Monday, February 25, 2013

The Grace of Now: Guest post by Rachel Turiel

I'm honored to bring you another guest post today, this one by Rachel Turiel who writes about raising her family in Colorodo on her blog, 6512 and Growing.  When I read Rachel's posts, I often find myself shaking my head "yes," smiling, high-fiving her in my imagination for choosing the perfect words to describe what so many mamas wish to define.  I love that even though I've never met her, we share love for many things, namely the honor of raising and enjoying our families.  Her words today were truly a gift for me--one I'm happy to share with you.

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The Grace of Now
by Rachel Turiel

My children are cleaning up the daily trail of toys that expand from their shared room like some explorers’ route of conquest, like say, the midday takeover of the living room.


“Do you still want this silly putty?” Rose, my 5 year old daughter asks her brother.

“Naw, just kick it under the couch and then when we’re roaming around later, we’ll find it.” Col, 8, replies.

This is not as much cleaning avoidance as it is strategy, in which it will actually be great fun to rediscover the lost archipelago of silly putty on a further territorial advance.

I hardly flinch, overhearing this conversation. I’m long indoctrinated into the deranged and gorgeous ways of children, in which life is lived like a competition for Grand Poobah of the If It’s Not Fun, Why Do It? society.
If I can find the right frame of mind, which sometimes entails a literal search (think: coffee beans, hot water and french-pressing my own depths for inner strength), I can see us all on the wild adventure entitled: ordinary family day.

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There is no place I’d rather be.

On every ordinary day, these children lead me to the cliff of sparkly rainbows where I sigh gratefully for this life, these babies, the whole cherry pie of motherhood. And then 10 minutes later we’re all falling down that same cliff, the one perched above the nest of poisonous snakes, snakes who won’t go to bed at night, who won’t wear a hat when it’s two degrees outside, and who invent dubious sibling poker matches: I’ll see your blood-drawing scratch and raise you a small kick in the shin.

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My greatest roadblock is believing that things should be different. That, because I am devoted to motherhood like say, Elton John is devoted to his feather boas, my kids will eventually come up empty on the Netflix queue of their own sibling drama. Or that by draping my own boa of love around my children daily, we might avoid boarding the wrong train, you know, the one that stops at the stations: hurt and pain.

But it’s not like that. Parenthood contains everything. It’s more Shakespearian than Shakespeare, what with the comedy of emergency bath evacuations due to stealth poops, and the tragedy of mama-guilt that finds you wherever you’re hiding...like water, like a flood.

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What helps is letting it all in, making space for the largest emotions that erupt from the smallest bodies; or the messes that, like those trick-candles, never seem to completely blow out; or the hot flare-up of my own anxiety and regret.


And then, I turn to the grace of now.

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These days with young children are like having your own, slightly tipsy tour guide ushering you through life, pointing out: the squirrels in the park! the sparkly shoes! the paintbrushes ready to plunge into color! Their job is to wring juicy, succulent moments out of the thin, bland air of ordinary days; your job is to follow.


Today, one tour guide has fallen so hopelessly in love with a bottle of glue, she’s adhering bits of fuzz found on our floor to a piece of paper. The other grabs my hand, gasping audibly at the first scraggly clump of spring dandelions; his own joy the mindfulness bell that brings me back to the luckiness of this life.

Sometimes it seems like these moments---and our tightly braided lives---will go on forever, an endless string of dishes and hand-holding. But they won’t. Someday my children will walk by a clump of sunny dandelions and not think to scrabble them together into a bouquet. Someday my bed won’t be full of children wriggling like puppies before the sun is even up.

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These days, these moments---today!---is all we really have. To witness the growth and evolution of a child is exquisite. To love and be loved unconditionally is both like being encased in protective armor, and also like having it shatter daily, because it’s the most tender, vulnerable skin you’ll ever wear.

And truly, all I ever remember by the blessed end of the day—by the time I’m ghosting through the kids’ darkened room, pulling blankets over slumbering bodies, those bodies that, sleeping, appear to be cobbled out of such earnest goodwill that I imagine them exhaling world peace in their sleep—all I remember, is the joy of parenting that, like cream, always rises to the top.

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Rachel Turiel is a freelance writer and regular contributor to NPR, "Earth Notes," Mamalode, and Edible San Juan Mountain Magazine. Her writing has appeared in Literary Mama, Mountain Gazette, Bugle Magazine, Rhythm of the Home and more. She writes a biweekly column, "Adventures in Motherhood," for the Durango Herald.

Read more on Rachel on her blog, 6512 and Growing.

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39 comments:

ourmulticolouredlife said...

This was an amazing read. Pure joy.

The McCombies said...

Oh my. This was lovely. Happy tears in several spots - fabulously written depictions of motherhood (i.e. our second experiences of childhood). Thanks for sharing!

Sarah Millar said...

I love Rachel's writing. Read more of her words at www.mamalode.com

Chasing Hazel said...

This is so beautifully said! LOVE all the metaphors, it's almost like reading poetry.
Nothing makes me happier than sitting, observing and interacting with my daughter. I am always very present and aware that tomorrow will bring change. I never want to forget the last very sloppy, wet open mouth kiss that she wants to give me. I enjoy her for who she is, in the moment, everyday.
Thanks for sharing these lovely words and reminding me yet again how important it is to be present.

Abby said...

Beautiful! I love these reminders to follow my kids in all their quests and relish the joy of right now. It's so easy to wish certain phases away...and then end up kind of missing them later.

I can tell these are my kind of folks by her son's one lens glasses and one blue/one white sock combo. :) Thanks for sharing! :)

dig this chick said...

Oh Rachel! As always, I appreciate your way with words. And your metaphors! Awesome.

Love:

To witness the growth and evolution of a child is exquisite. To love and be loved unconditionally is both like being encased in protective armor, and also like having it shatter daily, because it’s the most tender, vulnerable skin you’ll ever wear.

xo

Carin Cullen said...

"These days with young children are like having your own, slightly tipsy tour guide ushering you through life, pointing out: the squirrels in the park! the sparkly shoes! the paintbrushes ready to plunge into color! Their job is to wring juicy, succulent moments out of the thin, bland air of ordinary days; your job is to follow."

This sums it all up so well! And to compare children to a tipsy tour guide...brilliant! It's never boring that's for sure.

Loved this!

Anna Adams said...

beautiful.

Jen said...

Beautiful. No matter how hard the day has been, the "joy of parenting always rises to the top".
P.S. The butterfly photo is amazing!

Miggy said...

D-d-d-damn girl!

That was like a nice long drink from the well of truth. Thank you for those beautiful words.

Hugs to you and those beautiful babies.

Patti said...

Beautiful writing, Rachel. You are so right to enjoy these fleeting moments! I have a huge range of children (almost 25 down to almost born) and with each baby I purposely take more time to soak up the little moments...they grow too fast. Love your photos too, they perfectly capture your kids' personalities :) oxox

Shan Fourie said...

Beautiful!!
And a great reminder to live today and everyday like its your last!

*shannybannanyslife.blogspot.com*

Cindy said...

Yes, yes and yes. This is a wonderful read. I can not wait to explore Rachel's blog for more!

Julie Stephenson said...

I'm crying!! Beautiful post that reminds just how quickly these kids are growing up.

christina vega said...

Holy wow. I totally, completely, 100% needed to read this today. Today, the day that I nearly carried my 4 year old out the door in her t-shirt and underwear because she simply REFUSED to get dressed and REFUSED my help. ::Exhale:: and now, as I sit here, at work, and she at daycare....that regret, that hope of a better morning tomorrow, settles in. But, in spite of all that - the joy is still what I most feel. Thank you for this post, Rachel. And for this special reminder that NOW is all we really have. xoxoxo

Sian said...

So perfectly and beautifully written. x

Kayla said...

We broke Rachel's blog! :) She seems so lovely.

mb said...

i love this post. i loved it the first time, too. i am here because i stalk rachel wherever she may be found on the web, and it always means i get to bump into other radically cool people. looking forward to checking out your blog, kelle!

Lesley said...

Like others I love this...
"These days, these moments---today!---is all we really have. To witness the growth and evolution of a child is exquisite. To love and be loved unconditionally is both like being encased in protective armor, and also like having it shatter daily, because it’s the most tender, vulnerable skin you’ll ever wear."

How beautiful is that?

Raelyn said...

Kelle....
I am working on a "secretive writing project". I have been off and on since the holidays. I am delving back into it after a break. And, I only have ONE CHAPTER LEFT to read in "Bloom"!! Score!! Your writing throughout the book has inspired me to "dig deeper" with my own and be "more real".... If that is even possible!! I just wanted to say "thank-you".... I would read "Bloom again!! And again!! And again!! And again!! And again!! And again!! It is now one of my most favorite books!! ;-D

Lesley said...
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Gareen said...

Sometimes I read about the beauty and joys of motherhood and it's all I want. When I think what it's like to be a mother, I think of what it's like to be the daughter of an exquisite woman. It hurts, it's happy (mostly), it crushes you, it makes you into who you are. At the same time, I feel such guilt reading these beautiful mommy stories. Guilt for not being able to always feel these waves of love from my mom, but knowing that they're there and accepting her as she is, for everything she does. I really respect and admire those mothers who are able to understand and acknowledge the beauty they find in the minutiae of the day. Beautiful story.

xoxo,
La Petite Gigi

Kimmy said...

Lovely pictures and beautiful words! Thanks for the reminder to enjoy this time.

Genia & Shaylon said...

I needed that. I had one difficult weekend alone with my kids and I was so ready for their daddy to get back. Thanks for finding all of these amazing women and sharing them with us all.

mamasurfs said...

What a sweet reminder...thank you for the inspiration for an adventure day with my sweetie!

www.mamasurfs.com

Krista said...

Rachel, this was absolutely perfect. Thank you for sharing. You've captured, in beautiful words, what I feel on a day to day basis--esp the part about being loved and loving unconditionally. Really good stuff!

SH said...

THis is such a beautiful post!!

Happy Monday!

Sheree
The Hartungs Blog
thehartungs.blogspot.ca

Ellie said...

oh so lovely....thank you, Rachel.

Laura @ Twenty5seven said...

Fabulous. I especially liked the line
"I’m long indoctrinated into the deranged and gorgeous ways of children". A perfect choice of words to describe a beautiful paradox

Laura @ Twenty5seven said...

I'm also enjoying reading the beautiful and intelligent comments in response to this thread!

RumorsOfGlory said...

I meet so many moms who don't treasure the task. They whine and complain and can't wait for their kiddos to grow up. My own two children are 21 and 25--one about to marry--and I still miss the days we had together when they were young.

Sometimes I get envious of the moms in the grocery store with ducklings in tow.

I shared this on several of my social media sites.
Love,
Another Colorado Mom

Katie said...

Just right, Rachel, as always. :)

Donna said...

Very nice post! I am working on being in the moment & this was such a lovely reminder for me today! Just received Bloom in the mail & looking forward to reading! It is a "snow day" today here in Kansas so am enjoying spending all day with my two kiddos!! :)

Jen said...

this is absolutely beautiful! kelle - thanks for introducing us to her!

Lynn Richards said...

So loved this...especially the thought of our children breathing out world peace while they sleep. Why, of course they are, what else would it be?!!
xo
lynn

Stephinie said...

beautiful~~

melissa said...

If I had a dollar for every time your writing has made me cry, Rachel.... With my co-parent away the last two months, I feel like I've been in survival mode and I spend way too much time frustrated by the not-so-joyful bits of this parenting gig. I may as well just go to bed now, because this is precisely what I needed to read tonight. That picture of Rose with the chicken was like therapy, too. I couldn't stop laughing at the utter ridiculousness. You really did hit the jackpot with those two! I'm officially excited to wake up to my two in the morning, too :)

Oswood Family said...

"...ghosting through the kids’ darkened room..."
I love it!! That's my favorite part of the day. Beautiful.

kendra said...

thank you for this.