Loud. It’s so loud. All around me it’s so damn LOUD. All the time. No quiet, no hushed voices, only children talking or yelling as though a field separates each of them and me.
A cacophony of voices calls my name constantly from every direction as I try to type quick notes, hold two thoughts together and attempt to make comprehendible statements that others will read later.
“Ellie I need you!”
“Ellie when will you be done?”
“Ellie, are you gonna play with me?”
“Ellie you said you were almost done!”
“Ellie can you open my bathroom?”
“Ellie can I have a snack?”
“ELLIE I LOST MY SPECIAL NOTEBOOK!”
“Ellie I need to show you something!”
“Ellie he’s saying bad words at me again!”
“ELLIE YOU SAID YOU WERE ALMOST DONE!”
I answered every question gently and patiently while I typed, assuring everyone I would get, do, find, watch, help, listen, take care of, and play as soon as I finished .
One of my teammates kept laughing and saying all anyone ever hears on the unit is a chorus or “ELLIE!S”, and how it drives them crazy when the kids pepper them the same way they pepper me, and how am I always so calm and sweet and smiling when they know a thundering headache pounds just beneath the surface, waiting to break like a wave?
I explained that years and years of
have made me almost bulletproof.
Almost….. I dream longingly of someplace that is quiet and soft. All I have to do is to hold on just a little longer. Long enough to melt into my couch, stuff ear plugs in my ears and pull a mask over my eyes and pretend three dogs aren’t jumping and barking on top of me, excitedly waiting to walk in the thousand degree heat of the afternoon. Five minutes.
Five minutes alone to sleep and recharge. I only need five minutes somewhere quiet and soft. Ok. Maybe ten. Or twenty. I’ll just slip into something comfy. Half an hour tops. I swear.
Let’s be honest and just call it a night!
Proudly flying the Jolly Roger since the first kid I popped out raised a stick sword and swore an oath that he would make me walk the plank unless I hung his flag. Every child that followed took up eye patches and hooks and made me proud to call them mine.
Bells…the last hour of my day (one of the hottest so far) was spent in an echo chamber of children armed with two bells a piece for the first time ever, trying to learn a song while simultaneously talking loud enough to be heard over the cacophony of madly ringing, town crier sized bells. My brain hurts. I’m fairly certain it’s irreparably puddled between my ears. It’s a miracle no one died.
Father of five
Dale was born to be a daddy. His heart and soul live for his children. He knew I was pregnant before I did almost every time, and I was pregnant a lot so that’s really saying something! He could see the small changes in me within weeks, and start hopping like a kid who’s turn it is to open a present. He would grin from ear I ear and fall all over me with sweet little things like hand picked flowers, ice cream, cannolis from Mike’s in the North End, and build me nests of pillows for my growing belly.
He would get home in the early morning hours from the restaurant and spend an hour talking to each child inside of me while I slept, feeling the tiny elbows and heels as they responded to his voice and pushed back.
He was tirelessly devoted to walking the floors with children “resisting a-rest” (his favorite way to describe reluctant sleepers) even if he had just walked through the door from a 12 hour day. He just loved holding his children. He still does, and it brings tears to my eyes to witness our bear sized, bearded “men” openly pull their dad into their own arms and hug him long and hard every time they see him.
He gifts each of us with his deep love and devotion, his quiet counsel, his endless enthusiasm, and yes, the awful “dad puns and jokes” he is famous for. We are blessed beyond measure with this amazing father of five.
Happy Father’s Day to the man who made it all possible and wonderful!
Hangry and tired Ellie
My day has been a marathon at work so the first break I could grab was 7 hours in.
I forgot my lunch at home so I had a great big plate of absolutely nothing, with a bottle of water and for dessert I had a very decadent ice packed second bottle of water.
I’m driving directly from work to pick up my daughter from her lacrosse practice so I can trade her at home for the son I am then going to drive three hours round-trip to stay with one of his friends for the weekend. But I get to sit in the back seat with the dogs the whole way.
It’s national donut day and all of you are posting pictures of gooey and amazing donuts and I just want to point out that water and ice taste absolutely nothing like donuts no matter how hard you try to pretend…
Hellos and goodbyes. Gains and losses. Beginnings and endings. Pieces of you that leave and still stay in that part of your heart that love never leaves.
Love fills empty spaces. It can start smaller than a mustard seed, slip slender roots into tiny cracks, and spread wide and breathlessly through you.
You can love someone who you’ve never seen. A child. One who comes unexpectedly into your life. One you worry over and try to make room for when you have begun to believe that it is impossible . Just as suddenly, the one you felt terrified to meet, the one beating inside leaves.
Once you have felt, heard, seen and truly understood that reality is growing inside of you, you will never be able to separate entirely. Even when you have to say goodbye.
Life is so beautiful, so breathtaking, so unexpected and full of grace. I have more blessings than I deserve. More grace filled moments than I ever dreamed possible. I have a life filled with joy and love.
There are pieces of me that I have been able to let go and only smile or be grateful for the wisdom and lesson.
And there is a piece of me that left and still stayed. I can’t think of this piece without my throat closing or tears rushing to fill my eyes. I can be happily engaged in any number of blessed moments and suddenly a wave of grief engulfs me and it is all I can do to breathe and slow my heartbreak and my thoughts.
This piece is one known only to very few people. It has been entirely too massive to my heart and soul to put into writing, to open myself to the soft and concerned looks, the ones that actually bowl me over and send me rolling with the wave.
It’s mine. I have guarded the knowledge jealousy and fiercely because I could not bear to share this piece. I have this small heart shaped glass heart to honor this child. To hold in my hand when I need to hold him. My own glass heart always shatters too easily. I whisper a name.
Today I’ll celebrate the overwhelming and wonderful blessings of the more than enough ones who I am able to be with. I will smile and laugh with genuine joy without being diminished. There will forever be the empty chair at the table, the pieces of me that leave and still stay.