I have a great friend. One of those friends that before we even met, I would see her at pre-school pick up and drop off, and love everything she was wearing. I thought she dressed her kids so cute. She had a smile on her face, and a kind word for everyone. And I knew we were going to be friends. And she later told me, she knew it too. And since we clicked, it has been a mutually wonderful experience. I love her so very much.
She has moved out of the country and back again. Suffered through a lot, and really struggled. And we have kept tabs on one another, and shared our triumphs together, and eased each others pains. She is unlike any friend I have ever met.
Having coffee at her house years ago, she mentioned to me that she wrote letters to her children. About nothing in particular. Maybe something funny they said. Or a milestone reached. Some were about a funny outfit they picked out, or a great family conversation at dinner. Picnics, and flu's....you get it. A little snippet out of their daily lives. A piece of time, sealed up in an envelope, and ready to be read, in the future. A family time capsule.
I recall feeling awful that I had not done anything like that. I felt terrible that so many adorable things my babies had uttered were already gone from my mind. I was beginning to not recall bits and pieces. Sure, I have the photos of them dying Easter eggs, and leaving treats for Santa. Halloween costumes, and smiling, glowing, faces above candles on cakes, dripping with frosting. Those are required.
What I didn't have was the small stuff. The giant dreadlocks that Molly wakes up with every morning, on the back of her head. The easy walks in the woods. Dinners by candlelight, and dancing in the rain. How it felt to curl up with them and sniff their yummy necks. These were things I know would slip away. And I needed to put them somewhere.
I chose this venue. Mostly because the last thing we need around here, is boxes of sealed envelopes, filled with letters. My organization abilities have never surfaced to date, so I knew piles of papers would possibly be what would happen, if I even wrote to them at all. And I type very quickly, thanks to that god awful typing class I took in junior high. This was going to be my diary. For them. For them to know me. For them to know us. And for me to remember all of the minutia.
And it isn't always great. It sometimes stinks. It sometimes sounds whiny and repetitive. But it also is mostly really great. Actually, really, really, great. It is filled with love, and passion. It is all I ever could have wished for and more. And then some.
But putting your life in a venue like this has come with a price. You open yourself up to criticism. You are scrutinized by strangers, and sadly, people much closer to you. I have had the great opportunity to have my words now be included in my local paper, in the form of a weekly column. I am thrilled at the chance, but some days, I feel stifled. I have an editor who only wants me to write about hardship, and financial stress. And you know there is a lot of that here in my home.
But sometimes, I don't want to write about that. I don't want to think about it another minute, because it simply isn't who I am, or what we are. We are so much more. And continue to morph and change daily. Our financial future may be uncertain, but hell, so is everyone else's. But our future together as a beautiful family has never looked brighter.
Yesterday, in one exchange, I was called awesome, and a victim. I am unsure how I can be both. Through writing, and a commitment to changing the way I see things, I have never felt stronger. I don't feel like a victim. Even a little. In fact, I have never felt stronger in my entire life. I have never felt more capable of being able to be accomplish all that I want. I know it will all come together. Maybe not in the way I expect. But, like the beautiful life that has revealed itself to me, in a package I had not quite anticipated, it has been a gift.
THAT is awesome.