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easy

My news feed lately has been more political than usual.
I get most of my news from Facebook or John Stewart so I rarely feel like I can jump in.
But there is too much in the last week to ignore.
Confederate flags coming down.
Rainbow flags going up.
And for the most part, people supporting those decisions.

Four or five summers ago I got an email from a friend in Peru who had just had her heart broken. By a girl. And I think wanted me to make it hurt just a little bit less.
Sometimes I have good words. But this day, my words only made the wound so much worse.
Her heart ached from rejection, but more than that.
She thought that maybe this was god’s punishment. That she would never get to have her heart stitched back together because maybe something inside her was wrong.
She asked me flat out if she would ever be able to get married.
And the question was less about the law that banned it, but her faith that often made people avert their gaze when she took her place in the pew next to them.

It is one thing to feel rejected and heartbroken by someone you love.
I have experienced that.
It physically hurts and makes you not want to get out of bed or shower or listen to anything but terrible love songs. But I can’t imagine the ache that she was feeling because it was so much bigger than the damage one person can do to your heart. I knew she wanted me to say that of course God wanted her to get married…but more importantly that she was not wrong. Or broken. And that like my favorite Psalm says that she was "perfectly and wonderfully made". 
Instead I crafted what I thought was a beautiful response on heart brake and threw in a few Air Supply references that I am sure she didn’t get because she is younger and cooler than me.

She didn’t respond. For a week. 
And when she did she was not encouraged, she was pissed. 
I had told her that this was her issue and her fight and that I had plenty of my own issues to sort through. 
Pretty much in those exact words.
Words that I wish I could take back. That I thought had been spoken in love, but were really spoken in fear. I was afraid of condoning what I wasn’t sure of. Of wrestling along with someone else.  She eventually responded and said “if people like me were not going to stand up for her, who would?”
I guess I was hoping that someone wiser or braver would do it.

Her hurt taught me something.
You can not love someone fully if you are not willing to stand up for them.

There is fear in fighting for people who aren’t like you.
There is fear in being mistaken for the other.
I am not nearly as wise or brave as I would like to be, but I have heard that “perfect love drives out fear”.

A few years ago I briefly changed my profile picture to a red equal sign and I hated that I hesitated before doing it. That I worried what other people were going to think or say or judge. (and they did).
Me with my husband, 2 kids and a dog.
Me with all my health benefits and I only get funny looks at PTA meetings because my shirt is on inside out.
Me with clean water, more food than I can eat and white skin.
Me with all me easy and advantage and fear.

A few months ago I emailed some of my friends. Friends whose toast I gave at their wedding….(which is now finally legal!)…and I asked, what can a busy straight girl do to love your family better…because I am starting to think that my faith calls me to do that…not the other way around.

Her answers were surprising.
She didn’t ask me to put a rainbow sticker on my car or march in a parade with her.
She said things like let your kids play with my kids, talk to families like mine at church or school events. Especially if no one else is. Actually, I’ll use her words because they are better than mine, “Make sure your kids know that there are all kinds of people and families in the world - girls who like boys, boys who like boys, girls who like girls, families with a mom and dad, with two moms, two dads, (two moms and a step-mom...lol), etc. Ask them what they think about that, if they know any families like that, etc., just keep TALKING to them and don't be afraid of it. If you're not afraid of the subject then they won't be either.”
That’s it.
That is all she wanted.
That I could "do something just by being a safe and open person to talk to.”

Sometimes we make it hard.
But it isn’t.

Love it turns out is pretty easy.


punctuated equilibrium and pizza


A few weeks ago, I sat at my kitchen table with dishes piled high in the kitchen sank and we ate pizza off of paper plates and drank from mismatched wineglasses.
Our kids ran in and out of yards. Drank 23 capri suns and left them laying on coffee tables and counter tops. 
While the kids weren’t looking we ate ice cream straight out of the tub. Even though it wasn’t on everyone’s diet and washed it down with cheap bubbly wine.
The conversation ran the gamut. From marriage to children to parents to work. To just plain silly.

It was just after 5:30 on a Friday which is sacred time for me.  Time I am usually spent from my week and find myself in pjs way too early and scouring netflix. or redbox. or anything that doesn’t require thinking or pants.

But this was better.
Our kids found a trampoline in a nearby yard and bicycles and nerf guns. And we kept talking.
Trying not to look at the clock because we all had other places we were supposed to be.

We used to be just down the hall. Or share a lunch. Or bump into each other in the copyroom. There were no children to take to soccer, basketball, or tball practice.
It was easy, then to be friends. 
So easy we didn’t even realize it.

These days it is still easy.
Just a different kind.
The scheduling is hell. It can take months to end up in the same room. 
Our kids don’t always get along.
We don’t always get along.

But there is no need to put away the laundry or straighten my hair.
Our words are not careful.
They are real. And funny. And hushed. And snarky. And all over the place. And occasionally all at once.

It is this thing that I come back to. Over and Over again.
Back then we were so different we thought. One was the most negative person I knew (and also the most loyal), another was the most positive (and also generous), and the other they said was the funniest (and also me).
But we followed the same bell schedule and had a lot more in common than we realized.
Over a decade has passed and the differences have widened.
We have all moved.
We have all changed.
We have all dyed our hair at least two dozen times.
We have changed churches and doctors and medications and pant sizes.
We have had babies and weddings and new groups of friends.

My husband was trying to tell my son that he grows just a little bit every night. That it is slow and gradual and so subtle that you hardly notice it until your jeans are too short and your toes jam the end of your shoes.
I told him that I thought he was wrong.
That I swear just this week that my daughter grew an inch overnight.
That there is this thing in Biology called punctuated equilibrium. 
It says that most of a time a species doesn’t change much. That it is often in some extended period of stasis, and then suddenly all at once there is rapid change and growth. Occasionally even enough to make it no longer the same thing it started out as.
That things can evolve in spurts and bursts and sudden leaps, rather than slow gradual accumulated steps. These leaps are not random. But they are caused by some kind of pressure on the system.
Climate change, disease, a new form of competition. 
And that people are just the same.
Just with slightly different pressures.

My life feels like it is in some kind of punctuated equilibrium.
That all this change is hitting all at once.
I have spent years feeling like I was in a loop and that the only thing changing was my children.
And suddenly…
I spend the hour between my kids soccer games doing research so I can get my paper done in time rather than chatting with the moms next to me or on my phone.
My garage is piled full of boxes to move into a new home.
Some of the things I used to love doing, aren’t really options for me anymore. 
I updated my resume.
Next year my son will be going to intermediate school.
With bells, class changes, band and bullies.
I have emails, coffee dates and conversations I could not have imagined five years ago. Things I used to hold so tightly seem easier to let go.
Things that used to fit. Don’t anymore. (and I’m hardly talking about clothes).
There is so much that I don’t know in the next five years or even five months that I don’t even pretend to plan. Even though part of me would still like one.

Punctuated equilibrium explains the changes, the pressures and the shifts.
These pressures dictate so much.
But it does not get to decide who I will be and who I will share my time with.
I decide what to keep. What to change. And who to share my pizza or coffee or my heart with.
These days it is one of the few things I get to pick.
My health, my address and my bank account all seem out of my hands at the moment.
Growth and change have to be measured against something constant.
For my kids it is their shoe size and sharpie marks against the doorframe in their room.
My feet don’t grow anymore, and I suppose I grow more out than up.
But there are people and things in my life that are steady and constant and true.
And most of them even laugh at my jokes.

There are boxes to pack. 
There is surgery to schedule.
There are papers to write.
There are kids to take to the pool.
There is pizza on paper plates.
There are spurts and leaps and new equilibriums to find.
And reminders all over the place, that so much can change so quickly.

And some things. Important things. Can stay the same.


coffee and houses


In my busiest season, we have decided to move. I have never been more stressed and my house has never been cleaner.

The other day, Tess was asked what if some married couple wanted to buy our house and start a family. I got more than a little misty and told her that was exactly who me and her dad were when we walked through those doors.
When we signed our life away.

It has been a weird process for me.
The packing up.
The moving on.
The leaving things behind.

I know it is time.
But. Oh. My. Heart. 
And let's be honest, it will just be a few miles down the road.
It doesn’t help that I have been listening to Miranda Lambert’s, "The House That Built Me" on repeat for weeks now. I  know this isn't the house I grew up in, but it is in every way possible the house I have grown in.

I knew things would be fast, and I honestly haven’t had much time to shop or think or do anything besides shove some winter clothes and a fondue set into the tower of boxes in my garage.
The realtors joked that the house would go fast and I kept joking to my friends how we would sell our home and have no where to go. I warned them to clear out some guest bedrooms for us. That soon we would be homeless. A few who know me well retorted that I love homeless people so I shouldn't have a problem with it.

My joke might have some truth to it.
We had five offers in less than that many days. All well above asking price.
This weekend we were on the other end and traipsed through home after home after home.
The problem was that they all just looked like houses to me.
With identical floor plans and yards that seem way too small.

Overwhelmed on all fronts in my life I called in sick a few days ago so that I could work.
I hoped to get a shower, mow the yard, have the nail in my tire removed, read a few chapters for grad school and grade about a million papers from my new home away from home…Starbucks.

On my way into the parking lot I saw a man on a bike who obviously hadn’t showered in weeks.
He wore layers of clothes in the hot rain and had a good half dozen overflowing plastic shopping bags hanging from his handlebars. He parked in the field behind Starbucks and Waffle House and was picking up aluminum cans.  I stopped. Rolled down my window and asked if I could buy him breakfast. Preferably something with hash browns on the side. Even through the layers of dirt I could see him blush. He assured me that he still had some peanut butter and crackers and that my kindness was unnecessary. I said of course it was unnecessary, that is the definition of kindness.  But I have done this before, and know that it is more of fear of being turned away than anything else. So, I pushed. I asked if I could at least go inside Starbucks and get him some breakfast. 
He said, "Maybe. Just something small." 
“How do you like your coffee?” I asked.
“Just a little bit,” he said.
“Black”

I ordered for the both of us.
One with cream and another without. Both cups larger than they needed to be.
I went back outside with arms full and let him choose a pastry.
I told him my name. Asked for his. And tried to look him in the eye, but it was all a little much for him. 
He looked down, nibbled on his coffee cake and sipped.
“Tony,” he said.
I sat.
I didn’t even need to ask more than his name.
As soon as I sat he started talking.
He told me about his brother. They were only 13 months apart and they did everything together.
His last job he said, they got paid 17$ an hour.
And this was an exorbitant amount of money to him. 
He said they both set their watch to ring on the hour so that they could feel 17$ richer every time it went off.
His brother got sick.
He didn’t get better.
17$ an hour with no health insurance didn’t go quite as far as they thought it would.
He died last summer.
Tony never recovered.
Words just poured out of him. Like maybe he hadn’t had the chance to talk to anyone besides himself in a while. 
I am a terrible listener. I interrupt. I one up. I get distracted. I mostly just sit there and wait for my turn to talk.
But with Tony, I just listened and ate my croissant.
I handed him a few granola bars that they were just giving away inside to people who happily spend four dollars on coffee, while this guy picked up trash just a few yards away.
I tucked a twenty in between the bars so he would find it later.

I told him I needed to go do some homework.
He thanked me for the coffee.
I thanked him for his story.

We accepted an offer on our house.
We made an offer an another.
In all of this, when I feel overwhelmed. Or like playing Miranda Lambert one more time.
When I can’t find the pants I want to wear because I think they might be packed.
Or the uncertainty of where I will live, what school my kids will go to, if our offer will be accepted, what will happen if it doesn't, if my old house will pass inspection or appraise well, if we can afford any of it,  and a million other questions and uncertainties that swirl.
I try to think about Tony instead.
Those questions are much simpler and more important.
Where will he sleep? What will he eat? Is he warm? Is he hungry? 

I’ve looked for him and his bike every day since but I have not seen him again.
I hope I do. 

I hope we both find our way home.

found

(confession - I posted this exactly three years ago and called it Losing Jesus. All of it still feels true)

I think Mary got gypped. I mean she bore the Christ child. In a freaking stable. And I’m betting that the world’s only perfect man wasn’t the perfect toddler. Being without sin, doesn’t necessarily mean that he slept through the night or never went through the terrible twos. The bible never mentions how she rocked him to sleep, or kissed his scraped knees, read him Goodnight Moon until she had it memorized, made his favorite dinner, or got up with him a billion times a night when he had an ear infection.  As a matter of fact the only thing the bible mentions of her parenting (Or anything at all of Jesus’s life from age 1-33) is the not-so-flattering story in Luke where she literally leaves him in another town.

"Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover.  When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom.  After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it.  Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends.  When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.  Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”
Luke 2: 41-49 NIV

 In other words. They lost him. Jesus. Their son, oh, and also the Christ. And not just for a few minutes. But for THREE days. This is not the most flattering portrayal of a mom who has her stuff together. To add insult to injury, the very first words that show up in red in the bible are a 12 year old son, stating the obvious to his mom. Who was probably frantic and angry and so happy to find him safe and sound, so she could ground him for the next 12 years. And Jesus doesn’t hang his head sheepishly like he just got caught. Or apologize for forgetting to mention his layover. Instead he acts like it was soooo obvious. Because of course, preteens even 2000+ years ago, knew way more than their moms.

 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”
Luke 2: 49

And I read that, and immediately feel better about my parenting skills. I mean sure I lost my son once in a sporting good store even before he could walk. But it only took me a few minutes to notice and begin searching frantically under all the racks before I finally found him 100 yards away hiding under some clearance ski gear. And another time, the hubs and I split up at the grocery store to knock out our list faster. I find him ten or so minutes later with my hands overflowing with cereal and juiceboxes and asked him where the cart was before I dropped everything in the middle of aisle 7. He looked back at me frantically, saying, “I thought you had the cart”. We both took off running and eventually found the empty cart in the produce section with our sweet 5 month old little girl happily gnawing on the handle. Neither of those are going to win me “mom of the year”. But I’ve never lost my kids for more than say 15 minutes. Much less three days in a completely different town. At least not yet. And this wasn’t just any 12 year old. This was the Christ. And they lost him. They lost Jesus.

But I do it too all the time.  Maybe not leave my kids in a different city and not notice for a few days. But I’m just as guilty of losing Jesus. Of leaving him behind. Of moving on without him. Of not even noticing that he is gone. For days. Weeks. Sometimes longer.

And then you have to do exactly what his mom did.

Start looking. Backtrack. Maybe even go back to the last place you saw him. Maybe he didn’t go anywhere. You did.

 This Lenten season I have had a hard time feeling it. I haven’t given anything up. I haven’t written a single thing about Lent. I haven’t gotten up early every morning. Some Sundays I didn’t even go to church. And when my son asked me if the Easter bunny was real. I told him the truth. They will not be waking up to Easter baskets and there are not nice new outfits to slip into.  Easter is my absolute favorite holiday. But this year I’m having a hard time with the commercialization part. Don’t worry, we still dyed eggs and hunted them more than once (tonight in the dark with flashlights which is the best way to do it). But I wondered why we celebrate probably the most significant day of our religion with plastic eggs and chocolate bunnies. And I worry that my kids might be missing the point. And that maybe I have lost some of it as well.

 But I’m starting to think that stuffing plastic eggs with change and candy and hiding them in the dark is teaching them more than I think. Or at least teaching me something.

Because maybe part of Easter is about the finding.
Finding what was lost.
Finding what was hidden.
What was there all along.



long drive home


A friend graciously let us stay at their place in the mountains for Spring Break. My husband loves the mountains and has the facial hair and 4 wheel drive to prove it. I love adventure.  And I like the mountains, but to be honest would pick the fruity drink in my hand and sand in between my toes.
My husband is much happier when he gets to breathe in that low oxygen mountain air at least once a year. So we headed north. The home we stayed at was literally up the mountain. Several winding, icy, muddy unpaved roads up. Not everyone’s vehicle could make it to the house. Since our car had 4 wheel drive I was often the shuttle, from their cars parked near the highway to the few miles up. Straight up. 

I hardly minded, because every time I turned a corner (which was every few seconds) there was a view more majestic than the next.  I mean how could you not be impressed. The snow. The aspens. The mountains. Maybe it was the thin mountain air, but day after day it didn’t fail to take my breath away. Occasionally I even hung my camera out the window and took a few pictures.  (which may not be something I’d recommend doing while you are driving up tight winding mountain roads).
I made that trip several times a day, each time praying I wouldn’t get lost or stuck in the snow or the mud…but I swear…I mostly just rolled down my windows even though it was freezing outside and wondered if the people who live there ever get used to the view. How could they? If I lived here I would never get anything done or watch TV or read books. I’d just drive around staring out my windows.

I wondered if seeing that kind of amazing day after day, on the way home from a long day at work. Or making a run to the store because you forgot the milk. If you stopped seeing it.
If the beauty ever got old. Or so mundane that you stopped noticing.

And then. Just like that.
I felt this nudge. This questioning in my heart that was asking what kind of beauty was I missing every day. What kind of amazing breath taking things have I gotten used to?
The freckles across my daughter’s nose.
The intense brown of my son’s eyes.
The sound of my husband’s light snoring as he sleeps and ability to fix most things broken. Including from time to time my own heart.
My dog barking to be let in. Again.
The pink and purple sky as I get to watch the sun sneak over the horizon on my way too early morning drive on my way to work.
Sometimes I see these things of course, but 90% of the time I look straight past them.

We are headed home as I type this from the front seat.
My daughter has asked to stop at every single McDonalds we have passed and fought with her brother over the ipad. My husband has taken over the radio.
My son has gas that could clear a room in 2 seconds flat.
The mountains have long since left our rear view mirror.
I have spent very little time staring out my windows because the landscape is brown and flat with the occasional windmill. 
The punch of reality hit with each encroaching mile.
The mundane of work, bills, to do lists and forgetting to buy the milk at the grocery store.

It is a long drive from the mountains, with a time change not in our favor. 
So even though we left early in the morning while every one else was still in their pjs scrambling around the kitchen for a cup of coffee or breakfast, we did not exactly make it home before the sun.
Right as we hit the city the sun started to sink just below the horizon.
Pink and orange and all kinds of pretty.
Thankfully I wasn’t driving because all I could do was stare out my window.
Taking in the beauty in front of me. In my own zip code.
Wondering, if the people who live here ever get used to this view.
Deciding right then and there to do my best not to.


up the wallis

I posted this a few year's ago on Father's Day, but today my father turns 70 and I figured it was an appropriate repost. 

My father taught me many things. Some on purpose. Some on accident.
How to tie a tie. How to tie a cleat hitch. How to put away a dozen raw oysters. And that you should only eat them in months that have r in them. That black dress socks pulled up to the knee with white slip on Keds is not a good look for anyone. Bellies and bald heads sun burn first. That change adds up. That nothing is free. That life is anything but fair. That Bs aren’t good enough. How to order a beer in at least a half dozen languages. The way to Eldorado. (gaily bedight this gallant knight in sunshine and in shadow.) How to pour a drink. How to throw a cowpatty. (yes, you read that correctly). How to drive a boat. How to properly taste wine, although it involves something called clucking, and I think looks ridiculous. And should never be tried with whiskey. To tip well. To never run out of gas. To play a mean game of ping pong. That strawberries stain. That you get what you pay for. To let your meat rest. When you play poker to be prepared to lose. Real money. That there is always room for dessert. To two step and jitterbug. (well, techinically, I learned this is cotillion class – but my parents did a much better job in the living room) A few choice words. That people can always tell when you do something half ass. To have good insurance, and a decent retirement, and some emergency cash in your wallet. (in case you need to call a cab, or a wrecker or in my case purchase your first tattoo). The difference between port and starboard. The difference between port and merlot. The name of at last a dozen different cheeses. To appreciate new kinds of food, new people and new places. That a 16 year old doesn't need a new car or name brand jeans. (it is probably true at 36 too). Quality is always better than quantity. To bait my own hook. To make friends with important people: like the guy at the gas station, someone at the bank and anyone who can cook. To sing loudly. Even if you are off key. How to get out a decent wine stain. How to properly pull a weed. To shoot a gun. To tell a joke. Especially, slightly off color ones.

He has tried unsuccessfully to teach me how to do the following: Balance a checkbook. Drive. And pick up the living room or keep my car clean. But I assure you it wasn't for lack of trying.

Over the years my dad has had a myriad of hobbies and interests: sailing, gardening, country and western dancing, golf, photography, Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, Patsy Cline, tobacco and Robert E Lee. But there have been two constant topics of interest: as long as I can remember. Food. And family. And to me they go together. When I go home it isn’t what do you want to do, but what do you want to eat? And we always eat well. We have seconds. And occasionally thirds and the glasses keep getting refilled. On some occasions before a big family meal he prays first. And it is a long rambly mini sermon. But sometimes he sticks to his traditional toast. I’m not even sure exactly what it means except that it is always fitting. And even though it is no longer my name, I know that it is for me too.
"Up the Wallis"



the hard fun

A few weekends ago all four of us got bundled up, laced up our sneaks and headed to a local 5K. All of us run, well almost all of us. One of us doesn’t like to sweat. Or exert effort. Or clean her room. But the last time we left her behind she cried and said she wanted to run too, only because she hates nothing more than being left out.

Race day she was nervous and took a some convincing. She started out strong and started to fade only about two minutes in. I let her take quick breaks then told her to keep running. I passed a few people we knew and felt sorry for her dramatic panting and whining and offered to let her walk with them.  I quickly declined before she grabbed on to their legs and refused to let go.  She was going to run this race wether she wanted to or not. We finished the first mile with lots of sprinting, then walking, attempts at giving up and even a short stretch with me running while she was on my back. I know that lots of people think that running is punishment and not fun. 
But I disagree and have plenty of hardware on my wall to prove it.

I kept trying to encourage my daughter. Give her the right amount of praise, push and to sell this whole event as a good time.  She was not buying, despite taking her picture with the mascot, petting lots of dogs and getting her face painted. I asked her, “Isn’t this fun??” and with the honesty only a small child or a drunk adult can give she said very quickly, “This is not fun! It is hard!”
And I replied that the fact that it was hard was one of the very things that made it fun.
Completing something that is a struggle is rewarding. Especially when someone gives you a cup of gatorade and puts a medal around your neck afterwards. She said she preferred the kind of fun that involved ice cream, barbie dolls and minimal effort. Fun is supposed to be easy she told me.  I shook my head and hoped she would learn sooner rather than later that usually the exact opposite of that is true.

I like to make new friends. I have some great ones but am always a fan of getting to know new people and new perspectives. Sometimes when you get to know someone new they seem so much easier than the old ones you have programmed in your phone. You have no history with them. You have never had to apologize. They haven’t seen you at your worst. They haven’t heard all your best jokes and stories twice. Sometimes new is easy. Just because it is new. My oldest friends are occasionally difficult. There are busy calendars to navigate and they see straight through my cover ups and bad decisions and totally call me on it. So more than once, I have told someone new in my life how glad I am that they are easy. That other people in my life feel like work and they don’t and how refreshing that is. It took me awhile to figure it out but I finally stopped giving that same misdirected speech a few years ago…because I learned that the easy people in your life are never there when things get hard.

We spent the first part of our Spring Break in the mountains with three other families. And guess what living and planning with 16 people is hard. Sharing a bathroom, choosing a meal, attempting to sleep in and trying to get your homework done with a crowd is hard. Guess what isn’t hard -laughing until your stomach hurts, throwing snowballs off the balcony and sipping wine while you sit in front  of the fire.
Like running, community and friendship can be work. 
No one will put a medal around your neck for it, but the people you build it with are often the ones who will save yours.

Tess, is finally learning the lesson.
On our trip she was all about playing in the snow, having a pseudo little sister to boss around and tell the same knock knock joke to 247 times to — but like running she had zero interest in hitting the ski slopes. Owen and his dad could shut down the mountain each day but Tess was content to watch movies and eat fruit snacks by the fire.  On our last day, however, we suited her up and headed up the mountain. She was petrified. I was a little scared as well because it has been over a decade since I have skied, but hate missing out more than I care about my knees making it until I am 80.

Me and Owen took off while my husband carried Tess up and down the mountain at least a dozen times.  Ski school was full, I was on the “green team” in college…meaning of the two of us —he was the only one qualified to given any kind of instruction.  And Tess, takes to being told how to do something about like me…which is terribly. There are times I am reminded of how much I love my husband. It is usually moments where he starts my car on cold mornings or attempts to get my order right at Starbucks. My husband is not usually long in patience, but my heart swelled each time I saw him carry that pink ski jacket (with my six year old intact) a little higher up the slopes.  Me and O would see them at the base after a run and I’d go check on them mostly to see Tess face down and skis all askew.  She did not look happy but was still getting up.  “Pizza” he kept telling her while me and Owen worked on our “french fries” (wedge vs straight skis for those of you that don’t speak mountain).  We met for lunch and Tess broke down into huge tears when she realized that she would have to go back out there after she finished her chicken strips. I had promised to take her home when she was done and let the boys get a few harder runs in….but I wasn’t willing to call it quits yet. Shaun somehow bribed her to get back on the lift while me and Owen took the express all the way to the top. Some kind of miracle occurred while I took one more run and bargained with the orthopedic gods on wether or not I tear something else in my knees on our way down the mountain.  All of  Shaun’s patient work somehow payed off. She went up and down the bunny slope over and over getting faster and more independent each time. I watched her go down the mountain on her own a few times making it further and further each time before eating snow, beaming the entire time.  On the drive back to the house, she kept saying how much fun that she had skiing. 
That it was  really hard, but really fun.
And could she go back tomorrow because it had been so much “hard fun.”

There will be no more lift rides until next season.
But the hard fun, I hope she learns to have that every season.
Especially with hard fun people.