Tuesday, October 1, 2019


Here is October! A new month, fresh start; a month of “choosing the given with a fierce and pointed will.” I have good goals for this month. They will wait, though, for the end of this trip. 

Barrett’s polar bear belongs in this Montana October climate. 

October certainly looks fierce out the window today. The fields and hills are glistening sharply with frost and snow. We are slogging through our schoolwork as though it’s already January 21st. Barrett is only slightly closer to being able to say the names of all the letters; William is even less enthusiastic than his brother to tackle his work. These boys. And yet, perhaps because we are still here in Montana, a “vacation feel” pervades the atmosphere, making schoolwork both less and more tolerable. 

This has been, in many respects, almost a perfect trip. Conversation and games with Erin and TJ, beautiful places to hike and visit, evenings with friends, staying up late to read by myself or to blog indulgently, sleeping in (to some degree- Mac is still an early-ish riser), movies and ice cream every night, lots of laid-back playtime with the kids, visits to the trampoline park... and of course, being with my sister. Erin and I seem to share a brain; it is almost spooky. And she is the most wonderful aunt- she treats my kids like her own. I could not stay with anyone else for two and a half weeks without feeling like an incredible imposition, but she tells me we are not, and somehow, I believe she’s telling the truth. 

“Choosing the given with a fierce and pointed will” is easy, if you are me. I really owe it to myself to continually count my blessings. At any moment, all I need do is sit down on the floor, cast aside my concerns and anxieties, and one or more of the kids will instantly fill my lap. It might be Mac, with his pleasant little fat legs to tickle, or Neva, telling me “you’re just the best mom,” or Barrett, pointing to a photo in an encyclopedia, informing me that he’s “actually [this new random reptile]” and that I’m its caretaker, or William, ever ready with a book to read together. (Today Will laughed so hard at Amelia Bedelia that he grew teary.) I get to see the world through the eyes of four amazing children. You know, having kids is like a “life hack” to being able to access the excitement and fun of childhood again- last night we played hide and seek- do you know how giddy I felt, holding my breath, watching Barrett through the crack of the pantry door as he looked for me? Today, when we felt dreary, I can’t tell you whether it was more helpful for the kids or for ME to play some YouTube “listen and move” songs, with everyone from Mac to Will dancing around and working up a sweat, laughing together. I’ve gone carousel riding, trampoline jumping, and sidewalk-chalk drawing, which have all been incredibly fun, and which I undoubtedly wouldn’t have done sans children. 

I do not know how to strike the balance between solving problems, and ignoring them in favor of turning my attention to the positive. I do find, however unproductive this approach, that they are easily forgotten, when I focus on all of this beautiful, magical, precious good

If it be my lot to crawl, I will crawl contentedly: if to fly, I will fly with alacrity; but as long as I can possibly avoid it, I will never be unhappy.” -Sydney Smith 

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