Sometimes I feel as though I am the least creative person in the world. This is not a comment on myself so much as it is on the people I associate with and cross paths with on a daily basis. It’s true that not everyone is a designer or writer or artist or dancer or crafter, but sometimes it feels that way.
It can be discouraging at times. Like when I know so many writers and it seems like all of them are way more successful than I am. And then I feel self-conscious even mentioning that I attempt to write, and even once earned a degree in Journalism from one of the top universities in the field because I am afraid that the mismatch of their expectations and what I’m currently doing with my writing would be disappointing to them.
But there are, of course, many good things about everyone being a creative genius.
Like, gather ’round the campfire ice cream. Toasted marshmallow ice cream with graham cracker and chocolate chunks. Which we had at Ample Hills creamery today at our preschool field trip. I’m feeling inspired to experiment with my own ice cream flavors now.
Also, being able to see where people get their inspiration and how they incorporate it into their work. Knowing just how hard someone had to work to get that just the way they wanted it. Watching a project be born and fulfilled, from start to finish.
And knowing that just by crossing paths with these people, some of it will rub off on me, and on my kids, and in our lives, and we’ll all benefit from it.
I’m pretty sure the video speaks for itself. There are so many things to love about it and I feel pretty darn grateful to be the one to record this–and so many other aspects of our lives–for posterity. And to get to share them. Micah’s reaction when he first saw this video was priceless. I’m looking forward to the boys discovering it again in 10 years or so.
Last night Micah met us at a free/abbreviated showing of the Nutcracker after work. He walked an unhappy Elsa around the World Financial Center while the boys and I watched the ballet. (The boys were totally engrossed and I’m so glad we went . . . I think it will be a must-do every Christmas for as long as we’re here.) Then he took the train with us until he had to transfer to go to bishopric meeting. He didn’t get home until well past 11:00. And the first thing he did when he got home was to start making my birthday cake. He tucked me into bed a little after 1:00, then finished up some work he had to do before coming to bed himself.
At 7:45 this morning he sent the boys in to quietly wake me with their birthday wishes. He was making waffles for breakfast and had kept the boys quiet so I could get some extra sleep. And then, as soon as breakfast was over, he dashed out the door for another day at work.
I’m feeling really lucky, blessed, and grateful for all that Micah does. I sometimes get caught looking at things from only my perspective and feeling like I carry too much of the burden: I had to bundle all of the kids to get on the train. I had to save us a spot at the Nutcracker. I had to keep the boys entertained for nearly an hour before it started. I had to sit with them and answer all their questions about the ballet. I had get the kids all home and fed and in bed by myself. And on and on and on. But the truth is that we both make sacrifices, we work together, one of us pulls while the other pushes, and then we trade places. We take turns sleeping in when we have a late night. We save the last slice for each other, and offer the last bite to the other when there is only one spoonful left.
I often say that Micah taught me everything I know. He has shown me how to be more thoughtful and selfless. He encourages me to pursue my interests and believes that I can succeed in them more than I do. He keeps me from getting too wound up about things that don’t matter – and about things that do matter, too, because getting wound up rarely helps the situation. He has taught me to be more observant, more aware, more intentional. He has inspired me to be better and kinder and more forgiving.
We get along well. We understand each other’s humor and frustrations. We are yoked together, pulling the same load, holding each other up, enjoying the view, soldiering on. I experience life more intently and intensely with Micah by my side. And that is something be grateful for.
Sure, I have errands to do. But they’re not urgent. They can wait.
If I didn’t have six little people over to learn about the letter I, I would have had to go out this morning. I would have had to get the kids all bundled up so I could push the stroller down to someone else’s house. I would have felt obligated to get the shopping done.
But I didn’t have to. I’m grateful we had a reason to stay in this morning.
Still, I’m grateful to have a reason to go out this evening. Because The Nutcracker and lights and music sounds like a great way to get us further into the holiday spirit, which will warm us from the inside out. And that’s worth going out in the cold for.
This is probably not a surprise to anyone, but I really like words. All kinds of words. Words in books and songs and newspapers. Words spoken, words read, words sung, words thought. I like to read words and I like to write words. Words make me happy.
And last night words made me very happy. Because they were words the boys spoke, and they were words that made everything so much clearer.
We’d been having fun, playing, laughing, tickling, when Simon suddenly became upset. And, as he does when he’s upset, he started grunting and moaning and not saying a thing. We’ve become so exasperated by this behavior that we’ve stopped trying to get him to talk and started waiting for it to pass. And when it finally did, he told us what was wrong. This was a huge breakthrough. Not only because we finally knew what was bothering him, but because he told us of his own volition. I loved those words, and even though they opened my eyes to my own mistakes, it was wonderful to hear him open up to us. I am so grateful for that.
Then, after the boys went to bed, Simon asked to use the restroom. While he was in there, Oliver asked for some water. He took a sip, then held the cup and waited for Simon to come back so he could share it with him. But Simon took a long time and Oliver got tired of holding the cup. We took it from him so he could go to sleep. When Simon came out of the restroom, we gave him the rest of the water in the cup and sent him to bed. And almost as soon as he walked into his room, Oliver started crying. And when he told us why, we nearly melted. He’d been waiting for Simon to come back so he could share the water with him and he was devastated that we took the cup (and his opportunity) away from him. Especially because, as he said, “We talked about sharing today,” (in nursery). We had thought he was asleep already.
I’m so grateful for those boys and their words. So grateful to know what they are thinking and why they are upset. So grateful to be able to help them when they need me. And grateful that they can help themselves with their words, too.
The past few days Micah and I got to bed late, as usual. But instead of being woken up by the chatting and arguing and playing and crying of our little boys, we were awakened by the profound silence of our apartment. (Well, sort of. Micah woke up to calm Oliver when he became distraught about having the wrong color of sheet on his bed at about 6:00 this morning.)
It was lovely. And also lovely, when we finally woke up, to see the boys in their room playing with the two little boys that belonged to our weekend house guests. “Playing with” in the sense that they were sharing and taking turns and watching each other play games on various devices. The boys had a great time together. And we had a great time with their parents, as we always do when we get together.
I have high hopes that we’ll stay in touch with this family and be able to visit each other frequently. And I am grateful that when we do, the boys will have friends to play with. I’m grateful that those friends match up in age and interests with my boys and that they get along well. I like the idea of the kids having friends that they may not get to see frequently, but that can still be constants throughout their lives, and that they can build memories and relationships with throughout their childhoods.
(I realize you can hardly see anyone in this picture, but we’re there and we’re eating tasty pizza and we’re having a good time.)
Powder Puff football game. Four on four. Relief Society activity. It was a tight game, nerve-wracking even. And I learned that although I seemed to know more about football than most of the other ladies, I was useless as anything but a running back. I’m no receiver. My one QB sack was ruled by the 10 year old ref to have been illegal. And I couldn’t pull a flag to save my team. I did have a few good blocks, but nothing to write home about.
But Mara was great at batting down passes. Receiving, too. Suzie’s hands seemed magnetized to the flags of our opponents. And Sarah was a confident QB and smart team leader. Which meant victory for Team Orange, 42-28. And so I’m grateful that those ladies, despite not caring a whit about football, are such good sports and willing to use their talents for the benefit of all. Or at least Team Orange and all the husbands who were having the time of their lives watching their wives throw down.
I’m also grateful for the opportunity to see in a condensed way how it benefits everyone for people to have different strengths. I sometimes get frustrated that I’m not as good at some things as other people who are not as interested in them as I am. But just because they are better than me at those things, that doesn’t diminish my own gifts or contributions to the world. I am just grateful that I can contribute anything at all.
These people are my favorite. I’m grateful for them. And that we got up well before dawn to go to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It was worth the trek and the crowds and the noise and even the 5-year-old lying down on the pavement because he was tired and grumpy and didn’t want to be there. I’m grateful that Abby and friends saved us a good spot, that they were willing to shield the boys so they could stand on the front row. I’m grateful that we can check it off our NYC bucket list, and that we can know that it is possible if we ever want to do it again. And I’m grateful for the good time we had as a family. I like those people. I really do.
“Started having some CTXs [contractions] on 7/22, slept through night, then CTXs on and off throughout day 7/23. Went to bed @11p, woke up at 1:50a @ first strong CTX. Called me at 2:25a to come over.”
Thus begins my midwife’s documentation of Elsa’s birth. The form is 5 pages long, although Elsa was born by the end of page 1: “Lizzie moved from birth stool to hands and knees and then pushed to [something] of baby girl from LOA position. 5:39a. Baby spontaneous cry before body fully delivered. Lizzie picked up baby immediately to her chest.”
I haven’t read through it many times, but when I have, I have been able to remember so well that morning in our bedroom, sitting on the birth ball, moving to the bed, feeling pushy, feeling discouraged, wondering if I was really progressing, and then, suddenly being ready to push, and, minutes later, picking Elsa up and holding her for the first time, so happy, so relieved, so grateful.
I’m so glad my midwife made her notes available to me. I’m grateful for her help and love and friendship in delivering Elsa. And I’m grateful that I can read through the labor record again and again and remember what a special morning that was.