Friday, September 30, 2016

12:34 September 30

Our fall has included a lot of new things. Today included most of those, and I realized in the middle of it, that I like it. I'm thankful to be happy in this new rhythm to our family life. Matt took the kids to school, because their elementary school starts earlier than his high school. I stayed home, cleaned up breakfast, ran a few miles, and sent a few PTA-related emails. Then I went to my part-time job. After work, I stopped by the grocery store and got home in plenty of time to meet the kids at the bus stop. Life feels different, but it still feels like ours--and I'm grateful for that.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

12:34 September 29

Last year, a group of students asked me to be the sponsor for a club focused on support for Syrian refugees. I agreed, and watched as the group created presentations to discuss the history of Syria. They did a better job of discussing the issues than most news outlets.

As an extension of their information work, they held two successful bake sales, with all proceeds going to the American Refugee Committee. The group had their first meeting of the new school year this week, and has plans to expand its work and fundraising.

I'm thankful for the inspiration of young people. And I'm hopeful that their spirit of community, local and international, spreads among more and more people.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

12:34 September 28

On the ride home from school...

Lala: "Ruby is Evan's GIRLFRIEND."
Ev: "What's a girlfriend, Mom?"
Me: "Um, a girl who's your friend who you like more than anyone else? You usually don't have girlfriends until you're older."
Me: "Lala, who told you Ruby was Evan's girlfriend?"
Me: "Ev?"
Ev: "Hey Mom, listen to this sound I can make if I put my hand in my armpit and do THIS!"

I'm grateful that things are just as they should be.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Monday, September 26, 2016

12:34 September 26

Today, I had my six-month check-up with my medical oncology team. I found out that the surveillance breast MRI that I had last week was totally normal. I'm otherwise in good health. It's a reprieve that lasts six months. I'm grateful for today.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

12:34 September 25

Yesterday, I got to join Tobin on a Saturday field trip of architecture downtown. Two of his teachers organized it for 5 students identified to participate in in a special math program.

We finished the trip by being treated to ice cream by Tobin's teacher. I'm pretty sure I never attended a Saturday field trip with my teacher, but I'm sure my 5th grade teacher (whom I loved) never treated me and my friends to ice cream. I'm thankful for our children's teachers and the key influence they wield on our kids' lives.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

12:34 September 24

Since moving to northern Durham, we've played with a certain rec soccer league for three fall seasons. This is our second year playing all three kids. Apparently, we are unusual because we have three kids playing in three different age groups. The league was a little delayed in getting the boys' full schedules out, so when they did earlier this week and I plugged the games into our calendar, I saw three Saturdays when all three kids had simultaneous games at three different locations. Discouraged, I wrote an email to the league coordinators explaining that it was impossible for us to be three places at one time--on three different occasions, no less. In writing my email, I tried my best to be reasonable and respectful of the difficult job they had coordinating with limited time and space.

I had no idea what to expect and was already going through a mental list of our kid-free friends who might be able to take a Smith kid to a soccer game (all games are at 9am and 10am, so not the most appealing volunteer schedule for a Saturday morning), but the league pleasantly surprised me by responding quickly. They switched Lauren's game to the earlier slot for this morning. And they're working on the other two dates. I responded with gratitude-laden emails.

This experience made me thankful for lessons I've learned and tried to put into practice, especially in the past year: assume everyone is doing their best; there's no harm in asking for what you need; and kindness is always the best place to start. While it's also true that I don't always live up to these ideals and that things don't always fall into place as neatly as I like, I can be grateful for pleasant surprises. I'm also musing over Lauren playing "up" on Evan's team next season to ease some of our logistical concerns.

Friday, September 23, 2016

12:34 September 23

I'm thankful for people who seek justice and show mercy, even at the ends of weeks when it feels like we struggle as a people to do either with meaningful consistency.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

12:34 September 22

Evan is back at school today after staying home with an earache yesterday. I'm thankful for antibiotics and Ibuprofen and my silly, sweet boy feeling better again.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

12:34 September 21

Evan stayed home from school today. I got a text from Allison that, before leaving for the doctor's office, Evan was playing the piano and singing loudly. I remember learning to play on the same piano, and I remember my dad and grandmother playing it, too.

I'm thankful for the timelessness of music, and Evan's independent musical enthusiasm. I'm also grateful to have such a tangible link to people no longer with us, but still with us.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

12:34 September 20

I am thankful for an encouraging email, a phone call from my sister and sweet texts from Matt on an otherwise stressful day.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Sunday, September 18, 2016

12:34 September 18

We are riding home from church, the kids are laughing, and we're headed home to watch the Panthers' home opener. Life feels very good at the moment.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

12:34 September 17

This morning, Lauren had a fantastic soccer game. She scored a goal, dribbled all over the field, and played defense that prevented about 3 goals. Along the way, she also did a couple of classic Lauren things. 

1: She hugged her friend (and opponent) Elliot twice during the game (while the ball was in play). And 2: After she fell on a teammate, she stayed behind and corralled the other kids on the team to make sure he was ok. The other team scored an uncontested goal, but she said about it later "A goal isn't as important as making sure your teammate is ok."

Then she capped of her day by putting up this drawing on her door.

I'm thankful for my Lala, and the independent, awesome girl she is and continues to become.

Friday, September 16, 2016

12:34 September 16

I feel grateful for this Friday. For the summer months, weekends didn't have as much meaning. But today ended the third week of school. It felt like an especially long week. Tonight, we ended it by having our neighbors over. The adults played spades while the kids played hide and seek under a full moon. TGIF.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

12:34 September 15

I'm thankful sunset and sunrise work as reset buttons sometimes.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

12:34 September 14

Early release --> snoballs!

Today I'm grateful for a few extra hours with my kids this afternoon, because their school let out early. I'm also thankful for neighbors to share that time with.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

12:34 September 13

I'm thankful for enthusiastic students who ask good questions.

Monday, September 12, 2016

12:34 September 12

I appreciate my kids' school. It's been taking a lot of my time and attention lately, but I'm grateful to be engaged.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

12:34 September 11

I'm thankful for our first flag football game of the season tonight. The kids--ours and the neighbors--are getting better and playing well together.

It reminds me of the rotating seasons of sports I played in the back yard when I was a kid.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

12:34 September 10

Three wins, four goals! Great start to the Smiths' soccer season. I love watching them play!

I'm grateful for soccer. When I was in the third grade, I played my first season of soccer. Since then, I've loved the sport. Though my playing days ended in high school, it's been especially fun to watch my kids learn and love the sport. Today was the first day of their second, fourth, and seventh seasons. They each scored goals (Tobin had two!) in their games and, most importantly, demonstrated a lot of joy playing,

Friday, September 09, 2016

12:34 September 9

Today I was struck by how many of my friends work in fields in which the primary goal is to improve the lives of others. I'm thankful to know such a large community of love and concern.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

12:34 September 8

I'm grateful to meet kind people and for new opportunities.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

12:34 September 7

Yesterday was my parents' 41st anniversary. I'm thankful for the example of their marriage.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

12:34 September 6

I am spending a lot of time today on volunteer activities for the kids' school. This time will include an evening PTA board meeting. I'm grateful for our school and the many parent volunteers who help support its staff.

Monday, September 05, 2016

12:34 September 5

Labor Day always makes me think of my Papa, who worked highway construction for decades, was politically conservative, and a proud union member. Papa had three bumper stickers on his truck. They read:
  • God said it. I believe it. That settles it.
  • If you complain about farmers, don't talk with your mouth full.
  • Right to Work is a Rip-Off
He taught me the difference between right-to-work and organized labor, and did so through anecdotes of people he knew whose bodies and livelihoods were treated more like ledger expenses than fellow human beings.

My best friend's grandfather was also a career laborer and union member, and he always advocated strongly for the people who could feel the work they did.

I'm thankful for Labor Day as a day off to spend with my family and friends, but I'm also trying to be mindful of the millions who literally give their sweat for progress and betterment of us all.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

12:34 September 4

There's that moment at the end of a Southern summer when you walk out in the evening and realize  you don't feel the air. It's neither hot nor cold. It's perfect, and the light is just right. #favoriteview #nofilter

I don't like how school starts so late in August (which means it ends in early June, instead of late May), but I do love the usual timing of Labor Day weekend falling after the first week. We had a great first week, but I think we're all kind of exhausted. The extra day allows us just a little more rest and a little more togetherness. I'm grateful for that moment at the end of a Southern summer when you walk out in the evening and realize you don't feel the air. It's neither hot nor cold. It's perfect, and the light is just right. And I have the best view.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Friday, September 02, 2016

12:34 September 2

There's nothing quite like that Friday feeling--especially after the first week of school. I'm thankful for a mostly good week, but I'm even more grateful for a long weekend to regroup.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

12:34 September 1

I am thankful to love and to be loved, and I'm humbled by how much of both I experience.