Toddlers always smell sticky sweet, like an old lollipop. Occasionally after a nice long bath and that baby-scented bedtime lotion, a flicker of baby giggles flits into my memory and we snuggle up close before bedtime. I loved having my babies, but I do not miss actually having young babies. I may be in the minority, but I sure do favor the sweet innocence and simultaneous, often challenging beginnings of independence that bubble up as little children grow into bigger ones. Don’t get me wrong. Toddlers are frustrating and beyond exhausting. They are also hilarious and excited by everything. Every single thing is brand new and so as a result, you get to experience the newness right alongside them. Holidays become more than just another day on the calendar. First times of each new experience are captured religiously with cameras as we try to sear these memories in our brains for the future. Shall I go on?
What sets your soul ablaze? Do you even know? Have you spent purposeful time thinking about it or are you too tired with the daily demands of your life to even ponder such a topic? Is our purpose here on earth to live, pay bills, and die? What are you really good at… does that line up with what interests you? Are you afraid of change? If so, why? What do you really, I mean really, want in this life? What is important to you? Not your friends or family, YOU.
These questions have been floating around in my mind this week as I have been helping my mom recently with exploring the possibility of a new career path. She has been at her current job for 38 years. Thirty-eight years at the same employer. Not long ago, this was a common occurrence. Nowadays, you would be hard pressed to find someone in my generation that has stayed with the same employer (even if promoted or serving in various roles throughout their time there) for more than several years in a row.
Some fun and pretty songs for the week – enjoy!
For almost a decade we were lucky enough to reside with my parents, renting their spacious, lovely basement apartment in Marengo. For a smart-alec kid who moved out at 18 because her parents said no to having a beer (who WAS that brat?!) and grew up way too quickly in many ways, the decision to move back in with them several years later was not an easy one. All in all, it ended up the best decision for all of us, and we enjoyed a long run abundant in experiences only enjoyed because we resided under the same roof. I consider it one of the best decisions we ever made.
Not only did I become closer with my parents and brother, but my brother’s girlfriend became my sister and best friend while living there. I was able to go to nursing school and not work full-time. I was able to bring my first baby home to his own room, one that his Papa decorated and built just for him. We were able to go through infertility treatment and (barely) afford to have our second kiddo, making our family complete. Eventually we had to move out, both due to increased space needs of a growing family and the fact that this portion of our town does not have underground cable internet, which was needed in order to continue working from home for my job. I KNOW RIGHT?! Who does not have cable internet these days?! My parents, that’s who. Ridiculousness.
Anyhow, the reason for my trip down memory lane tonight is not to reaffirm my love for my parents and this amazingly huge chunk of my life. It is to bring awareness to the wall-eating mice in rural Marengo. Monsters, I tell you.
A few favorite summer jams. Enjoy!
We all have friends and acquaintances. People come and go in our lives, making it more pleasant with just their existence. Some last for seasons, some last for years, some last for lifetimes. And then there are the ones that are just, well… different. For some unexplained reason, they are more than just friends. It is like your souls recognize each other, and they just get you. These people are our best friends, our confidants, our lifelines, our tribe. Time can go by in our busy lives and yet this relationship picks right up where it left off, never changing even as you each inevitably change yourselves. There is comfort, acceptance, and support that often exceeds logical explanation.
A door, kissed long and hard by the sun,
Splintered wood, peeling red paint,
Brass knob, hot fingerprints, weeded cement bellowing out below.
Pounded by storms and slammed by ghosts,
A lifetime of entrances, exits, and foot steps,
Oblivious to the world changing constantly just beyond its horizon.
This is still my home, my messy soul.
Chances are you will never meet,
The dusty crevices housing a million memories,
Lucky to stand for so long, sturdy and sure.
Bold speck of reassurance,
Splatter of color in a grey world,
Rooted deep, part of one girl’s beginning.
Replaced today with chalky beige; the new owners favor boredom?
A photograph, to remind of a gloriously palpable youth,
Not quite the same, but she will do well in her new glass case.
Hanging above me to whisper,
You are always with me, and I am with you, kid.
Bittersweet comfort. I go on, as she would insist.
I am married to the absolute best man in the world, and the hands down best father. Often, we find ourselves passing like ships in the night, as I go to bed most nights just before he wakes up. We don’t always have the time, between raising two little boys and working opposite full time schedules, to connect and tell each other how much we care. But this man shows he cares in everything he does. I may not get roses on Valentine’s Day, but he knows I wouldn’t want them. He does so much more than flowers.
One of the greats. Never gets old, songs still relevant. One of those guys that upon listening to his music I am immediately zapped back into that time in my life associated with the song. Can’t help but get a little sappy with Tim. Saw him with Keith Urban live with my little brother years ago and it was ah-mazing. Enjoy the hot weekend ahead, friends!
Perfect parents do not exist. They are a myth that we compare ourselves to when coming to terms with our own shortcomings. Whether we think about it often or not, we continually compare ourselves to our friends’ parenting styles, in an effort to identify and define our own selves in relation to them. It is a normal thing for our brains to do, identify similarities and differences in order to organize people and things into meaningful groups. Us and them. Same or Different. Totally normal, but important to note that although this is a normal phenomenon, it is not always healthy.