There’s a loveliness about children that transcends cute smiles and heart-warming voices. It’s perspective. Their perspective. And it reminds me that, all too often, we forget to check ours.

It could be the middle of the most perplexing election season in thirty years, and your child’s fascinated most about the old bottle papaw found while digging in the garden. Who’s was it? Did it have medicine in it? Did you drink out it when you were little, daddy? Or, during a cold March, and subsequent unexpected winter storm, your child builds snowmen. And you come home, chuckling when you pull in the driveway to see your old work hat atop mounds of snow with gloves sticking out each side.

As adults, we’re caught up in other worlds. Not the fictionalized worlds we read when we were young, or those we read to our children and encourage them to read. It’s work, and PTO board meetings, and church budgets, and paying mortgages, and fixing cars, and selling Girl Scout cookies, teacher conferences, helping neighbors. Why we concentrate solely on those sometimes so-serious tasks, skipping snow play, the fun in our backyard, we don’t know. Old brains maybe.

What we do know? We need children to teach us how to find a new perspective, how to turn our head away from grownup things once in a while. We need to make a snowman in March.



balooncatieIt’s been a wild winter of snow, sledding with friends, sleepovers, doing science experiments, building bears and a daddy daughter dance where we played with baloons. I’ve been smiling so much, and you’ve been laughing so much, it’s hard to know whether it’s all real or just a dream. And, as you read your way through Harry Potter now, I’m reminded of one of my favorite lines. In the last book. When Harry wakes after Voldemort “kills” him, and then asks Dumbledore, “Is this real? Or has this been happening inside my head?” Dumbledore answers, “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”

There’s no reason to worry too much, as we traverse time, why something is happening. We need only think that it is happening, close our eyes, and follow along, happily. Awake the child, live in the dream.

Looking back, seeing things then for what they truly meant for the now, well, that’s an exercise we could do a little more often. So, what better way to start out the new year than by listing everything for which you’re thankful. Or at least a few treasures of thankfulness … as compiled by your mother in the last few months. Cherish them. Reread them. Use them.

I’m thankful for this day, and the next, and probably the next after that, as a matter of fact, I’m thankful for each day my feet hit the floor and I’m still breathing.

I’m thankful for my family, the ones I was born to and the ones I have claimed as my own over the years.

I am truly thankful for certain angels on earth. Without them I would not have my daughter. I live each day in gratitude for my daughter, I know of no other way to be thankful for her, no measure seems big enough. How else can you be thankful for a miracle but to cherish each moment of it?

One for Election Day … Not every country, not every human on earth gets to choose who will make decisions for them, it’s not just a civic duty, it’s a privilege. So many other people are forced to live with whatever is meted out to them by their dictatorial governments, don’t be one of them. Become a part of this nation’s history and choose the next president. Forty years from now when your grandkids are showing you their history books, be the one who says, “Yeah, I voted for that guy.”

One for Veterans Day … Today, I am thankful for voices. Shared or in dissent, they are being raised in celebration of freedom. My father, as well as many other peoples fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, husbands and wives fought bravely for this voice and I am grateful.

Today I am again thankful for voices. However this time it’s for children’s voices when they sing. I don’t care who you are, or what kind of rotten day you’re having, when you hear that soft, sweet voice you can’t help but smile. At least I know I can’t. (If you think this has something to do with the kids’ choir, of which you were a part, you would be right!)

Today I am thankful for early morning, groggy headed cuddles. For a few precious moments before Little Miss recalls that she’s a grown-up 8 year old, I have my sweet, snuggly baby back.

I’m thankful for inspiration, imagination, and for those who are not afraid to dream big, wildly big. Big enough to create things like this. I’m also thankful that, for some strange reason that I’ll never understand, music – good music, gives me chill bumps and makes me cry. It’s embarrassing sometimes to be sitting around blubbering, but it’s also nice to know that my soul is alive and kicking.

I’m thankful for unexpected kindnesses. When you’re down in the dumps, it can really bring your spirits back up.

Today, on this cold, rainy day, I’m very thankful that I have a home.

IMG_1917What do we see when looking out a window? A painting, perhaps? Our eyes focus light, bending what’s reflected onto a canvas of retinas, etching into biology as nerves feed pixels to the mind, turning shapes and colors into forms, meaning. So yes, a painting, of life, with panes that set us apart from a watercolor world. We cannot touch. We cannot feel. We only see, unattached, as it waltzes by, clicking and clacking along rails, one direction, forward or backward depending on how we sit. It’s there for us, just outside. Waiting. Framed. All you must do is open it.

Funny thing, history. Like a photograph, we set it in motion, then it’s done. Unchanging. It’s a timeline, with specific dates and references plodding along as we live our lives. Infinite points of reference.

Overnight on Oct. 29, it snowed. I worked late, and awoke early, to track the snowplows for the office. We turned the gas heat on, and made chili. On Oct. 31, 2012, we celebrated Halloween by trick-or-treating with the neighbors and visiting a friend’s party in the neighboring subdivision. We visited my parents on Saturday, Nov. 3, while your mom visited hers before they went back to Florida. You hiked the hills, played in the turnip patch, and found an antique bottle that my dad had unearthed with the dozer. On Election Day, Nov. 6, we watched as the debates ended and the nation united – despite fierce political differences that had mounted for months – to re-elect President Barack Obama.

Four significant events in an eight-year-old’s timeline. Which, then, will you recall with clarity? Could be the snow. You love snow. You play with it, slide on it, pelt me with snowballs. We’ve done it every year and I can still see the delight in your face looking out the window after each snowfall. It could be Halloween. Costumes, candy and friends. Enough said. Finding the bottle? Maybe. You clasped it like a prize for a few days, and as I write this it’s still in the windowsill.

The election is my best guess, though. Ever since your first presidential election, when mom taught you to say “Obama for your momma,” you’ve been inquisitive about who’s in charge of things, asking “who’s the boss of” our town, the school, the state and the like. Tuesday night, you kept coming back to the computer, to see which was higher, the blue votes or red votes. So, yeah, maybe that’s the bit of history that will stick in your head. Or, more than likely, it will be all of them. Your lucky. Your generation is the first with the ability to log each and every reference point, this blog a perfect example.

So, cherish your history, your timeline, little mouse. Keep it in the photo album of your mind. Look at it, scrutinize it, learn from it, but most importantly, smile at it. History is you.

Just found a paper on the computer desk that says, “I love you Mommy … from Catie and Daddy.” You misspelled daddy, and I think added the ‘y’ in mommy as a second thought. You’re probably embarrassed, but I love to see your handwriting. The scribbled letters always make me smile, mostly because they constantly change. Sometimes I go looking for your old drawings, cards, letters, even homework, just to look at the difference. It’s like taking a trip on a time machine.

Yesterday, we celebrated Gotcha Day – the sixth year after the judge told us we could really be your mommy and daddy. And we got you. There’s this picture of all of us at the courthouse afterward, another time machine. In it, I see your tiny two-year-old arms, fingers, clutching at mommy, trying to smile at something you didn’t really understand. This morning, when I reached for your hand while sitting on the couch, watching television, I secretly traveled back to that day, comparing their length and strength and touch. Later when we had our Gotcha Day cake, and you smashed your face into it, roaring back with laughter, I laughed, too. And took a picture. I thought, I can’t wait to see this in ten years, and remember again.

My darling daughter, always experience today, but never forget your yesterdays. Let them be your time machine.