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Shameless Lovefest Here

February 1, 2010

Col has been staggering around the house lately like a drunk on his last legs calling out to me “Mama, I love you sooooo much.”

He’s so wistful, so heady with sentiment, it’s like we’re reuniting at baggage claim after a long, painful separation. When I knelt to give him a quickie hug of thanks yesterday for cleaning up his Jenga blocks so proficiently, he fell into me, his body like a short tower giving way. “I want to keep you forever Mama; squeeze me now,” he instructed.

I feel like I’m in some silver screen classic with a Warhol-ian twist. The plot: a very small, besotted person appears regularly confessing his adoration for the stained and unwashed housewife.

“I love you to Brazil and back, Mama. I love you all the way to New Zealand and back.” Col says, exercising his charming, if not slightly mixed up geography. Last week he asked me about “that river in Denver, that one called the Missy-Ippy.”

“The Mississippi?”

“Yeah, that one. Have you ever been there?”

“Well, it’s not in Denver sweetie, it’s a long, wide river east of here, and no, I’ve never been there.”

“Has Daddy?”

“I don’t think so.”

“Have me and Rosie been there?”

I’m not sure what he was imagining – perhaps those times Dan and I send him and Rose off on a little solo adventure. Pack your life vest: this weekend you’re going to the Missy-Ippy! 

And about ten times a day, I am knocked out cold by what a boy he has become. The smallest chisel has been chipping away at his baby cheeks, excavating the gorgeous bone structure of his face. His blonde hair, once manufactured only in fishing line-width, is thickening, flipping into a soft curl as it hits his neck. There he is in his sporty hand-me-downs, poring over his Encyclopedia of Nature, lingering on the shorebird page and explaining to me that seagulls tuck their legs in while flying, whereas “pelicans fly with their legs sticking out. That’s how you can tell the difference Mama.”

And it’s not that he’s correct this time or even much of the time (he told Rosie recently “taxis are cars that don’t have windshields. “Oh,” she said, understanding completely). It’s that little neural pathways are being worn like our favorite trails in the mountains, and they keep leading him back to the very things that Dan and I hold dear. Wild animals, plants, hunting, books, archery, the garden, this place.

And Rose? It’s hard sometimes to remember that Rose is making her own way through the world as an individual. Sometimes it seems she is just auditioning for the ever-evolving role of Col’s sister. And really at 2 ½ she’s so accommodating and competent, I sometimes forget about her; she uses the potty, pulls on her own socks and gobbles my homemade baba ganoush flecked with icky eggplant skin. Dan was suggesting last night that while Col takes swimming lessons next month, Rose should actually be in lessons too because she deserves to learn how to swim. Oh yeah. Sometimes it seems like Rose will just absorb swimming know-how, the way she’s quietly learned everything else she knows.

Rose is a peach; her mind is still filled with butterflies and sunshine. Her smile flashes like the after-dark landing strip at our small hometown airport, guiding me down to the place I love like my own heart. When she spots me after rising from a nap, she runs towards me—a bashful look on her face like: gosh, how long did I sleep?—and sinks into my arms. If this were a DVD, I’d rewind and play that scene all day long. Once when she was five months old I complained to a friend that Rose bit my tongue. “What was your tongue doing in her mouth?” She asked. “We were kissing,” I shrugged. And I often wonder as I’m squeezing her plush bottom, or planting smooches on her dollish nose, or nibbling her playdoh-smooth skin from the neck down, when she’ll put up the “no trespassing” sign.

And for all the late-night, head-scratching councils we’ve had on Col, Rose just seems so, well…comical and sweet. Most of the time she’s got her ducky stuffed up her shirt (which is on backwards), is baubled and sparkling, and barking at Col: “Okay Coley, now you give me the medicine and I’ll tell you if I have to frow up.”

they must have figured proper medicine dosages with that calculator

Sometimes the thickness, the gooeyness of this love is like the first beer after a backpacking trip, or sliding into the hot springs in winter; I think you know what I’m talking about.

21 Comments leave one →
  1. Steph permalink
    February 1, 2010 4:51 pm

    Beautiful writing, Rachel! You’ve captured them so well with words. I love how you take the every day things about living with young children and turn it into something that every mother must read!


  2. janie permalink
    February 1, 2010 10:23 pm

    You have such a way with words my dear! I think you should write my book. Oh, and when you’re here, you can drop Rose and Col off at the Oaktown apartment and take some time for yourself at the lake (or where you like).

  3. February 1, 2010 11:01 pm

    Sweetness. I love this post, and I truly know what you’re talking about!

  4. February 2, 2010 2:00 am

    Col must be visiting rivers in his magical dreams! What a wonderful moment, when your boy gets all lovey dovey. Doesn’t happen often anymore, so I relish it when it does. Maybe I can look forward to another round at 5ish? Wishing thinking. Thanks for warming my heart… again!!

  5. February 2, 2010 9:03 am

    All sweetness and light. Beautiful, your life and how you see it and relate it.

  6. February 2, 2010 9:39 am

    Nothing like toddler/preschool age lovin’. And nothing like that first beer after a hike. Totally.

  7. February 2, 2010 10:45 am

    You’re a super hero to them. That unconditional love from them is amazing, isn’t it?

  8. February 2, 2010 10:52 am

    i adore those knock-down, overwhelming, bowling-over rushes of intense love for our kids. they make all of those moments of dumped cereal in the car and toothpaste on the ceilings totally worth it! the little love notes left behind are the ones that really get me!

  9. Joanna permalink
    February 2, 2010 1:40 pm

    Love it!
    Those kids are so very amazing. It’s easy to see (from the side of being a parent) why we get so absorbed in our kids’ lives and why their expressions of love just mely our hearts!

    One time when Dylan was 2 and Curran was still a baby, I had to hang the clothes on the line and Curran was on a blanket in the shade on the other side of the house from the clothesline, so I asked Dylan to keep an eye on C for me for just a little bit.
    I was about halfway done when I see Dylan come trotting around the house towards me. My emotions went from worry to anger that he’d left C alone… until he says: “I asked God to watch Curran so I could come give you a hug.”

    • 6512 and growing permalink*
      February 2, 2010 5:13 pm


      That is so sweet. And extra sweet that you remembered that all these years later.

      Love, Rachel

  10. Joanna permalink
    February 2, 2010 1:40 pm

    “melt” not mely … spellcheck!

  11. abozza permalink
    February 2, 2010 9:57 pm

    I 100% absolutely know what you are talking about. We’re lucky Moms. :)

  12. Ellen permalink
    February 3, 2010 10:31 am

    I had been missing reading your blog and just read 4 posts all together…it was a heady experience like eating an intense hot fudge sundae…so wonderful to catch up on life in Durango and the activities of and changes in those energetic, comical, and cheerful kids.

  13. February 3, 2010 10:57 am

    “Her smile flashes like the after-dark landing strip at our small hometown airport, guiding me down to the place I love like my own heart.” Good lord, that’s gorgeous writing, as all of this is. It was all I could do not to sigh when I finished. So I did.

  14. February 3, 2010 4:56 pm

    your writing is so very exquisite! i love what you say about them holding dear the same things you do. i have seen that with my girls with music. now, when we get in to car, june says “pilot”, while hazel is saying “can we hear miss ohio?” because they love the new blind pilot ep as much as i do. or do they? do they just love it because i do? i suppose if they are mainly exposed to the things that glenn and i love, those will become their loves too… or is that our preferences are genetic? anyway, it is so charming.

  15. janie permalink
    February 3, 2010 9:34 pm

    This is Jasper, not janie. I laughed alot reading this, I want to come visit you really badly. Durango looks really fun. Give Col and Rosie hugs for me.


  16. February 3, 2010 11:47 pm

    I love how you constructed this post, it is such a tribute to mama love…

    I’d really like to add a link to your site in my sidebar, is that okey-dokey with you?

  17. February 4, 2010 10:30 pm

    sweet stuff…keep soaking that in and sharing it…without question it helps us all remember the things we love about being mamas.

  18. siana permalink
    February 5, 2010 9:14 pm

    So lovely. This one had me and the kids cracking up. Thank you.

  19. Julie permalink
    February 5, 2010 9:41 pm

    I love your postings. This one however is especially sweet. Cherish these moments. I was so happy to move the kids downstairs this week and then realized how sad I was that they are growing up.


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