Once again I have learned that it is easier said than done.
I won't even attempt to convince myself that I didn't hit some lows this year. We had crazy weather, school cancellations, sickness, nightmare politics, fear about an unsure future, cooped up kids, bickering, and so many cold nights. But this is what is so lovely about having a blog. I took photos of happy moments that happened in between the bummer ones. I will go ahead and take out all the boring, monotonous drudgery and keep in the fun parts and as far as anyone will ever know, January will have been fantastic. And since the only thing that will survive into the annals of history is what is recorded it will actually become true.
Also, I might have forgotten to tell you that January brings out the forlorn victim mentality that I generally keep buried underneath my cheery All is Well demeanor. During the rest of the year she is chained in a secret place in my gut and only makes and appearance every few weeks for an hour or so while I pour out my stresses to my mom or my running partners. Some of you have never even met this side of me. Consider yourself lucky. She's kind of a jerk.
I only bring all of this up because sometimes I think it is easy on a blog or on any highly edited piece of social media to lie. I mean, I guess it isn't really lying, but it isn't always all that honest.
It is just a whole lot easier to put up a photo of a cute little girl playing with Star Wars toys and think it is a moment I would like to remember.
I don't really want to remember the anxiety I feel about the so-far-unpromising job search that Brandon is going through for the second year in a row despite the fact that he is an expert in his field. I don't want to think about the catch I get in my throat any time I think about leaving Eugene. I want to ignore the insecurities I feel as a mother who yells and makes all kinds of parenting mistakes and who deep down just thinks she really isn't that good at what she is doing. I also want to turn off all the fears I have about the future of our country and our world.
I know, I told you, sometimes I am a big downer.
I am not saying any of this because I need a bunch of compliments. I just feel like I need to write it down because it is a real, honest part of my experience at this point in my life. I want to read my blog in 20 years and feel so happy because of all the sweet moments but I don't want to forget that it was a little hard too.
It is also true that I have about 6 million reasons to be grateful. Some of my friends have a tradition that they pick a word that they can focus on for the year, kind of like a resolution. I tried in January but the only word that I could think of was barf. (Literally)
But now I am one day away from February and I am ready. This year I am picking gratitude. I have no idea where this year will take us. I personally have very little control over many of the circumstances that will impact our family but I know wherever we go and whatever we end up doing that I will have many many things to be grateful for. I am grateful for friends and family and health and I know that it is really not good for you but I am so so grateful for sugar. I am thankful for the earth, for mountains and rivers and the ocean. I am grateful for love and acceptance and all the kind acts that happen every day.
Wow. I feel better already.
So welcome dear sweet February with your occasional sun and heart shaped chocolate. I will banish my dark moods back to the basement where they belong and save my whining for my mom. (Thanks mom.)
Now let's get back to the cute pictures of my kids.
One way that I keep myself entertained is by experimenting in the kitchen. I'm not really a make up your own recipe kind of a girl but I do like to try new things so I have been cooking my way through a book of recipes from around the world. The kids have been adventurous and supportive but are starting to get tired of eating so many strange new things. I have been trying to let them experiment by choosing their own recipes to try. Sometimes they come up with surprising ideas. They feel personally attached to the things they chose and made so there are a lot of food photos. Nobody is surprised.
And it is also the place where my kids and I turn into dorks.
Every time we run up the hill to the mausoleum we make it a point to knock on the door. I don't even really believe in ghosts but something about the way the sound of the knock echoes in the chamber always gives me the creeps. So we will knock and then turn and run as fast as we can down the hill. It is good for a little thrill and a burst of adrenaline, and also provides some comic relief for other people who happen to be passing at the moment.