All I want for Christmas survive.
A Proper Education

Just today

I find it hard to write these days. I even find it hard to read my old posts, which I used to love to do, odiously enough. It's not that I'm drowning in some debilitating depression, although I just barely skim that surface some days. And yes, I am too busy by far, but that's not why either.

Today we drove up into the mountains and went inner-tubing. All six of us, and it was a perfect day for it. We pulled into the parking lot and piled out to yank on snow gear. That's when I discovered that, due to an ass-expansion issue, my snow pants wouldn't fasten. I stood there in the parking lot, frantically trying to shove myself inside the pants, like trying to tuck biscuit dough back inside the ruptured can. Not doable.

For a split second I considered stripping those damnable snow pants back off and stomping away to the lounge, where I could sit by the fire and feel viciously bad about myself. But all around me my sons milled, like a flock of noisy birds, and my daughter sat on the car seat in front of me poking her sock-clad foot in my direction and holding her boot and the hope that I would fix everything. Clay stood by my side, and asked quietly if it would be okay. 

I pulled my coat down over my midsection, and tried to smooth everything as securely into place as it would go, and proceeded to wrestle with a purple boot and a foot that resisted it emphatically. 

This is where the writing falls apart for me, because I teeter on the edge of a story here, a beginning, middle, and God help us, an edifying end. This is what happened, I'm tempted to tell you, and this is what it meant.

I am no longer so sure of what any of it is supposed to mean. Life has surprised me, over and over, and I am no longer so sure where I am in the narrative. I glance back at the past and hear my own voice, telling my stories, my own sureness, and I cringe. 

My kids are at an age where their lives are more complicated, too, and I struggle with how much of their story is mine anymore.

Tre is not going back to college this semester, but taking classes online. He hopes to return in the fall. There has been no great crisis, but an unexpected bump in the road, and he is recalibrating. I am persistently not hoping for any specific outcome, while still believing he can find his way to a wonderful one. When people ask me how he's doing, I don't know how to answer, exactly, although the answer is that he's doing just fine. He's doing what he needs to be doing right now, and I love him fiercely.

Max has decided not to wear the hearing aids, after all. That story is long, and convoluted. In the end, suffice it to say he made the choice not to use them. I disagree with that, but it turns out that they're his ears, and even if I'm right, I don't get to choose what he does with them. Which sucks. I am learning a lot about where the lines of responsibility fall with this one, and it's hard. And I love him fiercely.

Raphael is in his final months of homeschooling. He's picked a high school, the only one of all my kids who will be attending school in the actual town we live in. Miraculous. The days he has left doing school at home dwindle and fall away, but he is also 13 years old. He is a good and dear boy, blue-haired and persistent in so many ways. I love him fiercely.

Sophia hated school at first, then loved it, and is now somewhat ambiguous on the subject. I don't feel like her teacher gets her (at parent teacher conferences, the only thing she had to say about her was, "Well, you know Sophia. She's no trouble at all."), but it's not an adversarial relationship either. There is too much homework, and too much getting up early in the morning, but we persist. There is enough to love about it, I think. I hope. I love her fiercely. 

Today we sailed down a hill in bright inner tubes. We gripped each other's handles so we could slide down in a group. The snow stung our faces and the sun slipped in and out from behind deep gray clouds. We laughed and screamed and retrieved lost gloves. The boys dissapeared at times, then reappeared. Every time I stood up, I yanked my unfastened pants back up, and grabbed my inner tube, and headed for the top of the hill again. Clay (whom I love fiercely, and securely, and as naturally as breath), took my picture, because he thinks I'm beautiful. 

And whatever is true, or isn't, that's what we did today, and I'm glad we did.



I just love it so, so much when you write. Whether you're writing about dark times or light times, you capture the love for your family so beautifully.


My beautiful friend---I do not think it at ALL odious that you have enjoyed reading your old posts. It is lovely. Because so much of this blog has been about your kids as they grow up. I find myself returning to my posts about my kids when they were little, to remember mostly, now that they are such self sufficient, large, loud, opinionated, excellent humans.

I feel I have lost the essential VOICE of my blog, as the last few years have been difficult and weird and made that giddy timbre hard to locate in myself. The voice of your blog is alive and glorious, if a bit more careful. That's fair and wise. I appreciate your choices, and your writing, and anything you care to share, and PS you ARE gorgeous. Your husband is a smart man.

ALSO I wish you had been with me this weekend. I spent it in a Trappist monastery, failing to learn to meditate, but KINDA meditating, almost, at least twice.

Wilma Lelek

Beautifully expressed! "Consider it pure joy, whenever you face trials of many kinds. (bumps in the road), because you can be assured that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." words of St. James 1:2-3


I'm just glad to hear you got what you wanted for Christmas:). I'll just always be glad to read whatever you want to keep writing.

Jan in Norman, OK

I work at a mid-sized state university and I can tell you that taking a semester or two off can make a world of difference. Very few people are really ready to leap directly into college from high school.


You're exactly where you are supposed to be...
loving your family... FIERCELY.
No more, no less. Keep hiking those pants back up & climbing that mountain. The sun shines, ducks behind the clouds & everything is gray, then it peeks out again. You're at the top of the mountain now, sometimes you're at the bottom. But every single time, you hike those pants back up & climb again. Because you love, and are loved... FIERCELY.
You're posts always mean something, even if you can't see it right off. HUGS

Peggy Fry

I am just glad that all is ok. Not every post has to be an Artistically complete story... life just isn't always like that. You just keep going down the mountain and whooping. I just want to know that you are all ok. Smart boy to figure out he needs more time to acclimate to college. Wish I had done so.


Echoing your first comment, I just love so much when you write. Thank you.


But there is a beginning, a middle and an end.

"I am no longer so sure of what any of it is supposed to mean. Life has surprised me, over and over, and I am no longer so sure where I am in the narrative....I love them fiercely... Every time I stood up...and headed for the top of the hill again."

But I get it.


I love that you express so beautifully the chaotic joy that is the journey through life. In every post, it is clear that you are LIVING! Keep on living, loving fiercely, and just being incredible, beautiful YOU!


Thank you for writing this. I've thought of you often, and checked back here to see how you are. I hope you find your voice again and the desire to use it.

Holly Gault

"…because I teeter on the edge of a story here, a beginning, middle, and God help us, an edifying end. This is what happened, I'm tempted to tell you, and this is what it meant."

I'm almost positive that some day, soon or far away still, you will find the 'meant to be' ending that you wanted to see.

Angela Giles Klocke

You always move me, no matter what you have to write. And you ARE beautiful. <3


Everyone else has said what's in my heart. Fierce. Love. Family. Writing. We don't need you to tie it together with a bow ... because you always do - whether you are trying to or not.

Maybe 2015 be filled with lots of exhilaration and reaching summits.

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