Posts Tagged With: celebration

October gratitude

As I look back on October, it was chock full, and I have much to be grateful for.

While this may not be what I’m most grateful for, I can assure I am most excited about it.
My Washington Nationals winning the World Series!
Those seven games were something to behold! Winning four away games, losing three home games. We laughed. We cried. We were ready to admit defeat. We literally jumped for joy when we won game seven! This post season was some of my most emotional baseball, but every moment was worth it!
My baseball bae (third baseman Anthony Rendon) and side bae (first baseman Ryan Zimmerman) celebrating the end of game seven.

Photograph: John G Mabanglo/EPA

I’m also super grateful for these things:

my acupuncturist
popcorn and coke with YBW at the double feature of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and Jay and Silent Bob Reboot
Bobby Flay’s new cookbook
teaching and learning with kindergartners, second, fourth, and fifth graders
celebrating our anniversary (4 years married, 10 years together)
whiskey cocktails at the distillery with Holly
my favorite bookshop, Bards Alley
breakfast with Nora
a visit to Naked Mountain

HGTV’s Rock the Block
going to the movies by myself on a Friday morning
Thing 1, Thing 2, and Baby K here!
cocktails
weird weather
Baby K’s giggle
Halloween as the Mystery Gang

(Thing 1 as Velma, YBW as Freddie, Baby K (in the wagon) as Scooby Doo, Thing 2 as Shaggy, and me as Daphne)
good talks with my girls
celebrating Meredith’s ninth birthday
truly wonderful friends and neighbors
Baby K still smiles when I say, “Birdie loves you, girl!”

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I DID IT!!

I did it!

My paper passed with flying colors on Tuesday afternoon! Shortly thereafter, I submitted my final project.
I finally stopped checking to see if it passed yesterday when I received that text from my adviser!

My first term started April 2009.
My last term started April 2019.
It took me ten years to finish this degree plan.
Ten of the roughest, yet most wonderful years of my life.

I couldn’t have done it without the love and support of my family!
Thing 1 and Thing 2 were my cheerleaders. Supportive when I was down and didn’t think I’d ever finish, celebrating when I was successful. This last term, they were almost as invested in these courses as I was.
As much as I did it for myself, I did it for them.

When I shared the news with Thing 1, her pride and joy were reflected in her voice. That did my momma heart good! My girl is proud of me! I’m so grateful for that!

I didn’t get to talk with Thing 2, but she texted me:

YBW was on his way home from work when I called him.
“Hi baby!” he said.
“I DID IT!”
His pride and joy were enormous!
How did I want to celebrate?
I said, “I just want to hug you!”

To be perfectly honest, I expected to feel relieved to no longer have the albatross ’round my neck.
I was in no way prepared to experience the range and intensity of my feels!
I had no idea how aware I would feel of the years of hard work.
I didn’t realize how proud I would feel.
I was (and remain) unbelievably aware of my gratitude.

I did it!
But I didn’t do it by myself, y’all.
My precious husband has loved and supported me through this process.
His gentle encouragement. His assistance to help me through the dreaded math courses.
His kindness when I wanted to give up, but couldn’t let myself.
I could never have done this without him.
He loved and encouraged me. Cheered my successes. Asked the difficult questions when I needed to hear them.

He was the first one to use the phrase ‘college graduate’.
All the feels!

I knew I couldn’t decide on a place to celebrate with dinner, so I chose to celebrate with cocktails!

Just YBW and me, quietly toasting the pay off of my hard work.

I am chock full of love and gratitude.
My cup truly runneth over!

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nine days – the countdown to Baby K


OHMYGOD!!

This little nugget of adorable will be here in NINE DAYS!
AND, she’s bringing her mommy and daddy with her!
I’m so happy, I swear I might burst!!

Birdie and Baby K back together again!
SQUEEEEEEEE!

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I’m doing it!

I’ve been completely immersed in coursework. Reading, writing, and creating (more complicated than necessary) annotated bibliographies.
I passed the first of five courses in April. I’m four-fifths of the way to passing the second course. I’m fourteen-twentieths of the way through passing the third course.
The fifth and final task for the second course is that I must write an essay about how the books I read for this course impacted my personal education philosophies.
I’m over here like:

The fifteenth through twentieth portion of the third task is the last five annotated bibliographies. I’ve got all the prep work done, just need to plug summarized information into the template.

I already have a huge portion of my thesis compiled, so writing that paper will be simpler than some. That’s the fourth task.
The final task is creating a power point presentation that summarizes the thesis paper. (Waste of time, much?)

The girls, Husband N, Baby K, and Jessica are coming the third week of July for the party to celebrate Baby K. Thing 1, Husband N, and Baby K will be here for a bit over two weeks, and we’ve already started talking about how Husband N might go home, and Thing 1 and Baby K might stay here a bit longer and I’d take them home later in August. I’m not sure how long Thing 2 will be here. Jessica will be here for five days.
We’ll have a houseful! But I’m excited!!

My plan is to finish course two and three in the next week or ten days so I’ve got nothing pressing as I get ready for them to be here, and while they’re here I can simply enjoy being together.

I’ve worked so hard the last two weeks I can hardly believe it!
I’m taking breaks enough to go to the farmers market and day drink with Holly on Thursdays. Yesterday I finally had enough and decided to brave the heat and go run errands.
Today I’m debating on how much I’ll work. But YBW is on his computer and I have no idea what Thing G is doing, so I guess I’m on my own today. I can go out in the heat and be around random folks, or I can stay put and get stuff done. Or, perhaps a bit of both? Who knows.

For the first time since I began this journey of coursework I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. My term ends September thirtieth, but I plan to finish in August.
And that’s it. I’m finished with this degree plan.
I find myself wondering what I’ll do with my time once I’m not always doing coursework.
The first thing on the list is read read read. (is that actually the first three things on the list?) I’m going to tackle my TBR stack! I’m going to read for pleasure, not what’s assigned me. I’m going to sit with my stack of Southern Living magazines and devour them.

My girls are incredibly supportive of my journey. They’re quick with praise as I report my progress this term. Thing 2 has remarked on my tenacity, and that she gets hers from me. I shared with them that I’m not only doing this for myself, sticking with this commitment I made to myself even though it’s taken so much longer than anticipated. I shared that I’m doing it for them too. So they see their mom as a woman who made a commitment to herself and is working hard to keep it.

You know, since I started this degree plan, I’ve lived through a separation and divorce. My eldest graduating high school and going away to college. The sudden and unexpected deaths of both my parents. Packing up my life in South Carolina and moving it to Virginia. Two weddings, mine, and Thing 1’s. My brain injury. The death of my precious mother in law. The birth of my first grandbaby!
And those are just the big ones!
I’m not mentioning the day to day highs and lows. Simply living life, work and home and friends.
This journey started with a whole lot of hubris. I thought I had it all under control.
This journey is coming to a close with a whole lot of beautiful humility.
I’m proud of this journey! I wanted to give up so many times! But I never did. Even when I was sick. I kept on and kept on and now I’m nearing the end with joy and verve! I did the hard work that got me to this place. I will finish the hard work in the next two months.
I’m doing it!
And soon I can shout “I DID IT!!”.

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wrapped up in love

Today is my birthday and mother’s day!

I received cards from the girls.

Thing 2 wrote hers and left it here for me when she went back home 10 days or so ago.

Thing 1 and Husband N gave this to me last night when we all went to dinner to celebrate three mothers.

Today is the forty-eighth anniversary of my birth.
I am humbled and blessed to be celebrated by the people who love me.

Today is the twenty-fifth time I’ve celebrated mother’s day.
I am truly, madly, deeply blessed to have these girls as my daughters.

My very first baby is now a mother!
I have such joy being here to celebrate that with her.

So far, my morning has involved a diaper change, a bottle, and a lovely snuggle with my precious granddaughter.

She’s decided to go back to sleep, so I’m taking a moment to share my joy with y’all while everyone here is still abed.

YBW brought my favorite bubbly when he came. He asked me last night if there was OJ in the fridge here. That means mimosas when everybody wakes up!
In the meantime, I’m enjoying this quiet morning with my cold, fizzy, caffeinated beverage and chatting with Thing 2.

Even though everyone here is sleeping, and my baby daughter is four hours away, I feel all wrapped up in love this morning!

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class of 2018

Congratulations to the class of 2018!

Thing G graduated last night!
Go Tigers!

We are proud.
We are joyful.
We are exhausted.

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birthday beer


We went to 2 Silos at Farm Brew Live Friday night to celebrate my birthday with our friends Nora and Dale.
This is a new campus for food, beer, music, and fun designed around an old barn here in PWC.

before

after

I was happy to sit out in the warm spring sun and drink beer and hang out with people I love.

Whenever I would run low on beer, (the yummy Virginia Cream Ale) my precious husband would make sure I had another pretty quickly.

There was a band called Dr Fu playing great covers from Lenny Kravitz and Maroon 5, to Queen and Neon Trees. We sang A LOT!


YBW worked on this tower all night, twice the servers came by and tried to take away the cups and were politely told no. I dig this recyclable tribute of celebrating my birthday.
Y’all, the last ten days have been rough. But I’m feeling the full joy of my birthday and being beautifully celebrated by those who love me. International Week of the Birthday is in full swing around here and I’m loving every moment of it!

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herbs, champagne, and a tiara

I woke to fairly heavy rain Sunday morning. And that means these herbs sitting on the porch for nearly two weeks waiting to be planted will simply have to wait another day. We were at the garden center the day before YBW’s mom went into hospital. Our shift in focus was unexpected but necessary, and I’ve been watering the herbs each day in hopes of keeping them happy until they can move to the big containers.

These plants are lemony scented geraniums, lemon balm, lemon grass, basil, lavender, rosemary, and lemon thyme. Used together, they’re meant to deter mosquitoes.
Now if only there was something to scare off the pollen…

Thing G told me he saw on the news we’re having the worst pollen season in several years.
Y’all, I believe it. I’ve not had allergy symptoms this severe since I moved from Virginia to South Carolina twelve years ago. Even though all the furniture and rugs are set up on the porch, it’s nearly unbearable to go out there for all the oak pollen. So while I’m eager to engage in a little porch life, looks like that will wait a bit longer.

I’m hopeful the rain will take care of that today, and I’ll be able to get out there later on this week to do a little planting.
But not tomorrow, because International Week of the Birthday continues with going to see The Kills at The Lincoln Theatre.

Yesterday on my actual birthday, I had breakfast at my favorite little dump diner.
When we returned home, I put on my tiara.

Spent the day watching baseball, and drinking obscene amounts of champagne with YBW, and Meredith and Beau’s Mommy and Daddy. We ate greek food and angel food cake with berries and homemade whipped cream.
I was truly celebrated!
This Mother’s Day I’ve spoken to Thing 1 and received texts and social media posts from Thing 2. I suspect she’ll call at the end of the day like she did yesterday.
YBW and I were planning to go see Infinity War again, but it turns out I napped and woke hungry. So now, I’m going to find him and make a dinner plan.

This late spring pollen won’t be around forever, and soon I’ll get those herbs planted and be ready to porch life my ass off!
I can hardly wait!

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two birds and a squirrel

The girls and I have been talking about mother-daughter tattoos.

Thing 1 has two tattoos. Words on her wrist to remind her that she’s perfect just as she is, and an ankh on her back.
Thing 2 has several tattoos. Wings at her elbows, two that represent he love of folk punk music, and the symbol for chaos on the inside of her wrist.

I have one tattoo. I got it in the spring of 1998. It’s a ring of flowers around my left ankle.
I made a promise to myself that I’d only ever have one tattoo.
A promise I’ve kept even though I came up with the idea and have designed the most perfect tattoo. Know where I want it and why.
Inside my right wrist. Maybe three by three inches. A little Earth and a crescent moon and some stars.

When Thing 1 was a tiny girl, I told her I love her more than the whole wide world. But when Thing 2 was coming to join our family, I realized I would have to say something different to her, otherwise negate the first three years of Thing 1’s life. So I have always told Thing 2 that I love her more than the moon and the stars.
I’ve sat on this idea for several years. I even created this stained glass panel to placate myself.

(The solar system is a big deal to me, because when I began to love YBW, it was ‘all the way to Pluto and back’.)

We’ve talked previously of getting tattoos that represent each other, but recently we’ve begun talking about a specific matching mother-daughters tattoo.
Now, we’re probably still going to get our representative tattoos, mine of course will be the Earth, moon and stars.
Thing 2 has always said she wanted to get a little succulent plant to represent her sister. And she wants to have Kanga and Roo’s mailboxes to represent me.

When she was a little girl, she would climb into my lap and get all tiny and say, “You’re Kanga and I’m Roo in your pouch!”

Thing 1 and I haven’t had that specific of a conversation regarding tattoos that represent each other.

But then…I got an idea!

In a group text, I put to the girls and idea for our matching mother-daughter tattoos.
I suggested a robin bird, a magpie, and then another (yet to be determined) bird.
Thing 2 shot down the magpie idea straight away. (Turns out she’s the only one that doesn’t remember her Grandmommy calling her that.)
And we talked about other options.
Thing 1 suggested a squirrel and we all loved that idea!
Then Thing 2 suggested a hummingbird for her sister.
We were on a roll, y’all!

Thing 1 did a quick doodle and sent this pic.

(That squirrel though!)

Of course there will need to be discussion of colors and sizing and where on our bodies this ink will go. But we have some time for that. The next time we’ll all be together for sure is in June when Thing G graduates from high school. Though there is talk of being together in March for Thing 1’s birthday.
I know I’ll want mine to be small…and off the top of my head, I’m thinking maybe on my left forearm near my elbow. But who knows? Knowing how different we three girls are, it won’t be three identical tattoos in three identical spots. Only, I do hope the art itself is identical, otherwise it’s not worth having ‘matching tattoos’…
At the moment, we’re just in the planning stages.
Momma got an idea. Girls improved upon it. Art is being created.
More conversations will happen.

It’s curious to me that after nearly twenty years of keeping that one tattoo promise I’m blowing it out of the water with not one but two new tattoos in the works.
It’s time.
I’m ready to fulfill a new promise to myself, ink that represents the two loves of my life that will never change. And ink that we can share as mother and daughters.

Categories: on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

it’s time to create new traditions

If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you know I don’t like Thanksgiving.
I’m not really going to get into the whys and wherefores of why Thanksgiving and I don’t quite fit. Just know this, I love the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and that’s about it.

As you may recall, my dear friend and mentor lost her beloved in the spring. Thanksgiving is the first holiday she will face without him. Now, you need to understand she can do it. She can do Thanksgiving alone. She can do anything, and she will do it with a grace that I can only dream of achieving. But she shouldn’t have to.
Her son, daughter-in-law, and grandson are celebrating Thanksgiving with other family. I couldn’t bear the thought of her facing this first holiday alone, so I had an uncomfortable conversation with YBW and came to the conclusion that I would go to her for Thanksgiving. We’ve planned a very Charleston Thanksgiving and I’m actually rather excited about it.
I’ll even get to see my Charleston family while I’m there!

I know it’s hurtful to YBW. I think he takes it personally. I don’t know that I can really do anything about that, but I assured him that it’s not personal. I’ve been close with Jessica for twenty years. Even though she is no real kin of mine, she is my family.

YBW took his mother to the grocery store last week and when they talked Thanksgiving plans, she said to him that she couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t want to be with my family for Thanksgiving.
I’m ashamed to admit I responded like this, but I looked at him and I said, “Because it’s not my family.”
I didn’t mean it the way it may have seemed, only I kind of did mean it too. I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to say, but it was sort of how I felt.

Consider this: I am an orphan who is never around her own children. The only thing I have of my family of origin and the family I created is traditions. But they get lost because one girl isn’t an entire family.
I love the people in his family. And for the most part, they seem to love me. But they’re not terribly adept at seeing past the end of their noses.
I don’t understand why it’s so difficult to grasp the concept of friends as family, especially when I have no family of my own.
I suspect it’s because none of them have ever been in my shoes. They’ve got one living parent, they’re with their children regularly.
My family is my friends. My friends have always been my family, but now that I really have no family of my own, my friends are even more so my family.
That’s just how I am. I know that’s a different concept for YBW’s family.

A few days later, I was alone in the car and had a thought.
It’s not that they’re not my family. It’s that those are not my traditions.
My God, that was the most freeing thought I’d had in ages! And it finally began to make sense to me! And if I could express myself in a way that he could understand, it just might create a truly positive shift in our life.

I came back to YBW and said that what I said surely felt hurtful, and for that I was truly sorry. I didn’t intend hurt him. I told him that I’d been thinking about it and shared what I thought about family and traditions. His family has traditions they’ve been sharing for nearly fifty years. And while they’re extremely important to them, they’re not as important to me.

I told him that it was time for us to create new traditions.
He agreed. He asked good questions. We talked about traditions briefly.
But then nothing more was said about it…

Now is not the time. I’m leaving Tuesday afternoon for Charleston. He’ll be here getting ready to host his family.
When I get home, I’ll be ready to start getting the house ready for Christmas. Perhaps that will be a new way of creating new traditions…with the exception of the “big” tree that goes in the front room. He won’t want to do that without the boys and that makes sense to me. That tree will wait until they come back from their mother’s. But I’m not waiting to make with the Christmas merry. I’ll start the moment I get back into town.

If only there was some way to move straight from Halloween to Christmas and blow right past this obligatory giving of thanks…it just fits me ill.

It’s not that I’m not thankful. It’s that I’m thankful every day.
I’m thankful for the traditions I was given as a child and the ones I created as an adult.
I’m thankful that I have a strong bond with my friends as family people.
I’m thankful I am able to be with someone I love so dearly when she’d otherwise be alone.
I’m thankful that I am strong and have great love in me.
I’m thankful that I am loved greatly.

Categories: love, me | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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