Responsibility

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“Amelia, how do you spell, horrible?” Bella asks too close to her sister’s face, her eyes glistening for knowledge, before smiling and answering her own question, “is it hx6?” The smile is confident, showing all her teeth. I fight a laugh, observing from the dining table, a room from where they sit side by side playing play-doh. Bella’s curiosity is a star that burns day or night, and it brings a surplus of amusement to our household.

Amelia looks so lost staring back at her baby sister. So lost that’s she’s somehow transcended to another planet, seeing straight through Bella’s face. But it doesn’t deter Bella who is still eager and waiting. Her little hands now clasped below her chin add emphasis to the excitement dilating her eyes. Tell me, they plead.

Amelia (crash landing back on Earth) darts her eyes up, like the word horrible is on the ceiling and she can recite its letters if she stares at it long enough.

“H.o.r.r.i.b.l.e.” She enunciates each letter with conviction as she spells the word out. A prideful smirk coats her face and mine, nearly mirroring one another. Double consonant. Bravo, I think. Sometimes I forget Amelia’s only in 2nd grade, and it makes me oddly wonder if I’d smile by default if the word were derogatory. (I probably would, despite regretting it. A little.)

“What does that equal?” Bella has now left Earth. The facial features on the right side of her face rise together, and she even tilts her head like dogs do when they are intrigued or baffled by a sound. It’s cute, and a giggle bubbles out of my throat, nearly giving my eavesdropping away.

“Bella, it doesn’t equal anything.” Amelia sighs, heavily.

Bella turns away, her face in torment. Like she’s just been told her whole life is a lie. A bad one. It makes me wish I’d been videoing their exchange. Amelia has somehow in one breath, carrying five words, dismantled Bella’s belief system. Letters don’t equal anything, her mouth frowns.

A full-blown shudder starting at my scalp coils down my spine. At age four my daughter felt it—that nothing is more tragic than loving a belief for all that is not.

“The letters equal a word, Bellie.” I smile. Amelia opens her mouth to argue but thinks better of it, and Bella, with a wedge of disbelief between her eyebrows, retorts, “it doesn’t equal anything,” and quietly goes back to rolling play-doh.

How impressionable children are. I’m reminded of the responsibility we all bear when speaking (life and death are in the power of the tongue) because whether truth or fiction what you say often becomes gospel to children, and it’s difficult to unwind a belief for all it is not. (Bella went to bed still holding her sister’s words tightly to her.) #thoughtsfromthetable

Intention

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Snow, that looks more like chunks of shredded cotton and less like dollops of ice, is violently falling from the sky. Sitting at my dining table, it’s picturesque. Watching it descend, I’ve decided it has no rhythm, or maybe too much. Regardless, it’s mesmerizing. I can’t see the ground, but I know it’s not sticking. Coating the roofs, maybe. But not the ground. It felt too warm this morning as I stood outside with coffee in hand and watched Adalynne catch the school bus. It was only a drizzle then, and guilt for making her walk to the end of the street had more bite than the cold despite my thin sleepwear and my fuzzy pink open-toe slides. The sudden onslaught of the blizzard-like build up now swirling outside my dining window has caught me off guard. The scenic view closely mimics the snow that only falls in the movies. It reminds me of empty threats–all the entertainment but no real lasting effect. It’s falling, but not sticking. It’s just temperamental.

Today, by His grace, I’m reminded to be more than the snow outside, despite the allure of its beautiful show. I need to strive for intention rather than entertainment–to not succumb to temperamental emotions that leave no lasting effect other than a temporary mess of the ground. #thoughtsfromthetable

Break

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I used to loathe the word. Often, it felt like a subtle harassment, opposing my maximalist personality. Give me space, I shall clutter. Even the walls of my brain… It’s an impulse set on constant.

But contemplating the word “break” today, this very moment, my mouth smirks, holding two parallel peaks pointed toward my temples rather than dipping in a frown that begs to reach my shoulders. The smile is genuine.

I no longer resent the word. Instead, I’ve approached it like a new next-door neighbor, a plate of brownies baked out of the box resting in my hands and a loud smile on my face. I will befriend you, my grin says. Brownies (that I somehow managed not to eat before I arrived), the guarantee.

Break. It’s a word that I now adore for its necessity. It’s a welcome objection that seeks to rectify the balance I need in my life. It’s become a junction of time, a detachment that nearly depicts a real place. Like your favorite coffee shop. I go. I sit. I drink the coffee.

Coffee is a metaphor for moderation, contemplation, or maybe even introspection. (Is it really a metaphor if you have to say it is? Never mind…)

Break has become a crevice of time that moderation can slip into and start plucking the weeds that excess seeded in my soul’s planter. No matter how good, too much of it is bad. Balance means you don’t bite people. Just ask my family…(really don’t, my face is still blood red)

I love wildflowers, but they’re still weeds. My soul needs breaks to plant hardy plants that can sustain harsh winters and even droughts. It’s not fun work, but damn is it necessary.

After a much-needed break, my plants are thriving. And the weeds, at the moment, are few. And the holidays that just came to a close, sigh. They were marvelous, and my family and friends are brilliant human beings that make my heart sing.

2018 is going to be promising because it’s really only a matter of choice.

And this lady is choosing it—all the happiness, laughter, and freaking love it offers and creating all of it doesn’t.