Digging in.

First, a little story.  My dear friend Charlotte had (has?) juvenile arthritis as a child and had to spend time in the hospital when she was three.  On the day of discharge, Charlotte’s mom said, “ok kiddo, when we get out of here, we can do anything you want. Anything at all!” with visions, I’m sure, of an ice cream stand or a toy shop.  Charlotte looked at her mom and asked confidently, “can we go home and put on some David Bowie records and dance in the living room?!” and that’s exactly what they did.  That makes me love children even more. (And Charlotte.  And David Bowie.)

What I’m trying to say here is that we’ve got some changes happening around the Walton world.  Drew is plugging away in his Nurse Practitioner program at UVA in addition to being on the faculty for the school of nursing and working full time.  Saying that Drew is busy is kind of like saying that chocolate is the greatest food that has ever been invented, which is to say, it’s indisputably true.  Drew’s week starts when he heads in for the night shift on Sunday evenings and ends in May of 2013.  The amazing thing about Drew though is that he’s on this crazy 24 hour schedule that involves working, learning, AND teaching, and yet he’s still here.  He’s still on the floor playing with trains, he’s still leaving me the random love note, he’s still reminding me that we have so much to be thankful for.

In this way, I’m tightening up too.  I’ve also got some changes ahead and for the first time in a long time I’m feeling like I have two feet under me, two eyes on the horizon, two hands able to make it all happen.  We’re all digging in around here.  Eyes on the prize.

***

Right now we sit at the table before Drew heads to work and we sit as a family of three and hold hands and say ‘Thank you for our blessings’.  Asher loves this and we often have to stop about every minute and half as Asher reaches for our hands again and smiles at his captive audience before coyly saying, ‘dank doo bessing’ with a giant grin.  I realized for the first time last night that we hadn’t actually talked about what we were saying when we said thank you like this every day and so I started chatting with Asher about everything around us that is a blessing.  Asher caught on quickly and started pointing to everything around him and asking…Milk, blessing?  Water, blessing? Chicken, blessing? and then more shyly, Mama, blessing?  Papa, blessing? and for each of these we would say yes! we are so lucky to have milk, we are so fortunate to have water, we are so blessed to have food, etc.  When he started asking about the people we said that yes, all of the people in our life were so special and then he looked at us and without a hint of question he said, Asher! Blessing!

And Drew and I looked at each other and we looked at our joyous little son with bar-b-que sauce on his forehead and YES! Asher is a blessing!

***

I remember literally having the bottom fall out of a grocery bag in front of our house last year around this time and sitting on the ground next to the mess crying my eyes out because I couldn’t feel life being easy.  I simply couldn’t feel it.  I didn’t see a point out there somewhere where I would feel powerful again.  I could see Drew’s path, I could see Asher’s path, and despite being technically successful, when I thought about myself I saw a lot of fuzzy grey blurry stuff accentuated with some more grey stuff and some more blurry edges.  I think this is the identity shift that happens in the year after having children…I wasn’t a(n enormous) glowy pregnant woman anymore, I wasn’t a mother to an infant anymore, I was still a wife, I had a teensy bit more confidence and freedom with regards to loving and raising Asher, but as far as the internal person that I hang out with everyday commonly known as me?  I just couldn’t get a sense of her.

I don’t feel that way anymore.  I can’t say that it was one big epiphany, that no more grocery bags have broken (well, actually yes, I can. No more grocery bags have broken, but you know what I’m saying here) or that I’m dancing with Rainbow Bright and Strawberry Shortcake at every turn, but somewhere in the midst of taking it day by day, I am starting to see what is ahead, and more than just feeling good about it, I know it.  I have a sense of it again.

***
Things are changing.  We are not spinning our wheels, we are not getting lost in the cacophony of sameness, we are noticing the seasons changing, we are seeing faint lines appear at the corners of our eyes, we are delighting in toddler ankles emerging under hems that were too long mere weeks ago.  I think as humans we can vacillate between worrying that things will never be the same and worrying that we will never be able to make a change.  This is funny, right?  But I think that I am finally at a point where I can appreciate all of the work that has gone into the stability that Drew and I are creating for our family, and all of the possibilites and freedom that will be born out of this foundation.

And really, I get to sit down every day and say thank you for our blessings with two men that seem to inherently understand the power of that statement more than anyone else I’ve ever known, and if that doesn’t make my feet tingle with a sense of purpose and destination, I don’t know that anything ever will.

So thanks Charlotte for reminding me that kids are adorable, and thanks Drew for being an all around rock star, and thank you Asher for loving to say thank you, and thanks life for giving me the kick in the pants that I needed to remember that actually everything is a-ok.

Oh, and thank you David Bowie for being you.  Yessir.