Liana…

([This is the second post in a new series on my children. See the Post, The Children, for an introduction. These are a few entries from a random journal that is mostly just writings, largely undated. I was not very consistent in my journaling in those years, but these are special to me.)

Nov. 11, 1989

Just yesterday, Liana crawled her first hesitant, half-hitch crawls. This morning, a lovely, calm Saturday at home, she crawled nearly the length of the Hopi rug to to a stuffed toy — making sure she had it firmly grasped before she sat back.

I hope I can remember always the joys of watching her play, the delight in her enthusiastic babble of sounds, arms bouncing energetically as she scoots around on her bottom. I know she won’t be doing much more of that now that she’s discovered a superior method of locomotion.

I realize, as I marvel at her baby ways, that I hardly remember those things and the intense pleasure they bring from the babyhood of John or Luke. I don’t want to forget how sweet it feels. I know I won’t likely feel precisely that again. This last baby…! The feelings are hard to describe — that delicate joy/sorrow mix. She is such a special one — so happy and loving, and quite an adventurous little one. She has a definite stubborn streak and this endearing little way of straining her stomach and arms and going “oooooh” with a very intense face, as if she is doing isometrics — and then breaking into a big smile and laughing about it!

The sheer variety of her spontaneous vocalization is amazing — reminiscent of the mocking bird. She really loves to be outside and get very loud and very excited about the creatures around. Some months ago, when we took her for her first carriage ride without the top, she got fascinated with the trees and sky. After ride, when I had picked her up to take her inside, she made a great effort to tip her head back and look up again to see, apparently, if all that wondrousness was still there.

It’s very gratifying — with this third child — that Li-li seem to really enjoy being with her Daddy and will go to sleep for me often.

July 17, 1990

So many wonderful moments, hours, days with this last little one have gone unrecorded… which is truly a shame, for she is truly a unique child, and I know we’ll forget so much of the dear little things that have had us in tears and in laughter! Her character is very strong! She has a persistence and determination at any task she undertakes, which has won my great admiration!

She’s just learning to talk now and has several phrases that we just haven’t deciphered yet — such as “Dat eye!” repeated with great enthusiasm in a number of situations, usually accompanied by her pointing finger. (My best guess is that it means ‘that way.’) She has lovely, slender fingers and her investigations of the world have been led by that insistently pointed index finger for some time now, almost as if she’s testing the world ahead of herself with it. She is quite loud and loves to scream, especially after being shushed! Defiant little thing!

We just said goodbye to my sister Linda and John and their family, and Liana had to part with beloved cousin Stevie (Tee-veee!) after much hugging and kissing! We hope they see each other often enough to stay close… When we talked about those kisses later, she made little kissy noises and called Stevie’s name over and over… just happy remembering the whole little love scene!

Sept. 14, 1991

Liana is a wonderful but difficult child! Eating pistachios with her this morning is a paradigm of her dealings with life. She can’t quite open them, but she wants to, and so she will eat only the ones that she picks up out of the bowl and hands to me to open for her, saying, “Now, I’m going to eat this one!” The ones I shell and put on the plate for her to eat she assiduously ignores! She also insists on putting the shells in the bowl herself.

She is also most loquacious at 2 1/2 years. She has many very adult phrases and ways of expressing herself. For example, she speaks often of someone being “able” to do something. She has great small-motor skills and is very print-aware, loves books and trying to read, and she pretends to write letters and words.

Jan. 6, 1993

Liana is an unusual and amazing child. I guess, at almost 4, she’s supposed to be a budding conversationalist and have an expanding vocabulary, but the delightful quality of her personality is really beyond just those developments, even as advanced as her verbal skills are.

Last night, she was unusually difficult about bedtime, and her mother spanked her — a very rare event! — for disobeying. As she lay in the bed crying, she began wailing, “These people are crazy!” over and over. She also said, “I’ve got to get out of here!” I went up and tried to talk to her, but could not get her to say why she said it. “They just are!” is all she would say. She did say that she meant all of us! Finally, I just held her and rocked her to sleep. Even today, she would not elaborate on why she said it, but she did not seem to be upset.

This is a rather atypical incident, as she usually will articulate her thoughts and feelings. I wish I had done a better job of recording some of her earlier comments and conversations…

A good example of her uniqueness is the Oatland Island trip. She was a big help in unpacking and packing pottery and was generally great all day. At lunch I took her to see the lower part of the animal trail on the island. She was just charming and delightful with me. In fact, she seemed to make a real effort to make the experience enjoyable for me! Most kids expect the adult to be the entertainer, to meet the needs and expectations of the child — most kids are totally self-absorbed and are hardly aware of the adult unless he fails to do what they want! Which is normal! Liana, however, seems to be able to focus on the other person and intentionally be entertaining and charming, considerate and sweet!

Baby June

[This is the first post in a new series on my children. See the previous Post, The children, for an introduction.]

Jan. 23, 2018

In my little red journal from 2018 I wrote: Notes on Anna June’s babyhood! And notes that I hope all my children will read after I die. Or in the run-up to that event. Please. Much of it is ‘A letter to my children.’

A Letter to My Children. I hope they’ll all read it! Just so they’ll know how much they are loved.

Anna June, Week 21: MGBC visit. ultrasound. O+, tests good, general screen good, BP 100/74. A girl, long legs, nice brain, all good.

Resume journaling here October 2018 – This is mostly for June and the kids, since I may not be around too far into her life, and with the way things are going, the other kids may not be around as much as I’d like.

So I’m trying to keep this record so they know I am concerned, want to stay in touch, and know that I love them all very much.

June 9, 2018

June was born early this morning! [Still looking for journal entries…]

October 21, 2018

It’s a Sunday, quiet day at home with Taylor, Marvin and June, and the first truly cool Fall day we’ve had. Taylor and Granny are cooking and Marvin is watching PBS Kids. Pretty normal day.

I suppose my awareness of my own mortality is stronger lately, as that 72nd birthday seemed to be hard to take. So maybe that’s contributing to this new journaling impetus, especially as I think of June maturing, wondering “What was Dad like?” Wondering how things were in those early months, years. And me not there to talk to her about it all…

Plus, I want to get back to journaling as a practice for myself, as well as for the other kids and grandkids to have some insight into my thoughts regarding all this, all these family changes as related to them. …

So – all this rolling around in my mind, making me re-think the best venue, the vehicle, for this purpose. I write here, but how do all these interests get served by me writing in this little red notebook? Maybe do a document that could more easily be shared, with this as pre-writing, drafting, just getting motivated to do other things that I send? … I remind myself of my mother! Tho I don’t have her agenda..

I must remember to keep in the forefront of my mind that it’s for them, to let them know they were loved and appreciated through all this. I need to work to communicate with them all along and not just after the fact.

December 13, 2018

Continuing to try to document this process of accommodation to the new circumstances of my life… notes for the children… thinking of blogging it.

The mediation went well… a difficult process, but done.

And big news! Anna June is crawling! She’s been up on all fours for weeks, but yesterday she did the alternate knee/hand crawl for several steps, and today she’s crawling four feet or more at a clip! Plus she’s being so adorable and cute and sweet all the time and just a real joy to my life! I am endlessly grateful for this wonderful gift in my later life!

I really love that she is so sweet with me, and that I can get her to sleep when she’s in distress at night or needs a nap. Her sleeping on my chest is so sweet and healing to my spirit. She loves to play and loves to dance! A very active, curious baby. Now that she’s crawling, our lives will be busier for sure, just keeping up with her!

December 20, 2018

The Winter Solstice is here! We hunker down for the long cold winter! It has been pretty cold and wet all Fall.

June continues to amaze us with her happy energy and her great dexterity! These, fine beautiful finger are so active and so good picking things up and manipulating them! She reached another milestone today, crawling up the steps from playroom to kitchen. I watched her try over and over to get that knee up on the higher level, and finally she got it. Then, after several tries, the other one came up and she crawled a little in. Then, she pushed up into “downward dog” on toes and sat up!

She’s really trying to pull up on chairs and things, so that will come soon. She may be walking by spring! She’s into everything already. And she loves the mandolin! Marvin and I were playing with Taylor’s mandolin today, and she just crawled right over, got in on the fun. Then she took it from me and started scratching and beating on it! Anything new, she wants to investigate. She loves to play! And loves to laugh!

Preparations for our second Christmas together are going well… we cut a tree from the yard, decorating with nice, simple natural garlands. Taylor has such a nice sense of tasteful, artistic touches in the house, using natural things, handmade ornaments mostly.

Marvin is doing much better lately! Though he still has some meltdowns, like tonight, when he can’t settle down. Would be good to know what his issues are… He and I seem to get on fine most of the time. He still doesn’t seem to believe that I mean what I say, but he’s being better at taking suggestions.

December 22, 2018

June’s delightful babyhood is hard to capture. I keep thinking of things I want to record, then forget them when I sit down to write in my journal. She does seem to love music. She’s always responded to my lullabies, and if she’s crying, I can stand her in my lap and start singing a lively little melody and she’ll stop crying and start bouncing and dancing and laughing! She laughed and laughed when I blew raspberries on her tummy today!

She loves for me to walk with her. It will always stop her crying. Many nights in those first few weeks, I was up for an hour or more walking her when she was having a hard time sleeping, just being cranky. She also loves to walk outside, or just to look out the windows. She’s fascinated by the chickens, and she enjoys crawling around in the grass.

Sometimes it seems she can see right into my soul! I feel a deep connection with her. I said to several people after she was born that on some levels, it felt like she brought Taylor and me together so that she could come into the world! It seems to me that she is such a wonderful gift to the world that however outside of social convention Taylor and my relationship is, it is a positive thing and right for us to be together.

Which brings me to the difficult topic of trying to re-establish relationships with my other kids, especially Liana, who has been pretty angry about the breakup of the family. I have wanted to make some attempts to communicate, but I don’t quite know how. I don’t want to make things worse, so I keep putting it off. My greatest weakness…

I want to talk to her about how I never realized she would take this all so badly, and that we really believed she would come around, understand. I suppose we thought that because she is not one to follow social conventions either. I realize that she’s most upset because she felt deceived by me, and I realize now that I should have been more up front with her from the beginning. But things were so complicated, and I suppose I just thought she really knew how I felt. She’s also pretty upset, as she said, about me leaving it up to her to tell her mother about June. Which I understand, but I just thought I wanted to tell Liana first to be sure she didn’t hear it from someone else.

It’s been a while now, so maybe things will go better now that the whole agony of the divorce process is done. I will try soon.

The children… (intro)

Life unfolds in often unexpected ways, and the recent developments in this world seem to highlight those uncertainties. My personal life has been very complicated in the past few years–well, always, really! But it seems especially so in the past several years of big changes, new children and new perspectives.

With all this in mind, I’m searching for ways to communicate with my children so that they will know how much they are loved and in what high esteem I hold them. Communication has been hard with all that has happened in our lives, and my youngest child may not even remember much of our time together, given my age and hers, so I’m beginning this new series of blog posts in hopes that it will survive me and be something they can all see at some point, if they’re interested. I have been thinking about this for a while now, and I’ve been trying to be sure that I’m doing this for the right reasons–which would be for their benefit. So that, should they ever wonder about my concerns and love for them, this record is here for them.

Most of what I plan to write here is from my journal entries over the years, plus continuing journal entries as it goes along. I hope to be able to figure out how to both add to the continuing story and do current journal entries and keep it all sequential here. I may do another set of Pages, which can be kept in numbered order. (I am creating a new Category for these Posts, ‘The children’.) It will be an experimental process… I will probably not try to keep the old journal entries in time order here. Kinda like the War Journal approach, with old entries interspersed in the more-or-less sequential order of entries on Anna June.

But I plan to begin at least with posts based on past journal entries, transcribed and expanded/edited as needed. My journals–of which there are quite a few!–are very erratic and confused, as I seemed to always be revising my approach to journaling. So it may involve a good bit of piecing together from different sources to make a coherent narrative.

It will, I hope, always be focused on helping my children live their lives and feel good about themselves.