Tuesday, December 20, 2011

gingerbread generations (with additional pictures)

I love my mom.

I love that when she's around it's like I twist back the lens of my perception and really look at my kids, not just "look after them" but look at them. Instead of  "watching" them, all my mommy senses tuned in to anticipate all their needs and wants, but just to watch them be who they are. (I also get to literally take my camera in hand and capture everything)
That's a gift my mom's presence gives me. To see my kids. 

She's so good with them. And man they love her. 

That's another thing I get to see--my kids love. I know they love me, but sometimes I'm so caught up in "rearing" them, analyzing my every word, reaction and tone, hoping that the sum total of them all will be enough to instill all the virtues and values, character traits and personal strengths I hope for them, so busy with the assumption I'm suppose to be "moulding", I forget to see who they already are. To see how much love they possess in their little souls. There willingness to let us grown-ups be "special" to them.

Tonight I saw McKye's openness. 
How he'd repeat every word "Gran-ma" said, copying her tones, even her slightest exasperations. 
I saw him be so aware, and so quick to take it all in, even if he had no idea what it meant. 
I saw him have confidence. 
He'd wait for some instruction but he wasn't afraid to try, or scarred he'd do it wrong. 
He wanted the gum-balls all on top so thats' where he put them. 

I saw his joy and his freshness. I've loved watching hims unravel and figure out Christmas this year. 

His little mind taking note of and recognizing  with such exuberance"Christmas trees!", "Santa" and "Baby Jesus!"
His whole existence right now is like one big discovery after another.

I saw Levi, also so aware, so ready to be a part. 
No limits (no idea of "I'm too little to climb up that chair") 
I see his eagerness to reach out and touch the world and figure it out by his own little experience. 

Willing to climb right in to life.

How do we develop so much trepidation and doubt? When do we cease to explore existence, and cling to the known, familiar and already understood instead?
(these kits are just too easy, even though the icing tastes horrendous,
and the gingerbread is definitely more "building material" then "edible",
I couldn't resist the train one!

I loved watching McKye's "baby" hands with my moms (that remind me of my grandmas now)-- generations of fingers sticky with icing. 
I liked thinking about McKye seeing my hands one day against his own kids pudgy wrists and them reminding him of his grandma's hands.

And in the end we had a gingerbread train, 
which was really a less important bi-product of the night of togetherness. 
I loved that we got to share that with my mom. 
Loved that I could stand back and take pictures (which always helps me really see things)

Our structural design may have not taken into account the weight of McKye's gumdrop placement.
Love the oooey-gooey imperfection-perfection of it all.

"Ooooooooo!" Levi's official critique.

This picture makes me miss my grandma. Makes me miss her for my mom too. I was only eight when she passed away, and perhaps because my memories of her are so young, so little, the intensity of my love for her always surprises me. Then I realize, sometimes love just is big to begin with.
Because as nice as moments like these are, and as grateful as I am for them, there is something more.
My grandma is part of me. The pieces of her that became pieces of my mom and are now pieces of me.

That my very existence depends on her existing first. I'm having such hard time describing what I feel to be true. Their is a connection beyond the time we spend, beyond the traits we share, beyond DNA or aging hands. I feel that a lot of my love for my grandma has developed with her on the other side, but close. A type of closeness that isn't tangible or even really thought about, it just is. Maybe the same way a child takes for granted their mothers nearness.

I almost wonder if her passing, allowed her to be with me more, than if we'd had to schedule visits, arranging to share the same physical spaces to "get together".

My mom didn't love these pictures of herself.
Thought she looked old. Maybe that's why I love them.
 I see her becoming the softness my childhood mind feels in my memories of my grandma.

I remember my mom with her harder, quicker hands, so competent they were mesmerizing. Her adult abilities my childhood aspirations. Her hair dark like mine, before her mothering began.

Now as my own grey hairs arrive along with my children, surfacing under the dark, it's like generational de-ja-vu.

Aren't I the child in the bed? 
Isn't that McKye in the dress?

And before I know it I'll be the grandma.
And one day, I'll leave the quiet of my empty nest and come into the loud-bustel of the young homes of my own grown children.
And maybe I'll help them make a gingerbread house.
And maybe they'll take out a camera and really see their kids because I am there to show them the marvelouness amidst the constancy.

And maybe I'll feel a similar surge of gratitude as I do now, for the threads of life that bind us together, so tightly we start to forget where we stop and others begin, and see just love all blurred together.

(my aunty was kind enough to send me this picture of my grandma in her dark-haired days, Christmas '58...my mom is holding the pink dolly)
Another one my aunt sent. Which was really fun...I have all my oms picture of us kids memorized, it was interesting to see one I'd never seen before. Wow, Mckye looks like me! 
My fav gingerbread house picture Aaron 2008 (Those look like Levi's hands!)


                              *     *       *       *      *
She laughed again. "You know, some things don't matter that much...

the whole problem with people is--"

"They don't now what matters and what doesn't," I said, filling in her sentence and feeling proud of myself for doing so.

"I was gonna say, The problem is they know what matters, but they don't choose it...

The hardest thing on earth is choosing what matters."

(The Secret Life of Bees,  by Sue Monk Kidd, pg 147)