The Roadshow

The Roadshow

   I love the idea of road trips – seeing the countryside, visiting friends, setting our own pace… Notice I’m saying that I love the idea of road trips. The reality of life on the road is somewhat less, um, romantic. Over the past five weeks, I’ve slept in my own bed a total of eight times. Finding the bathroom in the bleary middle of the night has become a game of chance, and I can’t remember the last time I cooked a meal. Our girls, who shall henceforth be known as Whine and Cheese, are passionate people, and traveling with them is not a quiet experience. Cheese spends a while singing every movie anthem known to mankind, alternating between a Yoda accent and a Donald Duck voice. Whine listens with pursed lips, and then sings along for about a minute before...

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The Plates

The Plates

   I’ll be packing up my plates soon, wrapping them well and putting them in storage for the next few years. There’s nothing flashy about them. They are earth toned, with leaves on the rim. I think I was nineteen when I bought them for a dollar each at Walmart. But I’m a little teary thinking about setting them deep in a box and not using them again for a while. These plates were my first step towards independence, and now they’re chipped and etched with memories. They held the first meal Mike and I had together as newlyweds in our own home. I can still see my mom on my couch, balancing Thanksgiving turkey and potatoes on one of those plates, laughing a joy blessing over her grandchildren. They have been part of every birthday, every holiday, every quiet meal as...

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Thirteen Years

Thirteen Years

    Thirteen years ago, I was so pregnant I could barely breathe. My toes had disappeared beneath my belly months before, and I couldn’t even bend over to put shoes on my own swollen feet. I was done. Those last few days before I could hold my baby in my arms moved like molasses. And then she was there, tiny and helpless, and everyone told me to soak in the moments. That I would blink and she would be grown. When the nights are long and sleepless and just living feels like a battle for sanity, time seems to pause. I wasn’t sure she would ever be anything but little. Today she sat down beside me, shoulder to shoulder, her legs stretching out beyond mine. My little girl, undeniably a woman-child. For a moment I could almost feel the rush of time, like wind in my...

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Not So Silent Night

Not So Silent Night

    I’m not sure what we were thinking. We had grand illusions of a peaceful get-away to the Virginia mountains. No internet, no cell phones. Just beautiful views, a little unrushed Christmas shopping, and plenty of quiet time to be together. I don’t know why I thought it would be quiet. After all, we brought our kids with us. The first morning started at 5:22am, when the three-year-old woke the twelve-year-old up and asked her to read a book. While I’m usually thrilled to see my girls snuggling and reading, it doesn’t look quite as heartwarming when we’re pulled out of bed before 5:30 by the sound of enthusiastic voices and bed rails being used as rhythm instruments. Keeping two girls quiet for two hours before our hosts got up was… well, it was impossible. The...

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A Teacher’s Legacy

A Teacher’s Legacy

   Time heals, they say. And it’s true, but there are some things that don’t fade over the years. Like the memory of someone’s laugh or the deep reservoirs carved by words spoken again and again. It’s been two years this weekend since my mom’s battle with cancer ended and she stepped, whole and healed, into eternity. Tears don’t come as frequently as they did for a while, but there are still days the ache to hear her voice is visceral and overwhelming. Sometimes I still reach for the phone without thinking to call and ask for a recipe or to tell her about something funny one of the kids did. Oh, how I wish Heaven had cell phone reception. She was only five feet tall, but my mom made a big impact on anyone she met. I love it when people know me as “Jo’s daughter”,...

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That Look

That Look

    We’ve had some beautiful summer days recently, and we’ve done some beautiful summer things. The other day, the girls and I joined the little one’s Sunday school class at a local park for playtime and popsicles, and then we ran by the drug store to pick up a prescription. The grocery store right across the parking lot carries good produce, so we stopped in to get some fruit for smoothies before heading next door to the new Lebanese bistro to split a shawarma wrap. Then it was home for naptime for Little Bit and mango banana shakes for the big girl and me. Our beautiful day was capped off by a picnic in the state park near our house. Reading back over the day’s events, I think, “That sounds perfect. Whose life is that anyway?” Because, in reality, our...

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