Archive for December, 2011

So, about a week after Christmas it seems appropriate to do my Christmas post!

We had a beautiful time. It was different than years past, and on the edges there were tinges of sorrow and a stomach flu that kept me away from all the rich and wonderful foods, but there were more smiles this year than the past three years combined.

We were up before dawn with squeals of, “Christmas! Christmas!” and the mad dash to wake up all the other sleepers of the house insued. We were then down the stairs and into the family room where the tree still glowed and the presents were lined up happily and waiting the little one’s twitching fingers. The babe, of course, received a store full of toys and candy and paints. We even spaced the gift opening out, and he finished opening his last present this morning. Even so, he opened each with gusto. He yelled upon each new discovery, “Oh my gosh! A (car truck fingerpaint toy train etc.). I LOVE THIS!”, and everyone was more than pleased to offer up their gifts. He was the perfect receiver and he genuinely enjoys each one.

My brother got the chance to take leave from his base in Kentucky and spend some time with us, which has been fun and has made the family feel sort of kind of whole again. He picks on the babe and the babe picks on him. He has taught him some army wrestling moves and the babe has taught him how to translate toddler speak. It’s a symbiotic relationship.

I still look forward to the rest of the season. New years where I’ll sip sparkling grape juice, the days I plan to spend with my grandmother, days and days and days with the babe.

Of course, I still long for some. Every day I do, but always at the holidays. Isn’t it funny how when you miss someone you remember distinctly pieces of them? The rough spot inside of their palms, the way a nose curves, a gap between teeth. This season I missed the soft brush of a cheek against mine. I remembered the soft baby hairs that fell across the skin and the way her face felt soft when it pressed against mine, and the way I could smell her hair and the lotion she used when I leaned up against her. I missed our night time giggling, our comparison of gifts. But, I told myself it was okay to miss and it was okay to be happy. And I was, and I am. Happy still 🙂



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So, how do you all feel about this season?

I’m pretty conflicted about it. The babe is going to be bombarded with piles of stuff stuff stuff. I can’t help myself. This is the first year that I know he’ll be excited about Christmas, about presents, and I want to feel excited too. It’s selfish, I know that, but I don’t mind. It’s so hard for me to hold on to something happy about Christmas that I’m not going to let this go. It took me so long to let myself feel happy, to tell myself that happy is okay, that I don’t really want to admit that I’m spending money that I can’t really spend to give the babe things that maybe possibly he doesn’t even want. All because I want the smile. The squeals of joy. The, “Christmas! Presents!”, that will come when he wakes up.

Three years ago sister and I went from store to store scouting out unique gifts. We made plans, we split the cost, and we wrote both our names on the package. It’s hard for me now to write just mine, and so on every gift I write, “From Jude.”

The gifts may not be healthy. I know it’s not a tradition I want to start with the babe, piles of meaningless things that I bought. But I know too that a lot of them will be fun for us both to play with, a lot of them will encourage outdoor play, and a lot of them will be tossed to the side. I wish that I had spent time making them. I wanted to make puppets and a puppet house and a cardboard kingdom. I guess it’s okay though. Christmas doesn’t have to be the only time for gifts and fun.

We spent yesterday at the plant nursery looking for herbs and playing in the “Jungle”. We looked for lions and the babe swam in the gravel.

The babe with his can full of gravel

Passion Fruit blossom

What's that over there?

A lovely green anole, deceased at the park

I know my pictures kind of stink, they’re blurry and out of the phone (not even an Iphone at that!), but I like to look at them and I hope you do too 🙂

I look forward to the rest of this season and the rest of the year. I look forward to Christmas and presents and cookies and I feel happy. Happy. I hope all of you out there do too.

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Done Done Done!

Climbing in the dirt

I’m done I’m done I’m done! If you see a youngish woman running down the street in her nude pants screaming, I’m done, I finished, I’m done! You can assume that it’s me. I know that for a large portion of the population completing a bachelors degree in six years is no celebration, but I feel like I’ve done more than just that. I’ve suffered loss and heartache and love and growth and raised a two year old and cried and smiled and grown closer and closer to friends and let some go and discovered myself and went to Vero beach and came back and I graduated from UCF with a bachelors in Creative writing in the midst of it all.

I’m proud and relieved and incredulous all at once. I feel as though my life has been this pot of different herbs and broths and vegetables all simmering and it’s just starting to smell delicious, just getting ready to be eaten.

I was lucky in that directly out of college I was offered a job working on memoirs with a fascinating older gentleman. He began and still has a large hand in Precision companies, he lived in Germany, he grew up in the hills of North Carolina. When he speaks to me his words come out slowly and his stories are filled with a lifetime of learning. His lips are flat and dry, like an old man’s should be, but his stories are full of wet mouthed rebels and big boobied damsels. I like reading about his youth, and I like even more the opportunity to help him shape his words into ones that other people will read and weep and laugh and think about. I think the most important part of me doing this work is that it inspires me. Everyone has a story and almost everyone wants to tell it. They just can’t always find the right words. I’d like to find your words.

I hope everyone out there is enjoying life. Jude and I now have time to climb in dirt and explore bugs and veg out in bed talking about dreams. I’m enjoying every second of it 🙂

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