Sunday, December 13, 2009

If you only listen

Strange how conditioned we are to create patterns and routines, to transform doing to repeating, rather than experiencing or living. Between the rigors of work, inconsistencies of schedules for parties and open houses, and technical hurdles, I've not been writing. I could, but I let myself slip into this step 1, step 2, step 3 and repeat sort of monotony.


Finley is singing, literally if she is awake she is either singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star or the Alphabet Song. She is the echo of every child that has gone before her, suspended for this brief moment in slurred words, skipped letters and uninhibited and tireless repetition. Don't get me wrong, the way she does it, the curve of her jawline as she lifts her head to sing louder and the way she sets one foot in front of the other while cocking her head, these are pure Fin.

I am more aware today, as I hoss myself out of the unforgivable morass of apathy, that tomorrow, or soon thereafter, this will be over. My third daughter, my only Fin, my final performance of this chapter. Twinkle Twinkle into ABCs into "I wuh-ya mommy." It is the tattered page I'll turn to years ahead when she no longer wakes to sing to me.

I am listening, and knowing that I will not always remember unguided, I am writing. I am chronicling these moments of Christmas magic.


I realize unforgivable seems a harsh word, but here it is, whether it's lifting another spoonful of food you know you shouldn't be eating, taking another monstrous drag off the cigarette you swore you wouldn't smoke, or uttering aloud the criticism of your spouse you swore you'd keep quiet, at some point it is indeed unforgivable.

Happiness is a choice is more than a line on a tshirt. It's just this one life we get. There isn't a day in it that ever gets experienced in exactly the same way. We must remember to do what we hope, to stay true to aiming for the life that we want, the love, the memories whatever it is.

It is our choice.

It is our price to pay if we don't.

Who is trying to sing to you right now?

Whose arms did you wiggle out of to do the dishes?

Go listen, kiss and live.

It's just this one time, make it count.




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Lara said...

Awhhh... you make me teary with all this mushy emotional sweetness!!!

Love it. Every. Last. Letter. :)

Merry Christmas, my new friend!

Bon said...


point taken.

thank you.

Beck said...

I try - not always successfully - to be HERE, to be thankful. I remember not being happy and my God, I'm grateful.

slouchy said...

aww. sniff. yeah.

Robin said...

Beautiful. Don't get down on yourself for not writing more - quality is better than quantity. Your girls are so lucky!

Tyne said...

Amanda, I have said it b/f, and I will say it again- you are a gem. I love that you hide away to do what really counts. And when you are here, we will read, because it is great and inspiring.

jennie said...

Thank you for this reminder...i need it, lost in the haze of a fussy 2-month-old and a cranky, feeling-ignored toddler. i have wished away too many days lately. i've forgotten too often how lucky i am. Thank you.

WhyMommy (Susan) said...

Yup. So, so important.

Thanks for this. I needed to hear it, and to be reminded -- the dishes can wait.

(Also, I think I lost touch with you way back when my googlereader became unmanageable. Sorry about that. It feels good to be back.)

Sarcastic Mom (aka Lotus) said...

Gah, I lOVE this.

F'in A, lady.

jbsmom said...

Wow, thanks for the perspective. It's so easy to get "stuck" under the day-to-day stuff when we should really be rejoicing in it.

Myshka said...

Today was the day I needed to read this. It was perfect in its timing. I know my comment is largely selfish instead of praising you on your brilliant introspection, but i can't help it. Today I was overwhelmed with the baby in my arms, not knowing how to soothe her, a husband that has to travel over the holidays, a new house to move into.. and I let it all get on top of me and send the tears flowing. But my little angel has her arms wrapped around my neck and smiled at me though I was in tears, and I winced at the lesson she was teaching me. You reminded me to live in that moment, because each of them is etched into the past very quickly if I don't appreciate them.

Janet said...

Potent reminder, A.

I'm always brittle at this time of year, with the trainwreck of demands colliding with wants. I needed to read this.

Anonymous said...

My youngest turns nine this week.


This morning, I woke her up by climbing onto her top bunk and giving her the sloppiest belly slurpee I could muster. She giggled and tossed and laughed like crazy. The same way she does when she sneaks out to the garage when I get home from wherever I've been and she jumps out and shouts and waves her arms, guiding me home.

Yes, cherish every moment, dear friend . . .

(By the way, it was your other blog I was having trouble with this morning. When I tried to visit it, thinking it was the one you were referring to, I got this message from Blogger: "You're about to be redirected.

The blog that used to be here is now at
Do you wish to be redirected? "

When I clicked on the link provided, I got the Oops message.

Glad this one is still up and running. Thanks for the tweet . . . )

Heather said...

I make my kids be the first to break the hug. I pucker my lips, asking for kiss after kiss until they smile and giggle and say "Mom!" with exasperation.

Little things, maybe. But they count, they matter.

Anonymous said...

Miss Amanda....your words could not ring truer to me today! Mollie is a singing, dancing fool, who loves to play chase around the house! Today. I marveled in the moments with her, as we got to be home all day together, without interruptions! Thank you for reminding me that we are so fortunate and that Happy IS worth the choices we make!


Teri said...

Sing it, sister! Beautiful post.

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Cakewalk said...

Is The Wink still up? I can't access it.

MDTaz said...

Go listen, kiss and live. Sound advice, beautifully written. Thanks for the reminder.

Cakewalk said...

Thanks for your reply! I look forward to catching up on The Wink when it returns! I've been a loyal reader for a couple of years, and your words are even more meaningful to me now that I have a child.