A few weeks ago my daughter’s jump rope team performed at a basketball game on the college campus. I’d known about this for weeks and I predictably found myself on my knees in the bathroom where I waved away toothpaste caps, inside-out tights and hair elastics to clear a space. I blasted her still-damp (but clean!) uniform with a hairdryer minutes before her ride picked her up. A few feet from me, Andy was in the shower and we talked about what to make for dinner. A few feet in the opposite direction Ruby stood in the hallway pleading to make cupcakes. Margot practiced jumping rope next to her.
There was nothing extraordinary or stressful about this situation. It’s funny how ‘normal’ changes in our lives. Remember when our house was quiet all the time and clothes were in dresser drawers? Barely.
When my kids were babies, people liked to tell me that the intensity of nursing one baby while another sat on belly holding a stack of books would naturally ease up when the kids were older and more independent. And that school would crack open an expanse of time in which “I wouldn’t know what to do with myself.” I always cringed at that sentence.
Our daily routines feel more intense today than ever before. Everything is bigger: our children, our grocery bills, our laundry piles, our social calendars, our needs, our responsibilities, our worries, our joys. Sometimes I dream about having those baby days again. As a new mom, I found a content stride and purpose I hadn’t perviously known. Everything felt dreamy and safe with my kids dangling from my torso 24/7. I was good at it and I loved it. I wasn’t even sure I’d ever have kids and then I wanted to breastfeed forever and quit my career to pursue work that allowed me to wear babies all day. Time measured in carrot purées, walks around the block and writing for giant chunks of time during my daughters’ naps.
Oh, that rose-colored hindsight. I know those early days weren’t easy but they feel like they were now that we are navigating things like peer influence, increasingly full after-school sport schedules and pushback over earrings that I find *too* dangly. Also: the fact that my kids have outgrown my wingspan. They fly on their own, sometimes out of sight. But always on my radar, my chickens. Always.
I turned 39 and here are 39 things that make me happy.
1. My new deodorant, made by my friend. It is 100% not toxic and works! And I put it to the test yo.
2. A matched pair of socks in a drawer.
3. A pretty shower curtain that hides our moldy vinyl tub walls.
4. This belt my dad made when he was in high school (the same high school my kids will go to).
5. Feeling physically stronger than I’ve ever felt in my life. I’ve been lifting weights for over a year now and who knew the satisfaction that comes with placing heavy things on my shoulders and doing squats with a bunch of people, surrounded by loud pop music?!
6. King bed. A gift from my parents. I really love not touching anyone while I sleep.
7. The Power of the People. Keep up the good work, friends.
8. My husband’s art.
9. Beeswax candles.
10. Clean sheets, especially after stepping over laundry piles and dust bunnies to get there.
11. My parents are moving back home this year. Imagining my kids skipping to their house after school makes my heart explode.
12. Fresh tracks in new snow.
13. Cooking with my kids.
14. The very first sip of coffee in the morning.
15. Deciding to embrace my grey hair and then deciding to embrace dyed hair (over and over again like 7 times) and then deciding to do both. My dear friend who colors my hair, when I expressed feeling crummy about wanting to dye again: “Don’t judge yourself because you don’t like the color of the hair growing out of your head.” And now I get to again sit in her kitchen every few months and sip wine while she wraps foils around my locks. It’s a silver brown blond mashup. And because I’m dying only parts of it, it feels edgy and fun.
16. Thumbing through the Fedco catalog and dreaming of spring.
17. Writing the book I want to write in my mind, waiting for the day it actually starts happening.
18. Green plants all over my house.
19. Learning to use the sourdough starter my friend just gave me, rumored to have been started in 1898 in Bethel, Alaska by her friend’s family. I have no idea what I am doing and my first many loaves were barely edible. And then! I started to figure it out.
23. Girlfriends who get me.
24. My two new favorite lip colors: Fat and the Moon Lip and Cheek Stain and Smashbox Be Legendary Stylist Matte.
25. Headshots! After embarrassingly sending in several selfies/photos my kids took to business partners, I hired my buddy Logan Photography to take some pics. Man, it’s awkward being on that side of the camera and I felt like a weirdo the whole time but Logan made it pretty fun and easy. You can see another snap from that day over in the sidebar there →.
26. These jeans.
27. The sisterly moments I get to witness every day.
28. My colorful kitchen shelves.
29. Hugs from my kids.
30. Ski season.
31. Dreaming about our spring break adventures.
32. Bird watching.
33. I am going to wear a bikini this summer.
34. Jameson on the rocks.
35. I am teaching a pie workshop on April 8. Details so soon!
37. The flexibility in my work that allows me to hole up for 8 days when my kid has influenza.
38. Getting outside alone, after 8 days holed up with a sick kid.