May-July 2022

[A few current entries in my journaling of this voyage with children on board. These are recent June and Marvin notes… plus some comments.]

May 14, 2022

June is so happy she’s going to be in school this coming year! She asks about every day, ‘Am I going to school tomorrow?’ She does seem to be a bit ADHD at times… like the other day, when she wanted to play and I told her she had to put on a shirt first. She said, ‘Oh!’ and headed to the bedroom. A few minutes later, she came back, still no shirt, but with the red massage ball I had asked her about sometime last week! Then she want back to the bedroom but never came back shirted… likely got distracted.

She’s playing some elaborate game on her own now. Yesterday she set up a store in the living room with lots of toys and her little play cash register. I do hope the Screven Pre-K is ready for her…

Marvin has done well in kindergarten there, so it seems a good school. Marvin is really into video games these days, and interestingly, it seems to calm him down. Occupies his restless mind I guess. Certainly being in school has helped most of his issues improve, but the games seem to help too. Things are better all around, anyway.

June 3, 2022

June said that when it’s her birthday–which is in six days!–she thinks there will be an avalanche! I asked her if she knows what an avalanche is, and she said, “I know what an avalanche is. It’s when a rock falls down from a cliff, and it kills you.”

Several days ago, she grabbed my hat, tipped it back on my head, and proclaimed, “Now you look like a ‘Bro!”

June 12, 2022

We had to cancel the party ‘cuz the kids were exposed to COVID at vacation bible school. Just had us for cake and ice cream, but it was nice.

June 24, 2022

Marvin has come through his heart procedure well, we’re home, he’s fine! Such a relief! He’s remarkably the same despite this intervention and the whole two-day ordeal. We are exhausted! But happy!

July 10, 2022

All going well the past couple of weeks… hot summer is full on here! Had a great conversation with Liana yesterday! She seems to be doing well, getting some help with medical issues, doing well at work. She’s planning to come to the Gathering in October.

July 16, 2022

Disturbing news on my vision from my eye doc this week… but nice trip to St. Simons. Taylor and Marvin climbed the lighthouse again. June was not so hot on going up those steps, especially after she heard the ghost stories in the video presentation! She and I watched mom and brother walk around on the balcony and were happy on the ground.

June has just been so WILD lately! A little out of control at times, doing that old defiant thing a lot. Trying to talk to her, and we’ve given her a few spanks lately, but nothing seems to be working. We need a new approach…

July 22, 2022

Mom’s off to a workshop today so me and the kids… hanging out. June’s in her bedroom pretend reading to herself, one of her favorite things to do. She ‘reads’ off and on when I’m reading bedtime stories to her… amazing how she remembers the words to the stories, even over weeks later… And the complexity of her play with little characters and stuffed toys is narrative driven.

An amazing comment from her the other night: She hugged me and said, “I love you so much!” I responded, “I love you too!”

Then she said, “Usually, I love the whole world!”

I think she does!

June and the kids…

August 13, 2019

Last night was terrible.June got all croupy, couldn’t breathe or cry, so we took her to the ER in the middle of the night. She got steroids and a breathing treatment — so hard! Poor baby cried and fought, just couldn’t understand what all those people were doing and why we weren’t stopping them! The ER people all remarked on how strong and determined she is! It took three of them to hold her still for the blood-work and breathing treatment. Hard to watch!

She got pricked about four or five times for blood — they couldn’t get an IV in, so they did a heel stick and a finger stick! Poor baby! But there was no bad infection. She’s at the doc’s office now, doing much better, breathing fairly clearly.

Mommy and daddy had a hard time seeing her so mad and afraid, those eyes pleading with us to help! So hard! So scary!

We’ve got meds and a breathing device so if this happens again, we can treat it.

September 15, 2019

I’ve not been keeping up very well. June is growing and changing so fast! She’s quite a climber! We can’t keep her off the table, or wherever she can get. She loves standing in the chairs.

But she also loves books and drawing with markers, crayons and pens. Not sure if she’s favoring her left hand, but sometimes is seems as if she is…

A breakthrough of sorts with Liana! Sadly, my cousin Bill Stewart died, and I sent Liana an email to let her know. They all loved Bill! She responded with a nice message, which is a first since the breakup… It gave me renewed hope for eventual thawing of our relationship. I’m not sure how to proceed, but I want to try to keep things opening up with her. I do miss her so!

October 30, 2019

Making a (partial) list of the words June knows or says… hard to keep up! She says chicken, hot, Da-da; she knows and sometimes complies with bath, diaper, Marvin, Mommy, ‘give it to me’, eat, highchair, ‘come see Daddy.’

December 5, 2019

June is continuing her language acquisition! She really understands most everything we say to her, and is mostly very cooperative, too!

Thanksgiving was hard. The other kids all came to the old house, but I didn’t even get to see Lucy and Li. I had a nice lunch with John and Manna and the kids and hope to see them this weekend. All this is being so hard.

And things continue to be difficult here. Marvin in out of control often, frequently unresponsive to anything. He is really pushing my buttons. That’s the basics. The emo is beyond capture here.

January 13, 2020

I often wonder at the delightful ways of this little one! At 19 months plus a week, Duney is a constant joy to me, and the closeness I feel with her is so sweet! She seems to really understand me and to enjoy being with me most of the time. Of course, I am second to Mommy, but I’m okay with that!

She is truly amazing in so many ways! Her play is very advanced, and her coordination is also. She stacked four little odd-shaped blocks one night, and she is very adept at towers with the big Lego blocks. She understands nearly everything we say to her and picks up on what’s about to happen from our conversation. She’s also very sensitive to non-verbal communication — subtle facial cues and such.

She loves playing with Marvin! They play with the trains and other toys together, and they run around the house and rough-house on the floor!

Still struggling to get moved to our new house — so stressful!

Things are also stressful on the Liana front. It seems hopeless at times! Gene is doing our sibling reunion in February, but she said she won’t be attending. It’s really so hard and painful to think she’s just never going to forgive me. I don’t think I deserve forgiveness, but I do think she will regret hating me. I have been slipping into depression lately… am trying to deal with it, but not much is working.

Lucy’s not coming to the reunion either, but at least she explained that she has a very busy weekend, working gigs, so it’s a little easier to take. It may be a difficult day.

January 19, 2020

June’s new words and expressions are so endearing and cute! She says “Love you!” so sweetly, usually in response to us. And if we ask her if she wants to do something, she says, “Yeah!” so enthusiastically and raises her eyebrows up so cutely! She only shakes her head to say ‘no.’ A lot of her communication is with expressions.

Getting closer to our move-in. Giving up on a new tub for now.

Feb 16, 2020

June is 20+ months now, so delightful but such a little stinker sometimes! She’s very active, very talkative, and says so many things — plus a lot of unintelligible sentences! (Which she seems to think we should understand!) She loves playing in our new yard and runs all around the house full speed, rough-housing with Marvin, playing with the trains and being pretty wild.

She won’t stop climbing on things that scare Daddy! And standing up in her highchair. But she’s still so sweet to me and just loves to play with me! A little problem with hitting us and throwing things at us, which we’re trying to deal with constructively.

We had the sibling reunion yesterday, so the family met Taylor, Marvin and June! Was fun and good connections! Marvin and Orion played a lot, and June and Sophia hit it off well! Everybody loved Taylor and the kids! Taylor says it was a little uncomfortable at times, but generally okay and easier than she expected.

February 21, 2020

I hope the ice is broken and we can see some of them in more intimate settings, develop family relations… I really want the kids to all be family! Speaking of, I talked to Lucy today. She’s very busy but loving it and feeling fulfilled. Nothing developing with communication with Liana… from her IG posts it seems things are okay with her… I hope so. It is hard on me, never getting to talk to her. I had really thought from the beginning that it would work out.. I just don’t really understand. And I don’t have any better ideas of what might help. I fear alienating her further if I try too hard…

Oh yes, I forgot to mention June’s lovely little songs that she sings to us now. So sweet and really tuneful. She loves it when I play guitar and sing, and she has been singing along for a while now. Just recently though, she started just singing her own little songs whenever it strikes her. Very calm, sweet little songs usually. So adorable!

I sent Liana a text and IG message on her birthday. Haven’t heard back. I do keep up with her on IG, and Lucy fills me in on her occasionally. I keep trying.

June got her bangs trimmed today — her first haircut! Taylor saved the hair in her book. Marvin is getting so big, and getting better at listening, though he still has his moments! He’s enjoying our new yard and his trike! He loved playing in the little trees I had cut today, said he was looking for Totoro in there! We’re getting the yard cleaned up and hope to get the big pecan trees trimmed soon. I worry about the limbs falling… Things gradually coming together with the house.

March 1, 2020

A sweet day with the family, though I’m so blue I can barely breathe. But I want to put down the latest June thing. She’s been the “what’s that?” girl for the several days now! Started with the picture books and expanded to virtually everything she sees. At first it was “what’s that?” about everything, but yesterday, it began to be “what’s this!” for things she’s holding or close to — and repeated over and over and over endlessly for the same things — but so endearingly that we never even get cross.

I am on the verge much of the time, barely holding it together… not sure what’s happening. Going thru changes… June was going back and forth between me and Taylor a bit ago, kissing us, so sweet and happy. I do hope she will remember, or Taylor will tell her, all the sweet days we had together. Whatever happens, I will do what I must to keep her happy, to keep all of them happy. Ah, this life!

March 20, 2020

Amidst all the craziness of this Coronavirus pandemic, I am switching to a new journal… June notes here. She’s got new words all the time, understands almost everything we say to her. “Mommie, mommie, mommie!” is her favorite! And she’s still really into the “what’s that?”!

Am really worried about Lucy and Liana, in Atlanta, all this pandemic! Talked to Lucy, no gigs for a while… hope she’s okay thru all this.

Lucy

September 14, 1985

Returned Wednesday from our trip to Ga./Fla…. was a good visit, but sure good to be home to Canary Road. Lucy was quite a hit with my family! We got to meet the four new additions to the family as well… all very cute kids!

Lucy was born here in Florence, July 29 of last year. Loves it here, as do we… life in these trees!

Will I remember… Lucy’s little squeals, imitating birds, her first symbol sounds for the animals in the book? …the murmur of her attempts to moo like the cow, quack like the duck, and saying “ffsh” — so lightly on the vowel sounds — for “fish”? I fear no construction my mind can reproduce will be so dear and wonderful as her beautiful presence. So precious to the heart of man are these growing signs of life’s light in the eyes and laughter of a child! Especially this child, this Lucy, this expression of love.

Will I remember? Will I remember the “sniff, sniff” for “flower,” and her blowing for “candle”? I’m sure Grandpa will remember her very Italian shoulder shrug with elbow in, palm inverted, eyebrow raised gesture as if to ask, “So, who knows!”

I don’t know if I’ll remember, but I know I’ll remember how much I love her…. One of life’s ironies is that children can never appreciate how much they are loved by their parents until they have children of their own. And then it’s sometimes hard to communicate that understanding… as I have tried to do with my mother. I often think of how much Lucy’s grandparents would love seeing her interest and absorption in the little tasks — like putting the little toy fish in the big green fish with a removable head…

November 8, 1985

And tonight she’s learning to drive her little car/trike around. Of course, her favorite word is “booby.” And she’s trying to play games with us. Kissing her finger after Mom clips her nails as if it hurt… Then smiling so slyly…

Lucy’s words — she knows and understands so many words now, at 15 1/2 months — hard to even list all of them. Words she says or tries to say are easier to list: penguin, hot, socks, uh-oh, bye-bye, boobies, mama, daddy, fish, more, hi-ya! — all these she’s been saying for some time now. Plus others that I forget… Last week, she said “water” and then “wow!” (with great gusto!) — and, of course, “mine.”

December 22, 1985

Lucy’s second Christmas is shaping up well — she says “Tris tree!” and is very excited, although she cried as if her heart would break when I cut it down in the woods!

February 16, 1986

My Sunday afternoons hanging out with Lucy are, for the most part, a very enjoyable time together. She has a hard time accepting that Mom is right there in the workshop but she can’t have her… Things are going pretty well, though, and we’re having fun. Today, we went up to the old cabin up the slope. Lucy climbed up the steps to the porch and said, “Round.” I couldn’t figure out what she was asking until she said, “Round, open!” Then I remembered suddenly that, last week, we went up on this porch, and when she wanted to go in the door, I had said, “I’ll go around and open the door for you.” She remembered, and that’s exactly what she wanted me to do again. She’s too much!

March 12, 1986

Another one of those events in Lucy’s progress as a child that needs to be recorded for future amazement! Tonight, she discovered how to really jump up from flat-footed! She was so pleased with herself that she kept doing it over and over, just reveling in that feeling of being able to get both feet off the ground at the same time under her own power!

She is quite a live-wire these days, running around the house and the yard, bumping and rolling and tumbling and laughing and having a ball. She is lots of fun to play with and so sweet-natured and happy most of the time. She can be a bit stubborn still and doesn’t want to be controlled. And a little mean streak, too! Her favorite book now is the Big Fire Engine Book, which she is very into. We’ve read it about four times tonight, but she keeps picking it up again and carrying it around. I guess it’s pushed Good Night Moon out of first place at last!

At times I feel that watching a child grow and change is life’s sweetest joy! Though always tinged with that little ache that is life.

June 20, 1986

Lucy can count to four! She asked for four cookies, so I said, “Hold out your hand!” and counted “one” as I put the first one in her hand. Then, as I put the second one in her hand, she said, “two.” Then as I gave her another, she said, “two, three…” and then “four” as I gave her the last one, obviously quite aware that she had what she had asked for…

She’s growing up

(This is the third installment in the series The children. See The children… intro for an introduction… These posts are all in the category The children…I think I will try alternating between journal entries on June and Marvin and entries on the others, keeping the June/Marvin entries chronological and the others more random, time wise. We’ll see how that goes!)

January 20, 2019

A busy season, not kept up here… writing with my new real fountain pen that Taylor gave me for Christmas! So smooth! So much to catch up on with Anna June’s life! She’s so close to walking and talking it’s scary… can stand w/only a little help balancing, and she takes little steps if you hold her hand. She’s also eating a little solid food, with predictable results for diaper changes… She’s a big girl now!

Her quirky personality continues to delight us and continues to add new little elements. She’s been a little sick with a cold and cough the last couple of weeks, so has a hard time sleeping. I’ve been doing a lot of walking and rocking, and she’s slept many hours on my chest or cuddled up to me. It’s so sweet!

She’s also quite a brave and rambunctious kid! At the moment, she has a big bruise on her cheek and a knot on her head from falling — usually because she tries to do too many things at once, like standing up and reaching down to pick something up. But she’s a very happy kid too! She loves to laugh and seems to know what’s funny! She laughs when I tease her and tickle her tummy, or when I snort and chase her across the floor, and she always laughs like she’s really proud of herself when she pulls up on a chair.

She’s a real explorer, too! She bears close watching, this one. Especially when she’s playing on her own, as she’s tried to go out the back door, and she loves to push any door back and forth. She knows how to push toys back and forth too, and slide or throw them across the floor! She is almost eight months old now, so I guess she’s gonna be developing even faster in the next few months. Taylor and I are enjoying her so much, trying to be aware of how quickly these precious early months go by, and not miss a moment. I’m home five days a week, mostly, other than a few meetings or games, so I’m involved, deeply, day-to-day, and loving it, loving them, my sweet, sweet family.

January 27, 2019

June has been a wild-baby-wild baby tonight! Crawling all over Granny’s house, carrying a little pink sock. Up and down the steps from den to living room and back over and over, laughing and playing with me, so sweet! She pulls up on everything and is sitting in her highchair eating bits of food and bread, which she loves. And she loves to drink water from a glass. She’s close to holding it herself, too.

Her little cooings and babbling and spitting sounds are so sweet that I hardly want her to start talking! But that will be sweet too! We all enjoy her so much! Marvin is doing better with her, though still some issues.

I’ve not yet done anything re: connecting with the kids… I guess I’m afraid. But Liana’s birthday is coming soon…!

January 30, 2019

June’s energetic little forays into the world around her are so delightful! Tonight, upstairs, she was crawling about with a little tin of sleep balm in her hand, making her little “aaargghh” sound, chewing on it, throwing it across the floor, then crawling after it and banging it and rubbing it vigorously on the floor. And intermittently looking at us, smiling with delight over her new toy! She does love to go on stroller rides around the pond and watch the chickens peck about. She loves to be outside, even just to look out the window. It usually calms her if she’s upset or crying just to look out at the chickens or whatever might be in view. She gets excited whenever the back door is opened and loves crawling around in the grass.


Still trying to figure out what to say to Liana. I don’t understand why she won’t communicate with me, so it’s hard to know how to break through. I need to start with saying how important she is to me, and how I love her and miss her so much and want to be connected… or do I need to apologize abjectly for my stupid failure to confide in her from the beginning? My fear and weakness in not just being open about it all… I guess some combination of these two approaches… I think I don’t need to say too much, which is my tendency, but I definitely need to say something.

April 7, 2019

April already and things are much the same. I discussed it all with Therese last week, and she suggested I keep trying, meditate on what to say and how to say it…

June continues to be a darling child, 10 months old in a couple of days. She loves to walk around holding my hands. She just laughs and crows when she walks. We went to the park, and she walked, with help, all over, crawled a very long crawl across the lawn. She’s almost saying words at times and loves playing with Marvin. He’s gradually learning to share, thought it’s hard. Most things are better with Marvin, though some things are worse. His defiance is really hard for me to deal with. Bedtimes and mornings are a lot better usually – though sometimes mornings are hard.

I never hear from anyone, but I guess I rarely call anyone… I guess we’re all drifting into separate lives…

May 2, 2019

Anna June is totally walking! Not yet 11 months old, she can go all over, change directions, almost go up the step. She took the first few tentative steps from chair to couch at least two weeks ago, and walked from Granny’s chair to the kitchen counter, almost 10 steps, about five days ago. She’s been getting braver every day, and yesterday walked all the way across the big room. She is so proud of herself and so cute when she walks, with her wide stance and determined attitude!

She plays with Marvin like a big kid, and they have so much fun. He’s gradually learning how to be careful of her, though he still wants to grab her and has hurt her a few times. He’s doing much better at bedtime now, going to sleep on his own after a few books. And better, usually, in the mornings. He had a great fourth birthday — four kids to play with plus Uncle Stewart! (Whom he loves and who has the same birthday!) And Kay & Jaap, plus Taylor’s friends from Cherokee, Kiwi and Sarah, who brought her six-year old daughter.

Anna June continues to be such a sweet girl, hugging us and saying HI!, waving, saying Da-da and Mommie and Nanny — we think! She seems to understand so much of what we say that we think she’ll be talking soon. Well, she is talking, just not in words that we know! And she loves to sing!

Also clearly loves music! Any time I play my guitar, she immediately zooms over and wants to play and dance! She notices music on TV and dances to it, too.

She loves drinking water or tea and can hold the glass by herself to drink. Sometimes she spills, but she is really good at holding a glass and drinking. She also loves to go outside. She asks to go out, pointing and making sounds, and loves to play in the grass. She also loves to chase the chickens and push the gate back and forth. And eat dirt.

One of the cutest things about her is the variety of little expressions she makes. Hard to describe, but she’s been doing this little quick eyebrow raise for a long time, since very early on… plus she nods and shakes her head and makes animated expressions that are so endearing. She just came over to me and climbed up into my lap and read my little red notebook, tried to put on my glasses, looked for the pen, and smacked her lips when she found my empty cup. And was just generally charming!

She continues to find sleeping on top of me or in my lap her favorite nap-time place. But I haven’t had to walk her at night for several months now. She also plays well alone. She loves to put things into containers and then take them out again. She loves to play with Marvin’s trains, cars, trucks, etc. She tries to put the train cars together like she sees Marvin doing… So many things she does in imitation of what she sees us all doing that it’s hard to describe — or remember!

Stewart was here for the party, and I talked to John and Orion on O’s birthday, but otherwise have had no communication with anyone. Will try again to talk to Lucy and some of my siblings — and still trying to find a way back in with Liana. She is, according to her IG, starting up her herbal consulting practice. Hope to talk to her about it, as I’ve been making lots of tea, tinctures, infusions and salves for the past two years. Maybe she’ll talk to me about that…

May 16, 2019

Almost a full moon…. Life goes on. I was resentful of the lack of response to my comments on Li’s post about the consulting practice. I needed to confess that. Trying to understand. Therese suggested I work on a letter, even though it may never be delivered. Working on beginning that here. Maybe and un-ID’d blog post or something…

On the Anna June front, things are great! She is so energetic and loves to play and walks so well now! She walked all the way around the garden today! A long way! Curious and investigating everything! And so sweet and charming to everyone. She does love to eat, though she has no teeth yet.

June 8, 2019

Anna June is ONE tomorrow! She’s eating blueberries by the dozen tonight, just loves them! Taylor’s friend Irina just brought them to us, so we’re all enjoying them. Stewart, Jaap and Kay are to come here for the birthday party tomorrow, so we should mark the day well! Taylor’s making another amazing cake, a vanilla-sprinkles cake, and lasagne like we had when we brought her home. We looked for buttonbush flowers and mallow today, like the ones we found on the way to the birthing center, but no luck. Maybe later.

Am working on writing something to Liana. And thinking about doing a blog for the kids… a way to make it current. Maybe start with selected bits from this journal.

June 9, 2019

Anna June’s birthday! She’s a happy girl! Slept thru the night last night! She’s a beautiful and very special child. She’s been walking for more than a month now, can almost go up and down the steps without sitting down, and she can crawl all the way to the top of the stairs – which gives me no end of worry! She can also drink from a glass and eat with a fork — which she loves to do! Her manual dexterity is unparalleled She also has excellent balance and strength and can walk backwards! She seems to understand a lot of what we say and communicates her wants very well. She points and vocalizes with clear intent. And she does have very definite wants!

But she’s usually happy and lots of fun playing with Marvin. She knows just how to play with cars and trucks and trains and all his toys, complete with the sound effects. She can put the Duplo blocks together and tries to hook the train cars and tracks together.

I so so wish my two families could be one! I think John and Manna and kids would love these two, and Lucy and Li would be a good relationship for June and Marvin to have, and ultimately would be a positive thing for all of them. I don’t know how to make that happen, but I keep hoping for a way, at least an opening in the wall. I guess it will take time. It’s been two years now since things were pretty much over, and the kids began to be aware of that, but I guess that’s not long enough for them to adjust.

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 Lucy. 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!

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 think I will keep the posts on June & Marvin, my young children, in time order and drop in posts from the past journal entries on my other children.) 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 an exploded time line…

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.