Posts Tagged With: family

the great and arduous process

Tuesday I brought the first five boxes up from the basement to the Nest to begin what I’ve decided to call ‘the great and arduous process’. Otherwise known as going through the last three decades of photographs. By bringing them upstairs, I’m able to use all three of my work desks to sort instead of sitting in the floor downstairs.
Score 1 for me!

These photos are sacred.
They’re my life.
The lives of my children.
The lives of my parents, and grandparents.
It feels important for me to celebrate these lives. So, I pulled out a champagne coupe and popped a bottle of bubbly.

This was meant to be a Thing 2 and Momma task, but Thing 2 isn’t coming because the world is currently safer if we stay in the place we are.
I’m doing a preliminary purge and sort. I’m working to be mindful about what I keep and why. Then she and I will do it again when we’re able to be together.
She loves photos, and the history behind them. She will be the one who carries that on when I leave this world, and I’m content with that.
About an hour and a half in, I called her to ask a somewhat unrelated question and we stayed on the phone for four hours, thirty-four minutes and eighteen seconds.
We laughed, we cried, we talked and told stories.
So, in a way, we did start this project together, if only for a little while.

My friend Holly asked me what was my end goal.
I didn’t actually have an answer for her.
But after thinking on it a moment, I replied: I think really just keeping what we want and letting go of the rest. Thing 2 will help make that decision. She’s going to pick up the mantle of being the keeper of photos at some point. Thing 1 already said doesn’t care about them, so it will really come down to what Thing 2 wants to do. I’m trying to be mindful about what’s going to be important to and for her. I want to avoid her having the ‘deal with’ them when I’m gone. If she’s involved now, we can decide together what’s important in the long run and what’s immediately important.

I look forward to the joy of sharing more stories while we hold photos in our hands.
That’s powerful stuff.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Baby K and her mommy’s birthday pie

Thing 1 and Baby K were here for two weeks!
It was the loveliest (albeit exhausting-est) two weeks in many moons.
Y’all, I absolutely adore watching my daughter be her daughter’s mom!

I love seeing their closeness. I’m amused when they get frustrated with each other. I love the way Baby K says “mum-mum-mum-mum” for her mommy.
To witness and share in their relationship is an absolute delight!

Baby K learned to clap while she was here.
She even (sort of) learned to say clap while she was here.
She pulled up so much and began cruising around the sofa and coffee table while she was here.
She even crawled up two (non-sequential) steps while she was here!
She says “Papa” for YBW and she said “Ba-Da” when referring to me. Ba-Da for Birdie? I’ll take it.

They were here in time for Thing 1’s birthday!
It’s the first time I’ve hugged her on her actual birthday since she was eighteen! She just turned twenty six!
So! Much! Joy!

Neither of my girls actually like cake, so we celebrated with a delicious apple pie!

I miss them.
I mean, I’m glad to have my ‘baby duty’ scaled back, but I miss conversations with Thing 1 and special moments with Baby K.
We drank so much wine.
Thing 1 said “Get out of my head” more times than I can count. It’s nice to be on the same page. It’s lovely to feel so close and connected to her.
We talked plans of what it will look like when they’re here for however many months starting this summer.
I enjoyed meal planning and grocery shopping with Thing 1. I look forward to that when they’re here.

Baby K played with Meredith and Beau.

They have a cousin who’s only a couple of months older than Baby K, so they love being in baby mode. These kids are nine and seven, and their mom could barely drag them away from the baby toys!
I love that my friends-as-family and actual family are such a big part of and have such love for each other!

I was with Thing 1 for six weeks when Baby K was born and we vowed then to make sure we could see each other as often as possible. You know, we’ve seen each other pretty much every other month since then. And soon, they’ll be right here whenever I turn around, then as close as their own house nearby.

I am truly grateful for the blessing of being able to witness and be a part of my granddaughter’s growing up.
My cup runneth over!

Categories: love | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

we regret to inform you

I got an email Friday morning.
It looked like this.

To be perfectly honest, I’m just beginning to process how I feel about it.
Here’s a quick look into that:
Wait. What?
Disappointment.
Incredulity.
Fuck you, Mason.
I’m not even surprised.
We regret to inform you? Aaand fuck you some more.
A competitive program. And I’m just not competitive enough?
But WHY am I not good enough?
Am I even mad?
I have absolutely no idea what I feel.
Shiiiiit! That was my plan. Now what am I going to do?

I sent the screen cap above to YBW and both the girls Friday morning before I went to school.
YBW was initially sad for me, “Oh no! I’m so sorry, baby!” then he was mad for me, “well…fuck them.”
It was the YBWest response, and it honestly gave me great comfort. Sometimes when you can’t get mad, it’s nice to have someone get mad for you.
Thing 1 replied, “Oh no!” then texted me a bit later on, “Oh no! I just got your email (sad face emoji)”
Thing 2 replied, “How are you feeling about that email?” then after a bit I got a text that said, “How are you feeling about that email? Or are you not ready to discuss it yet?”
These three people are my strongest support network. They each responded in a way that is unique to who they are.
My love, gratitude, and appreciation are bigger than I even have words.

I have been encouraged to feel my feels before I attempt to make any plans.
I have been encouraged to consider what my feels actually mean before I begin to decide how to move forward.
I have been encouraged with love and mindful conversation.
I have been encouraged with cocktails and hugs.
I have even been encouraged by Baby K’s sweet giggles. (Like, she doesn’t know what’s up she’s just happy to talk to her Birdie. Perhaps I should take a play out of her book?)

I asked my beloved friend and mentor Jessica to write one of my two recommendation letters.
I broke down and emailed her the screen cap this morning. She replied, “I’m speechless. My heart hurts for your heart. Hugging you! Loving you!”

My therapist wrote the second letter.
She doesn’t know yet. I’ll have that conversation with her when I’m there the first week of February.

Y’all, I am disappointed.
And a little sad.
And defensive AF.
I feel overwhelmed by making a new plan. (That’s exactly why I’m being encouraged to wait.)
This Destination girl is pretty much ‘fuck all y’all’ to the Journey right now.
However, I am aware that the Journey is meant to be what’s important. (but fuck that too)

YBW suggested I take an allotted amount of time to swim around in my feels. Then amended the suggestion in case it wasn’t enough time. I’m not sure I’m actively feeling my feels. I mean, I don’t actually feel anything.
Me calling out: I’m going to need a minute over here!

Am I feeling?
Am I suppressing?
Am I feeling all the things at the same time and therefore can’t sort them out?
Seriously, fuck this.
Well, it’s pretty clear I’m feeling that, huh?

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

welcome home

It’s been a month and two days since I boarded a plane to California.
I missed y’all!

Here’s what I haven’t done since returning home thirteen days ago.
Write.
Read any of your blog posts.
Organize and/or edit my photos from the trip.
(All in good time, my little pretties, all in good time.)

Here’s what I have done since returning home thirteen days ago.
Laundry. So. Much. Laundry.
Miscellaneous unpacking.
Put away laundry.
Decorate for the holidays. (We’re low-key Christmasy this year, just enough to feel festive. Not typical balls to the wall Christmasy, mostly because I won’t be here for Christmas this year and YBW isn’t quite as big a freak as I am when it comes to the holidays.)
Shop. For groceries. For gifts.
Wrap gifts.

Cook. (all the things)
Teach.
Address Christmas cards.
One amazing social outing with friends to a show and dinner.

I was feeling terribly overwhelmed, but once I was able to get Christmasy I began to settle down.
I was in a strange place in which on thing must finish before the next thing can start. Normally, I can multitask like a boss. I think it was that feeling of being behind the eight ball, coming home it’s already December, I’ll be gone the week of actual Christmas, that kind of thing.
Traveling is exhausting!
Not the actual trip portion (that was truly magnificent…stay tuned), but the coming home. The day we traveled home nearly did me in. Good Lord, I was so happy to sleep in my own bed!

But now, the stockings are hung, the tree trimmed, and a handful of baby Jesuses around the house.
I’m ready for Christmas.

I leave Friday for Thing 2, we’ll spend a couple of Christmasy days together, brunch and girlie hotel weekend style, before I continue on to Thing 1’s on Sunday. It’s the first night of Hanukkah, Baby K’s first! I’ll be there before sundown, I have to be, I have the menorah candles!

I’m overjoyed to be with my girls at Christmastime! And even though she doesn’t really get it, I’m thrilled to be with Baby K for her first holiday season!
After starting at a new company in September, and being away for three weeks in November, YBW has no available leave. Though he’s disappointed to miss Baby K’s first Christmas, he knows we have many more to come. I’m sad to be away from him at Christmas, but we’ve got a plan to celebrate when I come home.
Even making our annual pilgrimage to the Cathedral for the creche exhibit. And our hearts are content.

In the meantime, here’s what I have to do before Friday.
Laundry.
Pack. (say it ain’t so)
Teach.
Fuel my car.

May your days be merry and bright, because mine sure are!

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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!”

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

we are not our feelings

Thing 2 was feeling her feels this morning.
Anxious and fearful.
Her sister and I (and Baby K) showed up ready to rock.
Y’all, I’m talking loving, supportive girl power to the nth degree. But that’s what we do for each other.

Thing 2 works in a cool Asian fusion restaurant. She is currently the senior-most server.

She wrote in our group chat: There’s a 35 top coming in as soon as we open
Me: May the Force be with you!

Thing 1: You are amazing, just be your charming self and you’ll get good tips and you’re going to be OK

I stopped for a moment. I realized we both jumped in to ‘rescue’ her. I considered that she might simply be expressing herself. Perhaps she didn’t need to be bucked up, perhaps she needed to be heard.

Me: It sounds like a complicated situation. Your anxiety makes sense. It’s overwhelming af! You’re feeling your feels

Thing 1: You got this!
Me: So wig out for a couple more moments. Like, seriously, set a timer. Then steel yourself. You are so capable. And(!!!) you can guide them along instead of waiting to see what they want.

Thing 1: (FTW) Don’t do that. Be pleasant and gregarious, and you’ll be great!

Thing 1: You’re the Thing 2est Thing 2 that ever Thing 2ed!

Me: Your anxiety makes sense in this situation. However, you actually possess the skills and abilities to make this situation successful for yourself and your customers!

Thing 1: And once it’s all over, you’ll be done! My therapist always says there’s a finish line, you just have to get to it and you can move on to the next thing. It will end and it will be behind you and you can move on.
Me: YESSSSSSSS!
Thing 2: Wow. I like her.

Thing 1:

Me: Breathe. You’ve got this! Look, if chubby, somewhat drunk looking Baby K believes in you…you can’t possibly fail!
Thing 2: I WAS JUST GONNA SAY SHE LOOKS DRUNK! What a beautiful tiny encourager
Me: You have the most powerful women on your side! We’ve got you, and you’ve got this! I love you more than the moon and the stars!

We did that.
We were her cheerleaders.
We encouraged her.
We reminded her of what she’s capable of doing.

We also honored her feelings.
We acknowledged her fear and anxiety.
We reassured her that her feelings are valid, and in this situation, made sense.
We reminded her she is not her feelings.

I think we all need to be reminded of that.
We are not our feelings.
We experience them but we are not them.
I read somewhere, I can’t for the life of me remember where, but it went something like this.
Feelings are like the rain, we might walk in the rain, but we are not the rain.

We don’t become our feelings.
We feel our feelings.

Thing 2 was feeling the hell out of her feelings today.
But, with a little bit of love and support from her momma, big sister, and baby niece, she didn’t let herself become them.

Later this afternoon we got this:

Me: Brava, Thing 2! You DID it!
Thing 1: Way to go! We knew you could do it!!!!

Taking a break to sit in the grass.
(I’m purposely ignoring the smoking.)
She needed to feel connected to the earth. She needed to feel grounded.

35 people came into the restaurant and Thing 2 served them.
The world didn’t explode, and neither did she.

Though she be but little, she is fierce.
Even the fiercest among us need a bit of encouragement now and again.

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

summer gratitude

As we move into fall, I’m thinking about everything that filled my heart with joy this summer, and y’all, that list is long!
I have so much to be grateful for!

June:
sleeping in my own bed for the first time in six weeks
seeing Amber for the first time since March
date day with Mike and Josie
Describe the Night at the Woolly Mammoth (last play of the season)
impromptu trip to Williamsburg with Mike and Josie
two of my three alternative health care providers
dinner with Nora and Dale

July:
porchlife

all three of my alternative health care providers
dinner with Meredith and Beau’s family
celebrating Nora’s birthday (she and Thing 2 are birthday twins)
Thing 1, Thing 2, Husband N, and Baby K here!
pedis with my girls
Spending the day with Thing C and Girlfriend L
drinking bubbly with my girls
Bubbly & Baby party to celebrate Baby K being in our world
2 Silos with YBW, Thing 1, Thing 2, Husband N, Baby K, and Jessica
stopping cocktails on the way to the airport with Thing 2

August:
Thing 2 and Baby K here for two more weeks
model home tours
porchlife

going away party to celebrate Mike and Josie’s college bound daughter
all three alternative health care providers
Good Eats: The Return
drinking beer, cracking crab legs and peeling shrimp at Blue Ridge

the never ending road trip with Thing 1 and Baby K
seeing Thing 2 and Boyfriend J during a pit stop in Columbia
spending the second day back to school day drinking with Holly
shoot day with YBW
discovering Natty Boh with YBW
Vampire Weekend
YBW’s bestie from high school here with his fam
Nat’s game (Tony hit two dingers!)
finishing my paper

September looks like it’s starting out slow, but that’s fine by me, I’m learning to take it easy. I’m learning the journey is where it’s at. (Though, to be perfectly honest, I’m all about ‘getting there’.)
I’ve already got some stuff on the calendar for next week, but I’m curious to see what pops up.
I’m looking forward to spending more time with YBW as we move into Autumn.
Ready to make new so many new reasons to be grateful!

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

collecting my reflections

In the last month I’ve had a house full of daughters, a son-in-law, and one sweet baby.
Organized and hosted the most wonderful party to celebrate Baby K.

welcome to the Bubbly & Baby to celebrate Baby K

Who’s that baby?
a guessing game

yummies and goodies

a monogrammed cake was one of my ‘must haves’

*all photos credited to Thing 2 and used with permission*

I spent precious time with my girls.
We shopped. Visited with friends. Attended a party to celebrate a friend’s daughter going away to college.

Yesterday, I made the long journey home from GA where I left Thing 1 and Baby K at home. (Husband N was here for two weeks and returned home empty handed, while Thing 1 and Baby K stayed here with us for another two weeks.)

Now here I am, daughter-less and baby-less, which I don’t love in the least.
But, the truth of the matter is I’m content to be me.

I didn’t write in my journal or for this blog in all that time.
I was so busy living in the moment, I didn’t take the time for reflections.
My reflections are shooting out all over the place and I’m racing to collect them.
I need a bit of time with my journal for sure.

I’ve finished the first half of my thesis paper. I’m meeting with the course adviser this afternoon to create a plan to proceed with the second half. My plan is to submit the finished paper by the end of the month. I’ll be OK if it comes back for revision because my term doesn’t end until September 30th. That gives me another whole month to make sure all I’ve dotted all the i(s) and crossed all the t(s). And then I’m finished.

I’m a bit overwhelmed even thinking about all the time that will free up.
How will I spend it?
I don’t want to waste any more time.
I mean, I’ll waste some time, cause I like to watch the TV occasionally, you know?
I want to use my time successfully.
For the betterment of me.
For my own personal pleasure.

I’ll get about that soon enough, right now I’m going to take a moment to miss little nugget of deliciousness.

OK, baby fix, check.
Time to move on to collecting my reflections and planning how to spend my time.
I’ve got this!

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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!!”.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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