Grace and Balance

January 14, 2013 by  
Filed under Danny Thomas, Family, Urban Dweller

By Danny Thomas

I haven’t written in a really long time
I’ve been “too busy living life”

Or something…
The thing I have to get into my stubborn or lazy brain
Is that, for me writing is part of living life
So being too busy to do it
Just doesn’t make sense
But hell
I’ve practically been too busy to do my paying job

Is busy the word?
Busy cleaning up after sick kids
And being sick
And having medical procedures
And pondering time travel
And loyalty
And espionage
And marriage
And parenting
And time
And death
And entropy
And thoughts and thoughts and thoughts…
And oh the list…
There is so much on my mind
That writing, putting the thoughts to words…
feels like trying to funnel the sea…

There is this pain and joy and this mixture of them both…
There is time…  and changes…
and the bittersweet impermanence of things.
These really are all I want to focus on…
And do…
And think about…
And sing about and write about…

And yet part of what makes that mixture exist is the wanting.
So I keep myself wanting?
To write,
So that at some point
I’ll have something to write about?
Is that all?
That seems way to simple…
and stupid.

That can’t be it…
There are other things I want.
And too many real, corporeal things, that truly obstruct my ability to achieve fruition…
As a writer,
Hell, as a human.

My wife and I are doing a major re-arrange and purge…
These things usually take three weeks or so…
I mean…the actual shifting of the plates…
The pressure has been building
On a tectonic level
For months
The Feng Shui in our house has never been right.

But we’ve also never had the coinciding, time, gumption, energy, and wherewithal to make the massive adjustments required to settle in… we don’t really have all those things now, but we have crumbs of enough of them to make a go…

We have been in this house a year and a half… and really have never completely finished moving in… the point is, it takes a while…
Stages… planning, talking, re-talking, forgetting…
The frustration and joy of communication.
Then the actual movement comes…
The stairs, the snow, the lost pieces, blocked pathways, pinched fingers, and impossible angles…
The frustration and joy of change and objective action.

I’ve been down in the basement
Going through boxes of books – trying to reduce the stack of kid books by half…
Understand, there is a bookshelf of books in their room… the basement books are “on rotation.”
Two medium size moving boxes full – and two standard book boxes full…
I figure one of each of these is a reasonable reduction at this time
So I am sorting into a purge pile
And a “keep” pile..
Some are kept because I have not read them yet
Some because I’ve read them too many times
Some are tossed because they are too worn
Some kept because their scars are familiar and comforting.
And I came across a handful of books that are “Our family is having a new baby…” type books.
I was stunned… paralyzed.
I can’t even find the right words
To commit to paper
The onslaught of thoughts and emotions…

Get rid of this book? Yes? No? Why?
The flash of thoughts and emotions…
Jen told me she recently had a similar experience while organizing Zuzu’s closet…
The baby blankets…
Are they obsolete in this house?
Keepsakes only?

Why do we keep these things…?
How do we know what we will need or not need?
Why is it so hard to let them go?
Things…
Thoughts…
Time…

 

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Haywire

April 30, 2012 by  
Filed under Danny Thomas, Family, Kids, Parenting, Urban Dweller

 

By: Danny Thomas

 

oh. my. god.
I have three kids
and a job
and a wife
who is at the beginning stages
of a career that is
the breadwinning career for our family
so she has to put in
the hours
whatever they may be
and she is a teacher
so that means
a lot of hours

my days
during the week go something like this…
if the kids haven’t been in our bed since five
I wake up at 6:45
wake up the six-year-old to get her ready for the bus
prod her along the process of getting ready…
pee, clothes, brush hair, brush teeth
4 simple steps…
which, some mornings, is no problem…
other mornings it is like Hannibal marching elephants over mountains…
on Tuesdays and Thursdays I have to do this with the three-year-old too
Jen is usually nursing the baby at this point
but is sometimes able to lend a hand in this process…
then it’s scramble to get food in the six-year-old…
the three-year-old gets fed at day care on the “T” days… (Tuesday or Thursday)
and after the bus on the other days…
scramble to get everything in the bags that need to go to school…
scramble to get coats and shoes on and get out the door
wait for bus
we usually have some time to play and goof around for a minute while waiting…
good times.
then it’s either walk the three-year-old to day care
or come home…
then I have a couple hours to get house work done
sometimes I fold laundry and watch t.v.
sometimes I do dishes
sometimes I write
sometimes I cook…
sometimes I zone out, listen to music and Facebook or Pinterest…
sometimes I do yoga
or take a shower…
Then, at ten-ish I head out the door
on the non-T-days I drop the three-year-old at the YMCA for 3 hours’ drop-in care
and take the baby to work with me – when I get there I feed her with a bottle
which sometimes goes well
but sometimes she complains about the plastic nipple a lot
and that is uncomfortable for both of us
almost always I spill a bit of sticky breastmilk on both of us…

after I get her to sleep
I work for a bit
checking emails, returning phone calls, updating websites… doing whatever…
then at 1:20 I race to get the baby loaded up
and head to the Y to get the three-year-old
luckily, she is always happy to see me…
some days though leaving the Y can be a tough transition for her
pouting or shouting or just general poopiness…

lets be honest any transition, or dirt, or birds chirping, or air touching her skin
could be cause for nuclear meltdown…
she’s three, after all.

Then when we get home it’s more housework
cooking, cleaning…
or playing Barbies, or princesses, or whathaveyou with the the three-year-old…
until the 6-year-old gets home
then it’s a bit of homework…
until gymnastics or ballet…

or if it’s a Tuesday or Thursday…
I head home to tend to the baby about noon – so Jen can go teach…
Then back to work at 2:30 to try to get ahead of the game (which never happens)…
and home at 5:00 pick up the three-year-old..
then home for dinner…
and maybe some relaxed time with the family
a walk to the park
or a movie
Or back to work for Box Office Will Call…

oh. my. god.
this pace is pretty tough.
nothing is ever as clean as i want it to be.
our poor baby sleeps in third generation hand-me-downs with third generation hand-me-down stains… bless her heart…
i am always behind on at least a half dozen things…

I feel like most of what Jen and I do together these days is talk about our schedule and calendar and make arrangements…
updating our Google Calendars together
mapping out the itinerary for the week…
so romantic…

If you add to our agenda any
of the inevitable variables
of life;
illness, car trouble, out of town guests, plumbing, a home project or a board meeting, or whatever…
we go haywire

not to mention the drama of various relationships and acquaintances..

we are constantly haywire…

I’m sure it’s common,
this pace…
I’m sure life is hard for everyone
no matter what the schedule
but I feel like, if I had to keep this up very much longer
my head might spin right off…

luckily
for us
we only have to get through
a couple more weeks
then school ends
for Jen
and we can re-adjust

but then summer camps start
Lil’ Chaos’s first drama camp…
and tennis
and swimming
and zoo camp
and wild buffalo adventure camp
and ballet camp
and all that…

oh god.
I need a drink.

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Time Flies!

March 5, 2012 by  
Filed under Family, Kelly Rummelhart, Surrogacy

By: Kelly Rummelhart

Once I had my own children, I was amazed how quickly time went by. Even now, Ruby is ten years old and I swear it feels as if she were born only a few years ago. I think about my marriage . . . I spent thirteen years with my R. and now in the “remains” of it all, it didn’t feel like that long at all. Hell, my twenty-year high school reunion is this year and NO WAY has twenty years passed.

I am sure I am preaching to the choir. We all feel the same way, especially those of us that are parents but I will tell you that one thing makes time fly even quicker . . . having surro-babes. My friend mentioned that today was her laborversary; one year ago she was in labor with her surro-twins. I would swear she just gave birth . . . if asked I would’ve guessed maybe six months ago? Even my own surro-kiddos . . . I’ve blinked my eyes and Natasha and Anjali are a little over 3 years (39 months) and Gideon and Harper are 17 months now . . . . again, didn’t I just give birth to them all?

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Almost Time

February 27, 2012 by  
Filed under Danny Thomas, Family, Kids, Urban Dweller

By: Danny Thomas

there is something mystical about a
morning
when the sky is bluer than blue
azure
and the sun is bright
but soft
and it’s ten degrees

something otherworldly
about the combination
of cold
and soft

I turn
39
next month
that is an
“almost” forty

I have the biggest problems
with the
“almost” numbers

I am not okay in
almost time

I am barely okay
in any time
but
“almost” years

feel like
potential

w/out fruition.

I like fruition.

there are people
who were born at a time
and in a place
that makes
Britney Spears
the beginning
of music for them.

This as much as anything else
makes me feel old…
right now.

what is it that makes
a time
your time?

that makes
this time
our time?

We have a new baby.
a third girl.
We’ve been calling her Zuzu.

She was born five months and twelve days
before her big sister’s birthday
who was born five months and twelve days
before her big sister’s birthday.

my wife did this math
this calculation
while in labor
hard labor
she was in sort of a trance at the time
out of her mind
somewhere shaman
and laboring mothers
and Buddhas go

eventually the epidural kicked in
and she came back to earth
and shared
those numbers with me…

I don’t even know what to do with that information
but it seems significant…

mystical,
otherworldly…

She is magical,
Zuzu.

She is strong
and delicate
and unique
and full of potential.

and she has two big sisters
filled with love,
and two goofy stumbling,
bumbling parents,
also filled with love
and a very furry cat,
that is filled with something…
like love…
only more feline.

how lucky she is
and how lucky we are to have her.

in this time
our time

I guess the thing about time is that
time
is all potential
it’s always
almost
time.
it happened.
it’s happening.

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To Be

February 13, 2012 by  
Filed under Danny Thomas, Family, Urban Dweller

By: Danny Thomas

I have written about parenthood, and life in general, being a practice of
giving in to chaos,

and about it requiring a sense of humor,

about the challenges of prioritizing and balance.

All of these things…

over and over again come up in my writing.

Funny thing is, all those things feel like part of what has
always been on my mind…

They just seem to take on more weight

as a parent.

Lately, I have been noticing
that what keeps me going is something like
straddling a fence
on one side is actively making moments
and the other is actively taking moments, or receiving the moments I am given.

It’s like
riding a wave…
somehow finding a way to be in control of myself
and the experience
while letting the tide of pandemonium wash over me…

Lil’ Chaos and I
spent the afternoon
building spaceships
and trucks
with Legos last Friday

it was the best.

It was the best
combination of
making a moment
and letting a moment happen
that a dad could have…

and here’s why,
I think,
it worked;
I set aside a few hours for Lil’ Chaos,
but we didn’t have a plan.

We talked about our time together ahead of time.
looked forward to it
with anticipation…

there were a number of things we’d been intending to do together
for a few days; play with legos, play in the snow, make a movie…

our time came, and we had some things to choose from
and it was Lil’ Chaos’s choice.
It was pretty darn cold outside
so we skipped the snow
and chose to play with Legos and film it…

The next time we have designated time
one of our options will be to edit our film.

I guess the point of this story
is that it is an example of riding that tide…

All around me
all the time
there are things to do
chores and tasks and schedules to keep

but also

all around me
all the time
are an abundance
of glorious moments
to take in.

the list of chores can’t be helped…
it’s a function of parenthood…
of life, in our place and time…

and yet right now, as I type, Kidzilla is snuggled against my left side
eating a banana
and watching Curious George
and there is a moment to receive…

it’s a matter of
knowing those moments are all around me
and making the choice -
between acts of scheduling, doing, and managing…
to be.

here, in this time,
a day past the due date
of our third daughter
I am finding it more important than ever,
and also more challenging,
but attainable
sometimes
to be.

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