Monday, February 23, 2009

"Making the cut"

From time to time, I feel inspired to write a blog post that is a bit more cerebral and a bit less "here's what the kids did this week." Because I know that most of the people who read my blog are family and friends who really want all of the kid-related stuff, I'll add another post very soon with pics, videos, etc. But tonight, I want to let my inner writer have free reign. I still believe I will someday write a really kick ass book that will be read by many, but until then, I'll just put some bits and pieces here when the mood strikes. So here it goes . . .

One evening after we had spent time with some friends, Dave commented to me that it is very hard to get into my inner circle. He said that I can be reluctant to work at friendships if they don't feel 'just right' to me. His comment guided me toward introspection on the topic. Am I too quick to judge? Do I shut people out when they could be adding something to my life that I am missing? What exactly are the parameters I use to decide who is 'in', who is 'out', and who is 'way out'? I began to form a metaphorical perspective on the topic, the rough draft of which follows.

"Making the cut"

Throughout my life, I've wielded various knives, tools which have carved, chiseled, and sliced away the friendships which I've found unfulfilling or unhealthy. Those remaining have formed a tightly-woven net from which I continually bounce back after a fall. The relationships that have made the cut are with those people who are most precious to me.

As a young girl, a dull plastic knife rested on the table as my busy hands mixed and molded the ever-changing pile of playdoh in front of me. Likewise, my circle of friends melded together, pulled apart and came back together slightly changed. At the end of a day, a week, or a school year, even those pieces which had been mindlessly trimmed away could be easily reincorporated.

As a young woman, the cuts were made with a butter knife. It was relatively painless for friends to cross back and forth across the blade, and many friends existed on each side of the divide. Forgiveness came easily, though forgetting sometimes did not. I met some of my dearest lifelong friends during this period in my life, but did not necessarily see them as such at the time.

As a woman, the knife I used developed a serated edge. It usually took a few swipes in each direction to make a clean cut and decide which side someone belonged on. The number of people I counted as true friends was getting smaller. I began to think more carefully about who I chose to spend my time with, which friendships were effortless, which were worth effort, and which could never offer what I was looking for.

As a mother, I seem to have chosen a much more sharp, smooth-edged tool, with one clear dividing line—-how someone treats children, especially mine. After a swift slice, it is almost impossible to get back in. I don't feel like I can truly be myself around someone who doesn't accept my kids for who they are. When I feel like a friend has passed judgement on one of my children, it is nearly inevitable that the friendship will begin to feel strained and unnatural over time. On a larger scale, I don't trust anyone who doesn't value children the way I do, who doesn't look at a child in need and feel some sense of responsibility, who doesn't feel like children are owed as much respect as I believe they are.

My hope is that time and experience have given me the sense and compassion to know when I need to reach back to that grade school table and pick up the most gentle of knives rather than quickly slashing away out of hurt or anger.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Another week has flown by and all is well at the Huffman house. We were a night late watching LOST this week, so tonight is my dedicated Greys Anatomy night. Sorry for the short post, but the DVR is calling. (Hey, cut me some slack, I watch 3 total hours of TV/week)

Keller getting ready for his first ice skating adventure.

He did pretty well for a first timer . . .Sorry for the sideways video, if anyone knows how to rotate a video, drop me a line!

Our beautiful Marley enjoying a warm sunny day

Casey goofing off in the tub

I very bravely allowed Casey and Marley to play in the tub together tonight

Marley runs now--Look Out!!

And, she can finally get herself up to standing in the middle of a room. Yeah--we won't miss the "eh-eh-eh-eh" noise she always made when she was stuck on her bottom and wanted help getting up, immediately.

Friday, February 6, 2009

A truly Happy Birthday for Marley Rae!

We got a call from the neurosurgeon's nurse practioner at 8am this morning. All of Marley's MRI & CT scan images were clear! We were so relieved and excited. What a fantastic way to start off her 2nd birthday. We also got her Certificate of Citizenship in the mail today, so that was kind of a neat thing to receive on her birthday. We had a yummy dinner of orange chicken, fried rice, and shu mai dumplings, followed by cheesecake. A few pics . . .

Keller showing Marley her new monkey from Grammy

Keller teaching Marley how to play the piano he picked out for her (a.k.a. distracting her while Casey opens one of her gifts!)

I bought this hat a couple of years ago and I've been insisting that everyone in the family has to wear it on their birthday. I love Marley's look, kind of like "Are you kidding me?"

Marley dancing in her new jammies from Grandma Nancy

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A short gratitude list and some other stuff

Nice title, right? What can I say? I can't be eloquent all of the time. Ok, so I kind of dropped the ball on the idea of a weekly post of five things I am grateful for. I have a good excuse. . . three kids! But, I want to get back to it, so here's my short list for this week. I'm grateful for:

1. A great first report card. Keller's first ever report card was really, really good! The academic stuff is important and we're excited and proud to know he's doing well. . .but let's face it, Keller is a one-man circus in terms of high energy stunt performances. We were happy to see high 'marks' on behavioral stuff and to read such positive comments from his teacher about his behavior. She even called him 'delightful.' All I can say about that is "Whew."

2. Dave. I received some heartbreaking news on Tuesday night that one of my former students passed away of brain cancer. I knew her well and had visited with her at home a few times after her tumor was removed and while she was undergoing treatments. I did not know she had taken such a turn for the worse and can't believe that she is gone. I came home and sat on the couch and cried. Dave knew that what I needed from him was just to hold my hand and to agree with me when I said that it sucked and was totally unfair that this funny, sweet, dedicated single mom had lost her battle with cancer.

3. Miracles. I can't go into details here, as it's not my place to share someone else's wonderful news . . . but a very special child who owns a piece of my heart has finally found her family.

In other news . . . Marley had her MRI and CT scan today, and we hope to hear from the neurosurgeon tomorrow to hear what his impressions are from the scans. She did very well with everything. I was able to stay with her until she was completely under anesthesia. It was unimaginably (is that a word?) hard to give her a kiss and walk out of the MRI room once she was asleep. She was under for a total of about 2 hours. She was fussy and hungry when she woke up, but has been a pretty easy-going little gal since we got home. I am hopeful that there won't be any surprises when we hear the results, but whatever we learn tomorrow doesn't change anything. She is such a blessing and we'll do whatever needs to be done for her.

Here are a few pics and videos from the past week. I swear, Marley is a really smiley gal, but she does not like to smile for the camera. She is much more interested in rushing over and looking at the pictures on the camera!

Marley pulling up in the crib. She's an ace at it now, but it was hard to get to this point. Look how proud she is!

Marley rocking out with Keller's RoboQuad

Hanging out at the playground at Keller's school.

Keller's creation of the day. He loves to take apart broken electronics and make things. This is something he called "Auto Cart" and was a spy camera. Gotta love the imagination! I found Casey unscrewing a screw from the back of our home PC the other day, so we had to have a talk about the difference between broken and functioning electronics!

Casey after he 'licked the beaters' from Marley's birthday cake

Marley feeding herself her birthday cake