Category: gratitude

Surrounding Yourself with Good: How we Chose our Children’s Godparents

This post has been brewing in the back of my head since before my daughter was born. Sometimes people walk into your life and create what at first seems like a subtle ripple in the waters of your life, and only when you look back do you see that what started as a ripple, actually became a tidal wave.  A tidal wave of acceptance, warmth, humor, and love; a wave that picked you off your feet along the way and swept all those tangled weeds of self-doubt away with the tides and leaves you feeling whole. 

When we were expecting our daughter, my husband and I began what became a lengthy discussion as to who we wanted to be our daughter’s godparents. The role of a godparent was extremely important to me, because I am who I am in no small part thanks to the role of my godmother and godfather. My godfather passed away when I was very young, but to this day I remember his humor, patience, and kindness. My godmother was a constant presence in my childhood. She was patient, kind, and unafraid of questioning my sheer determination on every front, even in my rebellious teens. Her compassionately-spoken word, even if it was correcting an erroneous belief or behavior, somehow checked me and made me think about the person I wanted to be, and how my words and actions were interpreted. We didn’t always agree, but she made me think about my beliefs, and made sure that my passions were well-founded. Was she perfect? No, but she was still our saint. She was my mother’s closest friend, and a soul-sister if she ever had one.

So, when choosing our the godparents for our daughter, my standards were pretty high, but we were both very realistic and treated this matter very carefully. In many respects, we are lucky. We have a wonderful group of intelligent, loving, caring friends, but this only made the choice more difficult. In the end, our choice was perfect. We chose two people who embody the following statement to the fullest:

“Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see the greatness within you,
even when you don’t see it yourself.” -Edmund Lee
On so many occasions, these two individuals have shown how truly they are dreamers, believers, and thinkers. But even more importantly, we see every day their capacity for love, friendship, compassion, joy, camaraderie, humor, and the joy in learning and sharing that love of learning with others. They take joy in the accomplishments of other people and exude love and acceptance in a way that I have always found inspiring. They laugh easily, love easily, step in to lend a hand when needed, and were some of the first people to teach me the concept of paying it forward. 

One has been like a brother to me for nearly 16 years, and the other has been like a sister since I first started training at martial arts. And something I noticed about these two folks in particular – by being around them, I was becoming a better person. 

When we settled on their names unanimously, we were gleeful.  It took us a while to ask them, since we were fearful that, after all our thought, they might say no.  Turns out, they said “yes” within a minute, and I cannot describe the a surge of relief I felt. Our children are the most precious things to us in this world, so knowing that if something were to happen to us, that they would be left in the care of these two amazing individuals, alongside their equally amazing children? They would be raised in an environment of loving support, tolerance, and kindness? I can’t describe the relief. No one can love a child like their parents, but I know these two would be as damn close as you could to loving our children like their own. Because that’s how they roll!  

These two have been more than a safety net – they have been an anchor. When you feel like you might get lost at sea, it is so helpful to have those friends who will tell you the truth, and will also give you the mirror so you can see for yourself that your world isn’t as dark as it seemed.  


So, remember, when you’re looking at the people you hold close, the people you spend the most time with, ask yourself – do they see the greatness within you? Are you able to be unapologetically YOU around them? If not, find those people who are the dreamers and the doers around you – they’re the ones who make you feel good about yourself because they are simply good to the core. 


Those people are the people you want in your life. More than that, they’re the people you want in your children’s lives.



Spirit of Christmas

A few days ago, I found myself looking through various Christmas plants, trying to find just the right one to bring to my Mom. For some reason, I couldn’t find one anywhere I went. And while I couldn’t find the right plant or flowers, I knew she probably didn’t care. It was just my mission. To let her know I still think about her. Every day. And how much I wished I could have seen her hold my daughter- just once – before she left us.

So, you can imagine my surprise (and tears) when I opened up my Christmas present from my sweet, sweet husband.

Gramma Christine finally gets to hold her granddaughter.

My husband’s only request to the artist was that the drawing reflect the joy the two would have felt if they had ever met in person. I think he succeeded.  In spirit, I know my mom would have held her exactly like this.

And I am so grateful that a moment like below could happen, a picture I am posting with permission from my amazing sister, Dark Moon (a.k.a. The Monster in Your Closet). It is obviously the inspiration for the above picture. I am just so happy my mom was able to meet at least one of her grandchildren, so each of us could see the joy she would have had in ours.

Even in her last moments, there was so much tenderness. So much light.

Merry Christmas, everyone. I know mine has been amazing.

-The Rambler

Firsts

The week and day for giving thanks has formally passed, and boy did it breeze by.  I can’t believe December is closing in on us so quickly. My writing, or rather, my editing is still slogging along at a snail’s pace. But hey, I’m almost done with Chapter 5! So there’s some merit in slogging through the mire of repetitive adjectives that is WD. By this time next year, I will hopefully done with all drafts of WD and sitting back and enjoying the fruits of my labor. Whether that’s sipping a cup of hot cocoa and thinking “Thank God I’m done with that bullshit” or swimming in dough, it’ll all be good. My preference is for the latter of the two options, but we shall see. Once I finish this second draft, the beta readers will be subjected to, er, have the pleasure of reading my “finished” product… Then comes the fun. 😛

That being said, the last few weeks have been amazing. Thanks to antibiotics and the wonders of nettipot, my sinuses are finally clearing, which has helped me truly enjoy life and my family again. Just in time to be bedazzled by so many of my little girl’s firsts! On Thanksgiving day, she walked unassisted for the very first time. Prior to Thanksgiving, she had taken a step or two to me or to Daddy, but never had she just stood up all on her own and WALKED! And boy did she walk. Once she decided to go, it was all speed! She has the bumps on her head to prove it. 😛 A full month for my baby’s very FIRST birthday… I can’t believe it’s so close…

Thanksgiving was an amazing and blissfully relaxing day. For the first year since my husband and I have been together (going on 17 years), I finally slowed down and committed to just ONE Thanksgiving, and it was amazing. It was easily the least stressful Thanksgiving we have ever had. I like to be everywhere at once – at my mom’s, at Nick’s mom’s, his dad’s, with our amazing adoptive family who welcomed us to their table when we didn’t have anywhere to go… I’ve been the “I don’t know how to say no” person for so long, that it was nice to sit back and just enjoy the holiday and my family. All I had to do was bake a cheesecake, throw some mashed potatoes together and show up to the warmth and wonder of the K-H joint Thanksgiving festivities. Because we just did the one, the day for giving Thanks morphed into a long holiday weekend of thankfulness and good memories.

So, in keeping with a tradition that I am fighting to keep alive, here is a list of the things I have been thankful for the past year:

1. My daughter – she has brought more joy into my life than I ever imagined was possible. As she takes her first steps, babbles her first words, signs her first signs, and experiences this amazing world, I get to experience each first and the joy it brings her. I feel so lucky and so damned in love, I’m ready to burst every time she beams her toothy grin at me. Hell, I never knew I could love someone or something so much!
2. My husband – we may still be figuring out this whole parenting thing (you’d think now that our daughter is almost a year old we’d have it figured out, but it turns out a toddler is completely different than a baby… who knew? I feel like I had finally gotten the baby thing down…), but he’s been with me every step of the way. No matter how late he stays up, he’s there in the morning to help me get the little girl ready for the day, and is just an amazing and wonderful man! Did I mention that he let me slip away for an entire night to go to a lady’s weekend getaway at a fancy spa hotel??? He is a saint. A silly, crass, speedy-diaper-changing genius, gorgeous saint
3. My brother – I am lucky to know, let alone be related to, this man. He has so much love in his heart. He’s always willing to watch my daughter so Daddy and Mommy Rambler can go for a walk or run errands, or just take a quick nap. When he finally decides to move out, I really don’t know what we’ll do. One thing I know for sure, I don’t tell that guy how much I appreciate him nearly enough!!! Complain about the dishes in the sink? Check. Say: “Hey, thanks for holding the baby while I did x, y, and z.” Um, while I may say the words, I think their being followed by complaints about the dishes might not have the overall desired effect. And hell, in spite of his bouts with insomnia, he always makes my little girl giggle!  Plus, she squeals with laughter whenever he enters the room, so clearly I need to shower the love on Uncle! He is a great, loving, and wonderful man… I just need to make him believe it.
4. My sisters, near and far. While I may not live with them, I am thankful every day for my sisters. TMiYC for her constant encouragement and helping keep my dreams alive, sharing her journey as a writer and a mother, well… Those gifts are priceless. She will always be the Dark Moon to my Silver Star. My lil’ sis, I’m thankful for her sweet, unassuming nature – no matter how different we all are, she is always just as loving and accepting of others – I see so much of my mother’s warmth in her (and some of her kookiness, too!). I am thankful for her son, the sweet lil’ man who plays so nicely with my little girl.
5.  My friends. They continue to blow me away. Even though much of my communications with my friends recently has been electronically (via Facebook or IMing), their continued warmth, humor and positivity is a constant inspiration. I will always be thankful to the K-H crew (all generations) for opening up their homes and hearts to my family. They have been and always will be a light to me and my family.
6. Work. I am thankful every day for the job I have and the people I work with. They are a lively group, and while we may not always get along (can’t have work without some drama!), I am soooooo eternally grateful to be employed in this dismal economy and to work with people who realize that the work day is supposed to end at 5pm. I am thankful that my bosses kick me out if I stop watching the clock. Hell, I’m thankful that I work in a place where I enjoy my job enough that I don’t spend my day waiting for 5pm, so much so that I’m surprised when it arrives!
7. My brain. Now that I’m weaning off nursing, in anticipation of lil’ girl’s first birthday, I finally feel like I am myself again. Welcome back, Brain. You have been sorely missed…
8. The book my sister gave me necessitates this… I am thankful for me and for my body. I am thankful for all the things I do right every day, regardless of all the things I do wrong. Tomorrow will always be a new day, a day for fun and being nice to myself.

And, of course, I’m thankful for you readers who put up with my meandering rambles. I hope you enjoyed your turkey day and are ramping up for the holidays… 🙂

-The Rambler