Friday, December 12, 2008

Mama, Do You Believe Santa is REAL?

Of course I do! This time of year has been magical and special to all people everywhere for thousands of years. People all over the world celebrate this magical time, but it looks different everywhere. There are lots of versions Santa Claus -- the idea of him is changing all the time. The name Santa Claus didn't even exist until Grandpa was a little boy! The magic of this time of year has long been impersonated by Father Winter, St. Nicholas, Father Christmas, and before that his name was Thor or Odin or Saturn, back when people celebrated the return of the Sun. People call this special time Solstice, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, Hanukkah, Saint Lucia Day, Omisoka, Eid, Fiesta of our Lady of Guadalupe, and lots more, just depending on where you live in the world. There's something very special about this time of year and it doesn't matter what you call it, or what it looks like, what matters is that you believe in it. It's your believing that makes it real.
"But is there really a Santa Claus?"
You know how some people believe that God looks like a person and lives in a place called Heaven and controls everything on the earth? You know how they believe that if you're good then God will reward you, and if you're not then God will punish you? Well, that's how some people believe about Santa too -- that he's a sort of person who lives at the North Pole and controls Christmas. They believe that he only brings gifts to children he approves of, and children who write him letters and all that.
And you know how mummy believes that God is inside all of us? That everything is sacred, and we are all perfect and loveable and the Great Mother takes care of us because we take care of her -- how every living thing is the Great Mother and how we all have to take care of each other in order for the magic of life to continue? Well, that's what mummy believes about Santa too. I believe there are lots of words for Santa: kindness, love, thoughtfulness, peace, joy, even God and Goddess. I believe that Santa is inside all of us, and that we all have to find ways to take care of each other and make each other feel special, and help each others' dreams come true in order for the magic of Christmas to continue.
"Zara said it's just mums and dads that do presents and it's not magic at all."
Then that's what's real for Zara. In order for ANYTHING to be real, you have to believe in it. Nobody's right and nobody's wrong for what they believe in. The only way to make things real is by believing in them. Remember the Velveteen Rabbit? And nobody can make what you believe in not real. It's maybe not real for them, but that can't make it not real for you, unless you decide to stop believing. I don't believe in the idea of the God that lots of people believe in, but that doesn't make it not real for them. And they don't believe in the Great Mother idea that I believe in, but that will never make it not real for me. So you get to decide what YOU believe in, sweet girl, and then it doesn't matter who agrees or disagrees with you. And besides, mums and dads ARE Santa, just like sisters and brothers and grandmas and grandpas and friends and neighbours and cousins and ... We're ALL Santa, sweet girl, and we're ALL magic. Remember how your friends saw how much you liked a bow and arrow and so they secretly got busy and made you a very special one of your very own? That's the magic of Christmas.
"But that wasn't Christmas, mumma."
No, that didn't happen in December, but that was still what this is all about. Just like you have a birthday on a certain day, but that doesn't mean you're not special the rest of the year too. Your birthday is just a certain day that we set aside to really focus on you and make sure you feel extra special, and to celebrate the beginning of you. Christmas time, or Solstice, or whatever you want to call it is the same -- the spirit of it exists all year long, it's just that lots of people agree that this is the time of year when we will celebrate its very existence in an extra special way.
"So do you believe in a Santa? Do you believe Santa's an elf? "
Do I believe in a man who comes down your chimney and gives you presents? No, I don't. But do I believe there's extra magic on Christmas Eve and that that extra magic is everywhere, including coming down the chimney and in your stockings and everywhere? Absolutely! With so many people around the world believing and putting out stockings or shoes or baskets or whatever they do, we make that magic extra real on that night. I like setting out our stockings and putting out food for the reindeer and a cookie for Santa. I love singing songs at this time of year that lots of people know. I love reading fun stories and having this time of year be extra special. I believe in it because it's fun and because I want to. And because I absolutely believe in magic with all my heart.

"So why don't some people believe in magic or Santa or fairies?"
Honey, I don't know why people believe what they believe. And I sure don't want to tell you what to believe. I want you to discover the magic of your own beliefs and feelings and wonderments. We can only know what's real for us -- like me believing that the cedar trees tell me if they don't want me cutting their branches -- that's as real as real can be for me. Just yesterday I asked one big tree and I knew in my heart that she didn't want me cutting her branches. I don't know if it's because she's had too many cut by other people this year, or what. It doesn't matter. I don't have to understand it. And probably most people would tell me that they don't believe in that -- that trees can't communicate with us, but that doesn't mean what I believe isn't real. There are lots and lots of things that we will never understand in this world. That's what I call magic. You know how you feel when the snowflakes are falling and the sound and feel and smell that makes you tingle all over? Nobody can ever completely understand what that is about. But that doesn't mean it's not real. And I'll tell you one thing, people might think they don't believe in magic or Santa or fairies, but they probably just call those things some other name. There aren't very many people in this world who don't believe in the unexplainable beauty of birth and love and how it makes them feel when someone's extra kind to them. They just might not have the same words as we do. And that's okay. Nobody's right and nobody's wrong when it comes to their beliefs in magic.
This is just exactly why I gave you that necklace for your birthday, to remind you that YOU are magic. We all are, of course, but you inspire me every day in the magical ways of kindness and thoughtfulness and love. If someone wanted to believe that one person was Santa, they could sure believe it's you. I'm always amazed at how thoughtful you are, how you're always thinking of ways to make people feel special. I love how you want to make things for people, watching them carefully, thinking extra deeply about them, discovering what it is that would bring them extra joy... I believe in santa magic, my love, because I believe in YOU.

Monday, November 03, 2008

As Promised... that magical night revisited

My birth actually started on the Friday night when I was surprised with a blessingway from my friends. I was surrounded by goddesses, hands on my belly, down in the heart of the cedar grove by the creek, each of my dear friends blessing my baby, myself and my birth. It was one of the most deeply spiritual experiences I've ever had. I have never felt that much power and love around me and I knew I was experiencing a ritual of the ancients who knew the power of tribe, of sisterhood, and of tapping into the pulse of the Great Mother. As we joined ourselves with one long piece of wool I knew that I would have the most powerful birth of my life. My sweet friends filled my soul and decorated my belly with their love...

Saturday my little family went to the lake and spent the night. Swimming in the cool water I could feel the little spirit within me preparing me for a wonderful birth. I dreamt that night of this little being emerging into the lake as I swam. Thankfully, she didn't ;o)
Sunday we had a scare with Pedar -- a terribly scarey fever and ferocious vomiting. It was the perfect reminder of how tenuous everything in this life is -- and how precious it is. Sunday night my wonderful aunt arrived and I knew things would happen soon...
Monday night I fell asleep early and was dreaming that I was birthing without knowing I was birthing and was wondering how I would know to wake up when the baby was born. Then I woke up with a powerful contraction and knew instantly that things were starting. I rode the waves of the contractions for a half hour and then got up to email my friends to light their candles and cut the strings around their wrists (in case any of them were still awake). I read my friend Tabitha's birth story and watched a birth video she'd sent me of a powerful birth of one of her friends'. Then I went outside. There were so many stars and they were pulsing so strongly I felt I was in a dream. A memory of being in the bottom of the grand canyon with my family on a river rafting trip came to me and I remembered hearing my mother's laugh echo against the canyon walls. I closed my eyes and felt myself riding on the rapids of that powerful river as I rode through several more contractions. I could feel the power of the stars surging into my body as I stood under them. I went for a walk, then, and my sweet dog kept close by my side, rubbing her head into my hand as I moaned and leaned against the trees with each strengthening surge. The power of the trees felt like my sisters' hands again on my belly, pouring love and blessings into me. I've never felt the life force of my beloved trees as I did that night. An image came to me of Dina in "The Red Tent" in labour, looking into the eyes of the women around her and knowing that she could do this because of the love and strength in their eyes. That's how I felt looking up at the trees above me -- like I was surrounded by a powerful sisterhood. And it reminded me of the women in my tribe surrounding me at my blessingway -- of looking into their eyes and seeing the love and strength pouring into me...
I hung balloons at the top of the driveway for the midwife and her attendant and came back down slowly, stopping and moaning up to the stars through the trees with each surge. I laid on the bed outside and discovered the fingernail moon peeking at me through the oak tree and felt her moan with me and pour down her magic into me as I moaned up to her. Now in the moon shadows I realized that my contractions were getting very close together and I wondered if I should let anyone know what was happening! I went to get Brent's watch to time my surges, and he woke up as I reached for it. His eyes flew open and he said "what's happening?" I said "I'm in labour, but I'm doing fine and I'll come get you when I need you." He said "OK" and closed his eyes again. But minutes later I could hear him in the bathroom listening to me work through my surges. Somehow that quickened me and with the surges only 3 minutes apart I called the midwife and I called Andrea to come be with the kids. I'd tested positive for Group B Strep, so my midwife asked me on the phone if I wanted to take the antibiotics. I told her I felt healthy and strong and my water hadn't broken so I would not need them. She agreed and said she'd come right over.
I worked through a few more contractions and at 3:30 I went downstairs and started the bath. The midwife arrived just as I was getting into the tub and with all the candles lit, the warm water and my little pregnant goddess statue with me, my contractions slowed down. I felt SO joyful, so ready, so powerful! Brent's eyes were shining and I could feel that he was finally ready to be a daddy to three! His eyes are so expressive and that night I could feel love and faith in them every time he looked at me. The surges resumed and at 4:15 I could tell that things were going to start to get more intense so I asked Andrea and Brent to wake A&P. They came down, their eyes shining with excitement and sat with us in the bathroom as I worked through the next few surges. My aunt had woken up too and we were all there together in the bathroom. It was wonderful having everyone there with me with the powerful birthing energy filling up the little room. A & P were well prepared -- we'd watched some birth videos, we'd looked at the very graphic photos of A's birth, we'd practiced what the sounds were going to be like and read several wonderful children's books about homebirth. They weren't worried at all.
After awhile I felt I needed to work harder and so I asked everyone to leave the room, except Brent. Andrea took A&P into the room next to the bathroom and read stories to them. They listened for my contractions and when I moaned through each surge they stopped reading and held out their hands and sent me opening up energy through their hands (bless!) At one point it occurred to me that my moaning might be scaring them, but I knew they were with Andrea and that she had complete faith in the process and so I was able to completely let that fear go and do what I needed to do. What a gift! The surges were intense and so powerful and I found it easiest labouring on my side in the water.

The midwife asked if she could check me so she'd know when to call her attendant and I said she could as long as she didn't tell me how dilated I was. When the attendant arrived I saw her out of the corner of my eye and thought she was Brent's mum! I was so startled I missed a contraction!! We had a good laugh about that later!
Soon I was pushing and it felt soooooooo good to push. I was pushing because my body couldn't do anything but push and it was such a primal, deep, amazing feeling. In my previous two births my midwives had told me when to push and I wasn't as in touch with the feeling as I was this time. Each push felt like a deep primal earthy orgasm. It was so amazing. I felt the head crown and told Brent to hurry A&P back in and everyone rushed in. It was harder than I'd remembered to push the head out and I learned later that that was because the water sac was still intact! The midwife broke the sac when she checked for the cord, which was around the neck. She told me to push again and I was waiting for another contraction. She told me to push with a sound of urgency and then asked her attendant for her "instrument tray" and so I pushed with all my might (I thought she was going to cut me!) and out came my little baby. She lifted her up and then had to pull her back down to loop her through the cord and up onto my chest came my squidgy tiny baby. Her eyes were wide open and she looked right at A&P. She cried a little and we were all just in awe of her. Diane (attendant) put a towel over her and said something like "we don't want him to get cold" so I thought she was a HE! I was surprised! Then a few minutes of oohing and awwing later, Sylvia (midwife) asked if we wanted to check to see if it was a boy or girl and A checked and wasn't sure! All she could see was a bum. Sylvia told her it was a little sister so A announced her name. She would have been Hans Michael had she been a boy. Brent took our wee girl onto his chest so I could get out of the tub and she cried. A got very protective and told the midwife that her little sister did not like being moved around. Bless! We were all in bed upstairs within minutes and oh! What a beautiful feeling to know that our sweet little family was complete.

The sweetest girl

I never seem to remember from baby to baby just how powerful the love bond is between a mother and her new baby... This little angel is just the sweetest thing there's ever been. She's as quiet and gentle as a little fawn, so alert and strong and connected to her mama. She loves the sling sometimes, and can't be convinced when she doesn't... She loves to sit in her bouncy chair and coo to her big brother and sister. She loves to talk and her laughter is so contagious that we've been known to fall off our chairs from the pure joy of her...
She communicates so effectively and she really never cries.
She lets me know just what she needs when she needs it and is the squidgiest, sweetest smelling little pixie...
Her smile lights up the whole room and truly there's never been a more loved baby. Her big sister and big brother worship her and she adores them right back. Just look at her after-bath-cupie hair!
She loves her daddy too. But she's mama's little girl. Nothing makes her happier than the sight of my face over her. Her whole body smiles with joy. I'd forgotten what that does to the insides of a mama... Such.sweet.sweet.bliss...

All Hallow's Eve

This is us at our neighbour's door (H not so sure!)
A was "herself" (a witch) and P was a dragon
our neighbours took this one and it's the only picture we have of me. I was a witch at our Samhain party, but I didn't get any photos. Sorry! H was the cutest little bunny evah!
A and I made these cute little treat bags out of paper mache and pipe cleaners. They were totally A's idea. They turned out so cute!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sunday, August 03, 2008


My life overflows with joy and love and happiness...
H is a sweet, happy, content, healthy baby. It's already hard to imagine our family without her! It was absolute love at first sight and I can hardly take my eyes off her.

A and P are delighted with the birth and their wee sister and seem so balanced and absolutely in love with her and each other and everything in their world. This is a pretty magical, potent time in our lives! It's total bliss having daddy home these sweet sweet days! And while it's a bit of a challenge to have any time bonding together, we're trying to make sure he gets lots of time holding and bonding with his newest daughter too. He adores her!!
The weather couldn't be more ideal just now, the flowers are all in bloom and the tomatoes are ripening! Life doesn't get any better than this...
p.s. The birth was absolutely amazing and I've promised several people I'd post about it and I will... As time permits... Until then, here's a lovely glimpse.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Supper fixin's

We're eating almost soley from the garden now. We picked and ate the last of the strawberries today as well as the last (likely) of the peas and the strawberry spinach. The first beans are coming on and we're eating our beets, kale, garlic, radishes, celery, kohlrabi, cucumbers and loads of raspberries. The salad greens are fading and getting bitter except for the Drunken Woman lettuce -- must plant more of that again soon. We're eating about 3 cups of basil every day in the form of pesto (YUM!) -- pesto pasta, pesto on toast, pesto by the fork-full, pesto in sandwiches... I did manage to freeze a few blocks of it today for those yummy soups in the winter... I haven't had much luck with sweetpeas since we moved here, so this year I planted loads of seeds in 3 different locations. WELL! We have several enormous bouquets ready to pick every single day! What a blessing a garden is! How do people live without one?!

Full Term

Any day now...
I'm manifesting a peaceful, gentle, quick birth. I want my children to be there and witness the absolute miracle of such a birth. I want them to know that birth isn't scarey but is a natural, beautiful part of a natural, beautiful life. I see myself walking a lot during labour, or resting peacefully on the bed, whichever feels right at the time. I hear myself moaning at the moon or the sun or the clouds or whatever the sky may hold... I see myself lying in a warm tub of water just when the contractions get too strong and then my baby gently slipping into our lives and hearts forever...

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Annika special ceremony

Babies grow up so fast. At five they're nothing like the baby you carried around endlessly, but they still have the emotional outbursts of a toddler, still walking the thin line between baby and child. But something happens at six. Annika has come through an enormous passage the last few months -- taking on so many more responsibilities, managing her emotions in a new way, just growing up tremendously. She's no longer a baby, she's a mature child, she's entered true girlhood. We wanted to mark the occasion in a special way, with ritual and celebration. We chose the summer solstice for our celebration, a traditional time of letting go -- of the sun's long rays, of the lengthening days, of moving forward and embracing what IS. Just as the sun was sinking in the sky, we made a ceremonial journey down to our sacred cedars for our own letting-go ceremony.
We hung this "veil" in the cedars and on one side we said good-bye to our "baby girl" reminding her of how she was as a baby, remembering all the things we loved about her as a baby. She had dressed very special for the occasion, wearing her favourite white cotton dress, but there were too many bugs/mosquitoes. I made her daisy crown from the wild daisies in our fields. She put her goddess necklace on herself and I think she really "got" what this was all about even more deeply than the rest of us, perhaps. I didn't expect to feel quite so emotional as I did, letting go of my little girl being a baby, but I cried openly! Then we wiped our tears and went to the other side of the veil and she walked through to our cheers and happy welcomes to her as a girl-child. I gave her a little piano music box (it plays "It's a Small World") that I'd received from my parents when I was little. She LOVED the whole ceremony. We hugged her and talked about what we were seeing in her that made such a ceremony important. She added to what we had seen and was beaming.
Afterwards we had our bonfire to celebrate the sun, sang our good-bye songs to the sun and had a wonderful feast and party. I love this picture of little Pedar listening to his big sister. Their growing, beautiful relationship is one of the things we were celebrating -- as she's matured they've fallen into a wonderful rhythm of playing and learning together. I can't describe how amazing it is, but I feel like this photo kind of captures it.
Annika wanted to cook her own marshmallow for the first time ALL by herself. This was her idea (as most things are in her life these days) and she was so proud of the results...
I can't believe it's been 6 1/2 years since I became a mother. I can't believe how beautiful my firstborn child is -- she has a gentle presence, a kindness, a thoughtfulness that can't be taught. She cares deeply about all things and is intense in a way that shakes the earth sometimes, and she is always thinking of ways to share herself, to help others lives be easier, to develop herself in new ways. I feel so blessed to be this little girl's mother. Humbled and inspired.
***Is she perfect? Absolutely not. Was the party perfect? Nope. Is anything ever perfect? Nope. I'd just picked a big basket of strawberries to eat with the daffodil cake I'd made for the occasion. I'd cut some in half and circled the top of the cake with them twice (so pretty) and gone back to the garden to pick more to eat alongside. I heard Annika shriek and looked up to see the cake had been half eaten by one very satisfied but guilty dog! At least she didn't pull the cake off the table, but had eaten as much as she could eat from the ground! I was pretty distraught, but my daughter reminded me of what dogs can really understand and so we had a good laugh about it all. We cut off the part that Kenai had marred (nearly half) and ate the rest. It was delicious! And we really only needed half a cake -- she was 6 1/2 afterall! Kenai figured that out before we did :o)