Well, Antonio thinks it’s a boy…

You know Antonio.

 Antonio is the artist who sits in Busch Gardens Italy, at all hours, sculpting fine jewelry.

We always comment on how peaceful he seems, in his own corner of fabricated Italia, off Route 60.

He appears happy, tranquil, fully immersed in a job he loves.

Then I finally met him yesterday, when I asked him to repair a necklace that Travis and the girls had bought me.  (Did I mention Antonio has become our Family Jeweler?)

He was exactly as I had imagined.

Only better.

And he performed a trick on me that involved swinging my wedding band on a strand of my hair, and watching its direction, and then predicted I am having a boy.

I wasn’t even freaked out.

Here’s to Joyful Italians and Amazing Job Satisfaction.

(And here’s to six more days of strange voodoo prediction rituals – ultrasound is Friday.)

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Espera! (before I lose my mind)

This summer  I am constantly saying: “Please wait.”

It’s gotten so bad that I am instructing myself on the phrase in other languages….just to keep from being bored.

“Please wait, just a minute, I’m coming. I will help you with that as soon as I am done helping you with this. Please wait, I’m getting the last thing you asked for before this thing. Please wait. Can’t you enjoy what I just did for you before you ask for the next thing?”

Sometimes I can’t bear to hear any words anymore.

That’s when I start vacuuming –  a new unhealthy pattern in avoidance, but my rugs have never looked better.

Yet,  we are all slowly learning together.

 Because when I’m not vacuuming or shouting “Vent!” (Norwegian), I’ve been thinking about how I pray.

And, how my petitions eerily echo the rhythm of my children’s demands.

So today I tried something crazy. I was beginning a new project with new challenges, and in a moment of rare solitude, I almost began my usual wordy, angsty, prayer. But instead,

I stopped and said “Thank you.” That was all.

(And it felt utterly complete.)

I’ve always been struck  that the Spanish word for wait, is also the word for hope, and shares origins with our word for breathe..

Este Verano, vamos a aprender a esperar. Exhale and say it again.

Last week, while I sat in Williamsburg, Tom Hanks was in Virginia Beach

Filming in Rudee Inlet.

And eating at Charlie’s Cafe in Norfolk. Because, apparently, when you ask people around Rudee Inlet for a great local dive…they send you to Norfolk. (Those are the owners of Charlie’s. I did not stalk them down and steal the picture. It was posted on this very legitimate site which I will link to here.)

And last night, as I sat in Virginia Beach, with my brother Peter, trying to decipher from Tom Hanks’s twitter feed if a certain picture was from the boardwalk or the Lynnhaven Mall Courtyard (it was Lynnhaven, why Tom why?) Tim Tebow was in Williamsburg,  eating at Paul’s Deli, which is kind of as close to my house as my kitchen is to my couch.

Not that this matters because only the juvenile, superficial, and social media- consumed care about celebrities.

They mean nothing to me.

Quick! Pinterest Brides: To the Woodworker’s Cottage, off the Palace Green, BYOBOH

(Bring Your Own Bales of Hay)

Because this is picture perfect:

Our discussion regarding three-carseats-not-fitting-in-either-of-our-cars has really gotten to me, when I am eying this wagon as possible family transportation. Colonial Williamsburg: you supply the horses, we’ll wear your garb. Everyone wins. (And I win even more when I start a side business letting Brides pose on the wagon in cowboy boots…)

Taking a little break this week. Enjoy the Summer Solstice, and if you’re like us, temperatures mild enough to be outside without being underwater…I’m pretending we live on the Cape. Have a glorious week!

Live From Williamsburg…it’s Fathers Day

When Travis comes home around here, it’s like he’s hosting SNL – screaming, applause, females trying not to pass out.

Every single time.

This can be hard for me.

Partly, because when I come home, there is often sobbing, whining, and peeing on the floor.

And partly because I’m forced to confront how JEALOUS  I would feel if Travis actually did get to host SNL before I did.

Today, I celebrate both my father and my children’s father. 

My Dad taught me to ride a bike, and plunge a toilet, and drive a car. He also has the biggest check book I have ever seen (literally) and spent most of my growing up writing checks from it for things I felt entitled to…education, food, and my Columbia House 10 CD’s for 1 Penny Club bill when they finally came collecting.

But in between the plunging, and check writing, he taught me a million and one things by his life, visibility,  and his coming home. 

More often than not, it’s our mothers who model a woman’s worth, but our fathers who demonstrate it.

And mysteriously, and often non-verbally, they teach us the most formative lessons of how we view ourselves,  God, and the craziness in between.

And working with that kind of pressure? I must admit, deserves, yes, a  Mick Jagger/Jimmy Fallon Level of Applause.

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photo credit

Across the street.

I’m going to my neighbor’s funeral today.

If I haven’t mentioned before, we live on a historic street.

I am not exactly sure what that means except that our narrow street clearly existed before cars did, and after five years, we still feel new around here. But five years ago, when I had really long hair and one bald baby, and we were Officially New, this neighbor made sure we felt welcome.

And over the past few days,  in the midst of sadness, by virture of a “historically” narrow street, and “historically” wide porches, I have witnessed the miracle that itself feels new each time: though we want to conjure Him through complicated means, God shows up in the gathering of family, the laughter of stories, the delivery of flowers, and yes, the carrying of chicken casseroles.

And His goodness walks as near as the rhythms of the mighty legacy I have seen, heard and felt this week, right across the street.

Why Doesn’t Hello Kitty Have a Mouth? (and other questions currently plaguing me…)

Hello Kitty is a new favorite around here. Not quite sure what she adds to the conversation, but maybe our conversations are full enough. Hello Kitty: international, innocuous, silent. All very helpful as my angst plate is full over the slow infiltration of another Feminine Force:

That’s Barbie, for those reading from the Island of Mypos. To be exact, that is “Dancing with the Stars, Samba Barbie.” She doesn’t live here but soon she will live with my parents (Merry Christmas Mom.) When I was growing up I remember hearing rumors  of girls not allowed to play with Barbies. I was shocked. Horrified, even. I mean, sure, I had been Dorcas for Halloween, but we had Barbies. And Skippers. And Kens.

But you know who we never did have? Jem. I’d think that I wanted Jem, and then I would get a close look, and back down. I can’t imagine why.

All that to say, that Barbie time is upon us and I fear myself becoming that Mom. That Mom who doesn’t want to enforce unfair body expectations through a doll that is anatomically impossible. That Mom, who wants bigger dreams for her daughter than after 52 years to marry the  guy with the plastic hair and the red convertible.

But then I think back on my Barbie days and realize I never wanted to look like her. All I have ever wanted was to look ethnic. Did Barbie motivate that? As far as career goals, Mattel has really stepped it up. There is a complete Barbie “I can Be” line. “I can be…a Zoo Doctor.” “I can be…a Pancake Chef.” It’s inspirational really.

Could it be that I’m more threatened by Barbie now than I was ever influenced by her as a child?

If so, I can only be grateful that this other favorite line of my childhood is no longer around to taunt me:

 

Anyone else have The Heart Family? They were Barbie’s neighbors, “but not ever friends” according to a Mattel source. Umm…yeah. Can you imagine Daddy Heart and Rocker Ken hanging out, grilling? (Though Daddy Heart’s face was from the same sculpt as a 1970’s Ken. See how heavily I research my posts?)

The Heart Family was beautiful, blissful familial perfection. Great toys,  but I could not handle them as my adult friends. Just look at that box. Clearly, they are transitioning to bunk beds, a transition we are about to undertake. How can it be that dreamy, even if I plan on wearing that dress? And the real kicker…look: they’re bilingual.

 

Okay, I need to know.

 What toys do you dread/ban?

And who out there had JEM? (Please tell me you let her babysit for The Heart Family.)