snow and quiet

Atlanta was bracing for something more exciting than we we ended up with, but we were left this weekend with a little dusting and some uncharacteristic windy chill. The high is only 30 today, but the sun is bright, and I can hear drops running down my gutters right now as the rooftop thaws.

I went to take the dog out last night before bed, and the neighborhood was quiet. Just the slightest dusting can feel special when you live in Georgia.

southern "snow"

The kids are away this weekend, and it brings more consolation than sadness – if I can be honest. I have been trapped inside with them for days at a time alone more times than I’d care to remember. In 2011 when Jude and I spent 7 days alone in the house unable to conquer the driveway and neighborhood streets. In 2013 when I had two kids under 4, both sick. And again in 2014 when Atlanta was hit with a lot that year and I had a husband working in sunnier climates. I love my kids. I do not love winter and the thought of icy streets and no snow plows. When I remember the frayed nerves that resulted from days on end of no real adult contact in those storms, I’m grateful for the time alone to pause this weekend.

This morning, I wandered down the stairs at 8:30 to brew the coffee, and I already heard the chatter of neighborhood kids outside with hats and mittens. It brought a tinge of sadness and a tangible ache for a minute, but as I’ve settled into the rest of the day busying myself with things around the house, the solitude feels worn and comfortable.

I was told that this would happen eventually, that being alone would get easier. It felt so unnatural in the beginning, but I am there finally.

Winter takes a lot of deliberate focus for me to see the bright side and push through. It can feel long and dark. I’ve been making a conscious effort since the new year began to be still and use the early dark and time at home to tend to what’s close. It’s working well to calm the restlessness or anxiousness or dreary outlook that can sometimes emerge from winter.

Ram Dass so famously said, “The quieter you become, the more you can hear.” And one good thing about this time of year is that it is so quiet – if you let it be. School and work and activities keep us rushing, but by 6pm it is dark and we are home and glad to be here. The kids are in bed by 8, and I make myself (no matter how much I don’t want to) turn off the distractions and unroll my yoga mat for half an hour. This goes in the category of duh, why didn’t I know that already? but that half hour has brought so much foundation and awareness to the rest of my day. It’s funny how much I’ve paid for occasional classes in a studio in years past, and it’s the home practice that is making such a difference for me. That’s how it always goes though; it always starts at home, all of it.

Looking to something or someone else to get you somewhere has hollow results. You have to see the abundance in your own self. Winter is good to remind me of that. All these little things – baking a bit, getting an extra hour of sleep, lighting candles after dark – they all echo what I already know which is that what you need is all right here.

it happened again

Snow is more exciting the first time around.  Added to the frustration of having to pretty much rewrite my syllabi.  Added to Scott being stuck in Ohio all week.  Added to the threat of power outages.  We are pretty much over it, but we’re making the best of it as well we know how.

what driveway?

When this happened a couple of weeks ago, we saw so many neighborhood kids out playing in it. This time, I’ve hardly seen anyone at all. It was mostly ice the first two days, and then the snow finally came.

the world's tiniest snowman

For the most part, we are hunkering down and waiting for it to pass. We’ve colored and played a lot of hide and seek and baked cookies. They’ve watched a lot of television (or kind of in ten minute increments for Norah who won’t really watch much) and I’ve caught up on a bit on Downton Abbey.  The latest Norah has slept all week is 5:15.  All I want for Valentine’s Day is a shut bathroom door and a lonely, quiet bath.

snow days round two

I’m achy from the laziness. C’mon, spring!


The university closed at 3:30 today, but as I walked out of my class at 12:20, I realized it was almost nap time at the Child Development Center, and I wanted to get the kids before they slept to head home.  I picked them up and began the 45-minute drive home, and the last 20 minutes or so were a little treacherous.  But we made it safely and all was well.

Then as the afternoon went on, I heard from more friends and family who were not so lucky and were stuck on the road.  As I write this, people I know who left their jobs SEVEN hours ago are still stuck.  It is crazy.  Atlanta just doesn’t have the snowplows and salt trucks and such because this doesn’t happen much.  Plus this came on a few hours earlier and a lot heavier than expected, so it snuck up on us.  It is nuts out there.

So I feel lucky I have all my chicks in the nest. (Scott included because he left work at 1:30 and had only a three hour commute.)  We got some time to play in it today, and school is canceled tomorrow.  Yay, snow day! Stay warm and safe, Atlantans.








the Christmas recap

I can’t believe it’s been something like 2 weeks since I last posted.  Christmas came and went, and I know better than to use all those trite and ridiculous adjectives like beautiful or magical or wonderful, but it’s hard to think of much else to describe this Christmas.

We spent Christmas Eve at my Grandmother’s as I have every other December 24th of my twenty-nine years here, and I love that. I love that I sit by the same fireplace and eat the same recipes and see smiles from the same people year after year.  This holiday is about the birth of Christ, of course, and I don’t mean to ignore that.  But on another level, it’s also about family and tradition and belonging. I love belonging.  I love bringing Jude along with me and settling in to the same Christmas Eve traditions that feel like a big, broken-in recliner.

So we ate and opened gifts and played and joked and did all the things I’ve done every year of my life, only now I get to see my own little boy play with his cousins the same way I did mine. That, my friends, overused though the word may be, is beautiful for certain.

Tucking him in late that night and seeing those chubby little legs in candy-striped pajamas left me so excited for the day ahead, but no anticipation could have prepared me for such a perfect day.  We finished Santa preparations late that night and headed to bed all giddy for the next day.

His confused little expression on Christmas morning was priceless, and I couldn’t help but think as I brewed the coffee leisurely and fed him breakfast at our usual pace, that soon I would not be able to take my time with such tasks.  But now?  Now he doesn’t get the whole Santa thing, but he’s pretty keen on all these new gifts nonetheless.

The legos were a hit!

So sometime Christmas morning, as I balanced a toddler on my hip, refilled my cup with some hot coffee, and tripped over legos for the fourth time that day, I realized something pretty crazy.  This is it.  This is my time. We think Christmas is all about little ones and best when you’re a kid and blah blah blah, but it’s not.  I’m here to say it’s so much better now.  And this is my time.  I’m the mama, the tradition-maker, the Christmas-queen, the baker, the present-buyer, the stocking-stuffer, the story reader.  The mother and keeper of my own home.

In the long line of tiny moments that say loud and clear, Motherhood is real and lovely and HUGE.  I hope you are you paying attention, this was one for sure.  Somewhere between the second helping of breakfast casserole, the third lap around the house with the wooden frog, and the countless cuddles, I really got it and it’s such a lovely feeling.  And then, my friends, I laid our little candy cane down for a nap, and could this day get any more perfect?  Of course it could.

That's real, live snow, y'all!

I don’t even know when the last time was that Atlanta saw a white Christmas, but this was the real deal.  And every little flake that pranced to the ground made this Christmas move from a beautiful one to an ohmygosh-this-is-magic one. Again, every overused adjective in the dictionary belongs here, so I won’t nauseate you with the high-on-life thing, but there are moments when you have to say thank you.  Aloud.  Because this stuff is no accident, and for my little family, this was one cozy, white, fluffy dose of perfection.  We spent the afternoon on Christmas day over at at my in-laws’ stuffing our bellies with delicious food and opening fun presents.  And when we got home, Jude fell asleep on me, and we laid by the fire – baby strewn across my chest and my new Kindle propped in my right hand.  Just reading and snoozing and watching the fire dance and feeling so fulfilled that my little heart-cup was overflowing with a big, sweet, gushy mess of sentimentality.  On the list of moments I’d like to revisit one day, that one appears for sure.  Funny you can find happiness right in your own living room and it’s so perfect you have to step outside yourself for a moment and say remember this.  Happy now.  Perfect now. Love.

Life is beautiful, friends. Especially on days like these.

I hope Christmas was full of happy things and love and family and all the things you dreamed of.  Happy 2011, y’all!  Beautiful things are ahead,  I just know it.