Well now that it’s almost this weekend, I thought I’d write about last weekend.
One of the best things that happened to me this past weekend was getting a long, slim envelope in the mail. Everyone knows that I love getting mail in general but this..this was worth getting excited for. We now have a star.
There are so many reasons this means so much to me—my little Jada, shining up there the way she did down here. Seriously, tell me that’s not the most thoughtful thing ever. Thank you to my wonderful kindergarten teacher :)
We went through some more of Jada’s things this weekend. I was relieved to find it was a happy experience—we all surveyed everything, excitedly remembering where we’d been when she’d bought that ratty stuffed animal, what we’d been doing when she’d last worn that shirt. It made me miss her a lot, but it was peaceful recounting all her best moments.
Friday night was another high school football game. Jace went with his friend and Kenyan went with her friend. I can’t believe she’s old enough to go to games alone. I almost parked the car and went with them instead of just dropping them off. Except that I saw Kenyan’s expression in response to my suggestion and thought better of it. [That wasn’t the expression, by the way. It was more of a subtle death-glare.]
I ended up going to dinner with a friend at the most quaint, colorful restaurant I’ve ever seen.
The walls, ceilings, and plates were all splashed with vibrant colors. The whole building was a cozy kaleidoscope of color.
And they made their own tortillas, fresh and hot. Probably the best meal I’ve had in Texas. (you know, aside from all the things I make of course. Ha. Not.)
We took this picture as a joke but honestly this was how I felt the whole way through. It was early and cold. I was tired and felt like my fingers were going to freeze and fall off.
The race started and initially I kept up with the fast people—quite a feat given my recent discovery of how hard it is to run in Texas. I kept plugging along, occasionally getting passed by a runner or two [actually I think one of them may have been a pregnant woman but no one needs to know that]. Annnnd after a while I lost track of the fast people. But I was still ahead of the slow people. And I was still feelin’ good because at least I wasn’t last. I kept running, trying to dig up motivation from somewhere, trying to make this fun somehow, trying to find a good song on my iPod. I ended up running to the edge of the town before I realized that I wasn’t on the right roads anymore. I had gotten lost [Blonde moment #98759. How many is that per day, Richard?]. I contemplated sitting on the ground with my head shamefully in my hands, waiting for someone to come find me a few hours later. Then I contemplated hitchhiking back, but nixed that thought in an attempt to retain what little pride I could. I sucked it up and started schlepping on down the road, making my way back, cutting across a field and highway until finally, finally, I made it back. And guess what. I STILL beat a few people. Suck on that!
Ha. Jk. I’m really not a good runner. But I will be. One day.
Being the first weekend in October, we got to listen to Conference—another highlight of the weekend. Aria and I built a tent and listened wonderful things, like the New Zealander telling me to not spend so much time on Pinterest.
I love conference. It leaves me empowered to be try a little harder to be a little better, to change things I don’t love about myself, to be more hopeful because “it’s better to look up”, to love what I have a little more.
One of the nights this past week the girls and I had a picnic in our backyard. It’s finally started to cool off in the evenings and it was a little bit overcast and we were just sitting there frolicking in the grass eating our Lavosh and candidly laughing. Not posed at all.
Please notice Aria being a creeper in the background, preparing for an attack.
We worked on the house some more. Jace built a wicked desk out of his already boss sound system.
Kenyan got a new bedspread.
Aria worked on her gymnastics.
And her planking.
And we had plenty of bike time.
Check out that color in my hair. I’m so hip.
Honestly, the past week or so has been a nasty emotional roller coaster; full of a lot of really bad things and some really good things. I try to stay away from the computer when I get overwhelmed with unfounded feelings because I really tend to make no sense when my feelings make no sense. I hate having days like that, where I feel like everything is wrong but I can’t pinpoint what the real problem is. Like a real roller coaster, I’m always just glad when it’s over and I feel like I can rest easy.
Wednesday was stupendous. When I woke up it was raining and—get this—thundering. Just like the good ol’ Florida days. I’m pretty sure my brain’s wired wrong, but I feel safer with each crack and rumble of thunder as it rolls across the sky. I love the sweet smell of rain as it falls and fuses into the hot sidewalk, bouncing off driveways and quenching the parched grass.
Rain feels like relief to me—it always has, even when I didn’t live in a desert. I especially felt the relief that morning. Rainstorms are a chance to let go of troubles, hurt, and pain; to let the rain wash it all away. It’s a chance to take a break from the errands you were going to run and curl up with a book instead. To make soup for dinner, to slow things down. The change of pace always leaves me reflective, determining where I stand with myself as I sit on the porch watching the pellets of water break as they hit the ground. I sat there for the duration of the storm, soaking in the beauty of the heavy rain, being grateful for the storms that make my life a little easier. More grateful than I’ll be able to express.
When the rain letup for a minute my mom and I braved the outdoors to go eat lunch with Aria. Because my mom’s a good mom who does stuff like that. She also buys us black pasta whenever she’s in Spain, but that’s irrelevant.
So while they ate their delicious cafeteria salads I hung out with Aria’s friend. Who also happens to be my best friend. So what.
I can’t even tell you how much I loved being back in a public school cafeteria. That nasty smell of uncirculated air, the food that they just can’t seem to cook properly, the feedback of the microphone protesting from too much use by the one lady trying to keep control of hundreds of elementary-school-ers, and the smell of Styrofoam and plastic to ruin whatever appetite you had left.
mmmmm. Good thing we only came for the company.
“The awesomest girls in the world”, according to Aria.
It just so happened that as we were leaving, Aria’s class was going outside for recess. Which meant that my mom could get some chatting time with Aria’s teacher. Which meant I got to play tag with Aria and her friends.
In the freshly-hydrated dirt, commonly referred to as the-most-slippery-mud-ever. Also I was wearing sandals, creating the need to run around barefoot in the mud. With fourth graders. I’m so incredibly mature.
It was a grueling game that left me covered in mud and gasping for breath. I was relieved when my mom saved me by deciding it was time to go.
Then today was another glorious day, except this one was full of sunshine, a KILLER institute class that led to some introspection in the parking lot of the temple, and more burning rubber.
No matter where I am I always enjoy driving—cruising down the roads with the windows down and music turned up. It makes me feel free, it makes my head clear, it makes me happier. As in, the real kind of happy.
It helps me notice the simple things. I’m starting to see the beauty in this place a little bit. A little bit. The road rises up here, the way it does in Florida, reaching up to a blue sky (a different shade of blue, but blue nonetheless).
And the sun still rises here. Maybe light shines a little bit differently—like there’s a different filter on the sun—and maybe it stretches across empty fields instead of spilling around high rises and skyscrapers. But it still shines, and that’s really what matters.
[Title from Chosen Armies by Children Collide]