Monday, October 20, 2014

#soblessed

A couple of posts ago I taunted with mention of a post dedicated to the manner in which the universe has provided for me this past year. As with all of my musings about my new living situation, I am always hesitant because I know my being in this new space hurts people that I care about. But there come times when I am so overwhelmed by it all that I must write it out lest I burst. This is one of those occasions -- most notably because it hasn't been one occasion as much as it has been a multitude of such occasions. The universe has been generous, indeed.

From the moment I set out to find a place to situate myself, I noticed this compassionate care. I never look at Craigslist for apartments. People die on Craigslist. But, I felt compelled to do so. And I never look at ads on Craigslist that don't have pictures because why bother, yet based on the address, I felt compelled to look at the listing for this apartment. And it has turned out better than I could have anticipated.

In the ten months that I have lived here, I've had to largely recreate something of a home. This is where the verklempt comes in, because whoa. From small to significant, to absolutely necessary to subtle and thoughtful, I've had more bestowed upon me than one girl should ever have. One friend gave me a bed. My colleagues have collectively given me two couches, an entertainment center, furniture for the kids' bedroom, a brand new coffee pot, and just today (hence forcing me to finally sit and put this all down) a bag full of books and coffee mugs (because when your office is directly next to mine you come to know what I like.)


One friend had lost his grandfather a few months ago, and he and his parents allowed me to ransack their estate sale -- providing a full set of pots, pans, baking dishes, and a wide assortment of other kitchen goodies. Another friend, in a not dissimilar situation to my own and not having a ton of "extra" to share, gave me a cutting board and cheese grater because those things are wicked important.

An air conditioner. End tables. Clothes. Bottles of wine "conveniently" left behind. Bags of groceries that just happened to be lying around. Mason jars. Candle sticks. Vases.

When I again decided to trust Craigslist, I found the bunkbeds on which my children sleep. This stranger, forever in my phone contacts as BunkBed Mike, not only cut me a deal on them, but then delivered them to my house, 20 minutes away, on Easter weekend -- because his kids had used them when he first moved into his own place eight years ago. Kindred.

And then. I type all of this from a macbook, handed to me in kindness and generosity because my laptop fried back in February and a new computer is not in the 2015 Austerity Budget.


Let it not be overlooked that these are just the things. These words do not represent the hours of love and friendship. Conversations, pep talks, hugs, tears dried, and laughter induced as I have navigated through the worst of everything last October to these days of hope and contented sighs.

I know I am forgetting stuff; and it's not out of a lack of appreciation as much as it is out of complete overwhelmedness. {new word; you're welcome}. Literally, there is not a day that I do not take a moment to recognize and express thanks for how very blessed my life is. I've learned so much about how little I need to be happy, and how much people will share of themselves when they meet you in love and friendship.

I frequently use a hashtag on Instagram #soblessed. And it is the one true thing.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

BW2014.

Buddy Walk. 2014.

I missed most of it. I won't lie. Turns out, being presidential is a lot of work, if you can believe that. I have exactly two pictures on my phone from the day, and they are both shots I took before the event to post on my DSA's Facebook page. If not for the grace of my friends and Team L team members, I'd have nary a memory to share with y'all.




But, alas, our team came through and here are some of the moments they experienced...while I ran around a baseball stadium with a map, a microphone, and a mission.


B and S lead off the charge! 

Soccer on a baseball field? Sho' nuff. 

L and Aunt K

Doing the Daddy Thing. 

B getting a pointer from Coach. 


My littles and the littles of my best girl. Swooning. 

The Annual Fearless Foursome Fence Photo. {Foto?} New Venue, New Fence. 


But this shot made my day. THIS is what it's all about. 



There was one moment, when I stood atop the first base dugout and watched hundreds of friends and family and community members walk the outer perimeter of the field and it was astounding. The crowd nearly extended the entire circumference of the stadium. My heart was so very, very full.

Happy Buddy Walk Day, Hudson Valley.

Monday, October 13, 2014

a different kind of october.


Longtime readers know that I have an ongoing love affair with October. This year has felt significantly different. Whereas I have typically seen the season as Mother Nature's last hurrah, I definitely sense this year the quiet release of the year that was. And what a year it was...


Everything that would lead to this moment...the moment of me sitting on my couch in my apartment with my kids asleep in their bunkbeds in the next room with a warm beverage next to me and a gifted laptop on my lap, surrounded by all of the items that have been bestowed upon me by others*...everything that would lead to this moment began last October. I don't think I realized it until just recently, but I secretly suspect that this is the truer reason why I opted not to do 31 for 21 this year.

The way the light hits during my morning commute, the smell in the air...it all takes me back to one year ago and all that shattered during that month.

I'm in a daily fight with my TimeHop app because it just doesn't let you forget a damn thing. Brutal, yo.

And yet. This introspection is good. It clarifies and quantifies the journey. It forces me to take stock and see the areas of growth, of potential. Of pain, yes...but also of healing. And of gifts and gratitude. It allows me to cast my mind over the year that was and notice a sense of calm, peace, and dare-I-say ...accomplishment?

This year challenged and goaded and shaped and molded me. But it did not break me. I have been astonished beyond verbal capacity at the generosity of others. I have marveled at what I am capable. And I have learned that in all construction, one must dig a big old pit in which to pour the foundation. If ever a pit was dug, it was October 2013.

But alas. It is October 2014 now, and because it is October, this still happens. And it is good.

Morning commute. 

Lunch hour. 

This girl...


My heart. *swoon*

This past year has been everything because if nothing else it brought me to a sunny Sunday in mid-October. There was yoga, and grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch, and trip to the park, and the grocery store and the three of us around the table for L's favorite pasta dinner. Everything.

--///--


*this theme...what the universe has gifted upon me...will be a post unto itself in the very near future. I've got a lot to say on the subject. 


Monday, October 6, 2014

post race photo bombs.

I spent yesterday trying not to die. Or whine {too much}. And eating. So much eating. But, I also attended yoga class, took a 3 mile walk to loosen up, and collected pictures of race day. That's how I roll on recovery day.

OK. So, there are only four pictures. But they're good ones so I shall share them with you now. I'm a giver.

Pretty, pretty. The grounds of Bethel Woods. 


This is the topography of the course. So when I say #badass, I effin' mean it. 


One of the less grotesque finish line shots. It's never pretty by mile 13.1.

And my favorite shot of the day {perhaps of any race in recent memory}, my friend A and I walking off the course in glory. Her hubs commented something along the lines of "a moment of exaltation before the exhaustion". He isn't wrong. 


Warm and dry and starting to regain full use of my quadriceps, I can now say...It was a great day. 


Saturday, October 4, 2014

2:16:30

Days after I finished the half marathon at West Point, my friend The Marathoner, said, "Well, you'll never run a tougher half." 

When I see him I shall tell him he has been proven mistaken. 

All of the tourism brochures in Sullivan county use words that sound so pretty about landscapes and rolling hills around the old Woodstock site. Misleading -- that's really all I can say. The half marathon course I ran today should be nicknamed The Annihilator. It was so cold and so rainy and so very very rolly-hilly. 

I am trying to let go of my goal to hit between 2:05 and 2:10 and be happy with my finish. I didn't die, or cry, or hitchhike and those are all victories. {I did say lots of bad words in the general direction of the race organizers, though. They are just cruel.} 

I ran with friends {always lovely} and there was a wine festival at the finish line. The general vibe was relaxed and "we are all in this rainy mess together", which was apropos to the venue. My day was made when a couple decided to forego any preconceived finish time to stop and chat up some cows on the side of the road. Hippy love. I learned that if you blast the heat in your car you can deliberately fog up the windows and change out of rain soaked clothes in relative privacy. I also learned that backseat changing and skinny jeans takes some skill. 

The course was still beautiful, despite the dreary weather. And I was reminded of how much I have changed and how strong I can really be. 

There was a moment, I had settled into an easy stride and the quiet country lane rolled out before me. I started reminding myself of all the {heart} reasons I run: And there are many, almost none of which I will share here. But one thought rose to the top -- I run because I am alive. 

In that moment, rain pouring down my face and cleansing my soul, I was more alive than I have ever been. 





Thursday, October 2, 2014

baby.

Quickly snapped this morning while completing the pre-school day routine in order to show all our loves that Miss L had lost another tooth. 


I can't stop staring at this photo. My baby. Yet not. At all. She's so grown. So beautiful. So effervescent. So everything. I marvel at the sight of her. 

#31for21 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Happy October!

It's October. Many, many, many of my bloggity friends will be hosting 31 for 21 parties on their blogs. I'm opting not to this year. The past several have really been a struggle to commit; mostly because I have very little say on the topic. This year, there are just too many other things on my plate, though I may do something via Facebook or Instagram to note each day of the month how completely mesmerized I am by the experience of being L's Mama. But, kudos to all who will dilligently post daily in honor of that scrumptious bonus chromosome!

That being said...I'll facelift my own FB post from last night to kick off October the right way.


***


2,648.

The number of days I have been living with an ever increasing intimate knowledge of Down syndrome. I am neither novice nor expert. I'm just a Mama who happens to be madly in love with her little girl.

October is Down syndrome Awareness Month. We'll be celebrating like we do...snuggles and love and naughty behavior and consequences and silliness and Buddy Walks and school days and snacks and bedtime stories and Frozen and lots and lots of laughter -- because in the end, it's just our life and it's just a month and she's just a girl. Perfect in her imperfections. Vast in her impact.


So, go now and read amazing words by amazing parents about their amazing kids. It's October, folks. And celebrate we will...