Memories: Revisited

December. 2011.

I haven't born stopping by much lately, but today made me realize that I need to. 

It was something random I needed to find; some obscure reference to something I'd written or photographed - and I found it in my archives. What I also found was the reason I started this blog to begin with - a place to capture my words and images. A catch-all for the organized chaos of moments and things that mattered then, matter now, and maybe matter tomorrow. 

She was so little then. In the memories I tripped over in my rush to get back to to today. If no one else ever reads the words I write here, that's okay. I'd forgotten the reason I'd started. And then I found this post about our first trip to Williams, Arizona, for The Polar Express. We were living in Tucson at the time.

If I never do anything else right for the rest of my life, I did this. A memory preserved in small bits; to have and to treasure for always. 

The Polar Express
The Polar Express

“Think she’s old enough?”

Doesn’t matter.

“Think she’ll like it?”

Of course.

“Think she’ll…”

“DADDY!!! Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU!”

Yeah, she’ll appreciate it.

The Polar Express
The Polar Express

“Where are we going, Mama?”

“It’s a surprise.”

“But I don’t like surprises.”

“So we stay home.”

“That’s now that I said.”

“So it’s a surprise.”

“Where are we going, Mama?”

The Polar Express
The Polar Express

“I see snow!”

“Isn’t it pretty?”

“Can I make a snow angel, Mama?”

“Maybe later.”

“After we get to our surprise?”

“Yeah, baby. After we get to our surprise.”

“Daddy, Mama said I can make a snow angel after we get to our surprise.”

The Polar Express
The Polar Express

“We’re here!”

“Where’s here, Daddy?”

“Our surprise.”

“So I can make a snow angel now?”

The Polar Express
The Polar Express

“Enjoy your stay and your train ride to the North Pole.”

“The North Pole?”

“The North Pole.”

“Will Santa be there?”

“Of course. You may even see him on the train.”

“I GET TO SEE SANTA ON THE TRAIN?”

“Yes, you do.”

“I GET TO SEE SANTA ON THE TRAIN!”

The Polar Express
The Polar Express

“Mrs. Clause can see you now.”

“Are you a real elf?”

“Are you a real girl?”

“Your ears are pointy.”

“That’s because I’m a real elf. You’re cute.”

“That’s because I’m a real girl.”

The Polar Express
The Polar Express

“Would you like to be my honorary elf?”

“But I’m a girl.”

“Girls can be honorary elves.”

“What do I have to do?”

“Just hold my hand and wave the first train off. Think you can do that?”

The Polar Express
The Polar Express

“Smile and wave, sweetie.”

“I am.”

“Not at me, you silly goose. Smile at the passengers on the train!”

“I’ll wave at them. But I’ll smile at you.”

The Polar Express
The Polar Express

“We’re going to see Santa”

“Yes, baby. It’s our turn now.”

“Then I can make a snow angel?”

“You are adorable.”

“Can I be an adorable snow angel?”

The Polar Express
The Polar Express

“Hot! Hot! Ooh, we got it! Hot! Hot! Hey, we got it! Hot! Hot! Say, we got it! Hot chocolate!

The Polar Express
The Polar Express

“What would you like for Christmas?”

“A special doll that’s just for me!”

“Merry Christmas!”

“I love you, Santa!”

The Polar Express
The Polar Express

“Mama! It’s SNOWING!”

“I see that.”

“Now see me dancing in the snow!”

“I see that, too, baby.”

“Can we take the snow with us, Mama?”

“No, but I can take a picture of y0u dancing in the snow with us.”

“Take more, Mama. Take more!”

The Polar Express
The Polar Express

“Am I making  good snow angel, Daddy?”

“The best.”

“I want to make it smile.”

“I think it already is, baby.”

The Polar Express
The Polar Express

“There’s snow on my manos, Mama.”

“Yes, I know.”

“My butt is wet, Daddy.”

“I figured it would be.”

“My legs are cold, Mama.”

“Makes sense to me.”

“Can we stay here forever, Daddy?”

“Forever? No. For now? Yes.”

“For now is so pretty. Thank you for for now.”

December 5, 2011.

Remembering When: A New Day

This post was originally published on Janyary 17, 2013. Two years later and I'm still working on my new beginning. And I'm okay with this because it means I haven't stopped trying.  

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A strange thing happened today. I didn’t notice it right away, of course. There was no dramatic realization. No being struck by a figurative lightning bolt. It was more like the rising of the sun…

Slow. Steady. And something that, when you stop to think about it, shouldn’t really come as a surprise.

Sleep has been fitful and restless and mostly non-existent. I was lucky to wake up in time to get Buttercup to her morning pre-ballet/tap class. I didn’t bother bringing a book to read. She upgraded me, you see. A few weeks ago, when she first started, I was timidly asked to remain downstairs in the waiting room while she danced. I’m embarrassed, Mama. Instead of allowing herself to fully relax and enjoy herself with her fellow dancers, I think she had been too focused on my opinion of her performance.

So I waited. And eventually, she asked me to leave my book at home.

I sat in the dance studio with the other mothers while the dancers sues-sused and tapped their happy little hearts out. We smiled and laughed as our daughters delighted in the movement their bodies allow and reveled in their own conspiratorial giggles. We clapped, as a proper audience should at the end of a worthy performance, when the teacher announced the end of the class. Then we helped our happy girls change out of their dance attire and into their street clothes and made our way across the studio to go on with the rest of our days.

That’s when I saw my reflection in the studio mirror. I barely registered what I was looking at….there were too many things to do and think about to concentrate on the size of my ass or what my hips looked like. Hear that? Taking the time to criticize myself would have been a luxury. Buttercup was asking questions and we needed to go to Target and The Husband needed me to pick up a few things at the grocery store before we headed back home and I was trying to remember what they were and…hell. If I don’t have time to read a book or watch trashy T.V. or sleep, do I really have the time to stand in front of a mirror and pick myself apart?

And more importantly, is that how I want to spend the few precious moments I do find for myself? Self-criticism and self-directed body hatred as LUXURY like fine velvets and expensive champagnes and rare jewels and days like tomorrow when I can stay home all day in my pajamas and don’t have to bother with a bra?

I met my own eyes in the mirror once more before leaving the studio and that’s when I saw myself through the light of the new day and realized I had sat in front of a mirror for an hour and only concentrated on my daughter, her happiness, and how I hope she grows up stronger than me.

The woman looking back at me in the mirror was smiling now. Maybe because she realized feelings weigh so much less when shared with others who understand.

Am I fixed yet? No. But it’s a new day.

And that’s a start.

 

Made of Awesome

Did you get a chance to read about our weekend trip to the North Pole? *Nods head* We got to see Santa, talk to an elf, and I gave Mrs. Clause my business card. Which reminds me...I've got to cross that last one off of my bucket list....

Anyway, I didn't tell you what happened after I hit publish. It's simple, really. But it's also made of awesome.

We drove home. And because we had about five hours between Where We Were and Where We Actually Live and mainly because my nerves couldn't handle it we were on our first road trip with Buttercup not in a pull-up, we made more than one visit to the rest stops on the way. That meant we had to take a few more moments for me to take photos of the Scenic Lookouts, right? Come on, moms...don't lie to me. You and your road-trippy self might never be caught dead in one of the instagrammed pics you plop up on the Interwebz for the world to see, but you'll be damned if you miss an opportunity to force your kid to stand in one place and JUST SMILE DAMMIT in the name of preserving a memory.

Which leads me to this...

And this...

Two shots.

Done.

 

Mixing it Up

I used to fill journals faster than I could buy them. "Dear Diary" was too trite for me, so I just wrote for myself and ended each entry with a heart. There are at least 10 journals I have that take me from middle school through college and had I kept at it, there would likely be five times that by now.

But I got married. Got a full time job. Had a baby. Moved cross country. Through it all I managed to update a journal entry here and there. Instead of a daily journey through yesterday, I was able to capture moments in Polaroids built with my words.

Then something strange happened. I started blogging. The private thoughts jumbled in my head were no longer being saved for my pages. Instead, I was sharing them with anyone who cared to stop by for a peek inside my head. And all was well, until The Husband handed me this...

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He saw me drooling over it at the Arizona Renaissance Festival and it came home with me. It's lovely. Hand-tooled. Real leather. And if I care to take the journal back with me next year, the artisan will cut out my bound pages and fill the cover with empty lines for me to fill again. The writer in me was thrilled. And then I got performance anxiety.

This wasn't just any old journal I picked up from the local pharmacy. It was special and deserved more than This is What Happened to Me Today. I could share that here, with you. And if I felt the need, I could delve even deeper into my head in the cheap journal I found with my own words that has taken me more than 3 years to fill. No, this one deserved something special.

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So it sat on my desk, unopened and untouched waiting for me to decide when the time was write and its purpose.

I didn't think about it every day. There's the writing and the dreams of a book deal and the agent seeking and the raising a kid who is probably already smarter than I ever will be and the working out and the writing for Owning Pink and the new role as an official Erma and the Bookieboo writing and the remembering to breathe thing.

Writing...writing...writing....

I've never really allowed myself the chance to be anything else. At eight years of age, I decided my destiny and have breathed that single thought ever since. I even went into newspaper reporting as my day job with the intention of writing for myself each night. That didn't work out so well. Others may thrive with that plan. I came home so burnt out I didn't want to write a shopping list. Maybe that's why I didn't fight it much when The Husband asked if I wanted to stay home to raise Buttercup after she was born.

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Even with Motherhood redefining my reality, I've always been searching for a bigger piece of myself not yet defined by anyone. In short, I needed a hobby. Not blogging. Not journaling. Not anything related to the words that I am not paid for but for which the simple act of sharing keeps me whole inside. I needed something outside of that and stumbled upon it, and the eventual purpose of the new leather journal, quite by accident when I decided to start mixing my own natural beauty products for myself. Eventually I made some for my friends. And then I decided to add even more to my to do list by opening an etsy shop.

The Husband only asked me if I was crazy once. And that was before he realized that even if no one buys a thing, mixing things up in the kitchen is just an extension of my newfound yoga practice. It's another way to relax and something I truly enjoy. So he shut up, smart man that he is.

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My journal now serves as a record keeper for my personal recipes. Words might still fill the page, but in a very new way. And this makes me smile.