Thursday, September 27, 2007

Hi Aunt Robyn!

We took a few Bachmania family photos for you, so you can remember how pretty we are. (Eek...look at all those chins!)
Pitino needed to get in on the action, too...he's part of the family, after all. Too bad he refuses to smile for the camera.

Mommy looks a little scary in this one, but darn, Hayden is cute, ain't he?

Hayden wanted to play a little concert for you. Imagine he's plunking away on the piano, singing his Sesame Street medley of "Rubber Ducky," "Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood," and "Elmo's Song" all mashed together.

Here's our little Mousekateer, modeling his favorite "hat." He doesn't get it when we call them ears, and he insists on wearing them backwards...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Splendid suns

i have to tell you about the book i'm reading, a thousand splendid suns, by khaled hosseini. it's amazing. has completely opened my eyes to what's been happening in afghanistan over the last 30 years.

i am feeling totally humbled, blessed, fortunate to have been born in this country -- for no other reason than dumb luck. and i am wondering if i would have the strength to endure what the women in that country have endured and endure every single moment of their lives.

i feel small and insignificant and spoiled rotten. i feel embarrassed by my tendency to dwell on petty inconveniences such as tight budgeting and out-of-style blouses.

and i feel really angry with myself for being so ignorant and naive about what has been happening in afghanistan while the world didn't really notice, and that i've been so trusting that just by watching the news every day, i'm in the know. (truth is, what appears on the news has already been happening for far too long to even be considered news anymore.)

read it. you'll be changed.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

It takes a village...or a circle

I've said it before, but I'll say it again: My job rocks. The work is interesting, the people are friendly and intelligent, the flexibile schedule is amazing. Today I was reminded once more why I'm so fortunate.

Because I work from home on Tuesdays, I can now attend the Elizabeth Circle meetings at my church. For those of you who aren't familiar with Presbyterian Women's Circles (as I was until this morning), Circles are intended for groups of women of similar interests, lifestyles, age, etc. to get together once a month to talk, work for the community, pray, support one another. I have always been a tentative joiner of all things churchy -- it took us almost 5 years just to join this church, even though I attended fairly regularly -- and now that I'm a deacon, I'm counting the days until that particular service is over. So, I was skeptical about getting involved in the Elizabeth Circle: Are they going to be asking me to devote time every week to one cause or another? Will I have to donate money to some mission or another each time? Is this going to be all about Bible study?

However, in about 3 minutes this morning, all my skepticism melted away. I felt as accepted and cared for and supported by a group of people as I have ever felt in my life. No exaggeration. I have met these women before, but didn't really know them until this morning, yet after just an hour and a half with them, I realized that this is what I've been missing.

It's always been hard for me to make new friends; I wait for people to come to me, I tend to feel awkward starting conversations and finding connections. I don't have many true friends like Amy S., Marcia, and Amy B. who know me well an understand my heart and head. I do have a lot of acquaintances in our home area now -- neighbors, coworkers, people in my book group -- all people I like to chat with and drink wine with and laugh with -- but not anyone I've really felt I could count on in a tight spot, or someone I could call for parenting advice, or someone I could trust with "hey, this particular thing is really bothering me lately, and I don't know how to pray about it" knowing that she would not only pray with me, but would hold my hand or hug me because she knows that's what I need most. I've been looking for that kind of a connection with other women, and I thought I'd found it earlier this spring and summer...but that hasn't worked out so well.

Not that I feel I'm instantly BFF with this group; they've known each other for 10-20+ years and I know it will take time for me to feel totally part of the group. That said, it's hard for me to describe the feeling of belonging that I felt this morning.

Throughout the last couple years, as I've moved into this crazy adventure called parenting, I've learned that the old adage "it takes a village to raise a child" is definitely true. But it also may be true that it takes a village to raise a woman, and today I'm feeling hopeful and grateful that perhaps I've found my village. My circle.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Top 10 Reasons I Adore My Husband

10. He calls to ask if he should pick anything up at the store on his way home.
9. He rubs my feet or shoulders, if I ask nicely.

8. He does all the laundry -- including folding and ironing.
7. He makes me laugh without really trying.
6. He buys me little presents for no reason at all, except to let me know he was thinking of me.
5. He plays cars or reads books with Sweet Boy whenever possible. And he lives for tickle-time.
4. He encourages my girls' nites out, and makes extra effort to get home early to be with the boy while Mommy gets ready.
3. He has a gift for settling Sweet Boy down to sleep at night, and even more importantly, he can quietly get Sweet Boy to go back to sleep on a Saturday morning (like pushing the snooze button on the toddler).
2. He reminds me not to worry about things I can't control.
1. When he kisses me, I know he means it.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Brave Daddy

This weekend my dad did the bravest thing I've ever imagined a parent doing: He took my younger sister, Robyn, to the airport and kissed her goodbye, then drove off while she boarded a plane for Sierra Leone. She'll be there for 5 months, working with a migration organization. She's done so much legwork up to this point, informing us all as she goes, to reassure each of us that she'll be safe. Dad has been dreading the day for months, but when it finally came, he bravely let her fly.

Robyn's only 20 -- old enough to make her own decisions, young enough to take on the world without trepidation. She's the baby in our family, and Dad has raised her on his own for the last 10 years. Their relationship is much stronger and deeper, I think, than the one my brother and I share with Dad; their battles are much more intense, of course, but their rapport is remarkable. Truth be told, I think they're best friends, which is why this had to be the most difficult thing Dad's ever done. But, knowing how much this trip has meant to his daughter -- to her education, to her spirit, to her development of an adult identity -- he allowed her to go, to experience life in an unknown, dangerous, poverty-stricken, civil-war-torn country. He let her go on the adventure of her life, knowing that he would suffer extreme anxiety each day until she returns safely.
When I think about it, I am awed. I have a hard time leaving my son at his church daycare each morning; the idea of watching him board a plane for a faraway land is unfathomable. Yet this is not the first time I've seen my dad wave goodbye to one of his children. He hugged me goodbye at the airport more than once -- first to Kiev, Ukraine, for a two-week school trip; then to Moscow, Russia, for a month-long study-abroad trip; and another time for a three-month stint in Glasgow, Scotland. But these were all relatively safe, stable countries. The biggest challenges I faced were cockroaches in my room in Moscow and heroine addicts at the bus stop in Glasgow. In Sierra Leone, just drinking the water can kill a person (we won't get into the bugs, the snakes, the disease, or the humans wielding machetes).

I know this is our ultimate goal as parents, to raise our children steadfastly and securely enough that they dare to venture out on their own, whether to soccer practice or college or Africa. I'm so proud of my father, for his bravery in this challenging time, but mostly for his parenting. He has raised a brilliant, self-assured, adventurous young woman. Robyn's not afraid to go so far away because she knows what she has to come home to. Of course Dad never gives himself any credit, but my husband and I look to his example each day as we raise our little one. While I pray that I never have to be so brave as this, I hope that if the day ever comes, my son will have strong wings, too.