Don’t call us, we’ll call you

November 22, 2012

Pictures for the (Thanksgiving) Weekend: Gobble Gobble ARR!

Filed under: Family, Lindsay loves Neal, Pictures for the Weekend — Tags: , , — llcall @ 6:42 am

You guys know I’m NOT into Thanksgiving, but if anything could change my mind it would be this . . .

Who else is glad Neal decided to do THIS for a living?

Wouldn’t it be great if the Pilgrims and the Native Americans AND the Pirates sat down for that first Thanksgiving?

Addison’s love of all things pirate these last few months has certainly opened my eyes to so many interesting possibilities. Have I  mentioned that when she sings the opening song from Beauty and the Beast, it’s a bold, “Little town, it’s a pirate village!”? How much better would that movie be with some pirate talk in the mix?

So anyway, Happy Thanksgiving. If that’s your thing.


(Play)Lists: The Lost Years, 1998-2000

Why stop at shot glasses when you can also memorialize and get rid of cassette tapes?

My last playlist was from 243 Young Hall, my freshman year in 1998. The unmitigated fun of that year was, of course, followed by the lost years. I always call it my two-year baseball mission because I watched A LOT of baseball. There were also a lot of Jim Rome shows, ESPN the Magazines, and Laker games going on. Besides illness and depression, sports are what I remember most about those years.

But there was also music! Tons of music. Hanging out with musicians, both platonically and not, used to be a thing I did — how come I always forget that?  I’ll tell you one reason. I am mostly cut off from music now. I have always been a person that cannot think, read, or write while listening to music. When I’m listening to music, that is what I’m doing. And in my adult world, there’s just no time for that. (Also, I have no iPod or other convenient listening device, though, I’m sorry to say I have hung on to my old, no-longer-functional Walkman for nearly 20 years now.)

Clearly, it’s time to move past the cassettes. But I couldn’t just toss ’em. Though it’s long past the time that music was a HUGE part of my life, these tapes still mean something to me, though how much they mean surprised even me. I thought I would start with Pedro the Lion — 5 songs on the EP, Only reason I feel secure (is that I am validated by my peers). How hard could it be to give up a tape with only 5 songs on it? But then one hundred little memories came rushing back. The Glass House with Cory. Cory who once sent me a card that said only this: “I know there is wisdom in all that God does.” Which led to discussions of Soren Kierkegaard. And later a song he composed, using words I had written in some of my darkest hours. Cory and the little Pedro the Lion pin he bought me that Addison still finds every few months and promptly injures herself with. All those thoughts sprung out of 15 seconds of song #1. Sheesh, how can music be so crazy evocative?

But I am going to get rid of these tapes, even if I have to cut out a piece of my own heart. Which strangely enough is what it feels like to jettison this Pedro the Lion tape. Thank goodness for YouTube — this music does not have to be lost to me forever!

Criticism as Inspiration, Pedro the Lion (three links because I couldn’t choose the best recording; they are all inferior to my cassette quality, go figure) — This is a song I would have listened to on repeat, if not for the fact that cassettes have no repeat button.

Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space, Spiritualized — Shared with me by my first boyfriend, only to play an integral role in my relationship with my last boyfriend. If Neal and I have a love song, this is it, forever cemented by listening to it on repeat for almost 3 hours on our 3rd or 4th date (according to my dating calculations, since Neal’s are ridiculous).

Under the Bridge, Red Hot Chili Peppers — This needs its own post, if I can bring myself to write it. (You know, I think I can. It doesn’t feel nearly as scary as when I first started contemplating talking about this thing.)

My Ritual, Folk Implosion — I totally got propositioned at this show. This random guy found out about my wheelchair and asked if I wanted to go to Disneyland with him so that we could skip all the lines and park really close. Thrilling, right? Also, Lou Barlow was definitely wasted during the show and still didn’t miss a beat. Crazy.

The Outdoor Type, The Lemonheads — “I can’t go away with you on a rock-climbing weekend; what if something’s on TV and it’s never shown again.” Ha.

That’s Just What You Are, Aimee Mann

Open the Door, Magnapop

Walk On, Neil Young

Smoke, Ben Folds Five

If I Should Fall From Grace With God, The Pogues

Ruthie’s Knocking, Throwing Muses

Me and You vs. The World, Space

Where Do the Children Play?, Cat Stevens

If I Can’t Change Your Mind, Sugar

100%, Sonic Youth

Gigantic, Pixies

Love is a Rose, Neil Young

From Hanks to Hendrix, Neil Young

Spin the Bottle, Juliana Hatfield Three

While I doubt many of you will want to watch these videos feeding my nostalgia, I should mention that I only briefly previewed the actual videos and cannot vouch for their entire content (though I did actually skip over one song completely because I could not find a video that wasn’t completely sexualized. I swear it seemed like an innocent enough song lyrics-wise!).

November 19, 2012

Big-kid beds and bowel movements! Oh my!

Despite the fact that Addison refuses to talk to Neal on the phone, she is really missing her daddy. I know this because she has been a whiny, tantrumy, repeatedly stripping down nude [Why did you take your diaper off? “Because I wasn’t ‘pose to.”] mess of a girl since the day he left. Although Neal has been loathe to give up on her pack-n-play and transition her to a new sleeping arrangement, despite the fact that she is climbing out routinely these days, she finally forced my hand last night when she climbed out at bedtime and refused to get back in. What could I do? There’s no way for me to physically keep her in there. So about an hour and a half after her bedtime, we set up a makeshift “big kid” bed.

If it hadn’t been 9:30 at night and I wasn’t exhausted from a long day of defiance, it actually would have been really entertaining. When she saw me breaking down the pack-n-play, she asked what I was doing. When I replied, “We’re going to get another bed,” she ecstatically yelled, “I LOVE a other bed!” And when my mom brought in the old crib mattress that my brother and I used to sleep on, some 35 years old, she exclaimed, “Wow! It’s SO NEW!” (It seems like our plan to keep Addison’s material expectations in life low is working out well so far.) She kept repeating the refrain, “It’s so beautiful. My very own bed is so beautiful.”

But now a question for you more experienced parents: since birth Addison has always liked to sleep crammed into corners and up against walls. She’s quite a mover, day and night, which is one reason we have been reluctant to transition her out of something with walls. But now that we have to, I’m wondering, do kids that move a lot eventually train themselves to stay more still while they sleep? Or will we need to put up barriers of some kind to keep her on the bed? At this point, I’m not so concerned about safety since she is only a few inches off the ground, it’s more about the fact that when she rolls off the bed, she wakes herself up. And since she’s not a stellar sleeper to begin with, this has me worried. But at the same time, if we do put some sort of barrier up, maybe it is only postponing the inevitable — that she needs to learn to sleep in a more stationary position, something that her same age cousins are already adept at. Any thoughts?


Remember that one time you gave us great potty training advice. Well, we need to hear from you again, especially if you’ve ever potty-trained a kid with chronic constipation! Addison has struggled with bowel movements basically since she started solid foods — even when she was eating solely pureed foods. (How a baby can get constipated from puree I will never understand!) We’ve tried most of the usual things to alleviate her difficulties (flax oil; flax seed; limiting breads, dairy, bananas; obsessing about fiber intake). Thus far daily prune juice has been most successful at keeping her semi-regular.

But the problem this poses with potty training is when to actually put her on the potty for pooping. Quite often she will tell us she needs to poop, complete with grunting, watery eyes, and muscle contractions, but nothing comes. Repeat again two hours later. And again. When this happened this week, she finally pooped about 26 hours after she first started telling me she was working on it. And it’s not just a false alarm — she was obviously working on it periodically for two days. She would hide for a few minutes (“I need privacy”), exhaust herself, and then, with flushed face, come tell me it was “hard work” and “I couldn’t do it.”

So when we go for the more aggressive potty training (as opposed to the very slow-paced potty learning we’ve done thus far), do we put her on the potty every time she is working on a poop, even if realistically we know we’re probably at least 8 hours away from the actual bowel movement? How long have you actually made your child stay on the potty when they were working on a poop? Also, if you had a kid like this in terms of bowel movement difficulty, has it resolved itself with age?

Cute, but unrelated picture.

November 16, 2012

It happened like this:

Filed under: History, Personal — Tags: , , , , , — llcall @ 1:00 pm

I saw an email on the Colonial Ward listserv. This listerv, by the way, is a thing in Mormonville in Washington, D.C.  It’s a group listserv created by one of the local LDS wards. You can subscribe (whether Mormon or not) and thenceforth receive emails about local events, irons and stereos for sale (I bought both of those off listserv ads) as well as the occasional political diatribe followed by 30 emails reiterating why said diatribe does not belong on the listserv. And when I say that thenceforth you will receive emails, I mean, FOREVER. Because I moved 6 years ago and have gone through the unsubscribe process at least 17 times (THIS IS NOT A JOKE!), and I am still receiving these emails. But let’s be honest, part of me likes knowing that somewhere in Alexandria, Virginia there is a blue cloth shower curtain for sale for $5.

Back to the email. It said something like: “I’m from Boston, yo, and I want to head up there for a Red Sox game in the near future, maybe tomorrow? I can get us tickets to Fenway Park and my parents will put us up overnight if I can find someone (1) with a car and (2) willing to split the gas. The catch is that the whole trip needs to take less than 48 hours on account of my work schedule.” Although I did not know the email sender, who from now on shall be known as Seth (on account of that being his actual name), I knew I could not pass up tickets to Fenway. (I have not tried to get tickets to a Sox game in quite a few years, but they used to sell out about 15 minutes after going on sale.) So I shot an email back, saying, Let’s do this thing! Will (also his real name) and Mark (possibly his real name, it sounds familiar, but mostly all I remember about him is how obsessed he was with using his radar detector to evade cops while trying to break land speed records) were also game, so in just about a day or two’s time we were shaking hands in a parking lot; four strangers headed to the holy grail of baseball stadiums. In the midst of the whirlwind, I paused long enough to tell a few of my posse about my impromptu trip, to varying responses.

My parents:

What if they’re axe murderers?

My most protective friend, Anne:

What if they’re rapists?

And my boyfriend at the time, David:

What if they’re boring?

After all, 16 hours, give or take, is a long time to sit in a car with boring people. But hey, my baseball love is deep enough to conquer boredom.

Boring, it was not. Aside from Mark’s intense driving — he even wore driving gloves, who does that? (No, seriously, I would like to know if anyone besides this one random guy named Mark that I once drove 20 hours with has ever worn driving gloves!) — there was also plenty of lively conversation. We covered gender roles; career aspirations; how to save the world — or not, depending on one’s preference; dating. The dating talk moved beyond the vague to a scientific attempt to construct the ideal relationship progression: when to hold hands (Seth: Never. Hand-holding is crap.), when to kiss, when to DTR (define the relationship), when to get engaged, when to get married (Me: Never. Marriage is crap; stick with the hand-holding. [Clearly, I have changed my mind about marriage.])

Seth’s parents just happened to live in the quaintest, most beautiful little cottage in the quaintest, most beautiful little town on the South Shore of Massachusetts. I thought about moving there myself for at least 3 or 4 months afterward. The Red Sox game, though now indistinguishable from all the other Red Sox games I have attended, was AWESOME. I even splurged on a “Yankees Suck” shirt, which was going strong until last year when Neal made me retire it. And then, almost as if it had happened too quickly to be real, we were back in D.C. No one was harmed or bored.

I never saw Will or Mark again (I thought that was unrelated to the driving gloves situation, but now I’m unsure). Seth and I, on the other hand, sent each other ridiculously witty emails off and on for the next couple of years. We hit up another Sox game in Baltimore together. We almost hit up a Nationals game. We almost went on a double date. We almost celebrated my 25th birthday together. And we almost went to a concert at Dr. Dremo’s during which, at Seth’s insistence (in order to balance out my too-many male friendships), I met his former girlfriend. It didn’t work out between me and Melissa, but I’ll never forget those 20 minutes we spent yelling at each other in order to be heard over the music. WHERE ARE YOU FROM? WHERE? ONE MORE TIME! OH, REALLY? HOW INTERESTING.

What’s the moral of the story? Subscribe to listservs, many and varied. Go to Fenway Park with 3 random strangers whenever possible. BUT if one of those 3 random strangers has driving gloves, don’t let him be the driver. Visit Hingham, Mass if you possibly can. The Yankees do suck (sorry, Kristin, if you’re reading this). If someone sends you entertaining emails month after month for years, consider dating them (I’m not sure if this advice is for me or him). Hand-holding is not crap. Neither is marriage. Also, baseball. Always baseball.

This post brought to you by getting rid of my shot glasses and surfing through my old (ridiculously witty) emails.

Neal’s surprise . . . shhh, don’t tell!

I love surprises! Have I mentioned that before? Although I’ve loved surprises since childhood (my mom could literally leave an unwrapped present in a drawer and tell me not to look and I would wait, and wait, and wait so that I didn’t spoil the surprise!), the older I get the more I realize that one reason I like them so much is because they bring a certain adrenaline rush with them. If I want to do something for someone, but just the thought of it feels exhausting, I start to tell myself (unconsciously) what a fun surprise it will be! They will be so surprised! It will be awesome . . . and surprising! Pretty soon I’m getting a little adrenaline kick and making something (sometimes ill-advised) happen (adrenaline is definitely a double-edged sword).

Neal and surprises? Not so much. It’s not that he hates them; it’s just that he would rather break his own arm than be thrust into a “surprise,” of almost any kind. Still, even before I dropped him at LAX this morning for a six-day trip, I was plotting, What could I do to surprise him upon his return? Because me and surprises, we’re unstoppable. He’s getting used to it, and working on not breaking his own arm.

But then I hit on it! One of the biggest and best surprises I could possibly give him! I resolved right then and there to get rid of these:

If you think I’m being hyperbolic about this being the best surprise ever, then you don’t know how obsessed Neal is with excising all of my sentimental clutter. These have been hanging out on the floor of our bedroom, under my watchful eye and Neal’s annoyed feet, ever since Addison went all shot-glass deathmatch on the rest of my collection. He’s begged and pleaded for me to let them go. He’s threatened to never move into a tiny house with me if these are still around. What can I say? Sometimes you just want to hang on to some of the last remnants of that adventurous twentysomething you used to be. The one that road-tripped all over the continental United States, hitting virtually every major city at least once, sometimes with people she only met online about 12 hours earlier (yeah, my parents weren’t crazy about that one either).

In my head, these glasses would make a perfect little tea party set for Addison. In reality, of course, she would eventually sever an artery (hers or someone else’s) as well as someday ask what green plant was “smokin'” in San Francisco and why everyone was so “cheer”ful in Boston.

So I’m taking a picture, memorializing them on ye olde blog, and cutting them loose.* Thanks for the good (non-alcoholic) times!

* I got this idea from the book Unclutter Your Life in One Week, which despite NOT uncluttering my life in one week (Neal said I needed to be more participatory) is full of good ideas for organizing life.

November 8, 2012

Hope Springs

Filed under: Personal — Tags: , , , , , , , — llcall @ 9:07 pm

I had a pretty great birthday week. I thought the days of really celebrating my birthday were over, squeezed out of me by a too-energetic toddler who thinks every day should be some kind of celebration. But between a lunch with old friends, sushi and Cafe Rio with Neal, pizza and chocolate cake with Kirsten and the fam, two dollar-theater date nights, and a temple trip (most of it courtesy of my parents’ babysitting), I am feeling pretty spoiled this year.

On Friday night we saw Hope Springs, chosen because it was the only dollar movie remotely interesting to us with a reasonable show time (I don’t party past 9:30 these days!). I did not know much about it, other than Steve Carrell plays a therapist counseling the unhappily married Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones. It was not quite what I was expecting; it took me some time to figure out if it that was good or bad. The movie was both more awkward (I’ve never thought much about what it would be like to watch 60-somethings talk about the challenges of their high/low libido relationship on screen) and more poignant (I cried at least 8 or 9 times, but that’s not news, right?). I was trying to think of how to describe it and then I read this HuffPost review. These two paragraphs sort of sum it up:

Although it’s high-stakes drama –- you really don’t know until the end if this marriage can be saved — it’s a nuanced portrait of a relationship in which nothing, and yet everything, happens.

“It’s a little journey,” said Streep in a roundtable with a dozen reporters in New York. “That’s the story: A door opens. It’s not hyperbolic at all; it’s just a little movement within a relationship. But it’s seismic and it speaks to people; it’s [about] your deepest yearning.”

“Nuanced portrait . . . in which nothing, yet everything, happens.” Yes. There is almost no “plot.” There is no Hollywood twist. There is no big revelation that suddenly explains or resolves this gulf that has built up between these two people who have been married for 31 years. It was so refreshing.

“It’s not hyperbolic at all . . . but it’s seismic and speaks to people; it’s [about] your deepest yearning.” Double yes. I was more than a little surprised at how much it resonated with nearly everything I have learned over the last several years of grad school courses, teaching marriage and family classes, going to marriage counseling myself, and reading dozens of relationship books. It’s hard to imagine that anyone who has been married for more than a few years would not find it tapping into some of their deepest fears or yearnings. (That said, I would love to hear from you if you’ve seen the movie and I’m wrong about that!)

Neal and I were certainly among the youngest people in the theater, and judging from the older couples’ reactions, they found it even funnier than we did. For our part, we thought it might have been a little too preoccupied with the sexual aspect of intimacy (the trailer gives you a sense of that). That said, sex taps into a lot of deep, emotional aspects of our relationships, and in most marriages it is uncomfortable to fully discuss, and so increased attention to it can be valuable and growth-inducing.

As a much younger couple at a pretty strong place in our relationship after that rough go during the transition to parenthood, it spoke to me most as a cautionary tale about how much easier it is to maintain your relationship than it is to rebuild it. Just that morning I had been reviewing our October finances and considered cutting out our planned December getaway since some unexpected expenses had cut into our budget. But after watching Hope Springs, I rethought. A couple of days away now is so much cheaper than figuring out how to come back together later, after you’ve let life pull you apart.

After almost a week of mulling it over, I find that I love this movie. I love that a Hollywood movie with big-name actors takes the importance of marriage as foundational. I love that Meryl Streep’s character says some things that I have thought, but never said (even with my communication obsession). I love that the director David Frankel said, “For me, marriage is always worth fighting for” — and made a movie that could inspire others to feel that way too. And I love that this movie made over 100 million dollars, which means that a whole lot of people went to the movie theater and hopefully reflected on some of the weightier questions the movie touches on. Like this one that Steve Carrell asks, in his best therapist voice (he totally nailed therapist speak, by the way):  “There comes a point when you have to ask yourself, have I done all I could?” Have I done all I could? That’s no small thing to consider, especially in comparison to what Hollywood usually encourages us to think about.

November 2, 2012

Mommy update: 33 years

I have typically only written a “mommy update” in conjunction with a “baby update” chronicling her stats and latest tricks. But we’re at that age now where there aren’t a lot of new, easy-to-track physical skills (unless you count flicking, which we just discovered she could do this morning). And we only go to the doctor for measurements once a year so I’ve got nothing on that since February. I have been recording changes in her language, but it’s too scattered to form a legit update. Still, I have been noticing some changes in my experience as a mother over the last couple of months and I wanted to record that. My birthday seemed like a good occasion since, you know, I’m growing up!

The last time I reflected on motherhood, just after Addison turned two, I talked about some breakthroughs, about things getting easier, about enjoying Addison’s company more, and deciding to be “all-in” as a stay-at-home mom. Soon after I wrote that post a couple of friends pointed out that my definition of stay-at-home parenting does not necessarily conform to the commonly accepted definition. This is a fair response, so I had always planned to clarify what stay-at-home parenting looked like for us. Our care-taking schedule looked like this last winter:

  • Wake-up to 1:00 pm — Neal
  • 1:00 to 7:00 pm — Me
  •  7:00 pm — Bedtime routine all together
  • Night wakings — Neal

I know six hours of primary responsibility for my daughter is a far cry from what most stay-at-home mothers do, but for me, that’s the big time! Even so, I was mostly describing an internal shift I was experiencing. Although I’m not one to pass graphic quote displays around the internet, the last couple of sentences of this one really sums up that internal shift:

Thank you, Pinterest, for helping me find this quote.

Points off for misattribution of the quote — actually written by Rachel Jankovic — and misspelling Neil L. Andersen’s name TWICE.

(You guys, I know I shouldn’t even be saying this, but I kinda hate Pinterest — like total, only slightly rational HATRED. I dream of writing whole blog posts about this hate but I probably shouldn’t since I’m pretty sure I would lose some friends. And I love you guys (!), even if you love Pinterest. That includes Neal who joined Pinterest despite my persuasion, but apparently wrote on his bio that he’s married to a “great woman” to placate me.)

But I digress (you see what Pinterest does to me). That internal shift I experienced was all about deciding that right now motherhood is “what God gave me time for.” I still think about getting a PhD and writing a book about the economic socialization of incarcerated people (I’ve even written an outline, peeps), and I believe that later I will feel that those are also the things that God gave me time for. But right now it is this mothering thing, this thing that is simultaneously so difficult and so joyful. Motherhood is the greatest paradox in my life.

Nine months later, this shift in perspective is still intact. Despite the fact that every few weeks I think about applying to PhD programs, volunteering with a literacy program in the local jail, or working with a prisoner letter-writing group, I remind myself that now is not the time. Keeping my focus almost solely on my family is what God gave me this time for.

Though that perspective has stayed the same since February, other things have changed. I got a part-time job teaching online. My neck stopped working for a couple of weeks. Addison and I spent a week in Utah without Neal and she almost pushed me right over the edge — that whole enjoying Addison’s company was in serious jeopardy for a time this summer. The combination of these things and their residual effects necessitated a change in our care-taking schedule:

  • Wake-up to 4:00 pm — Neal
  • 4:00 to 7:30 pm — Me
  •  7:30 pm — Bedtime routine all together
  • Night wakings — Neal

Three-and-a-half hours a day as the primary caretaker. That’s not much. But seriously, most days it is all I am physically capable of. Yesterday Neal had some writing projects to finish and so we switched blocks and I was on until 4:00. Things were going swimmingly — we ate breakfast (I made it! well, I mixed a couple of things in with yogurt anyway), read books, went for a walk (outside the house!), stopped in at the neighborhood library, bought a 99-cent pumpkin, painted said pumpkin, took a bath — until about 2:00 pm when I was DONE. My joints were aching, my head, neck, and back were throbbing. I needed to lay down in the worst way, and I craved absolute silence while I did so. (Silence is hard to come by in Addison’s presence.)

In most areas of my life, I have long since accepted my physical limitations, but this parenting thing is hard. I can’t ask a two-year-old like her to sit still or quietly lay next to me for any lengthy period of time (well, that’s not true I ask her all the time; she just seems physically and temperamentally incapable of it). I know kids learn by play and she desperately wants me to play with her; as much as she loves Dora the Explorer, she would choose me any day of the week. But I just can’t half the time. And the other half the time, I can only do it in short bursts. Over lengthier periods of time, my physical pain wears down my emotional reserves and I lose patience. We had one of those moments yesterday. I snapped at her harshly because she was not cooperating. She looked up at me immediately, a cross between wounded and curious. In that moment, I was not the mother she recognized, one who is usually calm and focused even when I’m disciplining her. My nerves were frayed in a very physical way, creating emotional consequences that I knew were not caused by any egregious behavior on her part.

Does this sound depressing? It’s meandered into that territory more than I was expecting. See, the changes I was planning to write about are these:

  1. I honestly do love my time with Addison more than ever.
  2. I’m beginning to see the future wherein some of my most stimulating conversations happen with her, instead of in the hours I can get away from her.

A connection between the two, you think?

In early October, October 6th to be exact, Addison asked us, “What does dead mean?” (In fact, you can watch her asking it on film and clarifying what she means if you’re so inclined.) I fumbled around a little for a kid-friendly definition, trying to explain the differences between the body and the spirit, and where the spirit goes after death. (Spirit prison may have come up briefly — I just can’t help myself!) I have never known very much about when kids start to do certain things, understand certain concepts, etc. but this death question seemed like a fluke to me. I really didn’t think she was actually pondering the concept of death at two-and-a-half. But every couple of days, she would ask again. There would be follow-up questions. “How do you get dead when you get hurt?” “Get sad when you get dead?” It was all very disarming both because of the timing  and because I previously thought that kids don’t really know or do anything that interesting until at least 5 or 6. In these conversations, we covered injury, incapacitation, old age, and various conceptions of the afterlife. I might also have referenced an NPR story in which a woman who was thought to have experienced total and profound brain death turned out to be primarily deaf, blind, and dumb, but still very much alive and coherent. (Just so you know, if you face a similar conversation, it’s probably too soon for brain death and life support decision-making. Lesson learned.)

Just a few days before that particular conversation, I was having another one with my old roommate Em as we drove from the funeral to the airport. We were discussing our questions about what comes after this life, what it all means, and how it all works. The conversation with Em was different than with Addison, but I could sense how much closer I am to these genuinely thought-provoking conversations with Addison than I realized. Soon she will have her own ideas to share about the afterlife and why people get sad when they get dead. I can see that the process of trying to explain what I know in terms a child can understand will be a continual challenge, but one of the most effective routes for my own personal growth that I can think of. I have a feeling too that as Addison begins to explain things to me, I’ll experience moments of clarity about topics that I have long pondered. Thus far her temperament, personality, and ways of interacting with the world are so different from mine that I cannot help but see with new eyes.

A while back, my good friend Nikki posted an update on Facebook, talking about how when people talk about how hard parenting is, it scares her off before she can hear their eventual “but”s and qualifications. I’m certain I’m one of these friends that has scared her. Oops. Some of the replies to her post were along the lines of, it’s not as hard as people say. Well, it is for me. It’s very hard. It challenges me far, far more than a PhD program ever could. I know this. I’m constantly torn, trying to distinguish between the things I just can’t provide for her and the things I can but would rather not (like having conversation #50 about why Gaston is so mean to the Beast when I would much rather be lost in my own more interesting thoughts). I don’t think that’s ever going to change completely — being torn is part of who I am as a person, so it was bound to be part of who I am as a parent. But it is getting easier. And more interesting. And more fun. And, of course, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. I feel almost too privileged that this is what God gave me this time for.

My favorite lunch date

My favorite library date

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