Which one are you?
Last week came and went in a blur of biochemistry and soaring cortisol levels. I made it through the final only to spend the following 36 hours straight composing my research paper. Nerves jangling, I walked out of the science building on Friday morning as a bonafide college grad. As in, my official degree is in the mail. But boy was it a long, arduous road. I still can't wrap my mind around it. At the ripe old age of 33, my dreams may actually be realized. I'm trying to simmer in that rather heady fact in these reflective post-semester days.
After 10 whole days spent across the continent, Mario is home. He arrived in the midst of a Tuesday afternoon blizzard, all ruggedly handsome and road-weary. I missed him. I also missed Kiddo. While I was physically there, taking him to and from school, fencing lessons and the like, I wasn't really there. My brain was buzzing with what ifs and how will I's and all the other things that occur to a person under duress. I want to be present in his life always, though I recognize this is not always possible. All in all the time. Body and soul. Certain moments in life are fleeting and I don't want to miss a single one. I want to hear about The Doctor's two hearts. To inspect each and every one of his Lego creations, even if I've seen 100 renderings of the Enterprise. To smooch his whole face when I tuck him in and again an hour later once sleep has taken him. As long as he lets me, I'm there. Which makes even the shortest periods of absence regrettable. But these last four years, and all the complications they have brought, have been worth it. I have something no one can ever take; something that is mine forever and ever.
It is Christmas next week, after all. And I suddenly feel like Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Stop the clock! There are treats to be baked and ornaments to create and Christmas cards to mail and gifts to wrap, and, and, and. I haven't watched a single Christmas movie. This must be remedied immediately! I have half of my ornaments made, actually, and I'm pretty pleased. (Even with their imperfections. I am rejecting the crafting OCD tendencies of the past.) Over the last couple days I have been making my own wrapping paper out of recycled brown paper bags, glitter paint, and round sponge brushes. When I have a few minutes I dot away. My bah humbug attitude toward our yearly Christmas card was reconsidered upon seeing the designs on minted.com and completely abandoned once I rediscovered my graduation photo with the boys. It was an amazing moment that should be shared with the important people in our lives.
Instead of flapping in the breeze post-semester, and therefore subjecting myself to the inevitable what now slump, I've been approaching CrossFit as a necessity. A way to let it all out. For the first time in my life, perhaps, I have an outlet. I couldn't be more appreciative that I found this rather insane but addicting form of fitness.
Finally, yesterday afternoon I received a call from my amazing aunt. After looking over her schedule and talking with my uncle, they worked it out so Jared can stay with them for a week in February... which means I can go on my husband's work trip to Rio de Janeiro with him. I had long since written off my attendance, as it seemed neither practical nor possible. Mario proposed on our first company trip to Maui, we honeymooned in Athens on a trip, and now we will have another stamp in our passports. Where really doesn't matter so much; who is more important. My husband, our friends... a kiddo-free getaway is long overdue (it has been 5 years since the last one). With grad school goals in the near future, it may be my last chance to get away for a while and therefore the opportunity should simply not be passed up.
It is safe to say my cup runneth over this week. I'm taking deep breaths and looking at the bright side of life. My grade posted yesterday, and while it isn't necessarily what I wanted, it isn't terrible. My transcript will still say "with honors." That is more than enough. The professor who runs my research project took my offer to work in January with open arms. I also have a goal of writing one freelance piece for someone, somewhere in the first 6 weeks of the year. Although I realize the importance of taking a break, I don't want to go unchallenged. To forget what it feels like to venture out of my comfort zone, which has resulted in some pretty amazing feats.
// This kid. He's something. And those furry creatures. // The paper that nearly put me over the edge. Don't be fooled by its lighthearted title. This bad boy was complex and hard to write and exhausting. All 15 pages. // Kiddo and I celebrated by playing Scrabble over sushi. // That fateful morning, after plopping that paper in my professor's box, I sat in the corner of a coffee shop and just breathed. And caffeinated. //
// This is a snow-loving dog through and through. // Every year I beg Mother Nature to let me get through finals before dumping snow on us. I love a white Christmas, but the first half of the month Mario is always gone and adding another thing to my plate feels impossible. This year she relented and waited until Saturday night. But not to be made to look like a sissy by the rest of the country, she quickly caught us up on the white stuff. //
The last couple weeks we've been working on our 1 rep maxes in CrossFit. Essentially you keep adding weight during various weightlifting moves until you can't lift the bar more than once. Monday was deadlifts. I started at 85 pounds (my previous max was 105 pounds) and kept adding. When I finally got to the place where once was about it, I counted up all the plates. I amazed myself by topping off at 235 pounds, and garnered the attention of the whole studio when I not only earned a place on the leader board, but I came in at #2 (and got a shout out on the official FB page). After feeling like things were out of my hands for the past few weeks, finding that I could harness that kind of physical and mental strength meant everything. I had it in me all along. Self doubt really is quite silly. //
// The Christmas spirit has overtaken me. Cashing in some Birchbox points to splurge on their holiday box was so worth it. The socks are rocking my world, and the mini Scrabble set now lives in my glove box and at the ready should the mood strike (during a celebratory sushi dinner, for instance). // I'm pretty smitten with our cards. I'm so glad I got out of my own way on that one. Minted is my new go-to place for such things. (P.S. Minted has nary an idea who I am. I just really like the idea of supporting creative people. And their designs float my boat. And they saved me from lack-of-correspondence remorse.) // My hippie handicraft wrapping paper. There are also homemade gift tags involving my cat, a sweater he did not enjoy wearing, and a word bubble. Just wait. // This tea. Holy. Moly. Our new friends that came over for Thanksgiving brought a jar of their family's spiced tea mix. Thank goodness she included the recipe. We'd be going through withdrawals without the ability to replicate it. It has Tang, yo. (They took Tang to space, you know. Or so my husband informs me any and every time we come in close proximity with said magical orange powder.) One or all of us, including Kiddo, have a cup in hand at all times. I didn't ask permission to share her recipe, so I won't, but this Instant Spiced Tea recipe is nearly identical. Jamie, if you're reading this, you may have single-handedly rekindled my Christmas spirit. //