Saturday, August 28, 2010

This one

Oh, Lydia you have taught us so much. I am sorry that so much of our parenting we have had to figure out on you. And yet, you have been the perfect one to come first.

You are changing so much. You continue to be goofy and obnoxious some times. You easily get the giggles. You can finally beat me at "spit." You like to have adult privileges and crave adult attention and conversation. You are a good friend. You are (generally) good to your brother and sister, and they love you so very much.

I can tell these days that you are moving into your body in ways that are new. Sometimes this makes you randomly fall down or trip. Sometimes I look at you and I cannot believe your grace and beauty. It takes my breath away.

I love learning to know you as you move out of childhood and into womanhood. It is an honor to watch you grow. And, as when you were a baby, I continue to be fiercely protective of your body and spirit, wanting to guard it from any potential ills you will experience.

Please know that even when your Dad and I cannot protect you, our love goes with you, no matter what. You will be supported through this time of growing and becoming who you are. Always.

For the last time...

This year the youngest got to stay home a couple extra days while her older brother and sister went to school. We relished in this time together, remembering the early days of preschool when we spent more time together...cuddling under the covers watching a movie, long walks, errands, tickle-fests, healthy snacks, and giggles. Good times.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Just a few more things we love about ciclovia

Snack booths: Biking makes you hungry, and all along the route there are people selling fresh juices, sliced fruit, steaming empanadas, and pastries.

Salpicon: A cold, fruity drink with pieces of papaya, mango, banana, strawberry, and melon. Like chunky smoothie, the literal meaning for this is "jumble."

New friends: It is so easy to meet people when you share a common interest in moving your bodies and being outdoors.

Jumpy things: This is especially thrilling when you have a broken wrist and you are forbidden every other form of exercise.

Bike Repair stops: Need a new tire? Some air?

Large group dance aerobics: This reminds me of super fun street dances I used to go to.

Did I mention that this is all sponsored by the city government? Did I mention that two million people participate each day? Our family has turned this event into a new Spanish verb: ciclovar: to go to Ciclovia, and now with every opportunity we can we proclaim "CICLOVAMOS!"

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Back to school

It's that time again. Time to plant our feet, breath deep, search for strength, and let go. It is a time to prepare, to fill up with healthy food, soft socks, sharp pencils. Each year there is a twinge of sorrow mixed with the excitement of newness and anticipation for what is to be learned.

In the past, I have made it a habit to write letters to the teachers who will be spending their days with my children. I take the time to explain their nuances that have become so recognizable to me as a Mother, but would otherwise be hard to notice. I thank them for their commitment to teaching, for the honor of sharing my children with me. I re-assure them that we will do our part as parents, reinforcing what will be learned in the classroom, challenging our children to do the best that they can, processing the pains and frustrations of sticky social situations, helping them think critically and responsibly about the world.

In the morning, I fill them up, sing a song, say a prayer, and watch them wander off, closer to independence than what is comfortable for me. It is making them bigger and stronger for the world. They are expanding their circles of community beyond what I can provide to them. With each moment, they are broadening their perspective. They are finding their way.

I am proud of their ability to enter into situations of uncertainty.
I am proud of their ability to communicate what they need in a second language.
I am proud of the ways they take care of each other, peeking in a recess and sitting together on the bus.

They are growing in so many ways.

Dear God, please give them happy memories of these times together. As the seasons change, let them be open to change within themselves. Give them the tools they need to be a good friend, to grow in confidence, and to live in community with their classmates and teachers. And may they be released and welcomed with my love in as many ways as they continue to need it. Amen.

Monday, August 16, 2010


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Summer Field Trip

There are so many incredible places to visit in this city. I wanted to take some time this summer to visit a few with the kids, so Susanne and I loaded them all in the Transmilinio and a taxi and we headed to this really cool, family owned/operated glass factory.

We had the pleasure of getting a personal tour of the warehouse where they make all the glass.

They take recycled glass from all over the city and melt it down in natural gas powered ovens, heating it over 1000 degrees celsius. Then, these big strong men, working long, hot hours, tenderly work the glass, blowing it and molding it into the most beautiful, yet also functional shapes and sizes of glassware.

I am pretty sure this warehouse would not have passed safety inspections elsewhere. The "ovens" were handmade out of scrap metal and brick. We were allowed to walk right by these ovens, and walk right through the production areas of the place.

Susanne and I were a little nervous, trying to keep the kids out of the way and out of the direct line of work, but we were right there in the middle of it. We commented that in so many ways it looked like a a beautiful, coordinated, creative dance right in front of us. A free, live performance unlike anything we have ever seen before.
We could have watched for hours and hours.

And that dance transformed broken city glass into these beautiful pieces of art.

We spent a long time walking through picking out our favorites.

We bought gifts for upcoming weddings and friends at home.

We left in awe, filled with stories of what really is possible to create.

Blessed be.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

grateful for those who love my children

I remember one of the first days here in our new home in Bogota. I was in shock, adapting to a big, Latin American city. The lack of traffic control, the noise, the strong smell of pollution, the crowds of people on the sidewalks, the armed police on the street...

My inclination was to HOLD ON to my children. Physically and emotionally. Aaron would argue that I squelched them. Whenever we walked anywhere, I needed to know where they would be and whose hand would be connected to an adult. I was so scared.

Then came the first day where "the plan" was to separate with the kids. We would go to the office for orientation meetings and they would go "explore" the city with the other MCC kids and one child care provider, Paula. This was a huge step for me, and one I did not want to take. I know that this sounds like I was a controlling, scared Mom, but I can say I was operating under a level of stress that I have never in my life experienced before, and this clouded my abilities to rationally assess the risks involved.

So, I remember watching them go.

They have embraced this city so much more deeply than I have been able to. They have opened themselves up to the possible relationships here, to a broader understanding of this place.

Paula was an MCC volunteer in Canada. She understood what it was like to live in a foreign city. She understood what it felt like not to understand. And with a calm, secure, and sensitive spirit she cared for our children. She continued to do this at MCC retreats, assessing their adaptation to culture and language and responding to their many varied needs. She then agreed to spend time with them this summer so that Aaron and I could work more. She played with them, encouraged them to read, flew kites and rode bikes together, ventured out into additional field trips, and comforted and laughed with them when necessary.

I am reminded that there are people, all over the world who love children. And I am grateful for so much that my own have received.

Thank you, Paula.