bucket list

i fell off the blogging wagon. it was meant to happen at some point.

not quite sure where the last six days have gone, but it feels like a blur. i haven't been crafty or creative, no big thoughts in my head ... i did ignore life to read a book in one day, and that felt delicious. henry has called a few times just to chat, which is always a joy. i'm back in physical therapy for a 30-year-old shoulder injury from my swimming days; that's fun.

but really, not much to talk about.

however, my brain has been drifting often, lately, to the What Comes Next dreaming. the bucket list, if you will. i may as well put that list here, for accountability and motivation ... and something to write about, when nothing else of interest comes to mind.

in no particular order ... here we go:

1. live abroad

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after obsessively bingeing "mediterranean life" and devouring "stanley tucci searching for italy," i have decided that i absolutely HAVE to live abroad at some point, for at least a year. and it needs to be in a place with a slow pace of life, fantastic views and places to explore, simple and fresh foods. and serious bonus points if an ocean view and bougainvillea are involved. i'm leaning hard toward andalucia, spain.

 

2. see everything

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one benefit of living abroad for at least a year, especially if we're somewhere in europe, is the ease of travel around that part of the world. i want to see it all, but REALLY see it. not just the touristy highlights, but the small towns, the little fishing villages, that tucked away spot with the best food, the most gorgeous view that no one knows about except the locals.

we also have a dream plan to live in a place for a month, once a year. try on new parts of the country and world, one month a year at a time, until we feel like we either have it out of our system, or find where we want to land permanently. currently, my short-list includes seattle, nantucket, maine, tulum, cornwall. pretty sure marc's list would include mountains, deserts, and ultra-modern glass and cement boxes in the woods. (the idea for short-term living came about because we obviously can't agree on where we would like to spend our retirement years. i am very much a new england girl, and marc is ... not. so, short term places or we go our separate ways.)

 

3. write a book

i've started and abandoned so many projects. one needs to be given the life it deserves and brought to completion.

 

4. learn another language

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see numbers one and two. learning spanish makes the most sense, but marc speaks spanish. i feel like i should cover italian, just in case. i started duolingo a month ago and can tell you that a boy ate an apple. i have a ways to go.

 

5. learn to sail

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i just want to. my goal is to end up on water at some point before i'm dead, and i'd love to be able to take a little boat out for a sail.

 

6. learn to play the guitar

 

7. learn to bake breads from scratch and make homemade pastas

 

8. live with intention

slow down. simplify. have and do less. quality over quantity. less multi-tasking, more focus.

 

9. have a meal at the lost kitchen

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since first learning of this place a few years ago, i've become obsessed with entering the lottery to get a seat, then taking a spur-of-the-moment trip to maine for a meal. it will likely have to wait another two years, until elizabeth is out of the house. i'll pass the time with erin french's books.

 

10. find my purpose

we all want that out of life, though, right?

 


elizabeth

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when my baby girl was born, i had some ideas of what to name her, but it wasn't until i saw her little face that i knew for sure: harper.

she was three years old the first time she told me she didn't like her name. she thought she would prefer to be called rainbow sparkle my little pony. i talked her out of that.

for the next 12 years, she would occasionally tell me she didn't like her name, didn't feel like a harper. and every time she misheard her name when someone was saying "parker" or "piper," she would become embarrassed and more annoyed with her name.

she mentioned numerous times that she wanted to change her name.

and this week, she asked that we finally, formally, please call her elizabeth.

to be fair, she is starting a new school where no one knows her. she has two more years at this school to try it out, and the school is full of kids trying on who they think they are, be it a new name, new hair color, or new gender. the teachers and administration and classmates are supportive, open, accepting, and nonjudgmental. it's really the perfect time to give this new name a go and see if it feels more her.

on the day that she asked me if i would please stop calling her harper, i told her that if, over the next two years, she feels more comfortable in the skin of elizabeth than she has as a harper, upon graduation we can do the paperwork to change her middle name to elizabeth, then she can decide whether to tell people she goes by her middle name or reclaim her original name as she moves into the world.

her names were given thoughtfully, with reason. but to her point, we gave them to her. we had to name her before we walked out of the hospital. if she's going to live her life, she wants the choice of what she answers to. i can respect that. i'm a michele; growing up in the 80s, every fifth girl was named michelle ... right after the jennifers, amys, stacys, and heathers. i get it.

her dad is struggling with it. not that he doesn't like the name elizabeth or feels particularly wedded to harper (heck, he wanted to name her sam or julie, so i don't think he really cares either way WHAT her name is), but he is worried she's being influenced by the environment in her school that encourages self-discovery. well, buddy, welcome to Gen Z ... especially Z-ers at an arts high school. they're gonna experiment, and they're gonna find themselves, and by god they are going to be better off than we were in the Knowing Who They Are game.

what i would have given for radical acceptance and freedom and support. i wasn't even allowed to get my ears double pierced until i turned 18. (guess who's making an appointment to get about five new holes in the next week or so? i'm learning so much as a 47-year-old.)

i look at these kids fighting through the generational layers of rules and suppression, and i have to think they are going to save us all. when you aren't dealing with your own shit on a daily basis, you're much more free to love, accept, and change the world.

go forth, elizabeth. change your name, change your game.

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damages

my brain is constantly whirring around at about a thousand miles per hour. today, it's closer to a million.

i wish i was able to just plug in, matrix style, and download everything in one concise, coherent, spell-checked, edited lump. but since i can't, i'm left with the conundrum: how much to share? how deep to go? how much hurt do i purge and how much do i hold back? how much time do i put into this before i decide, ultimately, to delete the whole thing and let it go?

to be honest, as i type, i'm still uncertain about the answer to any of those questions, so i'll just keep typing. maybe i'll hit post, maybe i won't.

this is clearly why i've never gone to therapy. if there was a way to walk into a room, sit on the couch, and start in the middle - no need for preamble or introductions or timelines or feelings, just "here's today's bullshit and why i think it's bullshit and and what its bullshit origin story is" - i would prefer that. my husband and i have talked about this a lot over the years, and every time, it comes down to: what if i spend several hours with someone, unloading things and trying to work through things, only to find either they don't get it or they are an idiot and i can't connect with them? then i've wasted time, money, emotional bandwidth, and got nothing in return. so i just don't bother.

i am really good at the "i'm fine" thing; the "i don't have it as bad as someone else" or "my thing isn't that awful" or "whatever. it's done. my life is good, so no permanent damage."

yet i'm not happy. not really. not deep down, where peace within yourself starts. so damages were done.

and when i try to track my ups and downs, i find that most of my downs come from being disappointed in someone or something, or someone/something letting me down or not living up to the standards or hopes i put into them/it. or willful ignorance; THAT one really sends me over the edge.

i hate being let down by things i've been trained or conditioned to hold up. i hate being let down by people based on assumptions i had about them. i hate being let down by the nebulous idea of "people" or "the world." i hate being let down by myself. and let me tell you - that one happens a lot. low self-esteem and self-sabotage are my two strongest personality traits, mainly because i was never taught what good self-esteem is, or given the tools to build myself up and keep going.

my husband - bless his heart - is my biggest cheerleader, and i'm grateful every day that he chose me and continues to choose me and believe in me. but he has also never once in his life had a moment of self-doubt or soul pain, so his ability to truly empathize is ... not great. when i get down, he tells me to fix it, or let it go because i can't do anything about it anyway. which, hello ... as an enneagram 4, that's the LAST thing you want to tell me.

there are truly times when i wish i could be an island; just me, no hurt, nothing to make my head or heart or gut explode in rage or sadness ... no one to let me down or disappoint me with not being who i thought they were. i dream of leaving, moving away where i know no one and don't speak the language so i don't HAVE to know anyone. the older i get, the less i need or want people or their input or their voice in my head. but ... the privilege of that ... i can't do it. if those truly suffering can't flee, then neither should i.

maybe the point is to use my hurt as a means to protect others. use my damage as a way to fortify others. maybe it's time i took a chance on therapy. maybe i go get those tattoos i've been planning and the piercings i've always wanted, and say, "fuck you, i'm 47 and i'm a whole goddamn person who owes you nothing." maybe i learn to smile and nod when faced with something i know is immovable rather than scrape my hands and knees against it. maybe i learn which fights are worth fighting and which aren't worth my well-being. maybe i keep my monster in the closet so it doesn't destroy the world. or maybe i learn that it was never a monster in the first place, just something that has always felt unworthy of being cute and cuddled, and grew fangs to protect from the hurt and loneliness.

or maybe i'm fine, and today my brain is just too unsettled to see it.

 


my high/low for the day

i'm so tired today. so tired. friday, harper had school IN a school building for the first time in 13 months. she was so excited ... i was so excited for her ... but that 6 a.m. alarm was no bueno. it's been a long time since i've had to do that. on top of that, her new school is 20 minutes away, without traffic, so i get to add "commute" to my list of activities as re-entry into Normal takes place. before i picked her up, i ran some errands - another 40 minutes in the car, and after lunch, i drove her to get her first vaccine shot at a CVS an hour away. in a rain storm.

it was such a long day.

the quarantine year has made me soft.

there is nothing creative in my brain right now, but luckily i have this handy little "inspiration guide" in my office ...

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i opened a page at random, to see what topic i could and write about today, and this prescient little nugget presented itself:

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well ... okay.

another weekend in pandemicland, and we are continuing various projects and tasks around the house that we can't stand to look at anymore notice as we spend, literally, every minute of every day inside these walls.

one project that has long been on the list is putting some sort of organization system in each closet. we decided to start with harper's because - just being real here - her closet is usually just a pile on the floor, everything she doesn't want to put away for real, or whatever she's told us she put away but really just tossed onto her closet floor. my hope is that with actual storage in her closet, things will have a place and she will keep it organized.

now, please understand that i DO realize this is likely an exercise in futility. i've always given her ways to organize ... large bins to toss toys in at the end of the day; specific bins for specific things so she can clearly see where things go and doesn't have to figure it out on her own; a dresser in her closet so at the very least she can jam stuff in drawers and call it a day ... and nothing has worked. her design aesthetic is somewhere between "creative chaos" and "hoarder."

but maybe now? a girl can dream, right?

yesterday, marc hung the support pieces, i painted the closet the same cheery peach as her room, and today we got the organizers up and everything put back in. it's lovely. i'm envious. i want to do EVERY closet now.

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and today: our room.

i've been trying to figure out the curtain situation in our bedroom for quite awhile. in fact ... we moved in nine and a half years ago ... so i've been trying to figure out curtains for nine and a half years. i'm picky, a perfectionist, and cheap. those things lead to a LOT of delays in decision-making.

i finally i found curtains that i liked, though, and ordered them ... and was given a four- to five-month delivery window. and back in february, i bit the bullet and went to a custom drapery and upholstery place to order the rods, because of course our windows are too wide to just order curtain rods from a normal place, like a normal person. again, about a two month delivery time. but the curtains arrived last month, i picked up the rod on friday, and today was the day! the rod looks beautiful, the curtains look beautiful, and i was so excited about sleeping in room that is fully dark for the first time in so, so long.

all of these things were total highlights for me this weekend.

and yet ...

what's a high without a low, amiright? gotta keep the universe balanced.

when the closet organizers were going up, i asked harp for her opinion on where she wanted things. i got a very dismissive, derisive, "i don't care!" from her super grateful little self. so that was fun.

then we moved on to the curtains, and discovered that the room slopes about half an inch, from east to west, which made it interesting to figure out where to put the brackets. then we discovered there are no studs on the window wall. i mean ...wtf?? but we did the math and decided 1/4" wouldn't be noticeable over 164", started to drill into the drywall, and discovered that there IS a header, so the top holes on each bracket are in wood. thank goodness. i was envisioning the entire thing pulling out of the wall over time.

but then marc started to put up the rod, and the screw that holds the rods together broke off as he was screwing it in. so: custom hardware, broken. store, not open until wednesday. and as i was putting the drapery hooks into the panels, i discovered flaws on one of them. so: panel, unusable. needs to be returned, and then i have to await the arrival of a replacement.

i mean ... swear to god. does any home project ever go right on the first try, with the first round of stuff you've purchased? because i don't think it has EVER happened around here. there are always multiple trips, returns, something broken or scratched or missing a part or a hole is in the wrong place or whatever.

we talk a lot about moving, about other places where we would like to live. as we were getting through our day, though, i told marc, "it's taken us nearly 10 years to feel like we finally have this house 'finished,' and every project goes less than smooth. as soon as i get the urge to move and do this all over again, please remind me of this nonsense."

and he fully agreed.

we just couldn't agree if we were going two steps forward, one step back, or one step forward, two steps back.

 


the gift of a year; or, how i blew a pandemic

it's so easy to say, " if i had the time, i would (fill in the blank)."

the past year has taught so many of us that maybe it isn't really about the time.

did i write a book? no. did i lose 3o pounds? no. did i learn how to bake bread from scratch? no. did i finish all those projects, big and little, that linger around the house? no. did i make zoom plans, to stay connected with people? no. did i do deep cleaning? no. did i finally organize 15 years of digital photos? no. did i finally organize printed photos? also no. did i read all the books i bought and planned to read? no. did i binge-watch every show and movie on my 'must watch' list? no. did i catch up on sleep? no.

did i do anything useful with the past twelve months?

well ... no. but also yes.

i DID write. just not much. i DID start making exercise a habit and am healthier now than i was, just haven't lost any weight in the process. i DID finally master yeast in the bread machine, so i kind of made bread from scratch, if the machine isn't considered cheating. we did some projects, a couple of zoom calls with family, and i cleaned when i had to. i organized photos a little ... enough to feel like i got started on the project. i did read, but i've spent so much time over the past four years reading history and non-fiction political books that i burned myself out and couldn't pick up non-fiction. i DID binge-watch some stuff, but more than that, i stuck to things that i knew would bring me peace, that would mindlessly entertain me, and to which i didn't have to pay much attention. and i feel physically rested, but emotionally i am still exhausted.

the fact that we have stayed sane and healthy and still like each other after the past year feels like all the win i need.

so why do i feel like a wasted a gift?

truth is, many things about being home and unscheduled exhausted me.

harper has been home every day since march 12, 2020, three days before she turned 15. her best friend had recently moved out of state, which sent her reeling, then school went online. dealing with distance learning has been - to put it mildly - a clusterfuck. she needs to be back in school, and i need her to be back in school.

marc has been home every day since early march of last year. his company said early on to expect in-person meetings and travel to be on hold until this july, at the earliest. for the first time in nearly 25 years of marriage, he's been home every day, slept in our bed every night, eaten every meal at home every day, every week, every month, for a year. while it's been lovely, and we still like each other, and we've talked quite a bit this year about our Next Stage plans, the truth is i miss being alone.

which is a very odd to thing to say after being isolated from the world at large for a year.

but when there are people always here, even if they are in their own spaces, i feel stuck. i feel like i have to be outwardly productive on something visible and practical. being quiet and contemplative and creative don't feel useful or valuable. and i have had to be a thorn in harper's side constantly about school.

i'm feeling suffocated.

when the covid year began, there was a sense of excitement, in a way, about what it would be like to live in lockdown for a few weeks. we started seeds indoors, we got out for walks and fresh air, we had this smug, giddy, "look at us quarantine!! woot!" attitude. when summer came around, henry swam in a lake in a wet suit while it was still cold, then bought a bungee so he could swim in his girlfriend's pool until the team could figure out how to safely train. harper set up facetime "play dates" with her best friend, and they drew pictures together while they talked. living creatively in the "new normal" still felt novel, but took on an air of urgency, to figure it out because who knew how long we'd be in this.

and we made it. life was good, in its own new way. and then we survived fall and winter in similar fashion, yet i learned nothing about using my time more wisely. i couldn't. and i had no idea why.

we have all known we are introverts (well, not henry), so the aspect of not being WITH people for the foreseeable future didn't bother us a bit. but it turns out that when you isolate in your own spaces in your own home, and go hours without seeing each other, it changes something in you. marc and harper will both come to my office, sit in the chair in the corner, and just chat. and while early on in covidland i cherished that, now i just feel usurped. it has taken me until my mid-40s to have a space that is all my own, and now that i have it, people want to come visit me. and harper will follow me around the house, showing me funny videos or memes, and while i adore that she wants to include me, and i know my time with her at home is short, and i know she's lonely ... i feel like i am back at the toddler stage, and just want someone else to entertain the kids so i can escape.

why??

why has this gift of a year, of time and space, been so UNproductive, and driven me even deeper into my introversion?

can anyone else relate to that? can i redeem this time?

what happens in the After? when we can come out of our shelters and are in the world again? though ... people ARE out in the world again, HAVE been, and that just flares my anxiety and frustration and anger at the complete selfishness and inability to care even a little about others. people i used to enjoy and respect have lost my favor; i can't unsee who they are or understand their choices, especially when hypocrisy comes into play. so what happens to my relationships after this?

according to myers-briggs, i'm an INFJ. i've known that about myself for more than 20 years. what i didn't know until a few years ago is this thing known as the "INFJ door slam." essentially, it's how we preserve ourselves emotionally or physically. we cut people off, and that's it; you had your chance, but you blew it, and i'm done.

wow. once i read that, i just said, "yeah ... that's about right." i've been doing it for a long, long time.

but now, in the covid universe, i have a new reason to slam the door on people: i can no longer trust them, their values, their worldview. it was hard enough during the trump years, but add in how covid has been handled, and ... my social media friend count has taken a hit.

so after the vaccinations are given and the world opens back up, are there people in it for me? or will i stay isolated? and what happens to my productivity? or my creativity? if i'm not a part of the world, does creativity even have a place?

i've always thought myself more virginia woolf/"room of one's own," but what if i'm actually emily dickinson, never leaving my room and communicating only via the computer?

maybe a year is long enough. maybe it's time to get the gears of life moving again. it would be nice to do something intentional after all of this ... take some classes, be a part of something with purpose and deadlines, which is where i work best. we were given this gift of a year, we learned many things, we discovered many things, but maybe the greatest lesson is that putting off our desires and dreams and plans isn't so much about a lack of time as it is a lack of motivation and focus. if i had to do the year differently, i'd like to think it would be more successful and i'd have more to show for it. but maybe not. maybe this was the year i needed to know that isolation is my crutch, not my friend.

 


april 1

i'm back. and no, this isn't an april fool's joke. i could understand your skepticism, though.

last weekend, marc and i were discussing the ongoing streamlining, purging, simplifying we have going on around here, and i mentioned that i'm going to let the blog go. pull off things i want to keep, set the rest free. then a friend from my former life in the scrapbooking world mentioned an april challenge on facebook - a daily blog share of artful living - and it got me to thinking: i'd been planning to focus selfishly on my own time and needs and wellness in april, and participating in this challenge would both hold me accountable to that plan and hold me accountable to including creativity in that plan.

win/win/win. win.

i've been babystepping back into creativity during this Pandemic Season ... kept a scrapbook all of last year to document our lives during the dumpster fire that was 2020, and then decided to keep it up in 2021. i also started a small scrapbook in january of my quest to re-center my thoughts and actions on me for the first time in, well, more than 20 years. i have these little projects that i update on a weekly basis, and it has helped stretch those muscles and dust off the skills. during april, though, i hope to add in more creative outlets and learning.

 

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i received watercolors for christmas, took a three-hour online class in january, then ... nothing. haven't touched them since, though i truly want to get back into painting. and i miss scrapbooking; harper will be a senior in the very near future, yet i haven't really gotten back into keeping up with story telling since we packed up our last house to move more than 10 years ago. when she was six. i am so, so sorry, kiddo. for awhile, i was in an online writing group, doing writing exercises and working on my own projects, but ... nope. those have been abandoned, too.

i am in the process of giving the guest room a glow up; does that count?

 

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but even that is on hold until the remaining things arrive. which means that project, too, will be temporarily abandoned, and with it, the creative spark that got me going on it in the first place.

but this challenge: let's see if i can do it. let's see if i can follow through and take that time daily to focus on something other than "what do we need from the grocery?" ... "what am i making for every meal today?" ... "why are there always dishes to wash?" ... "what is this crushing sense of ennui that presses into me, every minute of every day?"

30 days. i can do 30 days. right?

 


stopping by the woods

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Whose woods these are I think I know.   
His house is in the village though;   
He will not see me stopping here   
To watch his woods fill up with snow.   
 
 
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My little horse must think it queer   
To stop without a farmhouse near   
Between the woods and frozen lake   
The darkest evening of the year.   
 
 
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He gives his harness bells a shake   
To ask if there is some mistake.   
The only other sound’s the sweep   
Of easy wind and downy flake.   
 
 
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The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   
But I have promises to keep,   
And miles to go before I sleep,   
And miles to go before I sleep.
 
- Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening
Robert Frost
 
 
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it wasn't a snowy evening, but rather a snowy sunday.
 
seven or eight beautiful, fluffy inches fell through the morning, and then the sun came out and warmed the day to sparkling brilliance.
 
overnight, the temperature fell, fog formed, and when i woke this morning at 6:30, there was a glorious layer of rime ice on everything.
 
 
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i got harper off to school, threw on clothes, boots, hat, scarf, gloves and coat, grabbed my camera, and went for a walk through my neighborhood in the brisk 5° air.
 
it was quiet, the trees were magical, and i took an hour to just be silent in the world.
 
my nostrils froze, my legs burned from the cold, my fingertips needed to be warmed after every shot, but it was all just what i needed to start this week in a much better head space.
 
 
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sometimes, even when everything is awful, the universe reminds you that life is beautiful, and this world is full of amazing things.
 
 
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we need to appreciate it, soak it in, and fight like hell to keep it that way.
 
 
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celebrating what was and what is to come

this update is way overdue. but wow ... how fast does time fly?

one year ago, i was in the midst of stressing about when the deck would be finished, planning a graduation party, and coping with all of the emotional trauma that goes along with your first little bird leaving the nest. looking back, it was one big blur from march to august. it can't be overstated how quickly a child's last year of high school goes, and how lightning fast their last month of school is. prom was in april, dual enrollment classes ended in may, he graduated in june and left for college in august. it went faster than any four months of life have ever gone.

i'm grateful he and his girlfriend let me take way too many pictures for prom ... there's a very good chance it's the only prom i'll get. henry didn't go his junior year, and this year his girlfriend doesn't want to go to her prom. so ... one. (jury is still out on whether harper will ever choose to get dressed up and go to a school event. if you ask her now? nope. never.)

i'm doubly glad, in hindsight, that they looked happy and gorgeous and excited last year.

 

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the day of graduation came, with rain in the morning and threats of rain in the evening. but the clouds cleared and it was a beautiful, perfect night. somehow, i made it through the whole event without shedding a single tear. if i'm honest, though, i totally lost it earlier in the day while taking pictures of henry in his cap and gown, and harper lost it after graduation, which about made me lose it.

 

 

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the deck was finished mere days before family descended for graduation. it was stressful right up to the end, especially with ongoing issues with the door that still aren't perfectly resolved. the furniture for the deck was actually IN our house until just days before the party, which made it hard to clean around. but it all worked out at the last minute ...

 

... and then the day of the party arrived, and it poured all. day. long.

 

 

the tent and tables and chairs we'd rented for the backyard sat unused in the downpour. the screened room, where all the food was going to go, sat filled with folding chairs so we could get some of the people out of the house. the sign and balloon we put at the end of the driveway were beaten down by the rain, and laid all sad and soggy on the yard. just before people started to arrive, the deluge lightened to a drizzle, but it was too late to save any outdoor plans.

at the end of the day, more than 150 people filtered through our house over the course of three hours. many stayed longer. some stayed longer still. when henry's buddies arrived, they grabbed plates of food and headed to the basement to play video games. i had no idea at the time that they did that, but when i heard about it, i was tickled that they all felt enough at home to take that initiative. one hot dog full of ketchup got dropped on the white living room rug within the first 15 minutes of the party, but my mom (super stain master) was here and quietly took care of it. we ran out of food an hour in (how do you prepare food when you invite more than 100 people and get 11 rsvps??), but my wonderful sister-in-law and mom made emergency runs to the store. it was a madhouse, and i know i didn't get to talk to everyone who came, and i didn't take a single picture during the party, but it all worked out in the end and everyone seemed to have a great time. we literally could not have pulled it off without my parents, marc's parents, and his sister. even harper and our niece jumped in and helped with decoration and treats. it was an all-hands-on-deck moment, and all the hands were so appreciated.

 

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and then it was over. prom ... graduation ... the party ... all done. he was again a lifeguard for the summer, again swam on relays that got age group state records, spent time with his friends, went dorm room shopping with his buddy/roommate. then august arrived, and we drove him to south dakota and left him there to start the next phase of his life.

over the past nine months, he has excelled in the classroom (dean's list with a double major: political science and spanish, in the honors program, started his freshman year with enough credits to be a sophomore), in the pool (he was just named most improved for the season at the team banquet), and as an emerging adult. i'm not a horn-tooter for myself, and i don't want to sound braggy about my kid, but here's the deal: this is all stuff that is just true about him, and i didn't have to pay anyone half a million dollars to make it so. i continue to be amazed by the young man his dad and i created. i wish we could take credit, but he's just a freaking special human being.

his freshman year of school will be done within the next three weeks, and he will again be under our roof for three months. i can't wait. i know summer break will look different because now he's an adult and used to autonomy. but i also know our time with him at home is waning. i'll take what i get, and will be grateful to have both of my little birds home for three months. because now i know how fast three months ... or a year ... can go.


the importance of remembering

it's been a long time since i've written anything down, and i hate that it's a habit i no longer have. for years, most of my day was spent documenting memories and stories, writing down facts and milestones about the kids or our family, keeping track of all the things we will want to remember.

i haven't touched paper and glue for years, i no longer write on a daily or weekly basis, and those are things that need to change.

the days and months are speeding up, and i'm afraid they're going to pass right by and i won't have paid enough attention because of the constant busyness, and not being mindful in the moment.

say what you will about scrapbooking and memory keeping: you have to be present, and you have to pay attention.

the coming nine months will find me pulling out all of those rusty skills for a very important reason: henry's graduation.

because that little pork chop just started his senior year.

 

Kindyrsz

1strsz

2ndrsz

3rdrsz

4thrsz

5thrsz

6thrsz

7thrsz

8thrsz

9thrsz

10thrsz

11thrsz

12thrsz

ouch.

last year, the big milestone was that he drove himself to school. this year, he didn't even go to the high school on his first day ... instead, he's enrolled at the local community college for the year. he's ready to be done and on his way; the next phase can't come soon enough for him.

we're knee-deep in college talk. he has his first official visit with a coach and a school in september ... the swimming will continue. i can't even begin to comprehend how quickly this school year will go, and if i dwell on that too long, it breaks my heart. and yet, i'm so excited for him and what comes next. i know he will have a great time wherever he goes, and he will love the challenge of the classes he takes and the opportunities that are presented.

but that's next year. 12 months away. i'm not going to think about it. instead, i will cherish that he will be home for lunch most days, and because of his community college schedule, we will actually have a bit more time together during the week than if he was at the high school.

looking for those things to remember and hold on to.

yesterday, he texted me from the parking lot when he got to school, just to say he was there and he loved me. today, he met a girl friend at the mall after school and had lunch and did a little shopping. one foot still here, one foot halfway out the door.

and that's as it should be, i guess.

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in summary:

ten days before july ends and we start the lightning-fast slide to the end of summer, here is a brief look at where we are and what we've accomplished in the past two months.

to recap:

harper's room was going to get a new look

henry's room was going to get a refresh

something about shelves in the basement

veggies in the garden

 

as of today, we've accomplished precisely zero of those things.

unless you count three tomato plants and the herbs.

 

so what HAVE we been doing?

well ...

 

henry swims at 8 a.m. daily for 2-2.5 hours, at either a pool that is 15 mins away, or a pool that is 45ish mins away (depending on traffic).

 

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after swimming, there is a one hour or so time gap until he needs to go to work.

dude's a lifeguard:

 

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marc traveled literally all of june.

 

harp WAS swimming ...

 

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but kept having stomach issues, so she opted to sit out the rest of summer.

those stomach issues? last week they became a seven-hour visit to the emergency room, during which time she had not only a blown vein while trying to get her iv started, but both an ultrasound and a CT scan to check her liver, gall bladder, appendix. verdict? high likelihood of a ruptured ovarian cyst. poor kiddo.

 

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other than that, she had a sewing camp for a week,

 

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got some new socks,

 

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and is now in summer band.

 

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on the few days that henry doesn't work, he's usually either doing summer homework or out pokehunting with friends.

 

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and just yesterday we finally managed to make it to the dmv so he could take his driving test.

he passed.

now we have to let him drive.

 

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which ... remember what i said about 8 a.m. swim practices?

and one night i got to do something fun: i went to see brandi carlile and the avett brothers with my friend, sue.

 

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and right as the concert was starting, i got a text from my mom that my grandma had passed away.

 

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sooo ... yeah. fun stuff.

summer's been super productive and relaxing.

we have a very fun trip coming up, though, and then: school.

and then, maybe, i can get stuff done around the house.

 

how does it all keep going so fast?!

 

 

 

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