Posts Tagged With: love

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: , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

worried but grateful

Our governor announced that Virginia schools will be closed for the remainder of the school year.
I am sad. And to be perfectly honest, sad isn’t a big enough word.

I’m sad for my school family.
I’m sad for my neighborhood kids.
I’m sad for the high school seniors who won’t experience the wonderful ritual of their senior year. No skip day. No prom. No graduation.

I’m worried for these kids.
For these educators. Y’all, if you don’t know, they are broken-hearted about not being in the classroom with their kids. I’m broken-hearted not to be in the classroom.
I miss being at school.
I miss being around kids and adults, teaching and learning together.
I’m worried because YBW had to go back to work today. Is he safe? Will he be exposed? Will he bring it home?

I am grateful that I am not sick. That none of my family is sick.
I am grateful I’m not worried about how to keep the lights on, or where our next meal is coming from.
I’m grateful for internet and streaming services and books and wine.
I am grateful that I have the ability to write about how this feels.

I’m reminded of something Hagrid tells Harry in the Philosopher’s Stone. “It was dark times, Harry, dark times.”
My heart hurts today.
But I’m quietly hopeful.

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

write it down

On his first day working from home, YBW said to me, “I wonder if I should be documenting this time?” His voice got all ‘movie trailer guy’ and he said, “YBW working from home: day one.”
I giggled, then encouraged him to document.

I told him about reading this interview with University of Virginia professor Herbert ‘Tico’ Braun.
In an email encouraging his current and former students to document their lives “during this unprecedented time” he wrote:

The mantra of our course is, ‘Write it down.’ When you do, much of your life and who you are will be different than if you don’t.

He tells his students, “You do not write alone.”
He’s so right!
We don’t write alone. Especially here, in this blogging community.
LA is sharing her life in this time. So is Maggie. Ellieejay and Betul shared theirs at Pointless Overthinking, Claudette is sharing her’s too.

What I love about reading these posts is that in an anxious and fearful time, these ladies are being real. Speaking their truths. Being honest and unmerciful with their thoughts and feelings. And using humor to their advantage.

I thank you for documenting your lives in these ‘unprecedented’ times. It helps us realize we are not alone, however shut away from the world we are. We are a community of human beings. And no matter how far and wide we are spread, we are all in this together.
By sharing our lives via the written word we begin to feel more connected in the immediate, and as time goes on these words will be powerful documentation to look back upon.

I’m choosing to journal about what I think and how I feel about this time in our world. It looks different than my blogging, but I approach it with the same level of honest and unmerciful truth, and a metric-fuck-ton more sass and complete disregard for proper grammar.
Regardless of where I write, I’m choosing to acknowledge fear and anxiety, flex my humor muscles, and embrace a whole lotta love, grace, and gratitude.

We’re all in this together.
Thank you.
I am truly grateful that we do not write alone.

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

warning label

I think mine might say:

Kind of heart and full of love but her mouth is caustic.

Perhaps it might say:

She runs her life with a velvet hammer.

Maybe even:

She’ll ask you Why? more times than you can count, but only because she wants to better understand you and your motivation.

It could possibly say:

Maybe she’s not the best at being loved, but she’s pretty good at loving. (paraphrased from Chelsea Carroll)

Or even this:

Plays well with others, but only for a little while.

In all honesty, I suspect my warning label should be the following:

She’s a cat in the form of a girl. She will equally expect and reject your affection. She will require your immediate and undivided attention, but only when it’s least convenient for you. She will provide comfort and adoration, but bite without warning.

You may be asking, Why you gotta label everything? Believe me when I tell you I have absolutely no idea, but I know I function better that way.
This kind of label sounded fun to me.
What do y’all think?
What are some of your warning labels?

Categories: me | Tags: , , | 13 Comments

find joy every day

This is absolutely everything!

Happiness is not one great big undefinable thing. Real joy and real contentment actually happen in the concrete every day.
It’s the little things.
Those little every day things where joy resides in it’s simplest form.

These are my every day joys from the last week or so.

When fifth graders didn’t understand what I meant when I said, “Thanks for coming to my TED Talk.” at the end of the lesson.
Tuesday when Beau beat me at chinese checkers for the very first time!
Drinking wine with YBW by the fire at Naked Mountain on Valentine’s Day.

Finding the right calphalon skillet to replace the damaged one. And it was only $40!
Talking with Sally.
Being behind the lens of my camera.
This photo of Baby K laughing so I can see all her teeth!

Leaving the house at 7:30 am to get gatorade and soda crackers for YBW.
Taking Jessica’s birthday gift to the post office.

These are random every day things, but I found joy in each one of them.
(to be clear, I was not joyful my husband had food poisoning, I was joyful I could do anything to help him)

Y’all, that’s where the joy is! All you have to do is look for it.
Where are your every day joys?

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 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

three days in second grade

I was in second grade three days this week.
Y’all, I absolutely adored it!

They just started a new social studies unit about transportation and communication.
These kids were on it!
They were so enthusiastic about brainstorming and exploring transportation. I even brought them photos of our trip through the canal. They were awed by the sheer size of the container ships.
We read books about the history of transportation, even one of my favorites, The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton.

I missed being at school.
Surrounded by small people who are quick with a giggle or hug.
Surrounded by adult people who are fun, kind, and supportive.

January is a hard month in a school building. After November, when we’re almost out of school more than we’re in, and December when we’re out for two weeks straight, January looms large and long. Everyone is either getting or recovering from being sick, and the flu ran (and continues to run) rampant through my school this year. Teachers and students are tired and need a bit of a break.
But as tricky as January tends to be, my time at school last week was absolutely lovely.

I had the realization that even though I miss it, I know it’s not the right fit for me in the long run. I know that being a substitute teacher is an excellent choice for me. I can participate in my passion for education without the life-drain of doing it every day.
I made the right choice not to get certified to teach.
I made the right choice to leave being in the school building every day.
I made the right choice to pick and choose which classrooms to spend my time, energy, and love.

Elementary school teachers are some of the hardest working humans I know. But the rewards are even more than the work. They have such joy teaching and learning with their students.
I’m grateful and honored to occasionally be among them.

Next week I’ll be in the school library for three days. Checking books in and out, helping students find what they’re looking for, organizing and shelving books. I’m looking forward to spending that library time, but not being exposed to the myriad of germs attached to each book. I’m loading up on the On Guard and black elderberries in preparation.

I’m ready for smiles and hugs, I’m ready for bad attitudes and complaining.
I’m ready to be passionate about education on my own terms.

Categories: education | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

note to self:

This is one of the truest statements I’ve read in a long time.
And to be perfectly honest, I couldn’t agree more.

However…

It’s easy to consider what I’m putting out in the world is benign. That my energy is pure of intention, and if misinterpreted it surely must be how it was received, not how it was intended.
You know, ‘it’s not me, it’s you’.

But the most important point in that meme is the final sentence.
“Just keep doing your thing with as much integrity and love as possible.”

Are we using as much integrity and love as possible when we put our energy out in the world?
I know that’s my intention, but do I do it each time I attempt to communicate? Probably not each time, but for the most part I feel confident in my integrity.

When we do our absolute damnedest to practice our values in our interactions with others, and we’re perceived in a way that differs from our intent, we must accept that we cannot change perception. We must accept that nothing we say or do can alter the way our energy is interpreted.
I can’t control how my energy lands in another, but I’m not sure I’m entirely comfortable in an ‘it’s not me, it’s you’ situation.

And…
What happens when I’m the one on the receiving end of another’s energy that doesn’t sit well with me? When I’m the one filtering their energy through my own experience?
In the situation when another is ‘doing their thing with as much integrity and love as possible’.
In that case, I can only accept that their intention and my perception are different. I have to accept their energy with integrity and love.

Either way, whether I’m the one putting out energy in the world, or receiving energy others put out in the world, something specific is happening.
Assuming we each have integrity and love, there is a great deal of acceptance surrounding us. (Hooray!)

It’s mighty simple to say, “It’s not me, it’s you.”
It’s much trickier to accept that each one of us is who we are based upon our own lifetime of experiences.
Perhaps we could say, ‘it’s not my experience, it’s yours’.
It’s essentially the same thing, but it feels different, doesn’t it?
‘It’s not me, it’s you’ is defensive, selfish, and judgmental.
‘It’s not my experience, it’s yours’ is open, respectful, and accepting.

It takes effort on both parts.
It must come down to trust.
I can’t control how my energy will be received. I have to trust that if I am coming from that place of integrity and love I’m doing all I can to successfully communicate.
I also have to trust in my ability to accept. Whether that’s accepting that my intention and another’s perception is different, or my perception and another’s intention is different.

Y’all see these words too, right?
Integrity.
Love.
Acceptance.
Trust.

I’m just sayin…

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

colombia

Of everything about this trip, I was most excited to visit Cartagena, Colombia. Geeking out over, and romanticizing the rich history, imagining how it would be.
I was fired up!

Then we got there.
It was straight chaos.
There was an Iron Man competition going on, as well as a huge Italian cruise ship in port with us.
The city was teeming with people. Narrow sidewalks and streets were crowded. It was overcast, hot and humid. To say I was overstimulated is a gross understatement.

However tricky it was getting around, it was as beautiful as I’d imagined.
Through the benefit of hindsight, I realize I enjoyed it much more than it felt like I did when I was actually there.

I learned to pronounce the city name properly. It’s car-tah-hey-na not cart-a-hayne-ya.
I learned that ‘no’ is the same in Spanish and English.
I was reminded of how much patience and kindness my husband has in him.
I was reminded it’s OK to admit it when you’ve got nothing left in your tank.
I learned that when a man shows up in a taxi, miraculously at the exact moment you need him most, he was sent by the Powers That Be to rescue you, bring you a bit of peace, and change your entire point of view.

I think when traveling it’s easy to consider one’s excitement, anticipation, and expectations and much more difficult to recognize or acknowledge when one is travel weary.
By the time we got to Cartagena, I was travel weary, but didn’t realize it. I truly felt like a little child, over-tired, overwhelmed, overstimulated and on the verge of a meltdown. I did my best to hold it together. To embrace and enjoy the beauty of the city.

The old city is a ridiculously beautiful place, and this little street was absolutely my favorite!

This ‘bucket list’ trip was everything it could possibly be and even more.
Time with YBW away from the daily grind was a precious gift. We travel well together. We understand what piques each other’s curiosity and interest. We enthusiastically engage in sharing experiences.
We are as content to explore crowded streets, manage language barriers, and ride in death trap taxis as we are to quietly lounge in the shade, drink cocktails in a piano bar, and stargaze.
I’m so grateful we made this trip together!

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