Atlas

As a mother, the words, “I need” and “I want” are familiar territory. We hear them all the time. “I need a drink”, “I want a toy”, “I need a new dress”, etc. It becomes easy for a Mom to get caught up in words like these- for them to be the anchor to tether her heart strings to. You don’t need to be a Mom, though, for these words to have a foothold. They ran my life long before I gave birth to two little girls who use them daily.

 

I was always one to see need like one does colors. The unspoken hunger. The pain hidden behind words of assurance. I quickly saw my place as the hand to hold, the paper to edit, the meal to make. The job to get, the encouragement to voice, the school drop off to be accomplished. I heard, “ I need” and “I want” in the walls of the classroom, the mall, the church. The whole earth hummed with the weight of it and I rationalized that I had been given so much and can bear so many burdens that aren’t my own; surely I could move my needs and wants further down the list for a little while.

 

Then I became a wife. And a Mother. And there were people of my own blood and kin who had needs and wants. And I added theirs to the top of my derring-do list. And there was joy in the giving of it, at first- the answers to the wants and needs that I hardly noticed that I had begun to lost sight of the fact that I even had my own anymore.   Because surely, not even Atlas can hold up the world like I can?

 

And this year came and almost took me with it and I was assaulted by the repressed vibrancy of my needs: a deep red thick with anger, with grief and with shame. I had forgotten I had them. Jesus didn’t.

 

He allowed life to bruise me in such a way that it was impossible to deny that I had deep needs and wants. As basic as being fed, as complex as needing a community to hold me together. That I was not Atlas. That it had not been me holding everything together this whole time and I traded myself away for a false title robed with Pride.

 

And I looked in the mirror and was shocked at the old woman staring back at me, wearing a dress at least ten years a senior, sagging and malnourished in every way. I gave myself up for everyone else, when all anyone ever needed was the me I had been in the first place.

 

So, I made a promise to myself to never trade away my needs or even my wants ever again. Part of that means, this will be the last post I write in this little space. I have loved every moment of sharing the Shannon Family Table with you- but I will admit to you that I lost myself underneath it all. I even omitted myself from the title. You’ve walked me through tragedy and joy and I couldn’t have asked for more. But I have needs and wants that I must allow to come right up to the surface and make themselves known because, I’m learning, God sees value in who I am and how He loves me, and not in my self-imposed martyrdom.

 

I can hear the weeping through the screen so I want to reassure you, all five of you, faithful readers, that this departure from blogging from TSFT doesn’t mean I’m leaving writing behind. My own wants and needs, remember? Writing is one of them. I have a few things in the works. You’ll hear about them. But until then, thank you! A million times thank you.

 

 

 

Violent Grace

“The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart.” C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Here’s what no one tells you when you decide to walk out this Jesus thing in a way that alters your life.  Sometimes grace is violent.  Sometimes, (some would argue, all the time) the only way to save something, is to kill it.  To rip it wide open, leaving the gaping wound exposed so it can truly heal.  So you can then, become who you were meant to be.

I had been sitting with this idea for much too long, and then was hesitant to share as this month was one for the books where violence is concerned.  I wanted to be sensitive, my first venture back after a long hiatus.  But I feel as though I wasn’t giving readers enough credit.  You know the difference of which I’m speaking.  You know because each of you, I’m sure, in one way or another, have experienced this violent kind of grace whether you knew it at the time or not.

Sometimes, there is just no other way to get to the new skin underneath without ripping the old one off, with all of the blood and tissue and pain it involves.  It’s seldom a gradual process- rather, we seldom recognize it as such.  This violent grace tears up and through lives like a tornado, bringing to the light all that was hidden, all that was covered, all that was, broken.  It’s the grace of God that He comes like the mighty ocean. So we could see His greatness, feel our smallness, and know our significance in that He thinks we are worthy to come rescue. But. It certainly doesn’t always feel that way.

This has been my year of violent grace.  Of a tearing down and a rebuilding.  Of a breaking down and trusting that He could make me new.  I have never been so lost or more found. I am still being torn wide open, scales and blood everywhere.  I’m much more like Eustace than I’d ever care to admit.  It’s taken a lot of myself to submit to such a violent grace as this feeling as though every tear, “had gone right into my heart”.  Which is where it needed it most.

 

Merciful Suffering

It’s the wrong season, I know.  The weather grows colder, the air turns.  The sky is filled with yellows and golds and the street, if you live anywhere near the east coast, is littered with those Starbucks red cups with remnants of some kind of caloric nightmare of mocha/mint/gingerbread something or other.  There are already hints of it in stores and on commercials and in counting how many shopping weekends are left to save.  The advent is coming, and it never fails that with each passing year I cannot visit the child in the manger without getting caught up in the crucifixion.

On a much smaller scale, it’s exactly like going to see Titanic in the theater when I was in the 7th grade.  I wept at the opening- the grand sweeping staircase, the jewelry and the gowns, the clinking of glasses and the rubbing of elbows.  I knew it would all be gone, that those people who were someone’s mother or brother or lover or friend would have to endure a kind of suffering no one should have to experience.  It was a bit deep for a 13 year old, but that’s how I roll.

These last few days I have been fixated on the death of Christ.  Well, rather, the night before.  As a public forum, all of you have been privy to most of the suffering we’ve endured over the last few years.  Part of what I love most about this type of venue is that it feels like an instant bridge between peoples-  unfinished, unedited, a bit raw and perhaps peppered with grammatical errors, but truthful in it’s content.  We have suffered.  I have questioned why.  Here, in fact.  And it’s led me to the garden of Gethsemane every, single time.  But tonight, in a new way.

I was always taught that it was this cry, from Jesus to his Father to let the cup of death pass him by, that made him the most human and the most divine.  We can know that Jesus suffered.  This in and of itself was supposed to be a comfort.  That He suffered.  That He knew what it felt like.  May I be completely frank in that, that fact was never a comfort to me.  I wish it was.  It would certainly be more, well, Christian, I suppose.

Something happened to me recently as I was reading the same passage in Matthew over and over.  I read when he asked his friends to stay and pray for him.  When he was over taken with sorrow.  When he begged his Dad not to let this happen to him.  But I never read the silence after.  I never read the fact that though Jesus, who was sinless still had to LEARN through suffering.  That to become close to His Father, to be Mercy to the world, to be the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the ONLY way was to LEARN through suffering. Though he was fully God and fully man, His Father still had something to teach him.

If Christ, the only sinless man, still could not forgo the lessons of suffering in order to walk in the abundance of all His Father had planned for Him, and for us, how is it we think that our own lives, not absent of sin, should be absent of suffering? That we could live a life fully redeemed, fully abundant, full of joy without learning the merciful ways of suffering? Could this be what this means? That to consider it pure joy when we encounter suffering of any kind because suffering is the only way through which we access the fullness of who we are in God, and who He is to us.  Christ’s suffering for us was God’s mercy.  His suffering was Merciful.  Could ours not be the same?

I would never, not ever wish suffering on anyone I love.  In fact, I am human and would prefer to not experience it again for myself.  But I have seen it, and lived through it and have known deeply the impact that suffering has had on my identity in Jesus.  And I can see His hand of mercy- that even some acts of the suffering itself have in fact, been examples of His mercy on my life and on others- to draw me closer, to let me breathe deeper of my inheritance, my daughterhood.  I know He wants all good things for His children.  Sometimes, the good looks like new jobs and sold houses and healthy children and sometimes, it looks like suffering.  But it is all, all mercy.

He is always good.

What It Means to be the 1 in 4

Somehow during the Reagan administration, someone decided that October 15th should be a day to remember those who suffer and grieve from the experience of pregnancy loss.  It still is kind of shocking to me, as someone very vocal about the subject, that it’s something that we often do not hear about, and when we do at all, it is usually much later after the fact.  As a sufferer of three miscarriages, I may be confident enough to say that I’ve read almost all the available material on the internet concerning the subject and all of them have left me feeling, well, alone.  And when you experience this sort of thing, that is the direct opposite of what you want to be feeling.  So, in honor of the Mamas who have survived this tragedy and who suffer daily with the grief of bearing a child who did not live, or being unable to conceive at all, this is for you.

You are allowed.  You are allowed to stay home and not attend baby showers.  Send a gift in the mail.  Trust me, they’ll understand- as long as you send a gift receipt.  You’re allowed to snap at your elderly aunt Hilda when she asks you for the 10000000th time when you and your husband are going to have children when you have been unable to conceive for years.  You’re allowed to cry about it.  Daily, even.  You’re allowed to leave restaurants when a young family walks in with a very pregnant Mama and the very sight of her makes you bite your cheeks in pain of jealousy.  You’re allowed.

You’re allowed to celebrate your friends healthy pregnancies and births and acknowledge the miracle they are, and you’re allowed to weep about it on the way home.  Guess what? You’re also allowed to weep WITH them- something I’ve found with my closest friends is that you rejoice when they rejoice, you cry when they cry, they do the same for you and sometimes that all falls at the same time and that’s ok.  Good friendships can handle it and will be stronger for it.

You’re allowed to have no feeling about it at all.  No attachment.  No pain.  You’re allowed to wonder what the fuss is all about, why there is a day dedicated to such a thing.  You’re allowed to continue trying without fear.  You’re allowed to dust yourself off, call it a day and move on.  No one expects you to react a certain way- there is no wrong way to respond.  No one is you.

You’re allowed to be devastated by it.  No matter how far along you were.  You’re allowed to have dreams about faces and names and what they would have grown to become.  You’re allowed to spend their due date in bed with Netflix and popcorn and wine and take yourself out of life for the day because it’s too raw for you out there.  You’re allowed to hold ceremonies, have dedications and any other tradition that gives you peace and comfort and will help you through.  You’re allowed to reach out to your community throughout the coming YEARS, however long it takes, to come up underneath you.

You’re allowed to tell people when you’re hurting.  That a birthday party or a christening or the post baby chat on what was supposed to be a girls night out is just too painful for you.  You would want to know if something you said was hurtful to someone else, give others the courtesy of telling them.  People aren’t mind readers, and the one in four means that three people don’t have any idea what you’ve gone through.  It’s not even on their radar.  It’s not fair to seethe in the corner without drawing it to their attention.

You’re allowed to choose how you’d like to go forward.  You’re allowed to stop trying to conceive entirely.  It doesn’t make you any less of a Mama.  You’re allowed to adopt or to foster or to care for your community’s kids by volunteering.  You’re allowed to move on from the idea all together.

Guess what? You’re allowed to react, respond and proceed however feels most natural to you (albeit harm to yourself or others, obviously).  And you’re allowed to let the joy back in.  It comes.  In dribbles,  in waves, in oceans.  In brought meals and good laughs and dark chocolate. With it comes the ever illusive hope that you thought would never come for you again.  It came for me.

Impossible

“Sing, ‘Impossible’, Mama!”

It’s the same request I used to make of my own Mother before bed.  I wish it wasn’t so cliche to be a little girl who adored Cinderella.  The Disney version sufficed for the first few years, but it wasn’t until I watched the made for television Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella when I really came alive with the story.  I would watch our grainy VHS tape over and over again, rewinding the part where Cinderella is broken hearted just to look up and see her fairy godmother’s shimmering figure.  This was where the magic happened.  The, “Impossible”. I reveled in the impossible.

I know there have been so many critics and theologians and pastors and spiritual directors who generally use the illustration that God is not Santa, or a Genie in a lamp, or your fairy Godmother.  They say that to enforce the fact that it is the relationship between God and yourself that is the gift- the understanding of atonement and transference and deep, abiding love.  And absolutely, they are right.  They are.  Except-

When I watched that scene as a child, I cried real tears at 5 seeing how tenderly the fairy godmother held Cinderella’s cheek.  How there was no judgement at Cinderella’s final loss of hope, after holding on for so long.   And finally, how her Godmother took ordinary, dirty, everyday things and transformed them into something regal and shining.  Impossible.

We feel as though we are facing an enormous amount of impossible these last, few weeks.  One night before bed after it was evident that I had been crying my girl held my cheek and suggested softly, “Let’s sing Impossible, Mama.” And in that moment I remembered the God of the universe who created all things for my good, the one in the stories of others and my own, the one who holds all things together, His strength and His whimsy and dare I say it, magical way of doing the impossible.

Always doing the impossible.

Tough Talk

Dear Self,

Knock it off.

You’ve been mopey for days and it’s time to end it.  Yes, sure, pregnancy hormones can certainly affect these things, but lets take some responsibility here.  There are a few things we need to get straight, and I’m not sure you’re going to like it but since you’re me, and I care about your well being, it’s imperative.

First of all, this whole life being hard thing is not unique to you.  The whole paycheck to blessed paycheck- you’re not the only one doing it.  You’re not the only one who has suffered loss, not the only one who has to work for hope, not the only one who’s lived through some things. So stop acting like the world begins and ends with you and how you feel.

It doesn’t.  How you feel is actually irrelevant when faced with truths.  Like God has promised to clothe us and feed us and provide shelter.  To love us as children.  Has He ever not come through on those things? No? So why have you spent the last half hour crying over a bill you can’t pay, a house that’s too big to pack, a pair of jeans that (might) never fit again? Because you think He’s shown up so many times, surely He won’t rescue you again? Is that how it works with your children? Is there a time when you will look at Ellie and say, “Sorry kiddo, your rescue quota has been reached.  Bail yourself out this time.” No? Isn’t God your Father? Don’t you tell other people that all the time? Do you really believe it? No one would believe it if you did the way you’ve been this week.

Stop waiting.  Stop waiting for things to change, for life to change, for things to magically happen on their own.  Sometimes God steps in in weird and miraculous ways and it is magical and mystical and we hold onto those moments forever.  Most of the time, He gave us free will for a reason and a mandate to have a community of people around us for sounding boards.  Just do it already, damn it.  Stop wondering if it’s a good idea or something God wants you to do or if you’ll regret it.  And let me assure you, in almost all circumstances, the first roadblock is not a “sign” that you shouldn’t do it.  In my experience, if I wasn’t meant to do something, God shut the whole thing down.  The roadblocks are something we have to push through, knowing the whole while that it’s not our own strength.

Shut up.  Stop talking.  Stop filling the air with all of your banter, quiet or otherwise.  Actually listen and observe for a while.  Did you notice Ellie’s used the words, “perfection” and “Afraid” a lot this week?  Did you?  Did you seek it out as an opportunity to teach her how we all try and fail and that it’s good and normal and even can be wonderful to make mistakes? Does your own fear and your own noise and your own insecurity outtalk your own child? Are you missing what your husband or your daughter or your friends need because your own needs are so loud and in the way?

Rest.  Yes.  Take a Sabbath.  Take a bath, take a nap, read a book, write.  Do what gives your soul life.  But do not misunderstand- rest is not synonymous with laziness.  Walk away from the Netflix and the take-out menu.  Enough is enough.  Let’s call it what it is.  You can do better than that.

I give you permission- to be a writer today, if that’s what you are.  A teacher.  A singer.  A Mama.  A theologian.  An actress.  A chef.  No one has to give you permission, but I will because you’re me and you seem to need that.  Be those things, but be them fully- that means actually sitting down and writing.  Actually getting in the kitchen for something other than a glass of water.  Reading.  Practicing.  DOING.  You don’t need someone to tell you what you are.  You know who God has crafted you to be- but no one else will unless you do something about it.

Let all the small things go.  All of these details that seem to run your life, they only do because you let them.  Need time with your husband? Make it.  Hire a sitter, make a reservation.  Done.  Do the best you can and then let it go.  Don’t answer the phone or the text or the email until you’ve taken care of your family, and yourself.

Guess what? You have it pretty good, you know.  Your life.  It’s a pretty marvelous, beautiful thing.  Stop whining about it.

Good talk.

What’s Your American Dream?

So, we did it.  We did it all.  We did the marry your childhood sweetheart thing.  The get married young thing.  The establish careers thing.  The buy the house thing.  The have babies thing.  (well, we’re still in the process of that one). And you know what?  After ten years of marriage, 6 years of excessive mortgage payments, ten years of jobs some we loved, most we hated, several losses of babies, many tears and triumphs and joys and sorrows later, we’re ready to redefine what our dreams are.

My husband and I sat down a few months ago and asked ourselves, what do we really want? What do we want to pursue? How do we want to raise our children? What do we want our everyday to look like at home?  How is that different than what it looks like now? What it looked like ten years ago?

It looked different.  Way too different to ignore. Big changes were necessary.  But, big changes are scary.  Especially when they go against the norm, or what is expected.  I suppose we were never really good at doing the expected.

Our new dream was for Rich to feel free to change careers without threat of financial ruin.  I have recently just this year been given some amazing opportunities to teach in different capacities and to take a deeper step into church leadership that I would love to be able to pursue, and some creative/writing opportunities that really give my heart joy.  We want both of us to be home as much as possible with our (two!!!!!) miracle babies.  We never want to take for granted the blessing these girls are, and what it took to get them here and we want to maximize our time with them without deeply sacrificing financially.  We want Ellie to attend a public school next fall that we believe will do her little brilliant brain justice- we’re big proponents of being in the world, not of it but the public school we’re currently sanctioned for gives us grave concerns about her education, and even, her well-being.  We want more family, more time, less bills, less stress, more joy, less painful wake-ups, more of each other.

So, we’re doing something a bit crazy.  As of October, we will be putting our beloved house on the market in order to rent in a different town, closer to the train, in a much better school district.  The decision to let the house go was fraught with indecision and much sadness.  It’s our first house.  But, it won’t be our last.  This season in life lasts for only a moment- when the children are little and precious.  We know that very soon they won’t want us to snuggle or take them to a movie or hold their hand while they fall asleep.  We also know it’s imperative for children to see their parents pursuing the things they love- that gives their hearts joy.  It makes us better people, which makes us better parents.

Part of us feels like we’re going backward- but didn’t we work so hard to get to this one place? Perhaps.  But we’re to follow no one’s dreams but our own.  Even if they look a little out of the ordinary.  And dreams change all the time- why not forge our own way?

Why don’t you?

To Be Known

Well, the cat’s out of the bag so they say.  It would be futile to wait any longer to share the news, considering second children apparently like to make their presence known as soon as they are conceived (i.e., helllllloooo maternity jeans from week 6 on up).  There is no hiding the child steadily growing in my womb.

But I really wanted to.

We’ve been public about our losses in hope that it would be a light in someone else’s darkness.  I haven’t hidden the hit my faith took this past January as we let go of a child long awaited for.  Our third we sent to meet Jesus before us.  In some way, it’s almost easier to share things laden with sorrow, hands outstretched and open, having already given up.  This hope thing, that is much harder.

I struggled with telling our darling girl we were expecting again.  We waited, in fact, until just a few weeks ago.  Every time I opened my mouth to share the news with her, the images of her brokenness over the loss of our last one played on loop in my brain.  If I could have hidden it until delivery, I would have.  Alas, my body betrayed my plans.  This little one wanted to be recognized- to be known.  Don’t we all?

I wish I could say it has been easy this time.  That I didn’t wake with nightmares several times a week of cold, hospital beds and empty cribs.  I wish I didn’t spew my worries to heaven instead of praying.  Please let it live.  Oh God.  Please let me live.  Please let us live to see each other.

Each ultrasound with a beating heart is a tearful event.  The relief to hear the rush of pounding.  Every time I walk in thinking I will hear nothing.  Every time I walk out in streams of watery gratitude.  We made it one more week.  One more day.

But this one.  This one wants to be known.  It waves and dances on the screen, mouth opening and closing rapidly as though it was talking already, telling me all of it’s secrets.

I want to honor it’s request, though it is so very hard for me to have hope.  The fact that we discovered it was a girl right in the middle of my sermon series concerning women’s Biblical equality is not lost on me.  She has been listening.  She wants to be known.

So, Cecilia Jayne, little Miss Cece, now everyone knows.  And we are waiting, with desperate hope, for you.

We’re Not Ready Yet

Someday, my love, we’ll be sitting at a restaurant we’ve never been to. We’ll share a bottle of Brunello, because we always said that ten years from now, we would. I’ll be wearing pants that cost more than a turkey sandwich, because our children will be old enough not to spill on me anymore and lipstick because no one was jumping on my bed as I was getting ready.  I may even wear heels, though Lord knows I’ll need help walking in them it’s been so long.

Someday, over candlelight and a white tablecloth, we’ll giggle about how we used to call our parents exactly at 4:30 to see if we could “stop by” with the kids, hoping they would feed us and we could x Thursday dinner off the budget list.  We’ll remember what it felt like to put back dish detergent and make our own to save 50 cents.  We’ll talk about the time when we couldn’t tell the difference between night and day- for years- and we’ll speak about it with fondness for the littleness of our children, who are now half way to grown.  We’ll remember the way they smelled right after they fell asleep, the first time they were sick- I cried then, and every time after, and you always kept it together for me.

We will order appetizers, and salads, and then the main, and dessert because we won’t have to pay a sitter anymore.  We will even linger, finish the bottle, and order espressos because if we are up for one night, we can handle it now.  We sleep the rest of them.

We’ll whisper long into the night about the parent teacher conferences, and the strange first words- “Bobbi-doe”- that we swore had meaning in another time.  How their hair went from blonde to dirty blonde, to the color it is now.  And I’ll tell you what a joy it was to parent along side you- to watch you wipe their tears and their vomit and their hearts off the floor.  To sit beside you as one of the only Dads present at every single meeting, show, play, game, match.  You took off of work, took buses and trains to run to them.  And to me.  That’s how they always see you, as running to them.

We’ll laugh about how tight things were then- how we had to choose between which bill to pay or which whole chicken to buy.  How you stayed at a terrible job for far too long, and how it all seems so funny and different now and how grateful we were for how it forged us into the people we became.

We’ll whisper over dregs of coffee about the times we threw dinner parties with our last ten dollars.  How we spent our tax return each year on a summer vacation in the mountains so our babies could know what it meant to breathe good air and soil. To swim.  To laugh without volume control. To be together and have it be enough.

We’ll close down the restaurant and we’ll walk in silence back to the car, grateful for where we are, but slightly sad for what was.  We will miss the times she sang us awake at 3 am with show tunes.  You will miss her little girl voice.  I will miss having crooked lipstick because we always had to share the mirror.  We will miss this.

This that is happening right now, we will miss it someday.  The dirty clothes and the dirty hair and the tired bodies and the lack of sleep and the missing of each other because there are little people who take up space between us and the empty bank accounts and the empty cabinets and the little girl giggles and the disney movies and the tickle fights and the million wet, lollipop kisses- we look back on this, right now, as being one of the best times of our entire lives.

And we will be right.

So I will make you a cup of tea, and we will watch UmiZoomie one more time until we feel like our eyes will bleed because we know, in ten years, our cups will hold a wine too expensive for the mugs we have right now.  And there is a table, with a white tablecloth waiting for the next act of our lives.  But it’s not ready yet.

Neither are we.

Thoughts for Wednesday

Though it is nearly entirely blasphemous to admit in this household, I hate the muppets.  The show, the movies, the stuffed animals.  They creep me out.  My husband and daughter watch Muppets Take Manhattan nearly 4 times a week and I must pretend as though I want to clean the kitchen.

I spoke in church on Sunday.  You can tell a lifetime of experience in that one sentence.  History prevented me from saying that I delivered the sermon  on Sunday and will continue to do so for the next three weeks.  On WOMEN. And I adored every single brain tingling, late night researching, terrifying butterfly-bellied second.

Ellie doesn’t start school for another week and though I am loving the extra time in our jammies and the snuggles I am ready for her to go back now with all of her 406,708 questions a minute and make someone else’s head tired for just a little.  Really.

Sometimes I pray that someone will magically want to bestow upon us a gift of paying the rest of our debt, and a little English cottage with a garden and no mortgage.  Yup.  I really do.  You never know.

After having stated how grateful I was not to have to commute to NYC anymore, I’ve found myself already formulating plans to go back on several upcoming dates.  Just because.  It does that to you.

I have a mild obsession with proper English baking these days, which is not conducive to this insane weather.  Scones for all!

The weather.  Did I mention the weather?  Mind you to remember that I never complain of the cold.  The cold doesn’t make my legs chafe and my forehead sweaty and my head dizzy and perpetuate this slight nauseous feeling ALL day.  My body rejects when the temperature climbs above 80.  It has been a miserable week and I’m hearing it will just continue into the next.  Though I abhor the heat, I do love when it stays lighter longer so I am trying to be grateful.  Trying.  While sitting in front of the refrigerator.

Though there’s been a resurgence in my baking, my cooking has all but disappeared.  It’s too hot for that.  Thai on speed dial.  I’m on strike.  Until risottos and cassoulets and roasts and stews can be on the menu, I am off duty.

I’ve been in awe of all mothers, watching this week as some of my friends return to school to teach and leave their young ones home.  We are a strong, careful breed who constantly question whether or not we’ve made the right decision every 30 seconds.  I know I do.  I am with you all as you return and juggle over-crowded classrooms and high administrative expectations while you spend your lunch break crowded into the janitor’s closet, singing ABC’s to your littles on the phone.  You’re all a marvel, and are doing a great job. Your kids will be better because of who you are.

I am unsure of how it goes in other households, but I would be completely lost without my husband.  He’s a stellar parenting partner and does all the laundry, which I hate to do.  But above all of that, I don’t know how anyone lives without doing so being married to their best friend.  We can laugh no matter how tired or sad we are.  He’s the one I’d choose over and over again.  It’s fun to see how that hasn’t changed in the 12 years we’ve been together.

I must get better at keeping a calendar.  The one on my phone is useless, I never look at it.  How do you keep things organized????

I’ve officially written this blog post to avoid sorting all the bills.  It can wait no longer.