. Sometimes we smile, and sometimes we just stare. (Ok, I always smile, but sometimes Hadley is so busy watching someone she forgets to grin.) We hide under the dining table ('cause Hadley likes it under there), and we take long walks in the park and point at every dog we see. Then we laugh at the geese.

We read seven books in a row, until we have to throw them on the floor because we are DONE and ready for the next thing. We check ourselves out in the mirror, and we laugh because if you think about it, reflections are kind of funny, and besides, if you have to look at yourself, wouldn't you like to look at yourself smiling? Might as well.

We eat pears, grapes, cheese, carrots, avocado, waffles, yogurt and oatmeal enthusiastically. (Well, Hadley eats these things enthusiastically and I feel relieved when she eats anything that didn't come from the I guess I am enthusiastic, too.)

We love when people come to visit us, especially if those people are related to us or if they are wearing fabulous, jingly jewelry.

We believe that most things are percussion instruments, and we play them. Who are we kidding? We ROCK them.

We don't always have a clean house; sometimes, Jason and I eat pb&j for dinner; we forget to pick up the dry cleaning for a week or two after it's done; and we almost always have a pile of junk mail that needs to be shredded.

But I am proud of how we do it at our house, how we live this life, how we *almost* always remember that dancing in front of the big picture window is way more important than having properly fluffed pillows on the sofa. We speak honestly, and we love deeply. Every day, we do our best, and we know that our best on some days is better than our best on other days. I have to remember that because I'm prone to berating myself when yesterday's best beat the pants off today's best.

One day, Hadley will be mortified that I wrote a whole blog post inspired by a relatively bad (but catchy) mid-'90s song...and at the moment she feels her mortification, I will break out my well-practiced dance moves and sing at the top of my lungs, "This is how we do it." I can't wait.

Monday, March 8, 2010

At the Park

We had beautiful spring-like weather this weekend, so we took Hadley to the playground at the park three blocks from our house. She loved it. See?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

One Day...

Hadley and I were strolling through the park yesterday when an old couple--they were probably in their late 70s--walked toward us on the path. As we passed one another, they slowed and smiled down into the stroller at Hadley and then up at me--deep, honest smiles of happiness. At that moment, for some mysterious reason, I looked at the old lady and thought, "One day, Hadley will be an old woman."

Then immediately I thought, "Please, God, may that be true. May Hadley grow to be an old woman." One day, I pray that she strolls in the park with her old-man husband, and she sees a mom and baby, and she smiles at them--a smile that says, "Life has been good. Different than I expected, but good. You have a lot ahead of you, little one. Adventures and love, heartbreak and misdirection, thrills like you can't imagine and occasional fear. But I smile at you because I trust that the goodness and blessings will outweigh the bad." That's what I imagine our old-lady friend wanted to say to us with her smile.

So I smiled back. And I tried to tell her with my smile, "We are happy, we three, in our little house. This baby you see? She's joy like I've never known. You see that sparkle in her eyes? It's real. She's curious and funny--and a touch mischievous. I am doing my best every day to make sure that she ends up a happy old lady, walking in the park."

Maybe it's weird to think of a baby as an eventual old woman, but I've been rather enjoying imaging Hadley's life, thinking of all the things she will have seen and felt and experienced by that time. I don't think it's entirely fair to think of a baby as just a baby; she is an entire human being, and I am not a mom who wishes she would stay small forever. Oh, I love her baby self, her tiny hands and delicious baby smell, her funny faces and amazing discoveries (like how to hide toys under the couch). I relish the way she snuggles early in the morning, or how she says "ooh, ooh" like a little hoot owl. I record them here and in my journal and in her baby book, for fear of forgetting these little things that are wholly her own, tiny revelations of who she is.

But one day, when she is an old woman (May it be so!), she will still be Hadley. She will still have a sparkle in her eye. She will be delicate in different ways; she will still, I expect, be curious and expressive and funny. Maybe she will delight in her grandchildren. Maybe she will live in Provence and grow lavender in her yard. Maybe she will be a retired Air Force pilot.

I wish I could know her then, when she's an old woman. I don't mean to be morose--'cause I don't feel morose about it at all. It's how life goes. But I bet she will be a spunky lady, lots of fun. Maybe she will read this and remember how her mama used to blather on and on in her blog. And she will smile at the memory of blogs--those old, archaic things that mamas used to use to tell the world about their babies.

If that is true, old-lady Hadley, if you are reading this one day, then listen to your mama right now: Go to the park and smile at a new mama with her baby. She will love it. And if she asks, you tell her that once, a long time ago, your mama strolled in the park with you--and knew joy like she'd never known before.