Monday, December 10, 2012

Life With Rafael Right Now

Words I can think of to describe life with Rafael right now are exhausting, funny, and affectionate. As we grow closer and get to know one another more and more, this boy becomes such a solid chunk of my existence and I can't imagine life without him. He rambles up to me multiple times a day to give me kisses or to plant his little face into my lap or chest or, if I'm standing, between my legs. He is more loving than I ever expected or hoped for!

I've always been a person who contemplates life, who constantly explores the meaning of what is going on in her life, and who weighs pros and cons again and again. But lately, days pass by so quickly, and moments are so full of responsibility and just trying my best to keep this little guy entertained, fed, clean, happy, and out of the bathroom cabinets, that I find myself incapable of doing much soul searching. Life is just action and doing at this point, without much of a chance for thinking about how I feel about what I am doing. Maybe it's a good thing...I'm not sure. I just know that it's still unfamiliar terrain for me.

Even in moments like this, sitting on the couch with a blanket draped around my shoulders, I find I can't fully relax or let my mind wander. Everything I do must have purpose; there's no room for day dreaming and deep contemplation. 

Actually that's not entirely true. When there are quiet moments on our walks in the forest....when Rafael is sitting calmly in the stroller and isn't demanding I sing to him, or stumbling along the icy path in his big snowsuit....then I look up at the lace of the naked tree branches, and the lemony winter sky, take deep breaths, and my mind wanders, and I day dream, and I even have some epiphanies or fresh ideas or answers to questions that have been plaguing my subconscious. So those walks in the cold mornings can be very fruitful and important to my well-being.

Rafael is learning at least one new word a day. He repeats so many words that we say, and is adamant about knowing what things are called, either in books or around the house. He recognizes people, his friends and family. If someone gives him a gift, he remembers, and tells me who gave him a toy when he hold it up. He gives the dogs their treats in the morning. He adores books that have little windows you can open. He hates having his teeth brushed and has four new choppers poking out of his gums. His favorite meal is basmati rice with steamed buttered broccoli and fish. He thinks bath time is awesome. And he still nurses at least once a day.

How am I doing as a mother? Oh gosh, who knows. Can any mother answer that? I have moments of intense impatience and frustration, especially when Rafael is whining while the dogs are barking, all while simultaneously tracking mud into the house. In those moments, I want to scream and disappear. But I keep cool. Sometimes I think mothers should get awards for the way they can act calm and loving, while inside they are ready to explode. 

It sounds so cheesy, but it's true: the kisses, hugs, funny faces and laughter this boy shares with me totally make up for the difficult aspects. At the end of the day, there is nothing I would rather be than his mother.



  1. So beautifully expressed, Dawn! Rafael is a beautiful child! Blessings to you!

  2. So good to read about your life, Dawn, with 1-year-old, Rafael! Your days are FULL...and at times, exhausting, but what a rich and beautiful life you have. I've always loved your magic with the words you choose to express your feelings!
    xxxJudy in CA

  3. Wow, I Love reading your writing, it's so clear and visual...makes me feel like I partake in your life and my grandson's every day growing. How funny that exactly the challenges you describe I wasn't able to take as well as you do and a lot of upheaval and hurt came from not feeling at home or grounded or secure in any so happy to know that that one aspect is different for you, so that you stand a chance to break old family patterns, and both get what you need. Mother and son. How cool. I'm watching with great joy the amazing job you do being a mother and taking care of yourself and your husband and the dogs and friends and community and all of us here on your blog.
    Champion! Golden...

  4. Yes, beautifully expressed! I echo Nellie, Judy and Julia.

    My children are adults (26, 28 and 30) but your words bring back so many memories. It's so true that time to think and contemplate go out the window when children are needing us. I love that your walks bring a fresh look at things, and a time to reflect. I recall that taking a walk with the little ones was a lovely time for me too, at least while they were tiny.

    You are a natural born Mom -- and as you go along, you will find your way through each stage. Remember to take your cares to the One who cares so very much for you.

    God bless, Susan in Zurich

  5. you write feelings so beautifully dawn. may your stories always be so touching, simple, rich and full of spirit, because your life is. god bless.

  6. So enjoyed reading this, Dawn. It's beautifully written. I don't have children (just dogs who can at times make life a bit complicated), but I know what you are expressing - both the joy and the stress - is felt by mothers the world over. Rafael is an adorable little boy and I appreciate you sharing your story.

  7. beautiful post. beautiful blog. thanks for the link! so fun to see that little sweater on him!

  8. Dawn,

    Buy yourself a stack of 3 x 5 index cards and write the names of everything in the house on them. Tape them to the item, he will learn to read that way. We did that with my son. Give him Suzuki cello or violin lessons. It was the best thing we ever did. We had a Japanese cellist teach our son to play the cello. He had been taught by Dr. Suzuki. Our son started lesson at the age of 3 with a 1/10 size cello. He took lessons for 15 years. He won a full-scholarship to college and is now applying to Medical School. Children are like little sponges...don't waste a minute to teach him to read and count.

  9. Stumbled upon your blog while lying in bed waiting for the Nyquil to kick in. What a lovely child, Rafael. You took me straight back to what I call the busy years. Oh, what fun. Oh, what exhaustion. Nothing compares to the job of motherhood. It leaves you breathless, ridiculously happy, unspeakably tired, and all at the same time.

    Squeeze every ounce of goodness out of the years that you can. They will pass all too soon.

    Kind regards,



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