I got behind. No surprise. I've been keeping busy with a sick husband, spending some more time with the kids since the show ended, studying (and being completely overwhelmed by one class in particular), and trying to get my house back in order. But here I am, catching up for the last 8 days! It's like a Hanukkah of Gratitude!
How could I not start with the guy who officially recruited me onto Team Carlson? This partner of mine, who shares my vision and my values in life and whose happiness is intertwined with my own. I'm proud of him, grateful for him, and will happily argue with him (in both the intellectual/philosophical and emotional/marital varieties) for the rest of our lives. He keeps me solid, I keep him from becoming a hermit. It's a match made in Oberlin.
Day 9: Bean, my first-born
This. Kid. This boy who unflinchingly wore a leopard print skirt and football jersey to his first day of school in a new town. This amazing soul who told me his classmates would "get over it" when they kept asking him if he was a boy or a girl, and whether he was wearing pants or leggings (leggings, of course! Metallic "armor" leggings!). This boy who, as a baby, taught me to be flexible while also demonstrating why sleep-deprivation is used as a form of torture. He has been an incredible teacher to me. I've learned how to be his mom, how not to give a fuck when people stare, how to roll a furious child into a blanket burrito to calm him down, how to pick my battles, how important listening is, and so much more. I'm so grateful that I get to be his mom.
And, of course, this kid. My favorite photo-bomber, my shadow, my buddy, my little ham. He loves to snuggle, and hugs me around the neck to tell me I'm the best mommy ever. He likes routine, unless it involves not being allowed to watch videos. And he doesn't know his letters but he can spell "poop" gleefully. A-Train and Bean are incredibly different people, so I have the honor of learning from both of them. This guy is so laid back (in the context of being 4 years old) and so sweet. Where Bean often pushes the limits and forces me to find the sort of self-confidence in my mothering that he seemingly possesses in all things, A-Train goes with the flow and builds me up (only occasionally tearing me back down!). And his throaty laugh that is almost a cackle? It might be my favorite sound in the whole world.
Days 11, 12, 13, and 14: Very Important Meetings
One great thing about having kids is that, when you move, you can be plopped right into a community of fellow moms. Don't get me wrong, I love my child-free friends and relish the times I can go out and forget I have Y chromosomes. But this group of ladies? They are already part of my joy and sanity in our new town. I can already call them up and say "I'm lonely. Have lunch with me and A-Train?" I can ask for childcare, and they can trust me to love on their kids in the same way. Together, we have turned 4 bushels of apples into apple sauce (an impressive feat!), crocheted/tried to learn so we can make blankets for young new mothers and their babies, figured out why I lost my appetite and a fairly scary amount of weight (it's a medication), soothed children, laughed, cried, and stripped in front of over a thousand people (well, just two of us did that). This picture was taken after we had a moment and ended up in a group hug. So, from left to right, I'm grateful for Carrie, Mindy, Gwen, and Rebekah (who is missing from the photo) and our very important meetings.
Though, obviously, I wish she'd been alive longer - or were still alive - I'm grateful for the 13-and-a-half years I had this woman mothering me. She gave me a solid start, and certainly influences my own mothering. Despite the trauma and drama it relates to, I'm grateful she is my mother.