Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sunday, April 26, 2009

dear emma

I remember in rare detail the day that you were born. I had silvery blue fingernail polish on my nails, I was getting excited to go (that same week) on my first date with a boy I had a crush on (Uncle Ryan), and on that Sunday, I was playing in a Youth Symphony Concert at Muskegon High School. As I played the concert, I knew that your Mom was in labor, and I just couldn't wait to leave with Aunt Andrea...to get to Clare, MI to hold you!

You made me an aunt, and I couldn't believe how that new role changed me.
I've said this before...but I loved you so fiercely that I sometimes worried that I'd never be able to love my own children as much. I couldn't imagine feeling so protective, so uniquely awed by a child ever again.
But then of course, Jaelyn, Liam, Addison, Willow, Ginger, Isaac, Will came along and I started to see that there wasn't a 'limit' to my love. It only grew deeper and fiercer for all of you (though I was still completely unprepared for the overwhelming love I would feel as a Mother.)

It seems impossible that so many years have passed since you were first learning to swim in Go-Go & Bampa's pool, or trying to find the courage just to jump into the pool, or refusing to eat one tiny carrot, or dancing to the Veggie Tales:'Oh No What we Gonna Do?' song, or attempting to play my big violin (when it was almost as big as you). And it seems similarly impossible that you now...fearlessly (and successfully!) run towards a vault, flip, balance, jump gracefully, that you are so 'grown-up' and quietly witty and perceptive, you are thoughtful and patient, impossibly strong and determined, can perform Bach Minuets flawlessly (and musically) on the violin (or piano, or flute...) with little practice ...and can play just about anything else you attempt with relative ease and a beautiful touch... I especially appreciate the way that you patiently play with and watch over all the cousins that adore you...
Maya and Sophie will only grow to love and admire you more. And I couldn't be happier about that. Nor could I be happier about the woman you are and are becoming.

I love you.

Happy Birthday.


Monday, April 20, 2009

While brainstorming for my elementary musical...

...I randomly stumbled upon this magical flicker page.

I love fairy tale cottages.

Friday, April 17, 2009


was a day I could re-live several times and never grow tired.

I have no sensational stories or events to retell. Today just seemed uncommonly great. It was full of forgettable normalcy... piles of clothes to be sorted, occasionally whiny children, unloading and loading the dishwasher...

But time seemed to be moving just right. I somehow avoided any moments of panic or exhaustion. In fact, I think time actually slowed for a few moments in the late morning while Sophie and Maya and I laid and rolled and crawled and ran in the sunny grass ...all of us laughing uncontrollably. We played with our 'pop-up' tent, pretending it was our house and later a drive-thru ice-cream shop (Maya kept ordering a 'sausage bar'?? She hates sausage).

The day ended with a surprise date. Uninterrupted conversations, a bit of quiet, dinner at 'the Pie Company' (where Ryan convinced me of the superiority of the 'French Dip') and a rare trip to the mall for some new jeans and a classic black shirt.

But the day began with an amazing sleep, waking to the sun...and happy girls. Since we have no milk and very little of anything else in the fridge, the girls and I splurged on breakfast at Toast-n-Jams. Our table was loud and messy and fun. And the woman sitting nearby was kind and friendly to Sophie who really never stopped staring at her and waving.

We met a new friend at the library who just turned three. Her grandparents and I tried hard to convince the giggly girls that the library was supposed to be a place for quiet reading. While they played and shared some puzzles, "Selena's" grandpa and I shared stories of our Finnish family heritages and the Upper Peninsula, copper mines, and Drummond Island.

Ryan was eagerly welcomed home for lunch. (Egg salad sandwiches--not my favorite..but one of his favorites from childhood.)

After lots of new stories from the library, the girls napped...for hours. And I cleaned and did laundry. And I actually liked it. I didn't finish. But...there's tomorrow. Right?

While the girls slept in their rooms on either side of me, I sat in the hallway upstairs, folding their clothes. Someone once told me a story about sitting with a mother in a hospital...a mother who was losing her daughter...talking (weeping, actually) about going home and seeing her little girls laundry. And so I've never been grumpy about folding their tiny clothes. It's actually one household task that's always held a unique pleasure for me. I think I'll have to keep telling myself that...until they're old enough to fold their own clothes! (smile)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


This artist intrigued me tonight. (Thanks Dad Corbin). Obviously, his art doesn't last long. And it makes you want to scream....knowing that such intricately carved images will just disappear, smear, blow away, be wiped clean, wasted. But he knows this as he makes every mark. And he still creates.

I think my consumerist, product focused brain can hardly comprehend such generous work being created to be wasted.

kind of art, musical performance, was always that kind of art before recorded music became a possibility. It was something to be savored only in the moment. Created, played, a process to be a participant of... and then gone (gone except for the written score...but really that is only part of the MUSIC....right?).

This concept of waste seems alright to me when the 'product' is only mediocre, if the performance was average to good. But if I hear or play or see something flawless, precise, moving, and sublime... I am distracted from the pleasure of the moment....preoccupied by my worry... that it wasn't saved. Or at least...that maybe someone else heard it too.

Whenever I am assured that something truly great has been captured, recorded, saved...I feel such relief:
Photographs of moments, occasions, people, places. A long paper, essay, letter, blog post. Video recordings of stories, performances, life.
I treasure these things.
And I really cling to the actual objects. Desperately, sometimes. (This is why my basement is so full.)

But there is something so tragically beautiful in the process of creating something that won't last forever (like a meal for people you love). And in being wasted beauty, it is also a little more authentic and...generous somehow. It seems to be a little more like life. Most things of real beauty are cyclical and fleeting (and I don't just mean seasons, sunsets, and flowers, and youth...though I suppose they're good enough examples).

One of the most agonizing feelings for me these days is the realization that once the dishes are all clean and put away, and the laundry is folded, and the toys are organized, and the cheerios are swept (which, by the way...none of these things actually are done.)...it will all start over again. Maybe this daily struggle against futility is what made me cling to these thoughts today.
I think I need to start finding more joy in the process of life...every day.

I'm not quite ready to give up the hope that something I've created will last forever...or at least for a really long time.

I do find great pleasure in recording music. And I also delight in listening to recorded music. Both of these things make my world exceedingly more serene, exciting, intoxicating, mysterious, inspiring, complex, satisfying.... I still like the 'products' of creativity.

I'm just saying that as an artist, a teacher, a mother, a wife, a student, a follower of Jesus...I tend to forget (even though I know) that the process of creating, of fixing, of learning, of mending, of finding and making beauty....the process is sometimes the point.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

sick sophie.

We found out at about 5 AM. She was just faintly crying in her crib..but she was drenched (I won't go in to all the gross details.)

She's warm.

And really cuddly and sleepy.

I've only seen one smile today...Daddy got it.

And we were going to find an adventure today. I guess we'll just stay home and enjoy the sleepy afternoon sun streaming in our windows.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

a week of birthday celebrations


I loved (and love) celebrating all of you!!!
Happy Birthday!