One Year Ago

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

As it turns out, a year really isn't very long.

The hurt still stings when I remember the new reality, this new world order...tears can spring to my eyes instantly when it registers, yet again, that this is how things are now.

The person who taught me how the word "charisma" could be embodied, my best friend from high school is gone from this world too soon.

There have been so many times in this year I wanted to come here and write about this grief. 2013 was such a strange year; we welcomed Molly into the world and our family. We lost my precious Granny, after 93 full years. Then suddenly, bona fide tragedy, losing this friend also.

The juxtaposition of the two different griefs, along with the new life--it was too stark to bear sometimes. I missed (still miss) my Granny... but I can think about the last time I laid eyes on her, asleep forever, peacefully in her bed, after almost a century of life on this earth, and I can grieve with a peaceful heart. With thankfulness.

With the has just simply taken my breath away. At thirty years old, my childhood has (obviously) been completed, with plenty of time for reflection, and thus the Important Memories have risen to the surface to possess always. For a bulk of my formative teenage years, in those memories that have risen to the top, so.freaking.many of them are with her, around her. Being such a magnet of a personality, she was a party in and of herself.

We took years of French together (and even made a summer trip, just the two of us, to Nice, France to study and live with a family there). My French classroom name was Lise, her Juliette. Yes, my firecracker/shining star of a friend sparked my love of the name. A namesake for my firstborn, in a way.

Adulthood led us in different daily directions. But the weight of her impact on my life supersedes how often we were getting together for lunch at the time of her death. I simply miss her, and think of her in a state of disbelief that the world no longer has her in it.

They say time heals all wounds. But this...for all of us who knew her, we will likely carry these scars of grief always. I've learned more about grief over the past year than the in the 29 years preceding. But I do remain enormously thankful for the myriad happy memories that go along with that electric smile.

miss you, kelly

Anything and Nothing

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Juliette doesn't know the word "nothing" or "no one" - she thinks it's "anything" / "anybody." I can't bring myself to tell her the difference.

Leslie: What did you do at school today?
JTJ: Anything.
Leslie: Who did you play with?
JTJ: Anybody. 

(Do I have a sullen teenager in my house already, or a 3-year-old? Are they secretly the same thing?)

Leslie: What would you like to eat for a snack?
JTJ: Anything. I'm not hungry. 

Leslie: What did you just do to Molly? (Following lots of ruckus and or a little wrestling/gnashing of teeth)
JTJ: Anything. She did it to herself.

You get the picture.

The thing is, this logic sort of makes sense to me sometimes. Anything and nothing, somehow the same thing. That's what I feel like I've been doing lately--anything and nothing. Raising kids, going to work, holding down the fort, spending time with loved ones, going places, doing much of it is the same week after week. But yet every week is different, every week brings a new challenge or developmental milestone for the kiddos, the seasons change, budgets may ebb and flow, and there's always more - "anything" - to learn. I don't guess any of that made sense.

My bachelors degree is in English--a degree I used to call the "anything and nothing" degree. Devoid of a teacher education-focused track, I graduated qualified to do anything and also nothing. Obviously, I found my way (being able to craft a sensible, appropriate business email can go a long way).

My dear husband had the day off yesterday (the first in a while), and we spent the afternoon as we like to do, pretending it's Saturday. We took the gals to this old old drug store here in Memphis, for milkshakes. They sat at the counter, feeling like big girls, enjoying every bit of the sweet sugary nectar.

Anything and nothing... I like it.

Books We Love Right Now (kiddies)

Monday, September 01, 2014

I'm not the first one to blog about books my kids have been loving, but I figured I'm always looking for new recs, so here this goes out into the universe and maybe we'll get something back our way?

(clockwise from top left) A Sister More Like Me | Girl of Mine | Read Aloud Bible Stories: Vol. 3 | The Bunny Hop | The Day the Crayons Quit

1. I read about the Frozen book on another blog, and I'm SO glad we bought it. The story of two sisters with different personalities is of course apropos to having two girls of my own (as any sister - or even sibling - duo would be). The illustrations are simply incredible and darling. Here's the post from the personal blog of the illustrator, about the book if you're inclined to read.

2. Girl of Mine was gifted to us by my dear Jesse when we were expecting Juliette, and it has been one of our favorites since we started reading it to her. The story/rhyme is so sweet, and illustrations are so pretty. Molly reaches for it regularly now.

3. Read-Aloud Bible Stories are a favorite of Jules. They read these books regularly at their school, so it works great in tandem with reading them at home too. I love the illustrations, and the way the stories are phrased make them easy for her to remember. We have volumes 1, 2, and 4. There are a few families who gift this to every new baby, and we've been so glad to have our own copies.

4. I don't exactly remember where we picked up this little copy of The Bunny Hop, but it's Molly's absolute favorite book right now. I don't hate reading it either, since it's a long rhyme (easy to animate), and the illustrations are pretty cute. Molly loves what she knows of Elmo (of course), and is also a fan of Big Bird. It's a cute one.

5. We're definitely not the only ones to love The Day the Crayons Quit, but oh boy. Such a fun book to read (I enjoy it!), and the illustrations by Oliver Jeffers are so clever. Definitely a crowd-pleaser for both boys and girls.

So hit me back--what have you been reading with your kids?

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