I started a note in my phone a few weeks ago, on a day that I was particularly grumpy and at my max. A note of things to be thankful for, particularly in this day and in this moment and in this circumstance. I did the same thing a few years ago in the year that Audrey was not yet cancer-free, to help steer me away from negativity and nervousness, and to guide my focus toward the positives in each day.

This morning I sat down in my yard with this handsome guy, who I’m thinking might be the father of an addition to our family, and opened up the note to add something – and I realized how long the note had gotten and for the first time reread many of the entries.

Sometimes I hear Audrey talking to someone in her room and I get annoyed wondering who she could be talking to at such an early hour, and I start to grumble at her. And then I discover she was just bored because no one else was awake, and she’d called my Mom who she knows gets up at dawn each day. I love hearing those voices together, laughing, to begin my day.

Audrey waits in the hallway upstairs, just outside the room where I work, for my daily 5 pm meeting to end. When it does end, she runs in and says Is it time for end-of-the-day hugs?! And she jumps into my arms and squeezes really tight.

Ella, at midnight, stopping in my doorway to see if I’ve fallen asleep yet. Nite, Mommy. Love you. My 15-year-old still calls me Mommy, even in front of her friends.

My sister, who I can always count on to give it to me straight, available during a moment of irritation to make me laugh by saying “slow your roll.”

Covid keeping us home isn’t a terrible thing for a child that is a little more easily maxed out on people and noise. For the first time my child asked if I could help her remember a scripture about fear so she could say it out loud to help her focus/meditate. Many days I wonder if my kids just think I’m crazy and roll their eyes at me, and tonight was one of those times I got to see that they’re listening and it makes a difference.

Neighbors who soothingly guide and encourage a frightened child about riding her bike. Ella patiently trying to encourage Audrey to look up at where she’s going while riding, so she’s less likely to lose her balance.

It took a village but Audrey is riding her bike like a champ, and it’s awesome to see the growth in her confidence in the last 2 days.

Being present to see the moment she “gets” a lesson. Being present to see the moment she finds her balance. Being present to see the moment of pride when someone loves her creation. Being present in the moment of excitement about a boy. Being present to see the moment of wonder at how a science experiment turned out. Being present to see the big smile when she got to see and hear her teacher for the first time in weeks. Being present in the moments of silliness between girls, and in the moments of laughing over stupid things with friends who are all on a group call. Thankful for presence.

My friend of over two decades, another straight-shooter, who brought clarity to all my confusion and conflict with one sentence: “Sweep the leg of anyone that threatens (the peace of) Audrey. No mercy.”

Time to sit and be still under my favorite tree. To listen to the soft sounds of my Dad’s bamboo wind chimes, currently in residence at my place. God’s prompt for me to look up at just the right time, to see my bald eagle soaring way above me, on the same day as my Facebook memories featured a conversation from 2 years ago about how eagles embrace the storm and adjust themselves to ride out storms.

Thankful for Joy and joy.

A glass of wine after a long week, sitting with my neighbor who listens and understands, and who allows me to tear up for a moment.

What a hard and yet wonderful few weeks it has been. Everything seems like it’s been upside down, but after rereading my notes I’m starting to think that maybe it’s actually right-side up.

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