I have to admit I am feeling a little inferior. Seems like so many of my bloggy friends are doing Great Things with their blogs. Jennifer Haupt is using her blog — called My Faith Project — to track her spiritual journey. Another friend, Christina Frank, is using Living in Splitsville to chronicle her life during divorce. Martha and Me, which I mentioned last week, is Brette Sember’s year-old experiment to bring more Martha into her life. Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell’s blog, Living Large in Our Little House talks about how she’s living a full life in 480-square-feet. They have a game plan. They have a path. I’m still finding my path, but I’ve noticed that the posts that get the most love are the ones where I talk about how I feel as opposed to ones that give great information. While I’m not ready to abandon my overall goal for this blog — disseminating great news, information, and insight about trying to be as natural as possible — I thought I’d listen to the readers and make this Friday Favorites about things in my life that are truly my favorite things. Hope you enjoy, and hope you share your favorite things, too.
- My daughter’s new room. OK, so 13 years ago we bought the oldest, most-falling down house on the block for a song, I might add. Nine years ago, tired of living in 1950s squalor, we built a second story. With three bedrooms. One for Big Girl, one for us, and one for my office. We made a mistake. We should have built four bedrooms. But we didn’t. When Little Girl was born she had nowhere to go, so she ended up living in my office. We tried to find a new house, but my husband had quit his job to start his own business two weeks before finding out I was pregnant. No one was going to give us a mortgage. So just as Little Girl was turning a year old, we built a fourth bedroom. Big Girl got the new room, and we moved Little Girl into the newly vacant nursery. The room we built is my dream room. I built my dream room. As a child, I shared a tiny room that was maybe 8 feet by 8 feet. It had two twin beds, one closet, and a chest of drawers. I could climb on the chest from my bed. Big Girl’s room is the exact opposite. It has a window seat and space for a table, a desk, a toybox, a full-size princess bed, two nightstands, you name it, it’s in there. This seems like a very selfish, very materialistic thing to count as a favorite. (Shouldn’t the love of a good man or the morning hugs from my kids be first?) Probably, but the reason this is first is because it is an example of me turning nothing into something. I built that room on sheer will. It’s something I designed and made happen. It’s a reminder that I can move mountains — and sheetrock and wall studs — if I really want to.
- A great bargain. Last week Big Girl lost a $120 Columbia ski jacket. (A jacket, I may add, I bought at Denny’s Crazy sale at 80% off. With a gift certificate.) It’s getting cold in New York, so I had to go out and get her something. A pancho wasn’t going to cut it anymore. I went over to Once Upon a Child and found a jacket similar to the one she lost. Cost: $5.40. Now I won’t feel bad if she loses that one, too. And I feel good about reusing something that in the past may have ended up in the trash. (It’s actually a beautiful silver jacket that looks practically brand new, so that would have been such a shame.)
- Watching my girls play. Okay, this is more touchy-feely. Some of my best childhood memories are of my sister. Playing store with her. Playing Barbies. Riding bikes. Harassing my mother by telling her that our imaginary friend, Raul did whatever we got in trouble for. (Raul always spilled the milk, for example.) Playing Monster (the “monster” sat in between the two twin beds trying to pull the jumper into the pit between the beds — very dangerous, very fun). Although the girls are four-plus years apart, they are starting to do things together. Hiding under the table, playing tickle, playing puppets, reading together. I always tear up when I see them together. Okay. Maybe this should have been first…
- Volunteering. I am a Daisy leader. I do it for selfish reasons. As a working mom, I wanted to be able to pick the time and day of our meetings. This week we went on a field trip. I volunteered to pick up one of the girls who was in aftercare. Her mom works outside the house, and couldn’t drive her to the event. I was actually grumbling to myself as I drove up to the school, wondering why — when I had a story due that day — I would choose to be a Daisy leader. Then I got out of the car to sign the little girl out. She saw me and came running over to give me a huge hug. My heart melted. That sweet gesture of kindness and appreciation reminded me how, as a volunteer, I was getting so much more than I was giving. Even if it’s not always obvious.
- Being a mom and a wife. Not a day goes by that I am not awed by something one or both of my kids do. Yes, mothering is tiring. Yes, it can be frustrating. Yes, it’s hard work. (My house was never this messy when Big Girl was little!) But when Little Girl runs over and tells me, “hug you, hug you,” and then leans in for a big cuddle, or when Big Girl tells me, when I say my truly gross-looking brownies are gross-looking, that she thinks they are beautiful, it’s pretty cool being me. Likewise, when I realize how lucky I am that I have a husband who has stuck with me through thick and thin and sane and crazy for all these years…well, it’s pretty humbling.
What makes you happy? What’s your favorite thing? I’d love to hear about what makes you smile.