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Words I'm Reading
  • Forever, Erma: Best-Loved Writing from America's Favorite Humorist
    Forever, Erma: Best-Loved Writing from America's Favorite Humorist

Words I Just Finished Reading

The Kitchen House
The Atomic Weight of Love
We're All Damaged
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles
Wishful Drinking
News of the World
The Forgotten Garden
Out of My Mind
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life
There Is No Good Card for This: What To Say and Do When Life Is Scary, Awful, and Unfair to People You Love
My Not So Perfect Life
Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters
Killing Reagan: The Violent Assault That Changed a Presidency
The Lost Wife
Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church
Anna and the French Kiss
Little Bee

Julie's favorite books »


There is More.

Everyone’s having more fun than I am. 

Because I tend toward the maximizer side of the spectrum, I have an adorably manic side to my personality.  It’s the little me, perched on my shoulder (she has perfect posture and is having a great hair day).  Her little voice insists that we must be HAVING ALL THE FUN and MAKING ALL THE MEMORIES.  But her voice gets especially strident around the holidays.  She shrieks, “The kids will be off school and the possibilities will be endless!  There will be happiness spilling out of every gilded-edged moment!  CARPE DIEM!”  She’s intense. 

So then Christmas break started.  And overall we’ve had a lovely time, even though we’ve been sick.  This is not our first sick Christmas break (hello, Petri Dish Elementary), but it’s the first one in which I’ve felt a little ease.  It’s okay to have very little scheduled, and it’s okay to have space and ease and laziness (to laze about: I’ve always loved that phrase).  Also, we all know I had some reading to do, and the kids were weirdly invested in my reading goal.  They’d look up from playing and say, “Mommy, you should be reading!”

But then the kids started to bicker (yesterday, we picked up Nolan from a sleepover that’s less than three minutes from our house, and the kids were at it by the time we made the first turn).  There’s such a fine line between the amount of togetherness that’s just right and the amount of togetherness that brings total misery to all participants.  And there’s that small, persisten undercurrent of pressure I feel to maximize this time.  What if these are the good old days and I spend them yelling at the kids for being jerks to each other?

But generally, I’m able to accept that both are true.  These are the good old days.  And I will yell at my kids for being jerks to each other.  They’re not mutually exclusive.  I silence my friend on my shoulder and go about my day as an enlightened, well-adjusted woman with a delightful sense of humor and a mind as sharp as an ice-pick.  The end. 

However, sometimes I pick up my phone at the wrong moment, opening up the Dread Pirate Facebook or the InstaCompare.  I love social media, but if I’m viewing it in the wrong frame of mind then it’s disaster.  Because I open it up, and it appears that EVERYONE IS HAVING A LOT OF FUN.  They’re in Hawaii, or at the Warriors game, or hiking in our beloved Colorado, or in Tahoe (and this one is easy because I think all the people in our neighborhood went to Tahoe).  It’s snowing there, or sunny there, or interesting there, and it’s raining and stupid here.  They’re skiing and their kids are Having Experiences and mine are in the other room, arguing about the Legos.

I read a perfect blog post this week in which Kelle Hampton perfectly described the tension I often feel in these years with young children.  She was exploring her “notorious vice grip” on things she loves:

"It is a strength in that it’s rooted in great recognition for magic moments in life–I feel and appreciate them so deeply–and gratitude for surrounding beauty. But it’s also a weakness in that it’s intertwined with a subconscious irrational fear–that raising babies is the happiest I’ll ever be…that Christmas is the most magical our year will ever get…that the “regular life” that follows a great vacation will be mundane and emotionless…that the electric energy of a dinner out with friends will never be repeated. These are scarcity lies that discredit my own power to seek good, recognize beauty, create rituals, appreciate moments and live my very best life by the choices I make every day."

Her three-word solution: there is more.  I read it this week and thought, “YES.”  There is more.  And, too: there is enough.  There’s enough to go around: joy, beauty, experiences, FUN.  I didn’t embrace this truth until recently.  I was operating in a world of scarcity, not abundance: more for you meant less for me.  But, as it turns out, being happy for other people is where it’s at.  I can share in their joy, slicing off a little piece for myself.  My emotional maturity is clearly deep and steady, but I did call my friend a bad word this morning when she said she was going to work out because I’m trapped here with my children, so obviously there’s still a tiny bit of room for improvement.

I’ve been writing this blog for five years and I often wonder if I’ve said all the words there are to say.  I’ll read another writer’s work and think, “Well, it’s official: I’m a hack.”  But there is enough.  And there is more.  I’m thankful to write, imperfect though it may be (and thankful for the gentle readers who indulge me so generously).  This week I did a gratitude exercise (out of desperation?) but the prompt was to write down that for which I’m grateful.  But then, after thirty seconds of writing (don’t think, just write), she called attention to the first three things on the list.  Mine were words, truth, and family.  I’ve held that close to my heart all this week.  They’re so big and open and spacious, those gifts.  Today, there is enough; tomorrow, there is more. 

And I’m so very grateful. 

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