More Than Love

My blogger friend, Hippie, has this cool collaborative blogging exercise going on as part of her Algonquin Experiment.  It involves Hippie posing a question and people responding on their own blogs.

So this is the question she posed:  What do you love more than love?

I thought of a thousand answers.  God.  But that one’s sort of obvious.  Cycling.  Obvious squared.  Ice cream.  Sadly, also very apparent.  Writing.  Same.  My friends.  But everyone loves their friends.  My little ones.  But I’ve written about them ad nauseam as of late.  My husband.  (A fact I should probably mention to him more often.)  All of my answers were so generic.

Except one.

The thing I love more than love is being on the other side of it.

Huh?

Sure love is great when it’s new and shiny, when your beloved can do no wrong.  And after a few years when the sheen wears off a little bit and you settle into the day to day acts of love, mmmm, that comfortable love is good, too.

But sometimes love unravels, frays at the edges and begins to fall apart in the very hands that made it.

I’ve been in this stage of love, too.  When love was painful work, when it was all we could do to hang onto each other and pray.  A lot.  This isn’t the kind of glass slipper love that fairy tales are made of.  It’s not pretty.  It is devastatingly hard, so much so that for me, heartache was actually physically painful.

But we chose to press into God, to hold onto the frayed pieces.  We chose to love when it wasn’t the easy choice.  And that’s what I mean by the other side of love.

So the thing I love more than love is love that has been worn thin.  Love that has broken into shards.  Love that has taken on water fast and is listing badly.  You might be thinking that’s a bit of a metaphor overload.  If so, to you I say count your blessings.  Others know with painful precision what I’m talking about.  You, dear ones, know that it’s possible to be frayed, shattered, and sinking all at once.

I can only hope that you also know about the love that comes out on the other side of all that pain. This love is scarred.  And fierce.  And secure.  And more wonderful than anything I could have ever imagined.  This is the love I have in my life.  I thank God for it every single day.

You know, I wish fairy tales did talk about this kind of love because I can say with assurance that this is the kind of love that creates a happily ever after.

Haiku for You

Today because it’s Friday,

And because I’ve spent the last couple of days helping my little ones dip their toes in Haiku,

And because I love poets who don’t always take life so seriously,

And because you deserve a little more poetry in your life,

And because I can’t get enough of Poetry Everywhere,

Here’s a little Haiku snack to nibble on:

Thankful Thursday #13

This week I’m thankful for…

  • SNOW!  Real, honest to goodness, sticking on the ground snow!!!
  • taking my little ones out for a few minutes to catch snowflakes on their tongues and on black paper
  • the little boy who ate the snow off his paper
  • the snowman built by the kiddos next door
  • blowdrying my hair on cold mornings
  • my stepdad, who always says yes when I ask for his help
  • roses from my hubby “just because”
  • good books
  • cucumber green tea body wash
  • the colleague who brought me lunch
  • the feeling that I worked really hard in spin class

The SS Cauliflower

Okay, you’ve probably had it up to here with cute stories about my little ones.  (I’m holding my hand up over my head, just in case you’re wondering where ‘up to here’ is.)  I promise I actually have other stuff in the works, but sometimes my kiddos just sweep in and steal my heart and I can’t keep from writing about it.

One boy in particular made me laugh so hard today that I actually had to wipe the tears from my eyes.  This kid always has a twinkle in his eye and he recently told me that he styles his fauxhawk every morning.  All.  By.  Himself.  He’s the kid who writes his own knock-knock jokes and reads them to the class.  It matters little that most of his jokes don’t make any sense.  Relevant punchlines are totally optional in first grade.

Early this morning Twinkle Eyes came in the classroom and whispered in my ear “Tomorrow is the day my mom comes home!”  Okay, what started as a whisper ended up more like an ear-piercing, headache inducing screech, which is absolutely forgivable since his mom is in the military and hasn’t been home in months.  I can overlook a little tinitis.

Later that day, I was reading a book about George Washington to the class.  I was in the middle of explaining why the colonists didn’t want be under England’s rule.

Twinkle Eyes raised his hand.  “England is where the Pilgrims came from, right?”

“Exactly.”  I pulled down the map and showed them England in relation to the colonies and also in relation to California.

“I remember you reading about the Pilgrims coming across the ocean on The Cauliflower.”  He sat up tall, so proud to remember such a good detail from November.

And I tell you, I couldn’t help it, I cracked up.  Not just a snicker behind my hand or a dainty little giggle.  I was laughing so hard I had to put the book down and wipe my eyes on the back of my hand.  They sailed on The Cauliflower!  The Cauliflower!  Even now as I type it, I’m fighting back the chuckles.  Gimme a sec to get a grip.  Talk amongst yourselves.

Ahem.  Okay, that’s better.

As I was having a complete fit, my class sat on the rug giggling at their teacher who had surely lost it for good this time.  Twinkle Eyes was equal parts happy to have made us all laugh and perplexed at what exactly was so funny.

I clicked on our interactive whiteboard and pulled up a photo of cauliflower and explained that it’s a vegetable.  Then I pulled up a drawing of The Mayflower.  I flicked back and forth between the two pictures explaining to Twinkle Eyes and the rest of my little ones how it would have been really funny to see a bunch of Pilgrims sailing across the Atlantic on cauliflower.  By this point, they were beside themselves, giggling and snorting and holding their sides.  And I was right there with them.  Twinkle Eyes was laughing the hardest of all.

Somehow we managed to collect ourselves and have a productive day.  Toward the end of the day, Twinkle Eyes was working on a card for his mom.  I looked over his shoulder to see how it was progressing.  The card was a folded piece of sky blue construction paper and on the inside he’d markered a dark blue ocean.  His mom was sailing in a boat toward him.  And he was sailing a second boat toward her.  I bet you can guess what their boats were made of.  Yep.  Cauliflower.  Cauliflower with little broccoli oars.

My little guy may have to explain why the boats are made of cauliflower, but I’m certain in my bones that his mom will understand the meaning of the card.  I can just picture Twinkle Eyes sitting in her lap reading it.  I picture her laughing at his jokes.  I picture her helping him style his hair in the mornings.  I picture him whispering special things in her ear.

In a couple of days his mom will pack her things up again and fly back across the ocean.  In her suitcase I imagine she’ll carry that drawing of cauliflower ships.  And in her mind she will hold the memory of her son’s twinkling eyes.

Thankful Thursday #12

This week I’m thankful for…

  • the little boy in my class who used his own money to buy valentines for the class
  • the windmills on Hatchett Ridge at night, all lit up in red lights like a valentine just for me
  • texts from my hubby just to say he loves me
  • realizing I haven’t driven my car for a couple of days because I’ve walked to all my destinations
  • waking up to the sound of rain
  • days when the rain stops just in time to walk to work and stops again for my walk home
  • weekends when my hubby starts the laundry
  • waking up and realizing it was only a dream and I did not, in fact, go to school in my pajamas
  • riding with the top down with my hubby while he sings along to Ray LaMontagne’s “Hold You In My Arms”

A Smattering of Thank You Notes

Dear Curtain Rod in my Bathroom,

Thank you for falling on my head when I had my arms full of laundry and was defenseless against your attack.  And thank you for doing it just as I was trying to move myself up a number or two on the Valentine’s Day scale of attractiveness.  My head was getting a little too big and big heads just aren’t attractive.  (For the record, big heads with bumps aren’t that pretty either.)

Sincerely,

The Girl Seeing Stars

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Dear Hammer,

Thank you for smashing my thumb into oblivion when I was putting the curtain rod back up.  It took my mind off my throbbing head.

Fondly,

The Girl Typing With Nine Fingers

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Dear Papa Murphy’s Take n’ Bake,

Thank you for making heart-shaped pizzas for girls like me who should never, ever, ever be allowed near the oven.  It was nice to give my special someone something edible for a change.

With love,

Me, My Hubby and Our Full Bellies

Little Love Poems

Happy Valentine’s Day!  Maybe today is your favorite day of the year and you’re surrounded by chocolates and roses.

Maybe you’re spending today in your own good company, but you wish you could just pull the covers over your head and stay in bed until February 15th shows its face.

No matter what today looks like for you, I hope you find a way to show someone you care about that they’re loved.

And to get you in the mood, here are a few love poems written by my little ones.

Here’s one a little girl wrote for her mommy.

Marshmallow Hugs

Mom, you are as beautiful as a rose!

Your hugs feel like soft, soft marshmallows.

I love you more than the moonlight.

XOXO

I love you, Mom!

And a couple for sisters and brothers.

My Love Poem

You are as sweet as a rose.

I love you so much more than my dog.

Dear Brother,

Happy Valentine’s Day!

You are kind.

You are sweet as sugar.

I like you because you share with me and you help me read.

Last, but not least, here is my favorite poem written by a little boy to his dad.

My Love Poem

Your love is soft like a soft cloud.

I love you to the ocean.

You are handsome like a tiger.

I love you with joy.

I am so using that tiger line on my hubby tonight.  Happy Valentine’s Day!