Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Goodnight, Charleston

Tomorrow morning we have a re-inspection on our home, and then we head to our doctor for yet another physical for our adoption, (since we are moving we have to re-do most of our home study. ugh.) tomorrow night our neighbors are throwing us a little going away pot luck, on Thursday the movers come to pack us up, and on Friday we leave Charleston and move to our new home in Raleigh. Whew.

This morning I woke up to a deluge of rain and a mile long to-do list.  Fredrik is in New York and has been gone since last Friday. He dropped in briefly on Sunday evening long enough to let me make a Target run and to repack his suitcase, but I'm not sure if you can really count that as being home since he was gone again before any of us were awake the next day. 

Kysa and I spent the morning in our pj's snuggling as the rain continued to pour and pour, thanks to Hurricane Isaac. Given our tight timeline for the next few days, I tried to ignore the voice inside me who was starting to freak out that Fredrik wasn't going to make his flight home. Over the next few hours the to do list taunted me, the chaos wasn't organizing itself, and I may have sent Fredrik a few (ok, many) texts alerting him to the flooding going on here. People were kayaking in the streets of downtown Charleston, so I wasn't just being a Nervous Nelly, it was getting pretty serious. The evening news called it "historic" flooding.

Flights have been cancelled for a lot less than floods and rain, and I don't get stressed out too often, but the voice of my anxiety grew louder and louder. If Fredrik didn't get home tonight, not only would we not be able to get ready for the movers, but he'd miss the doctor's appointment which we need desperately for our home study to be completed....

Had I let that voice of anxiety really let loose (and I almost did) I would have missed out on what a gift today actually was. Instead of packing boxes, I snuggled with Kysa. Instead of organizing our linens I rocked her and read her stories. Instead of running to the bank I stayed put and danced in the kitchen and sang silly songs. Today was my last day at home, in our first home, with Kysa...and I almost missed it by freaking out about things I can't control.

Tonight when Kysa and I sat down for dinner I was beginning to feel another wave of anxiety over how little I'd accomplished today.  I made rice and beans, by the way, which is what you cook for dinner after you've cleaned out your pantry, and your fridge, and the pizza guys won't deliver because there's flooding. At some point it dawned on me that this was our last dinner at our dinner table in our little Ashe St house, and suddenly those rice and beans became very poignant.  So simple and basic, so hearty and satisfying....home food.

And so I completely surrendered the day to being Kysa's mom.  There is still chaos to organize, a kitchen to clean, bags to pack.  But I spent the day with Kysa, and I was able to be present in the last few hours we'd get to spend together in our house, just us, mother and daughter.  I am so grateful for today.

Kysa and I took one last bath together in our little claw foot tub, and I rocked her in her little green room, and read the book Goodnight, Charleston one last time in our little Charleston home.


For Kysa, my little guru,
Someday this house you sleep in tonight will fade from your memory. You won't remember all the little details that made this house so perfect for our little family, like it being energy efficient or the open floor plan, or the owls and woodland creatures I stuck on your walls. 

I have moved around a lot, so I can tell you everywhere you live (and travel!) makes an imprint and informs who you become. You probably will not remember living in Charleston, but these two years have made an imprint on the person you are and who you will be...and you're becoming the most incredible little person, my love.  Just like the Blue Ridge Mountains imprinted on my childhood, places I've lived like Raleigh, Charlottesville, Istanbul, New York City, and Charleston have helped me become an artist, a friend, a woman, a wife and now a mother.  All these places, and the wonderful people I met along the way have helped shape who I am today.  I can't wait to find out all the places we'll live and travel together, and all the places you'll choose to call home too!

Kysa, this blog is as much for you as it is for your brother, and someday when you read this I want you to know how important these three years have been at 49 Ashe St for me, your mom.  When a mother gives birth to a baby a miraculous thing occurs...a mother is born too!  Becoming your mother has changed and empowered me in ways I never knew possible. You have taught me some of life's most valuable lessons.

Because of you, I know how to truly listen with my whole being. I've learned how to put someone else's needs before my own. I've learned I'm stronger and more capable than I could have imagined, but I'm also more vulnerable than I'd like to admit. I also learned I'm a fierce mama bear. One of the many mama bear examples; without meaning to, I shoved your papa out of the way to get to you when you took a slow-mo tumble down the stairs a few weeks ago. Yep, I did. Sorry, Fredrik. I've learned all these lessons here in our little house on Ashe Street, with you as my teacher.

I know you won't remember bedtime in this house, and that makes me so very sad, because it is my favorite (though sometimes exhausting) time with you. So I want to tell you exactly what happens because I think it's really special.

After your papa gives you a bath, you climb in my lap and we read at least 3 books. Then I turn off the light and you snuggle down into my arms.  When your papa is traveling we always ask God/Goddess/the Universe/Mother Earth (we like to change it up) for his safe return and we always send your baby brother some love and light in Africa. When your papa is home he always comes in to kiss you goodnight and you say together in Swedish, "Compassion for the world, and all who live there." Then we rock and rock until you whisper, "sing mama."

I sing to you in sanskrit a medley of Lokah Samastah, the guru mantra, Rama Bolo, and Sri Krishna Govinda.  Rama Bolo is your current favorite mantra, but your favorite part is when I sing Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti-hi Hare Om. You know all the words to all the mantras, by the way. 

Once I begin to feel you drifting off I say to you these words:

"You are kind. You are brave. You are smart. You are beautiful. You are special, and I love you".
Recently you've been saying back to me, "I think you're special too, Mama." It makes me cry and my heart beam every time. And then I rock you until you are heavy with sleep, sometimes I just hold you and watch you sleep for a while because you are so beautiful and peaceful, and then I tuck you into your bed and give you one last kiss.

I wish I could have bottled up just one of our precious good nights here at 49 Ashe to take with me ...but that's silly of course, each night is now a part of me and who I am.  Our good nights are tucked away in my cells and muscle memory, flowing with my blood and compounded deep into my bones...just as they are in yours.  We will carry them with us always.

I promise we will always read and rock and sing for as long as you will let me. 

Goodnight, Charleston and Goodnight, Kysa.
I love you.

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