Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Romance From Afar

As many of you know, Chris and I married after being matched up by eharmony. We committed to each other very quickly for reasons we're not really sure of. We just went with our intuition, and thankfully, it's worked out well for us. We'll be married four years this March, and we're still finding new reasons to love each other every day.

Silly Valentine's Day. I'm not an overly sentimental, mushy person. I don't hold onto many keepsakes, and I don't think those reminiscings are all that important. What is important is the day to day love and kindness and grace. Waking up every day with a commitment to someone, with shared dreams and lives.

Forgive me, then, if I take a moment to reminisce on the mysterious origins of my marriage. A couple weeks ago Chris was going through his emails, and he came across one of the first emails I sent to him after we graduated from the eharmony process. I thought you might get a kick out of an excerpt:

I came into work this morning, shivering from the cold. I had to wait
fifteen minutes in my car for the darn thing to warm up enough to melt the
frost off the windshield. And I refuse to get out the ice scraper before
November. I'm dressed in khaki pants, leather sandals, and a huge yellow
sweatshirt that says "Big Daddy" on the front. (It's one of the thousands of
products we sell, and I got it for five bucks. I find it amusing). I combed
my hair but didn't wash it. Left off the makeup. Didn't even brush my teeth
yet. Just crawled over here to check my email.

There are two people I'm corresponding with on a regular/serious basis right
now. You and a guy named Ben who lives about 45 minutes from me. For the
past month after I shoved myself onto the market, I've been juggling. And
I've narrowed down the field to you two. And I have to be honest. I want
you. I sat down here at my desk, read through the latest email from Ben that
was sent to my work account. And he mentioned that I shouldn't be surprised
if he called me this morning. And then I got online and checked my hotmail
account, and there you were. As alive and pulsing as anybody... so real and
tangible even though you really are just words on a screen. Halfway through
your email, with my pulse racing and an idiotic grin spread across my face,
my damn cell phone rings. And it's Ben.

He's a very nice guy... incredibly stable. Owns his own home. Has a loving
and great family. And if you weren't holding me so close to your heart, I'd
probably throw myself at him. Which would be a mistake. Because no matter
how ideal he appears, "it" just isn't there. That divine spark of knowing.
The flutter. The chemistry and pheremones that glues me to your emails.

We'll figure out the rest. What matters most is the connection we have
already. This nameless force, this thread that seems to bind us together,
even though we probably haven't been closer than a thousand miles to each
other. We could probably ignore it. And move on. But I don't want to. I feel
deep within my body that you're mine already. That it's a foregone
conclusion. Does this scare you?
Happy Month o' Love Everyone!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Life Along Side the Quilting Table

I am in full-fledged quilting mode, spending at least four hours a day at the task. I have beautified my sewing table and laid in a cache of unheard audiobooks. I have more fabric than I know what to do with thanks to too many trips to the fabric store.

I have had many questions as to how I manage to quilt while taking care of the kids. The answer is complicated, but I'll give you a picture to describe it, a picture of words, that is.

My hair is pushed off of my face with a headband, letting me forget for a bit longer that it's been two (or is it three?) days since last I washed it. My shirt, crusty in places from snot and breakfast, tops off a careless outfit that may or may not include jeans, which I consider to be "dressier" than my pajama pants. The children are clothed and fed and washed; I have standards, don't you know.

In the adjacent bedroom, a Little Tykes slide plays host to numerous activities... the conveyor belt of flashcards, a launching pad for trucks, a laundry chute for disheveled children. Duplo blocks are scattered across the hardwood floor. Don't they make such a great sound when dumped from their bin?

After teaching Anna how to safely go down the stairs, she now as free reign of the house. She frequently makes the trek downstairs to grab a sippy cup or a cozy blanket or a shoe. Every once in a while, I move to the floor to sit and reach for her. We cuddle and giggle together, and I will nurse her until boredom moves her elsewhere or sleep overtakes her. Her favorite spot is on my lap, and when I'm just sewing and not brandishing the rotary cutter, I'll often hold her precariously on my lap, my arms reaching around her to hold the fabric steady under the jumping needle. Her joy is letting one of the widgy-gadgets bop up against her outstretched hands as the machine jiggers along.

Ben will sometimes be content to play upstairs or watch TV. Often, however, he goes downstairs where I have mommy radar going, listening for naughty sounds, or, worse, naughty silence. Mostly, he pulls out toys and plays by himself, entertaining himself without my assistance for up to two hours at a time. Sometimes I come downstairs to minor disasters, like washable marker on the floor or a roll of toilet paper in the toilet.

Before snacktime, lunch and naps, clean-up time occurs in at least one zone of the house, and that's when the fun begins. The quilting table is tidied up, and I give the kids my full attention. I try to make clean-up fun. My strokes of genius include putting the end of the slide on a bucket and using the slide to put toys away. It's much more fun to collect them in buckets if you get to push them down a slide. Or maybe I'll put a broom handle on the floor two or three feet away from a bin, and I'll play referee while Ben practices his free throw skills. That one takes longer, but it's more "play" than "chore," so it's definitely worth it.

Slowly but surely, the quilt gets completed without bloodshed, without too many tears, without resentment and regret. I'm in the homestretch with my dear niece Alisha's quilt right now, and I feel overcome with blessings of a magnitude not yet experienced.