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2009 – What a Difference a Year Makes

I hate to get all sentimental about it, but 2009 was a big year for me. Half of it was spent anticipating my first baby’s arrival and the other half learning what to do with him once he got here. Last New Years Eve I was at Bimbo’s swing dancing with my man and wishing I could partake in the champagne toast and this New Years I’ll probably be in bed by 10 pm praying that the fireworks don’t wake up my Little Man.

I am so grateful to be past the newborn stage. At six months, he is delightful – alert, curious, interactive, a roly-poly guy on the go – but there are things I already miss about his early months. Though at times if felt like I was inching through a heavy fog with only a dim light to reveal the next few feet in front of me, there was something so special and set apart about the beginning of his life from anything else I’ve experienced.

Time seemed to stop when he was born. In “A Circle of Quiet“, Madeleine L’Engle talks about the two words in the Greek language for time, “chronos” and “kairos”. When I went into labor, chronological time stopped and when they placed him on my chest, kairos started, that immeasurable kind of time that children get into when they’re deeply engrossed in play or how I get when I’m painting. Hours fly by like minutes. L’Engle says “in kairos, we are, we are fully in isness.”

Those first days and weeks when my husband and I were home together with this new, magical little being and we’d sit and stare in awe, the world ceased to exist, we were in kairos and we just were. And no one expected anything else of us. There will never be such a time again. Once we returned to work and the demands of regular life, we were thrust back into unrelenting chronos, always struggling to keep up.

Great things came with the passing of time, too, like longer stretches of sleep, glorious giggles, and the incredible joy of our baby’s recognition that we are his biggest fans and he ours. So, as I find myself looking forward to the changes to come in 2010 – his first steps, words, etc., – I know I will look back and miss some things about him at six months. Like taking naps together, with him on my chest. I remember when his tiny body could fit curled up between by breastbone and my bellybutton, and now already his head rests on my shoulder and his feet are on my thighs. These naps will be over soon and I will miss them.

I’ll miss his impossibly soft skin and how he likes me to run my fingers over his smooth cheeks and chin and forehead as he’s drifting off to sleep. I’ll miss the chubby rolls of his thighs and neck and especially the ones on his wrists that seem tied off like a balloon making his forearms plump up like Popeye’s. Surprisingly, I’ll miss breastfeeding. That was something I didn’t know I would enjoy so much; it always seemed so foreign and animal to me. Now it is my favorite time with him. Curled up against me, my body nourishing his, we are in kairos. There is nothing else but us, and nowhere else I’d rather be.

Happy New Year! May you have many moments of kairos in 2010 just enjoying your isness wherever you are.

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Musings by Mother Mary

If I could read the blog of anyone who came before this age of mom blogs, it would be Mary’s. Jesus’ mama could provide important answers and insights from some sorely missing chunks of our savior’s life.

I made the painting above years ago when I realized that all the representations of baby Jesus in famous paintings usually show a disturbingly adult head on a baby’s body, his hands throwing some mysterious medieval gang sign, like the one below (to see more scary baby Jesus pics from history, check out this site):

But he’s never shown crying. If he was as human as he was divine, didn’t he cry? Didn’t he keep Mary up all hours of the night in the beginning? Now that I have a baby of my own, this Christmas season I’ve been more curious than ever about the details of Jesus’ birth and childhood and how Mary handled it. Did he sometimes pee all over her when she went to change his swaddling? Did she ever take his name in vain when the mailman rang the doorbell and woke him up from his nap?

Since I won’t know the answers to my burning questions until I get to hang with Mary face to face, I imagined what some of her tweets from those days might look like:

-Took  forever for us to get to Bethlehem. Had to pull the donkey over like every two minutes so I could pee!

-I could kill Joseph for not making a reservation!! I told him it would be packed. I swear, if you want something done right…

-Hay and manure were not in my birth plan.

-Jesus is here! 8lb 6 oz, 20 inches. He’s perfect!!

-If these guys are so wise, why didn’t they bring us something useful like diapers or a miracle blanket? Ever heard of a Bjorn?

-Fleeing to Egypt totally screwed up Jesus’ sleep schedule. Sometimes I wonder if travel is even worth it anymore.

Later in life:

-That stinker Jesus changed his water to grape juice again just to make his younger brother jealous. Such a showoff.

-Jesus has been on a hunger strike for 10 days now. How long can he possibly go on? Teenagers!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Remember the reason for the season and send me your take on how Mary was dealing with her firstborn son. I’m sure she was much more mature than most knocked-up fourteen year olds, but even if Jesus was perfect it had to be hard.

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Up, Up and Away

Here is a nursery mural I did last month for a baby boy due around Christmas. I just got pictures of the room with all the furniture in place.  It turned out so great, a perfect room for one lucky little boy.

And here is a rocket ship growth chart I also painted for the room:

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A Tree Grows in Tiburon

Last weekend I had the opportunity to paint a wall in a gorgeous ranch style house in Tiburon. The design was a long time in the making, starting with my client’s desire for a beautiful cherry blossom tree. We worked together to get just the right tree to fit the funky space in the living room and the minimal oh so mod feel of the house. And I think we got it right (with a little help from the awe-inspiring Fromental).