Earlier this week I sent out my last newsletter for a while (forever?). In it I listed places where people can continue to read my writing, including this blog. I even suggested they subscribe to this blog so they’ll receive a notification in their inbox every Friday morning, because I post a new blog every Friday morning.
Here it is, Friday morning, and I’m trying to come up with a blog post.
Maybe it’s happened. My fear has come true — maybe I’ve finally run out of things to say.
Or, maybe it’s just been a full week and I haven’t felt particularly inspired.
I’m going with option two.
It’s been exactly six months since I was with my brothers, sister-in-law and four nieces. Six months since we’ve hugged. Six months since they crawled all over me (nieces, not brothers or sister-in-law). I’m not sure I’ve ever gone six months without seeing them. Stupid coronavirus.
After text messages and phone calls and much internal debating, I made my way to Tennessee and am spending an extra long weekend with all of them. My heart is full.
Connecting the dots
Yesterday Rosemary set a piece of paper and pencil in front of me. She asked me to draw something. I told her how I’ve never been very good at drawing, how I can do lots of things really well, but drawing isn’t one of them. She encouraged me to draw something anyway. I drew a butterfly and she gave me lots of praise!
I told her that I really like coloring pictures that are already drawn. Before I was done coloring in my butterfly, she handed me another piece of paper. She had drawn a farm scene with a pig front and center. However, the pig wasn’t completely done — I needed to connect the dots. She made me a connect-the-dot picture! So I did and then with the help of Anastasia and Maggie, we colored it in.
Rosemary didn’t let me off the hook — she encouraged me to draw something. But she also heard me and created something I was more comfortable with.
We had pizza for dinner. Papa John’s always includes peppers in the box (why is that?). Later Anastasia pulled a pepper out of the box and licked it. She exclaimed it was hot and needed a drink. Rosemary did the same thing. Maggie tried too and told me it wasn’t hot. The whole thing was suspicious to me… is the outside hot too? I don’t know; I didn’t lick it.
Then I started telling the girls about how Brad likes his food really spicy and that I don’t. Juliet was sitting across from me. Rosemary and Maggie were on either side of me. Anastasia was sitting cross-legged on the table (I’m not sure that is allowed but their mom was resting and dad was gone, so we went with it). As I was telling them about a recent spicy meal, they all listened to me. No one interrupted. No one cried. They all paid attention.
Juliet told me how she likes a little spicy in her food and that she likes trying new things. Later when we Facetimed with Brad, they told him he likes spicy food. They remembered our conversation and connected their own dots.
I love their ages right now — 7.5, 6 and 4.5. They still love to sit in my lap and we can hold full conversations. They still love for me to read to them and they can write me notes. They still joke about poop (but to their parents chagrin) and they remember important pieces of information for later conversations.
Focusing on what I do have
As I was pushing them on the swing earlier in the afternoon, I was thinking about what it would be like to be a parent. I felt a little sad that I’ve never had the opportunity to watch my child encourage me to do something I’m not good at or watch my child think something spicy (when I’m fairly certain the outside of the pepper is not!) or push my child on the swing or…
But that sadness dissipated pretty quickly because I get to do all of that and more with these four girls (and our four niblings on the other side of the family). The joy I experience when one six-year-old niece says, “That was awkward” or when the other one says, “I can’t do that, sadly” outweighs the sadness. Watching the youngest one laugh during Facetime with her uncle fills my heart. Helping the oldest one get the right perspective so it looks like she’s holding a tree in a photo pushes that sadness away.
If I pay attention to all I do have in my life, I realize I just don’t have that much time to be sad.
I guess Rosemary is right — sometimes we just need to connect the dots.