this mess is a place.

Design by, photo by Ansel Olson, photo of a photo by me.

My heart is full, my head is full. It’s a busy time, with few moments left over to spend getting too sad. Probably the saddest thing I’ve done since my last post is watch HIMYM. That silly show that we always watched together has a particular poignance for me right now. But it must be watched, I’ve waited too long and had too many near-spoiler-misses to delay. Tears are worth hearing NPH say “I don’t need to ‘wait for it’ anymore.”

In other news, Morella had a playground date with Henry on Thursday, where the most popular piece of equipment turned out not to be the actual playground, but the plastic car that Henry arrived in.

Friday night and Saturday I spent volunteering for and enjoying the Common Good RVA conference. I loved the familiar faces that walked through the doors. I loved the music. I loved the food (WPA! Country Style! Sally Bell’s!). I loved the speakers and how they each had something vastly different to say from the last, and just as relevant and valuable. I loved focusing on something bigger, something that will endure long after some random mom’s dumb broken heart is buried and forgotten. I’m honored to have helped to organize the event, something that started when Morella was still in my very round belly. It’s crazy to think about how much has changed since that first meeting.

I’ve got a lot more to say about the conference but as with the end of many conferences, I feel like I need to parse through all my notes and put together some takeaways once the dust has settled. It was a lot to absorb.

Last night we ate dinner with my parents and Morella was up to all her usual pots n’ pans-beating, kitty-cat-petting, silly-songs-dancing, twelve-helpings-eating antics. She is nuts about her grandparents. When we picked her up at daycare on Friday, she ran right past me and into my mom’s arms. When dad got home last night, she had been intently looking at some pictures on my lap, and she ragdolled and slid directly onto the floor so that she could run over to him immediately. They are her biggest fans in the world, so I see the appeal.

I think Morella is starting to ease into the tantrums of the “terrible twos.” Today she had a face-down-on-the-floor sobfest not because I was starving her or even withholding honeydew melon from her in any way, but because I was just not cutting it up and giving the pieces to her fast enough. The horror! But she might not be the first toddler to be angelic about everything except for patience. This is why Reasons My Son is Crying exists.

Tonight at church was the first time I ever had to leave the service and go hang out with her in the nursery, because she was just too upset to make it the whole time. She calmed down once I got there though, and played pretty nicely and enjoyed a snack with a bunch of little boys. Then she had a wonderful time on the playground doing her favorite thing, Filling Up a Bucket With Playground Mulch. Then home, dinner (soup, crackers, a little leftover chicken), bath, book, kisses, bed.

I don’t mind reading her the same book eleventy times because I don’t want book time to end either. I want to say the singsongy lines over and over. I want to tousle her damp curls that smell like baby soap. I want to kiss her cheeks and watch her face during her favorite parts of the book. I want to predict every time she’s going to point out a cat or a banana on the page, taking her wrinkled thumb out of her mouth to thrust her hand toward the book, and not let me proceed until I’ve acknowledged said cat or banana. And I know that this sweet time will not last forever, which makes every night worth diamonds to me. She is already so grown up. When I put her in her crib, these days she always stays on her pillow, kicks around for a few minutes, and goes right to sleep. Nothing is simultaneously cuter and more heartbreaking than the sight of her curled up in her little crib and sleeping soundly.

In spite of those who would wish it otherwise, this may end up being the greatest autumn of my life.


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