Yes (now what?!)


I love this picture, taken the other night by my sister-in-law at her house. Jon’s not mansplaining (he doesn’t do that) but for some reason the way this looks tickles me.

I’ve been accepted to my first law school. There are still half a dozen applications pending, so I don’t know what will ultimately shake out as a plan, but the truth is this: I threw my hat in the ring, and have a concrete Yes.

That incandescent “yes”…the smile didn’t leave my face for hours. I smiled at everyone I passed, and if I’d had a hat to throw in the air, I would have. I got a Yes. And it wasn’t just a Yes—it was a yes with very generous scholarship attached.

This amazing thing has happened. It was something I worked hard to do—I studied for months, I took a really hard test (while waiting on gallbladder surgery, woke with pink-eye, the brakes went out on both my car *and* Jeffrey’s car, which I drove to the test—test-day was almost ridiculous in its absurdity) and I did well enough that I not only passed, that a law school has offered me not only a place, but money to attend their program. Achievement unlocked! So why was it easier to accept the hard parts of studying and applying than to accept the reward?

For someone like me, for whom trauma still sometimes surprisingly rears its head, good things happening can be scary. Even acknowledging it being scary is scary. I have a hard time trusting good things, and that sometimes affects…everything?

I think acknowledging the complexity of accumulated experiences is helpful. I’m not telling myself not to feel these feelings, but I *am* telling myself not to get too wrapped up in any one of them. They’re just feelings. They come and go, and I don’t have to amplify my anxieties, nor do I have to minimize my joy.

So this really amazing thing happened—something I wanted and worked hard for. That’s great! This really amazing thing also brings with it decisions, shifts in focus, and potential changes not just for me, but for my family. That’s new and maybe it can feel a little scary, but it’s also okay. I acknowledge I am incredibly fortunate—my husband and kids are fully behind me and are cheering me on, even when I’m afraid.

If I have learned anything over the last two decades, it’s that change is the constant. There is no stasis in life. None. Some changes we choose and welcome, some not. But life is in a constant state of flux and flow, and finding ways to be emotionally okay with that truth is a step towards a meaningful life.

Either way, deep breaths are called for, and required. And if you see me randomly smiling to myself in the clearance racks at Target, it’s not because the jeans were marked down. Well, maybe it’s that, too…

Thanks for coming to my personal pep talk.

Busy Be Back Soon (Again)

IMG_5389The last week has been insane. You know when you have so many plates juggling you don’t know where to look? I’m there.

My kids’ godmother lives in Ohio, and we took an impromptu road trip to see her and help support her and her family over some bumps. It was a good trip–I pulled my three kids from school early on Friday and we took advantage of the three-day presidents weekend. While we were on the road, why not also tour a law school or two? Oh, and maybe a snow storm could blow through for the majority of the drive? Yes, great!

We had fun though, and it was worth it. Jon got a weekend at home with Kelsey and our expanding zoo. I made a bid for another puppy–a brindle mastiff girl who ended up in rescue. Someone else got to her before me, so I hope they love her as much as we would have. I’ll keep trying.

I’ve applied to six law schools now. I’ve heard folks apply to 18 or 20, hedging their bets. I’m kind of wracked with existential anxiety over whether I’m not being smart, or whether I’m being realistic–I cannot pick up and move across the country, and I’m not getting into an Ivy, and I’m a “mature student” *gag* so I have to be smart, and I’m targeting select schools where I think it makes financial sense to focus. Like so much in life, it’s about balancing all the advice, weighing it out, and then doing what you’ve worked out is best for you and your family. It’s hard. I have two more on my list, so maybe making it a lucky 8 would be good.

At the same time, we’re helping Jeffrey navigate this process from the other end. Adulting is hard when you’ve been doing it for almost 30 years, and it’s hard when you’re just learning how to begin. There are so many variables and unknowns right now.

The kids were in school for all of two days this week—not because of me and my lackadaisical approach to long weekends. The district called snow days on Wednesday and Thursday, though it was 47* on Thursday. Go, Virginia! The superintendent of our district actually sells joke merchandise about school closures, because he moved here from New York, and like me, is floored by the calls they make about snow.

There are potentially exciting things coming down the road for Bean and Autism activism. I will report more as I am able. He’s also being honored by the school district for his community service and food bank donations. It looks like he’s going to stick with lacrosse, and he’s decided he wants to learn how to drive.

Abby was so content to spend the weekend with her godmother. They have a special relationship, and I deeply appreciate the bond they share. Abby made all-county band, and is so humble, she forgot to tell us, until the day of the concert. She kept telling me she was just practicing for a “band thing.”

Finishing off the week, I have a contract to go over and sign, student aid forms to fill out for both me and for Jeffrey, book club, a friend in from out of town, and…I think that’s it? I mean, other than the regular stuff of running a house with four teenagers, three animals, and two parents.



There is so much going on right now, I just have to jot some notes down so I don’t lose track. Too many moving pieces, too many things to keep on top of…

We’re keeping our fingers crossed that we don’t have to face another shutdown tomorrow. 35 days without pay really sapped us and the stress was heavy. We had to talk this week about what to pay, and what not to pay, in anticipation of another shutdown. Things look optimistic, but until something is signed, we (and a million other people) are holding our breath.

Jeffrey is facing making decisions about college and the coming years, and seventeen just seems so young to have to make these kinds of choices. So much of it is a leap of faith, with a fair dose of the hubris of youth. Giving him space to work out his options, while doing out best to provide him with maps and tips along the way. It’s hard for everyone.

Bean is growing in huge leaps and bounds right now–not just physically either. He donated another 80 cases of peanut butter to a local hunger project, and there are more things in the works that I can’t share details on yet.  He also tried crew, but decided he liked the helmet and gauntlet gloves of lacrosse better and so now we might have a lacrosse player? It helps that his SpEd teacher is the lacrosse coach. A lot.

Abby is Abby. Quiet and unassuming, still waters run deep. I won’t transgress her privacy any further unless or until I have her permission. But she’s doing okay. Same with Kelsey.

There is a pile of law school applications sitting on my desk, ready to go. It’s been a daunting process, but I am very close to having all the jots and tittles checked and double checked. Somehow, February 14 seems like a good day to submit. Here goes nothing…or everything.

We don’t really do Valentines Day. It’s a holdover from my single mama days. Auntie Heather came to Spokane once during the hard years, and we held a tea party on the 14th, and since then, I like celebrating the day with how our family loves each other. We did a dinner the other night, but I covered the walls with pictures of us together. Jon and I have our anniversary for ourselves—but this family is worth celebrating, too.

I’m watching my nephew today while I tweak the last few details on my applications, and his mom attends a funeral.

I’m cooking potato leek soup because leeks were a great deal.

I found an amazing new barbecue joint that has BURNT ENDS and I nearly cried they were so good.

It’s Thrift Store Thursday, and I shall return and report. I’ve had a run of good luck. We’ll see if it continues.

I pulled my back out last weekend, and it’s finally starting to loosen up. It’s been a miserable week, walking around like I’m 93.

Maybe doing a revamp of our bedroom wasn’t the greatest idea? Just moved pieces around, rearranged, swapped out pictures, etc. It feels fresh for spring.

Have you ever tried Afghan food? Omg, my sister-in-law and I stumbled into the most amazing Afghan restaurant and I can’t even think about it without salivating.

What’s your week look like?

February Pause

IMG_5238It’s February. The sun is out and the air is a warm. Last week we were sub-zero, today we’re hovering around 70 degrees. The whiplash is a little disconcerting if you ponder it for even a moment, but mostly I’m just loving the feeling of the sunlight on my face.

The windows on the house are all flung open to gulp in as much beautiful fresh air as possible before the chill returns. Because it will. (And so help me, this better not trigger the blossoms, which will then inevitably freeze.) The cat are each slung languidly in different windowsills, and Tiberius isn’t sure what to do with himself there are so many squirrels in his yard.

I lit a nag-champa and welcomed the lunar new year. It’s the Year of the Pig, the last of the 12-year Chinese zodiac cycle. The nag-champa smoke floats on the breeze, and if I close my eyes, it feels like Santa Cruz 25 years ago. This is normal for a California February, and my heart sings of home. The only thing missing is the jasmine and eucalyptus. The scent of jasmine makes me cry with homesickness; it always bloomed early, along with the camellias that grew everywhere.

I can hear children laughing and their mothers calling to them. Bicycles whir by, and the soft jingle of metal tags tells me at least a dozen dogs have walked by my house. The afternoon sun is still too far away for the really good rainbows to fill the  prisms in my window, but there are a few tiny ones trying to peek through. The shadows are growing long and golden, and Maxfield Parish would like the light.

Snow is forecast next week.

Today, I’ll breathe in the sunlight, and give thanks for my dog and the amazing humans who fill this house I am so fortunate to call home.