~ Here we are, not at all bothered by stores opening on Thanksgiving, because it was never our favorite holiday (owing mostly to (1) our lack of reverence for Pilgrims and the treatment of Native Americans, (2) our general disposition and striving toward thankfulness on a daily – not just yearly – basis, and (3) our general disdain for turkey). I DO like being together with people I love, and plan to do so on Thanksgiving (and other days as well, with a thankful heart), but…no one seems upset that The Rockettes, Santa, and all those folks making the popcorn at movie theaters have to work every year on Thanksgiving; why draw arbitrary lines? I don’t plan on shopping, but I hope the people working at the mall are having fun and making sweet holiday pay. I can think of many years I’d have been happy to move along after the dishes were cleared.
~ Here we are, constantly trying to evaluate where the line is between “meh, just a runny nose” and “stay home from school; let’s not infect the other snotty kids!”
~ Here we are, listening to our favorite REM songs on a loop, feeling nostalgic and big and little and shiny and happy all at once.
~ Here we are, wondering where our gloves are, and considering how long it would take to knit some fingerless mitts.
~ Here we are, laughing at ourselves.
~ Here we are, fascinated by people who seem to have mastered an elusive coolness.
~ Here we are, picking out killer lipstick for the season, and accepting that cool was never our bag so we might as well go for confidently quirky, but joyful.
~ Here we are, happy despite all the obstacles.
~ Here we are, so excited to turn 40 in just over a month. For reals.
~ Here we are. HERE WE ARE.
I wanted to post these pictures today.
I threw them on the page (edited only for size; still trying out this fancy new camera that I’ll probably return to the store, if only because of acute sticker shock) and wrote “Happy Monday!”
…then I realized it’s not Monday.
It’s not even Tuesday.
This is probably awesome news for people that are tied to a desk from Monday-Friday (although, admittedly, those people probably keep better track of the days of the week than I do). For those of us that work the weekends, however, this is harrowing indeed. Only two more days this week to live-it-up.
Time to get out there!
Happy Whatever-Day-It-Is, Friends.
Last weekend, Long Island. This weekend, New Jersey. Less than three weeks away from Philadelphia. Apparently we’re a traveling dance family now. Reels, jigs, wigs, some medals, some giggles, some tears, and lots of singing out loud in the car…this is where we are.
Snaps taken during two raucous and much-loved parties the week before Halloween, in a dark auditorium, with children jumping and dancing at full velocity, whilst I was holding a sleeping child. Picture-quality excused and explained, this is Halloween 2014: A Ghostbuster (Ghostbustress? Ghostbust-girl?) and One of a Million Elsas (the long blonde braid is everything). Official portraits to follow, obvs…
Eliza and Ella. Friendship.
May it always be so fun, so funny, so forgiving, so gentle, and so full.
May they always share something special and sweet.
May they always be true.
May they always be connected.
May they understand and be patient with the ebbs and flows of relationships and closeness.
May they always love each other as much as they do today.
Eliza’s mom (me) and Ella’s mom (Mich) have been friends for 20+ years; I’m so very very glad, and lucky beyond all reason.
My friendship, trust, and attention are more guarded than it may seem; being friendly and “midwesternly sweet” might look like friendship, but there’s so much more, so many more layers. When I give my love, really give my love, it’s with a lifetime lease. I’m not always an easy friend, I’m not always present, I’m not always together. I go off the grid. I keep a lot inside. I need extra hugs and hand-holding. People don’t always “get me”, and my charm wears off fairly quickly. I’m not everyone’s cup of tea, but I hold true friends as close to my heart as family. I really let them in.
I’ve often been hurt, but I’ve more often been blessed. That means I’ve got some strong and amazing and wonderful friends, and I hold them with fierceness and love. Always. I didn’t know that this many years into life I’d still be going over friendship and relationships and the dynamics between people, but I’m still amazed by the process, the ways we fall together and fall apart. More than ever, I’m still honored and tickled and put at ease by true friendship, and holding on with both hands.
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Our Emma is home today with a persistent barking cough. She’s generally pretty hearty, and sick-days are fortunately rare, but listening to the croup, and seeing the exhaustion in her eyes – even when I’m confident it will pass quickly – hurts my heart.
Motherhood is like this. So many little bruises on my own soul, as I try to weather the bumps for her; training myself not to wince, putting on my best hey, let’s not worry face. It’s not just on the sick days, of course. Navigating friendships, commitments, insecurities, growing pains…Knowing just how and when to squeeze her hand in public, that quiet code between us that says I’m right here; you’re doing great… It’s all an evolutionary part of our relationship, the way we lean together and then stretch just out of reach, giving each other wings to fly higher and deeper into our mother/daughter/woman/friend roles.
It’s all a work in progress.
To be a mother is to love more fiercely, more fully than you ever imagined. To be a mother is to have your heart ache often, sometimes just from sheer and profound joy. To be a mother, for me, is to grow and learn and try and fail and succeed and dream and make it all up as you go along. To be a mother to this girl is to breathe deeper and smile with softness and fill with admiration as she grows.
It’s not easy. Some days it’s insanely challenging (stress here on the word insane), and some days I’m really pretty bad at the job. Still, it’s wonderful, and I treasure these days.
Feel better, my big girl.
You are loved.
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We hit the ground running [and spinning, and jumping, and dancing].
My timing has been off (missed connections, diverted routes, topsy-turvy), and I’m teetering even more than usual between joyfulness, overwhelm, confidence, and fragility. This week is the last one in the transition time into the new schedule and regimen; I’m looking forward to settling into something steady, while still stretching into new territory.
I’ve also been missing people, wanting to catch up.
Missing time, wanting to catch up.
Missing myself, wanting to catch up.
I’ve been writing some new things.
I’ve been singing some new things.
I’ve been planning some new things, and I’m almost ready to share.
Autumn is my favorite, and I can see it ahead… time to put some things in storage, reflect on what’s left, and find the best of what’s around.
Be back shortly.
Love you, friends. xo
Summer 2014: Cotton Candy bigger than your head, “poodle socks” and Irish Dance medals, and enough mini-road trips to make us preferred members at the local car rental.
[There’s also stuff going on, stuff in the world that is hurting my heart and igniting my activist spirit, stuff with my teeth that’s requiring a root canal, and stuff on the stage involving Mozart and glorious music… but mostly, we’re trying to focus on these lazy last days of August.]
Be back shortly; we’re still summering.
One more night in Evansville, and we’re getting melancholy about leaving the homestead. It wasn’t just the glorious evenings on the screened-in porch, it wasn’t just the hours at the piano, it wasn’t just the tractor rides [where “tractor” = “riding lawnmower”] with PawPaw, it wasn’t just the gardens and the woods and the pool and the toy nook upstairs… it was everything (and more) combined to give us a peaceful easy summertime visit.
We’ll miss you guys.
…but not yet. We’re still sitting here, enjoying the scenery and the laughing children. Good stuff.
Sorry, it’s been hard to keep up. The weekend was a blur of driving, resting, driving, dancing, driving, visiting, visiting, driving. Emma conquered (for now) her hardest dance challenge so far, placing first in Slip Jig at the Columbus Feis. We’ve had concentrated (with laughter, activity, and eats) cousin and auntie and grandparent time. Now we find ourselves at this glorious point in our trip where we’re exhausted enough that we need to slow down and savor. Happily so.
Em and I have been taking some time at dusk to read on the porch until the light dims down and the cricket-y tree flies drown out our thoughts. She’s still a far from insatiable reader (whereas I’m usually reading three at once, trying to pack in just a few more pages), but she’s diving in a little more deeply, and I’m trying to help her find an easy rhythm and routine.
It’s a magical world out there.
Hope you’re enjoying it, too.