There are many, many days in any given year that are special to me, for any number of reasons.
Today, though. Today is big.
Seriously – there are all of the feelings.
Eight years ago today, I had a daughter. She was perfect. She was beautiful.
She still is.
In Ava, I see everything I once was – and so much I could never be. Confidence and beauty and every hope and dream in the world. I want so much for her, and at the same time I’m terrified I’m unintentionally projecting some vicarious dreams. That’s not what I want. If she takes nothing away from my mothering, I want it to be the knowledge that above all else, I love her. No matter what. If she quits too soon, if she loves unexpectedly, if she makes the wrong choice. When she can be sure of nothing else in the entire world, she can be sure of me. That she is my heart.
For eight years I have been in this fog of awe that I could have ever produced such a spectacular human being, and it won’t lift any time soon.
Six years ago today, I married my best friend. We went on a whim to a courthouse and said vows in front of a stranger, and then we ate Mexican food.
It hasn’t been easy. In fact, it’s been harder than anything else I could ever even think of doing. I’ve wanted to quit and I’ve wondered what we were thinking. But I’ve also had the most amazing times of my life.
I’ve never really believed in the concept of soulmates, but I do know that to find someone you can lock onto is a lucky, lucky thing. It’s unlikely and it’s messy and it’s embarrassing and it’s everything you think it shouldn’t be, but in the midst of everything else, it’s having a partner. Someone on your side. Someone who can hurt you like no one else – but chooses not to, not because you can hurt them just as badly, but because they want to keep you from hurt. Teamwork and frustration and heartbreak, joy and accomplishment and laughter and tears.
Maybe it isn’t Cinderella. Maybe it isn’t all unicorns and fairy farts.
But it’s spectacular. It’s the whole world. It’s a work of art.
All in all, it’s a pretty great day.
If anyone had told me three years ago that I would soon be a mother of three, I can think of a whole host of replies I would have had. They would have included distance, laughter, and a healthy dose of profanity.
To say that the news of your pending arrival was a surprise? Well, that’s one way to say it.
But it happened, you came.
And now it’s been two years since I met you. And not a day has gone by for the last two years that I have not slept with you by my side. Held you when you cried (and at first, during the colic days, it felt as though you would never do anything else). I know the way your weight changes in my grasp as you finally give up and start to dream. I know how many refusals it takes before you relent and take the juice instead of milk (three, sometimes four).
None of this should be new to me. I have, after all, done this twice before.
But this is different. I have never been this intertwined with another human being. If I had known this type of connection existed, I would never have been able to go back to work with your brother and sister. For 730 days you have changed everything. Daily.
To see you now – to watch Max and Ava and to see how they both stumble over themselves to be near you – I realize I had no idea how incomplete we were before we met you. You have filled a hole in our family we never knew existed.
I guess, Lucy Grace, what I need to say more than anything else, is thank you.
Thank you for the giggles and the sass.
Thank you for the kisses and the curls.
Thank you for turning my husband into a daddy.
Thank you for giving your brother and sister someone to be an example for.
Thank you for needing me more than anyone ever has.
Thank you for being my baby.
I love you so much, my big two year old girl.
(I’m so terrible with things like this, but thanks to my wonderful wife for letting me have a part of her blog today. I’ll go back to being geeky over at http://justusgeeks.com)
For the rest of my life, no matter what happens, I will always remember seeing you for the first time. I heard your first sound. I counted your fingers and toes at least ten times. At least. On a day, which I admit I was not at my best, you were perfect. Perfect.
One of the things I worried about was that even though your Mom and I had thought Lucy Grace was the perfect name for you, you’d be a Mary. Or Janet. Or something else entirely.
But there you were…my Lucy Grace Steen.
And how right we were. As you’ve grown up so much in the last few months and weeks you say that name with a certain authority. You are becoming your own person, and there’s not a lot your Mother and I can do about it.
But why would we want anything differently?
You amaze me on a daily basis. You’re learning more, getting smarter, and you somehow know that you are what makes us “go” on a daily basis.
I’d do anything for you. Anything.
Your Mother and I talked not long ago about just how perfect for us you were. One day we’ll explain to you about how we never thought we’d be able to even be anyone’s collective Mom and Dad, let alone yours.
And how you saved us.
How you saved me.
No matter what happens on the rest of our journey together, Lucy Grace Steen, I will always be in your debt. And although you might not always act it, you’ll still be my perfect little girl.
But for now, while I can, I’ll hold you. We’ll dance and jump. Take Big Steps. Watch Jessie until the DVD wears out. Ride your bike. And get bigger, and bigger, and bigger.
There are so many people who love you; don’t you ever forget that. You may take advantage of that, but always remember that all you have to do is be you and we’ll love you.
On your big big day, know that I love you more than the world. And I always will. I’m so glad to be Lucy’s Daddy.
Make two peanut butter and jelly lunches
Fill (and refill, ad nauseam) sippy cups
Empty the trash
Pick up Legos and the like
Take a ridiculous amount of tests
Fetch the mail
Load and unload the dishwasher
Groom my eyebrows
So I have more things to list.
1. I think the Doritos taco sounds gross. And I even like Doritos.
2. Now I want some Doritos.
3. I think I need a new phone case. Suggestions?
4. While I am not salivating for the new iPad, I think Josh needs one.
5. I guess no one actually NEEDS one.
6. Looking for a job is fruitless. Some days I just want to take copies of my resume and stick them under windshield wipers.
7. In about two weeks my baby will be two years old. This is unreal. She got her toes painted for the first time last night.
8. I should exercise more. These days my regimen consists of some yoga and a grueling course of YoGabbaGabba.
9. I cleaned out my Facebook friends the other day, and I feel a little guilty about it. I’ll feel guiltier when the repeat requests start coming in.
10. Seriously why do people do that?
11. I need to vacuum. But frankly, it’s not really worth the five minutes it will stay clean, especially since Lucy screams like I’m pulling out her fingernails every time she looks at the vacuum.
So the good thing about having a blog is that sometimes I can just randomly list things that I think, or that I want you to know. This is one of those times. Therefore….
- I saw The Hunger Games and it was so brilliant that I kind of want to weep because I have to wait so long for the next movies.
- I have not yet used shampoo on my hair since the last time we talked about it. My hair feels great, though I don’t know if it looks any different. Josh says (embarrassingly in front of other humans) that I have dandruff, but I used some apple cider vinegar and I don’t see any flakes, so maybe that took care of it.
- I registered for next semester this weekend, and seeing the words, “Classification for registration: Senior” kind of blew me away. I may have been so taken aback that I teared up a little.
- Lucy talks a lot more these days. A kind of whole hell of a lot. My other two were verbose, but she is…I don’t even know. Tenacious.
- Ava and I write letters to each other. I am ashamed to admit that the last letter (before yesterday) was sent months ago, and it has totally been my turn all this time. I feel awful about it. But she is just the sweetest thing ever and wrote me right back, so now it’s my turn again. Dammit.
- Ava also went shopping with her Nana yesterday and came home with two bras. This contorts my mind on so many levels that I can’t really even begin to describe. Yeah, I can, actually. I hid them. She’s been wearing little sports-bra/camisole things for a while now, but these are for real triangles and hooks. They have CUPS, people. I am not ready for this.
- Max is completely and totally awkward. I love him a ridiculous amount, but (I’m probably a terrible mother for admitting this) sometimes his oblivious dorkiness makes me cringe. He tries so hard – too hard – to be entertaining and cool. I don’t know how to tell him that he’s much more awesome when he doesn’t try.
- Josh and his friends are hosting a podcast. It’s actually pretty entertaining.
- The bedroom that we live in is getting kind of out of hand. Like the Hoarders people would have a field day in here.
- I read Fifty Shades of Grey. If you don’t know what that is, then I can only explain it as housewife porn. I have never really read stuff that is so totally and completely kinky. I can’t say for sure, but I may or may not be planning to read the next two books (it’s a trifecta of kink).
- I have started playing Draw Something. It makes me happy. Probably a little too happy. My favorite part is watching the other person try to guess my drawing. My username is Emylibef, so, you know…we should play.
- I missed my therapy appointment last week, and I feel like I stood up a friend. I suppose that either speaks well of my therapist or badly of my tendency to overpersonalize.
- My hair, since I already brought it up, is getting really long. I really like it, but I have these ridiculous waves of let’s-cut-that-shit-off and so far I’m pretty proud of how I’m holding up. I’m even growing my bangs out and that now means I have to pin them up in a weird little bouffant. I try to tell myself it’s a vintage look. Like it matters, since really Lucy and the cat are the only ones who ever see it.
- Lucy took this picture after she stole my ipad. I have, literally, three dozen incarnations of this photo on my camera roll.
That’s all I have for today.
As some of you know, last year Max got an ereader for his birthday.
Which he promptly dropped into the toilet. It never recovered.
Following the swimming ereader incident, Max pretty much didn’t have a great deal of contact with electronics. Then, with his Christmas money, he bought himself a Nintendo 3DS, and in the time he hasn’t been grounded from it (which hasn’t been just a WHOLE ton), he’s done pretty well. He’s kept it from falling, he’s taken pretty good care of it.
So much so, as a matter of fact, that recently I’d begun trying to persuade Josh that maybe he needed a shot at another ereader. The thing is, I have all these books – classics and not so – that he should, could, and probably would read…but I have them in ebook format. I do have actual books, but most of them are in storage. If they haven’t been sold to Storage Wars or something.
Friday, totally randomly, my kids were out of school. Like, school didn’t meet. Apropos of nothing. Max said it was in honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday….somehow I doubt.
We passed the day pretty low key, playing dance-in-a-circle with Lucy, watching Family Guy reruns, and waiting for storms. Max and Ava whipped out their gaming gadgets and played various games against each other. I hadn’t really been paying attention to the gaming unfoldery, and Max had gone to the back of the house – I figured to go to his room.
I was wrong. He was in the bathroom. I thought nothing of it.
Soon, though, Ava stood up and streaked back to the back of the house. I heard the two of them whispering (like seriously, they whisper louder than they talk), and I went back to investigate.
It was like I had caught them canoodling each other, except…not at all, because Ava was standing in the bathroom door with her hands on her hips while Max was digging in the rank and disgusting toilet with some sort of grabber….thing.
It looked like this:
Kind of. You get the idea.
Max, my son, who by the way is in the gifted program and has had people ooh and aah about his brains since he was born….was prospecting in a cloudy pile of shit for what turned out to be the stylus to his 3DS. Now, in case you don’t know, the stylus for the 3DS is somewhat unique in that it is collapsible and metal. It’s not the plastic things like I used to use to write on those grey cellophane things that stuck to a cardboard plaque of wax.
Without getting (further) into disgusting detail, the stylus was retrieved, the grabber thing was tossed, and Max spent almost 45 minutes out in the yard with rubbing alcohol and scrubbing implements. And I made him swear not to allow anyone else to touch that stylus.
I probably should have just bought a new one.
Also, Dan bought him a Kindle. Stay tuned for its eventual fate.
So I haven’t shampooed my hair in over a week.
For several reasons. One being that I am a lazy ass. I openly admit that.
The other reasons are a bit more grown up and noble.
A while back I was doing some Twittercreeping. You do that, right? Someone responds to someone and you have no clue what they’re talking about, but it sounds like it might be good times so you go try and see the conversation? Then you end up, thirty minutes later, on some random person’s Twitter reading things they said 457 days ago, with no idea how you got there?
No? Just me? Ok.
I was intrigued.
Now, I have always liked the idea of being all peace love recycle dirty hippie earth mother. But the fact is it’s a lot of work, and as we have established, I am a lazy ass. So while I like the idea of cooking organic and home grown and recycling and compost, let’s just say I’ve picked up some litter and called it a day. Except one time, in sixth grade I was inspired by an episode of Saved By the Bell and I circulated a petition to get recycling bins for soda cans. I did not realize that petitions are only necessary if you’ve asked and been denied, so it was kind of pointless, but I GOT THOSE BINS BY DAMN.
I did order some herb seeds recently, though. I genuinely hope I can get them in the ground. And I even looked at Diva cups on Amazon. PROGRESS.
This, though. For some reason this appealed to me. Fewer chemicals and less plastic, and if it doesn’t work my hair has never been that great anyway.
It was a no lose situation, people.
So, I stopped. I have “washed” my hair twice with baking soda, and the second time I put/spilled some tea tree oil into the powder.
At this point I’m kind of ambivalent. My hair is not nasty like I’d expected, but it’s nothing special. HOWEVER, the fact that it’s not terribly nasty after a whole week gives me hope that it will soon be Pantene commercial glamorous.
A girl can dream.
UPDATE: I just showered/baking sodaed and this time put some lavender oil in.
I. Smell. Delicious.
I’d like to say that I’ve been relatively quiet lately because I’ve been bustling busy, being scholarly and cleaning house and such.
I think the fairest way to say it is that I just ran out of words. Like I’ve said before, I have this calendar of post ideas and the idea is to jog creativity and such. And everything I’ve ever read about serious writing says that to be a writer, you write. You write on days when you’re sick and days when you’re tired and days when you have nothing to say.
And normally I do. But for the past week or so, it just hasn’t been there. Nothing at all. I’m not depressed or anything, I think I just needed a bit of a break. So I took one. I didn’t Facebook like I usually do. I didn’t respond to emails. I didn’t really tweet.
This past weekend was pretty lovely, and Josh and I spent most of it geocaching, which is perhaps the greatest thing ever. If you’ve never heard of it, concisely it’s like a worldwide scavenger hunt, and you participate using GPSs. You drive around wherever it takes you (there’s a handy iPhone app), and you usually end up going some pretty cool places.
Josh and I started geocaching last year, took a break over the summer because damn it’s hot, and then we remembered a few weeks ago…”oh yeah, that’s super fun, let’s do it again.”
So we did. This weekend we went all over North Mississippi/Tennessee/Alabama, following blinking GPS dots, digging in the brush, climbing hills, and – in one instance – trying not to get sucked into the muck of a sulphur spring.
I don’t really know why I like it so much. I have a habit of scanning out the window while we drive, to see if I see any dead bodies in the woods.
I never said I wasn’t, you know, weird.