It seems fitting that I have managed only one blog post per month since August.
This past month, we have been hit by the Godzilla of cold viruses which prompted me to create a song in honor of it (think Lambchop):
“This is the bug that never ends, yes, it goes on and on my friend. Some people started coughing then, not knowing what it was, and they will go on coughing forever just because this is the bug that never ends…”
Last week in desperation we called our friend Cleo to come and sit with Theresa, home sick from school, while Alan took the other two to school and went to work, and I went to work for an hour just to get my students set up with work for the two-week break so I could come back home for my own sick day. Cleo came back that same night with homemade organic chicken-and-rice soup.
And then she got sick.
So yesterday I brought her (not-homemade) soup and bread and apologized profusely for giving her this awful cold.
Other than all of us being leveled by this virus, reflecting on 2016 mostly makes my heart hurt.
So I will try to reflect on some of the Good Things, to create space for the breath we all need before we tackle all the inequity and injustice and hatred and general awfulness in the world.
- the awesome creativity of kindergartener spelling (all in caps, because they’re still working on learning lowercase letters):
- BADRLFAY (butterfly)
- HOSPDL (hospital)
- CER (cheer)
- and this note: MOMMY YOU ARE THE BAST KOK EVR (Mommy you are the best cook ever)
- what I’ve learned: vowels are ridiculously hard!
- my friend Cari had her first baby a few days ago. Is there anything more optimistic and promising than a baby?
- my yoga teacher taught me how to do a headstand a couple of months ago, and I did it on the first try. Inversions are hard for me, things requiring coordination in general are hard for me, so this is serious progress.
- our kids’ school gives “Dragon Slips” to encourage kids doing good things: listening, walking quietly, helping a friend, etc. We started giving invisible “Mommy Slips” and “Daddy Slips” at home to encourage such behavior too. In the past few days, Audrey brought down her own glasses in the morning and Jamie’s as well, without being asked. When Theresa asked for water at dinner, Jamie said, “I’ll get it!” and leaped to help her. Theresa gives away her favored blankets and stuffed animals to household members who seem like they need extra comfort.
- Lin-Manuel Miranda. He is A GENIUS. (Here’s the sonnet he delivered as part of an acceptance speech at the Tonys this past summer.)
- Kate McKinnon as Hillary on SNL. Especially this one.
- last Friday as I hauled my voiceless self into work, the sunrise lit up the snow-capped mountains, turning them into pink-frosted cakes.
- the kid who did not even want to hold a writing implement in September now willingly practices writing and drawing at home.
- we forgot about Elf on the Shelf, even after the kids mentioned that “everyone” in their class has it at home. Finally, we dug him out of the storage room and he made his first appearance on the morning of December 21. Having to move the Elf only four times: major parenting win.
- three of my cousins and one former nanny are getting married next year! Four weddings in six months: so much love and rejoicing.
- a playlist that my phone surprised me with on Thursday as I drove to work determined to make it through the teaching day (which I did, but sacrificed my voice in the process):
- “Twelve Days of Christmas” by John Denver and the Muppets (an album I have listened to every Christmas since I can remember; my parents still own it on vinyl)
- “All I Want Is You” by Barry Polisar, from the soundtrack to Juno
- “Hard Road to Travel” by the Okee Dokee Brothers
- “Long Way” by Antje Duvekot
- “Father and Daughter” by Paul Simon (the song my dad and I danced to at my wedding)
- our village. When we call in the village, the village comes. I will never stop being grateful for and awed by this.
Finally, to celebrate our anniversary, we went to Victoria, B.C. Almost every weekend away we try to hike, so we chose a reasonable-looking trail up to a cool lookout on Mt. Finlayson in Goldstream Provincial Park.
It ended up being wayyyyyy more steep and challenging that we thought it would be.
People coming down would tell us, “Yeah, it’s a bit of a scramble at the top.”
As in, the trail all but disappears except for arrows spray-painted on the side of the rockface cliff.
About halfway up the rocky part, I stopped for a drink and looked back at where we had come from. Panic set in. How was I every going to get back down? It’s one thing to climb up; I’m fine with that. But going down? This is the girl who could not rappel down the rock-climbing wall when she took rock-climbing lessons and had to actually climb down hand-over-hand. Heights? Narrow ledges? FEAR.
But I remembered what my yoga teacher always says: “You don’t have to think about what came before. You don’t have to think about what’s coming next. You just have to be right here in this pose, right now.”
So I kept going up. And up. A total of 410 meters of elevation gain over 2 km.
We made it to the very top, and then I knew that going back down was not a Big Overwhelming Thing To Be Scared Of, but something to do one step (or butt-scoot) at a time.
Alright, 2017. Bring it.