April 10th, 2016

Blog - The Pen & Camera - Gratitude Journal, Inspirational, Writing - Molly Rees Photo - Black and White Documentary Childhood Photography - portrait of young boy outside in rain by M. Menschel

Thank you for Jules sitting by the open kitchen door with his face turned skyward, watching the rain.  For the cold drops soaking the new grass, tapping against the kitchen skylight, falling outside our open bedroom window as Eloise and Moses burrow under their covers and go to sleep.

Thank you for time alone with Julian at the end of the day when the house is quiet.  How he crawls into my arms, his face filled with trust and adoration.  I have not yet done anything to compromise this devotion - I haven’t yelled in frustration, hurried him into a carseat, caused him to scowl at me or ordered a time-out while he kicks and screams at the bathroom door.  Tonight, as Julian grinned and tumbled over me he reminded me of Moses, who only six years ago was just as new.  When we were each others whole world, and he could do no wrong.  I wanted at that moment to go into Moses's bedroom and crawl into his bunk bed just to be close to him.  To promise myself that I would treat him still like I treated him then.  And I asked myself, are there parents who can do this?  Who are truly able to always hold their children in that same forgiving space that they held them in when they first arrived?  Can I be more patient, more allowing, more celebratory of his wild childhood joy?  Instead of being quick to tell him what to do or not to do, can I appreciate more his ecstatic and spirited expression of life?

Thank you for sharing a table today with seven women and their cameras at Kelley’s husbands pizza shop.  For the feeling of a life rich with good people.  How it reminded me tonight of living in the jungle in Hawaii - so astounded at how many good people came in and out of each day that I started making lists in my journal every night of all the new people I had met.  And I love that if I were to go back and dig out that journal now, I would find Orest’s name at the end of one of those lists.  April 1st, if I remember correctly.  And it is April again now, another year gone by.

April 6th, 2016

Blog - The Pen & Camera - Gratitude Journal, Inspirational, Writing, Denver, Colorado - Black and White Documentary Childhood Photography - kids playing soccer

Thank you for Julian, who watches with excitement as I fold the laundry.  His hands opening and closing in anticipation; a shriek of delight at the billow of a clean sheet as it hangs for a moment in the air.

Thank you for Orest in the distance as I walked towards the soccer field this evening - Eloise on his shoulders with her hands clamped to his forehead, parents already camped out on the sidelines, squinting into the 6pm light as the wind comes off Sloans Lake in wild gusts.  It is the first practice and our team is a band of raggedy six-year-olds swarming after the soccer ball.  Knocking each other over, pausing to do a cartwheel, or just standing in the middle of the fray as the ball rolls by, as if trying to remember why they are there.  It feels like the beginning of a classic little league movie - an unlikely crew of misfits destined for greatness.  Where every kid is either picking his nose or balling his eyes eyes out, but you know they are going to grow up together and end up winning the World Series.

Thank you for Ibrahim who met us on the curb outside his parents house and handed us the keys to his ’99 Land Cruiser.  A big, ugly beast of a car that smelled like old leather and spicy after-shave and had somehow replaced our more practical notion of buying a mini-van.  It was the kind of car you buy for sentimental reasons - because you grew up riding around in the back of the same car, like Ibrahim did, when he was a kid in Iraq.  Or because should you need to (As Orest pointed out) you could use it to drive up the side of a rocky mountain to escape the zombie apocalypse.  “It’s okay if you crash it,” he whispered as I left for a test drive, "because then we'll have to buy it.”

I drove it carefully around the block and then pulled over on the side of the road to sit in the wide backseat by myself.  I tried to imagine that I was a kid, and this was the car I grew up in.   And I hated to say it, but it was not a bad thing to imagine.  When we were back at home sitting in our living room and trying to be reasonable, I said to Orest, “I think we better call him and let him know that we want to buy it.”  His eyes lit up like a little kid, unable to contain his excitement.  And he actually jumped into the air, which I have not seen him do since the day in the ultrasound room six years ago when we found out Moses was a boy.

March 30th, 2016

Blog - The Pen & Camera - Gratitude Journal, Denver, Colorado, Colfax - Black and White Documentary Childhood Photography - boy in snowy trees

Thank you for the snowfall this afternoon, fat flakes falling on a green lawn that made it seem like it was not snow but something different altogether.  A strange and unexplainable summertime phenomenon.  Like magic.

Thank you for Colfax, where a person might strap a boom-box to their wheelchair and spend the entire day camped out at the bus station outside EZ Pawn.  And three times a day you can hear the bells on the pushcart of an older Mexican man selling popsicles in the street outside our house.

March 24th, 2016

Blog - The Pen & Camera - Gratitude Journal, Inspirational, Writing, Denver, Colorado, Farm Festival - Molly Rees Photo -  Documentary Photography - portrait of woman with chicken by M. Menschel

Thank you for Eloise, hiding her glass of orange juice in the cupboard where the fancy goblets are stored.  And thank you for a phone call late last night with Alya, how she filled me in on two weeks worth of gossip, made me laugh so hard I woke up Jules, and left me feeling like everything was okay.

March 23rd, 2016

Blog - The Pen & Camera - Gratitude Journal, Inspirational, Writing, Denver, Colorado, Snow Storm - Molly Rees Photo -  Documentary Childhood Photography - portrait of girl eating snowflakes in winter by M. Menschel

Thank you for waking up to find springtime buried under two feet of snow.  The sky filled with a thick flurry of snowflakes that lasted all day.  The tall juniper tree in the center of our yard topped with taffy-like clumps that made it look like an illustration in a Dr. Suess book.  Lawn furniture twisted and toppled over.  Branches, bushes and small trees bent to the ground under the weight of the wet snow. 

Thank you for this last-minute chance to dig out my bib snowpants, which I had not done all winter.  To roll around in the yard with Moses and Eloise as they stumbled through the drifts that rose waist-deep, delighted with the novelty of it.  Moses, exclaiming with such innocence, “This is the snowiest day of my life!”  Calling me over to see the small yellow flowers he had uncovered in the white snow.  Eloise losing her mittens at least a dozen times like any self-respecting three-year-old should.  And Moses dancing around the drooping arms of the juniper tree, determined to save the branches that had not already split and fallen to the ground.  Joining him with a broom to reach the higher boughs, the sudden urgency of our mission.  Shaking each snow-laden branch until it sprang up again.

March 22nd, 2016

Blog - The Pen & Camera - Gratitude Journal, Inspirational, Writing, Denver, Colorado, Friendship -  Black and White Documentary Childhood Photography - grandmothers hands with sleeping children

Thank you for an afternoon on the couch at Karina’s house with Julian asleep on my lap and Solice wedged between Karina’s pregnant belly and my elbow, lightly snoring.  Thank you for Maximo and Eloise side-by-side in front of the TV taking turns with an old video game console.  How Maximo is good-natured and genuine with Eloise, who is still only three and haphazard in her social interactions.  How he cheers her on as she enthusiastically presses all the buttons on the console, having no idea what she is doing.  Thank you for how there is always a small bowl of salad on the kitchen table, for Rob who without fail greets me at the car when I arrive and insists on carrying something inside (the baby’s carseat, my backpack, any small thing I may have in my hands) and how I have learned not to say no.

March 21st 2016

Blog - The Pen & Camera - Gratitude Journal, Inspirational, Spring, Writing, Denver, Colorado, Friendship -  Documentary Childhood Photography - mom with boy later afternoon sunset

Thank you for popsicles.  A transformative hour sitting in the sun with Sharon.  Eloise past her bedtime, showing me how high she can jump.  And thank you for Moses, impatient for summer, who for a whole ten minutes thought it was a good idea to sit in nothing but his swim trunks in a wading pool of melted snow.

March 20th, 2016

Blog - The Pen & Camera - Gratitude Journal, Inspirational, Writing, Denver, Colorado, Friendship -  Molly Rees Photo - Black and White Documentary Childhood Photography - boy with pinata at birthday party by M. Menschel

Thank you for Moses and Eloise emerging from the bedroom this morning covered in Moses's favorite blue smelly marker - Eloise with a blue mustache, matching drawings on both of their bare chests.  Thank you for Moses who thoughtfully studied the drawing on Eloise’s back and said, reflecting on his work, “I think that might actually be my best ghost so far.”  For Eloise’s brilliant grammatical inventions, responding to an inquiry about her age with, “I don’t KNOW who old is me!"

Thank you for Oscar's birthday party at the park.  For Julian under a picnic table with a piece of chocolate cake he found on the ground.  For Milo with a baseball bat tearing into a pikachu piñata that was taller than Oscar, for watching Amanda and Jen laugh together about the cake and negotiate plans for dinner.  For finding Moses under a tree with his chin in his hands because Oscar said he didn’t want to be his friend anymore, and being able to arrange an apology.  Moses watching dubiously as I made a deal with Oscar, who thought for a minute and then turned to Moses to say, “You can have one more chance."  And for how Moses's face lit up at those words - if only it were always that easy to remedy a friendship.

Thank you for all the voices of support that came to me in different ways today - a phone call with Karina; sitting on the curb next to Amanda, squinting into the 5 pm sunshine; Vicki sending me a link to the sermon from Mile Hi this morning about not being broken; Orest sitting across from me in the bedroom telling me that he believed I was still strong enough to do this day.  In the midst of everything, Julian engrossed in learning how to open the pages of a book.

Thank you for standing at the swing-set with Orest at the end of the day pushing Julian and Eloise.  For Moses wanting to crawl onto my lap and swing with me, his face against mine for longer than usual before jumping off to run away.  For going to sleep tonight with the feeling that I am actually going to be able to overcome the difficult things inside of me that have felt impossible to overcome for so long.

March 16th, 2016

Blog - The Pen & Camera - Gratitude Journal, Inspirational, Siblings, Writing, Motherhood, Denver, Colorado -  Molly Rees Photo - Black and White Documentary Childhood Photography - children playing in yard by M. Menschel

Thank you for community.  For new friends, the comradery of motherhood, and four babies on my kitchen floor.  For looking out the window to see Moses and Eloise shoulder-to-shoulder on the swing, making each other laugh, chasing each other around the yard for three hours even though it is a cold afternoon.  Thank you for the way that Eloise races to get under the covers at night and then always says, “Wait!  I need to kiss you!” and crawls back out to the edge of the bed to put her arms around the baby and me and to kiss our shoulders (always our shoulders) before we leave the room.

March 14th 2016

Blog - The Pen & Camera - Gratitude Journal, Inspirational, Motherhood, Writing, Denver, Colorado -  Molly Rees Photo - Black and White Documentary Childhood Photography - girl dancing in yard in summer by M. Menschel

Thank you for Julian crawling outside by himself to sit in the wind.  Trying to find his way back to the front door and choosing a questionable path through a patch of iris stalks newly emerged from the thawed earth.  Giving up halfway to sit in the middle of the spiky green stems and cry.  Thank you for Eloise spinning herself dizzy on the swing in the yard as I pause to watch her through the kitchen window.  The five-hundred year-old juniper tree billowing above her, the whole yard flapping in the wind.  And when the sound of the radio travels into the yard, she runs inside and does ballet twirls to Regina Spektor in the freshly painted kitchen.  Closing her eyes as she sways back and forth to the music.

March 13th, 2016

Blog - The Pen & Camera - Gratitude Journal, Inspirational, Spirituality, Motherhood, Writing, Denver, Colorado -  Molly Rees Photo - Black and White Documentary Childhood Photography - girl with leaf on head by M. Menschel

Thank you for Eloise and Moses in a shaft of early morning light from the kitchen window, making shadow puppets on the wall.  For Zoe's hands, how they are soft and delicate and slip fleetingly in and out of yours like they are made of smooth, dry paper.  Thank you for each day, a sense of renewal.  How little children are the best proprietors of this, for what child wakes up in the morning with a grudge on their heart?

Thank you for Tre’s 6th birthday party that lasted through the evening.  For the sliver of late afternoon light on his face in the darkening living room.  For Eloise in a sundress with her hair combed through by her father, little curls forming at the nape of her neck.  For Laura’s dad, inviting Orest on his annual fishing trip as if they were old friends.  For Julian crawling towards me with an enormous smile, his hand clutching the string of a balloon as it bobbed over his head.  For sitting at the kitchen table with Laura, her sister and mom, discussing the best recipe for chicken dumplings and feeling blessed to be included in her family for a long afternoon.

Thank you for sitting beside Vicki at Mile Hi this morning.  For the unreserved way that she interacts with the world - taking time to say hello to everyone she passes, laughing with strangers, talking with people she has never met before like they are already familiar.  How she says “good afternoon” in response to a pastor greeting a congregation, and treats a ten year old girl at the park like there is no age difference between the two of them.

Thank you for the small bits of inspiration that I took home with me after the service today:  Being reminded to pay attention to the relentless calling inside of us to embark on the true purpose of our lives.  That this true purpose, which is individual for each of us, isn’t a part of our lives, it IS our life.  And there is something that you alone can do better than anyone else in the world.  Letting your heart prevail:  A reminder I needed to hear that it is okay to be led by your heart.  That sometimes our hearts are drawn to the painful things in life.  That our hearts are willing to be broken, so that they might be broken open.  Awakening us out of apathy, a state of being that “disables compassion, closes the heart, distances us from caring.”  The story of Nicholas Winton, who single-handedly took it upon himself to save 669 refugee children in Czechoslovakia during the outbreak of World War II, and said, “Don’t be content in you life just to do no wrong.  Be prepared everyday to try to do some good.”  A quote from Howard Thurman:  "Don’t ask yourself what the world needs.  Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”  And the soloist who belted out the words to Somewhere Over the Rainbow, singing “The dreams that you dare to dream, really do come true.”

March 12th, 2016

Blog - The Pen & Camera - Gratitude Journal, Inspirational, Friendship, Painting, Home, Motherhood, Writing, Denver, Colorado -  Molly Rees Photo - Black and White Documentary Childhood Photography - girl playing in melting snow in spring by M. Menschel

Thank you for Vicki, who picked out the perfect color to paint a kitchen and then sent me home with a leftover gallon.  For the sun coming out in the yard and all the doors of the house left open.  For Orest and Moses at Loveland for the day and Julian down for a morning nap that lasted just long enough to move all the furniture, put on a bluegrass album and mix a can of paint. 

Thank you for Eloise in an old t-shirt that hung to her ankles, enthusiastically slopping paint on every bit of wall she could reach as I stood beside her, sending broad strokes of sage green over the ugly beige that filled the whole house when we rented it two years ago.  For Julian waking up to sit in the middle of the kitchen floor teething on an unopened roller, splashing his hand in a tray of paint, leaving finger and knee prints all over the linoleum.  Content to spend an entire afternoon being taken care of by a three-year-old, who fed him a lunch of cheerios off the living room carpet and let him watch too many episodes of Uncle Grandpa.  And two hours into it, digging out an old Alanis Morisette CD that I hadn’t heard in years.  How it felt like meditation - the kids in the other room, the stereo so loud I could barely hear my own voice as I sang along, the color of the room changing around me.  I had resisted painting the walls of this house because it was just a cheap rental that we were not supposed to stay in for too long - but I was reminded today that it is okay to make temporary things beautiful.  And as I carefully painted around the trim I felt I was finally paying my dues to every square inch of wall, saying thank you to this room that has held our family these past two years.

Thank you for the walk down the bike path this evening with Vicki and Garrett, how they knew all the neighbors I’ve never met and Garrett gave me his sweatshirt to wrap around Julian when the air turned cold.  Sometimes I think I live too much in the past, and it is good to paint a kitchen, to intentionally make things new, to take a walk in the late afternoon when the wind is starting to pick up and to come across your Mexican neighbors drinking beer around the hood of a large pickup truck.  To collapse on the couch at the end of the day, delirious from paint fumes, having earned your exhaustion.

March 11th, 2016

Blog - The Pen & Camera - Gratitude Journal, Inspirational, Friendship, Motherhood, Writing, Denver, Colorado -  Molly Rees Photo - Documentary Childhood Photography - mom laying on grass with crawling baby by M. Menschel

Thank you for a first playdate with the ladies from the Irving Street story-time at a house that was just as small and messy as mine.  For the delight in finding little details that were strikingly familiar - the same floor pillow in the living room as the one beside my own couch, a pamphlet on the kitchen counter from a church I often attend, and an overly emotional six-year-old whose face I never actually saw because she was in her bedroom having a massive tantrum for the entire twenty minutes after she came home from kindergarten until I left.  (Thank you for that last detail in particular, a timely reminder that I am not alone in all this.)  Thank you for new friends in the hood, for meeting people by absolute chance who you end up having a surprising amount in common with - how this doesn’t happen all the time, but happens at all the right times and often when you need it most.

Thank you for Orest offering to accompany Karina while she bought a bed off craigslist.  For coming home from Gywneth's house to find Emma and Solice running up to the front gate to let me in and Karina and Orest talking politics in the living room.  Thank you for walking to the park with Vicki and laying on a grassy hill-side in the sun with Julian and Tula crawling all over us like small animals.  For the girl at the playground (nine years old?  ten?) who made a bee-line from her parents car to where Vicki and I were sitting.  Who immediately tried to pick up our babies and then proceeded to show us all the ballet moves she knew.  And for Vicki, standing in the grass demonstrating fourth position when the girl couldn’t remember what came next.

Thank you for Karina staying on the phone with me this evening until I felt like myself again, for Moses who came home wearing new swim goggles and a snorkel that remained on his face for over an hour, his raspy breath fogging up the plastic tube.  For that little rush of joy that creeps in when you start to move your body to a song even when you don't feel like dancing, as if just to spite you.  And thank you for hot jello after dinner tonight, which still tastes exactly the same as it did sitting around a campfire with my parents and brother twenty-five years ago.

March 9th, 2016

Blog - The Pen & Camera - Gratitude Journal, Inspirational, Writing, Denver, Colorado -  Molly Rees Photo - winter sunflower M. Menschel

Against all logical reason, thank you for this day.  Where I gave in to fear, anger, sadness, confusion and hopelessness.  Where I lost myself for a long time, I sat in an alley and cried, and I wanted very badly to give up.  I scared myself and I scared my family.  And I am sorry that the people who have chosen to love me have had to go through this process with me.  The shedding of this ill-fitting exoskeleton that has defined the shape of who I am for most of my life - this ugly thing that I don’t yet know who I am without.  What is underneath is still unformed, sensitive to light, soft and too vulnerable.  And I am lucky, so very lucky, that certain people in my life are still here.  Learning compassion and forgiveness, not always by choice.  That God is shining it’s simple, persistent light into my life, and that things are growing in that brilliance.  That I am moving through it, out of it, turning my face in a new direction.  Learning how to say, "Not this time -" to that invisible destructive force that still tries to control me.  

And I understand that in the beginning, progress may only seem visible to the person who is working towards change.  Who is able to sense the things that are shifting inwardly, before they become outwardly obvious.  At the risk of that, I am writing here that I feel I am in the process of breaking free.  Free from whatever it is, defined in that murky realm of mental illness.  At times it has been comforting to have a name for the vessel I have been traveling in, as it so often feels that what can’t be seen on the body isn’t treated as real.  But I can finally see myself as if walking away from a large body of water, towards the inward land that rises above me.  And when I turn to look back at the shoreline I can see that the vessel is only a shell of a former way of life, and I have no need for this boat anymore.

I know it is not easy to shed a thing forever.  That I will still find myself in the pit of it, trying to find a door.  But even when it feels overwhelming I know that part of me will be walking towards that high peak, putting distance between myself and the deep abyss that I have passed across for many years.  I can feel the sun on my face and there are things before me, “green pastures I have not seen.”  And I am not willing to stop until that old vessel on the shore is a speck in the distance that finally disappears.  

So thank you for days like this, when I have come very close to losing everything.  When in the midst of it, hugging my knees on the curb at the end of Ames street, I saw a figure walking towards me in the distance and realized it was Vicki pushing Tula in a stroller on her way back from the park.  As I stood to head in the other direction, away from Life - lest I be caught out - there was something inside of me holding on to the realization that as out of control as I felt, I still had a choice.  I could walk away from Vicki before she might see me, or I could stay where I was and let her find me.  Or I could even stand up, and walk towards her.  All around me, life’s good intentions were continuing to unfold.  And like stepping out of a shadow world onto a bustling street, I could choose to re-enter Life.  

Later, that same relentless force of Love that operates even in the midst of hopelessness drove my car towards People House where I found myself in the same room I thought I had quit therapy in, with Gloria’s arms around my shoulders (Why Gloria?  And how did she happen to be there when I showed up distraught at the front door?)  Both of us smelling like peppermint, and she had made me laugh.  Then she was crouched on the floor leaning over my feet, reminding me to feel the ground beneath me.  And something broke within me, and I was able to breath again.

March 8th 2016

Blog - The Pen & Camera - Gratitude Journal, Inspirational, Motherhood, Writing, Denver, Colorado -  boy jumping on first day of kindergarten

Thank you for finding a large particle board puzzle piece inside Julian's onesie when I got him dressed for bed tonight.  The missing piece of Donald Duck's leg that we had been searching for all day.  Thank you for Eloise and Moses dressed in elaborate costumes, chasing each other around the small living room.  For Moses’s face as he sat enraptured on the couch, watching The Lion King.  How when he got mad at Eloise and yelled I didn’t banish him to the bathroom for a time-out, but sat beside him instead and asked what he could do instead of yelling to make himself feel calm when he was frustrated.  I wasn’t expecting a response, but he thought for a minute and pressed the fingertips of both hands against each other, making a triangle.  “Sometimes I put my hands together like this,” he said.  “Sometimes you can feel your heart beating in your fingers.  I do it outside at school before I go in,” he told me matter-of-factly, “so that I don’t do anything bad.”

March 7th, 2016

photo by Kat Andrews

photo by Kat Andrews

Thank you for the chill in the air this morning when I walked outside to say goodbye to Moses.  If I had closed my eyes, I would have sworn it was an early summer morning in Maine, and I was walking to the Newfound flagpole in a sweatshirt and jeans.  The cool morning wrapping itself around me, brisk and refreshing, a patch of sunlight falling on my shoulders and warming my back.  Wondering how it could be possible that later in the same day hoards of small children would be leaping off the h-dock in swimsuits and breathing heavily as they hiked up the hill to team sports.

And thank you for waking up to an email from my mom that contained nothing but a Joseph Campbell quote, which struck me as so uncharacteristic in its brevity that I wondered where she had come across such a thing.

“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.”

March 6th, 2016

Thank you for pulling up to the plaza at the foot of the Millennium Bridge to see Lexi waving in the distance.  Sitting at the bottom of the stairs with her camera bag beside her like she owned the place.  She is a mix of doting mom, business formal and highly irreverent all at the same time.  And her beautiful friend Anneice has driven all the way down from Greeley to model for our photo experiment. 

Thank you for finding myself a part of this community of photographers...  Oh, how it satisfies my soul.  For that picture Lexi took of Anneice and I after the shoot, my arms flung triumphantly in the air, and how it expressed precisely how I felt about that moment - downtown Denver with the sun in the sky, families sprawled on the green with their volleyball nets, awnings, picnics, their dogs.  Populating the outdoor dining area of a row of restaurants.  And having full permission to look through a camera at someone I have never met before and think about what I am seeing.  Taking pictures just for the pure delight of it.  Being able to put a camera as close as I want to another persons face, and press the shutter.

March 5th, 2016

Blog - The Pen & Camera - Gratitude Journal, Inspirational, Writing, Motherhood, Yard-saling, Ukraine, Denver, Colorado - Molly Rees Photo - Black and White Documentary Childhood Photography - sleeping girl with maker on face by M. Menschel

Thank you for a simple day, nursing Julian in a quiet house while Eloise lay on the couch drifting in and out of sleep.  Not an unhappy invalid, she did not complain or cry or ask for favors.  She just became very, very still.  From morning until evening, barely a movement.  Every once in awhile opening her eyes to see me there beside her, a smile slowly spreading across her face as she fell back into sleep.

Thank you for the opportunity to sneak off to my first yard sale this morning as a professional thrifter.  The sale was right next to the post office, and I did have that rent check to mail...  and Julian was very helpful, of course, trying to make me buy some ugly purses that were perfect for chewing on.

Thank you for Dido Ozzie who sat at our piano this evening, playing Ukrainian folk ballads in the minor key.  For Orest singing, and a reason to dust off the accordion.  For Andy, Orest and Bogdan sitting side by side on the couch, making jokes in Ukrainian.  For Moses who was over-tired and cranky but came out of the bedroom nonetheless, and put his head on Dido’s shoulder as he read aloud.

March 4th, 2016

Blog - The Pen & Camera - Gratitude Journal, Inspirational, Spirituality, Writing, Motherhood, Friendship, Denver, Colorado - Documentary Childhood Photography - silhouette of girl at sunset by the basin on Plum Island, Newburyport, Massachusetts

Thank you for that invisible force that gently nudges us in the right direction, even as we fight to resist it.  It could be called Grace.  Or the possibility of something out there that loves us, despite our fumbling lives.  Or a wide river with a strong current that finds us wavering on its shoreline and pulls us into it's flow, delivering us downstream.  The trick, is remembering that it is there.  No matter the mess you have found yourself in, no matter how far you may have traveled in the wrong direction.  There is no distance too insurmountable.  There is no judgement in that irresistible under-current of Love.

Thank you that it found me this morning, feeling a bit lost and a bit angry as I packed the kids into the car with no idea about where I was about to go.  For chancing to look at my phone and see that it was 10:22 on a Friday morning, and remembering that at 10:30 sharp someone would be sitting on the yellow cushion at the library on Irving street, reading a children’s book.  And thank you for not resisting.  For turning down 14th street and choosing children’s books over more destructive things.

Thank you for the only other two moms there, neither of whom I had seen before, who had both ended up at story-time for their own less-than-perfect reasons.  Who seemed happy to linger as long as possible after the librarian had put away the story-time things, grateful for a few moments of connection with a person over 2.5 years old.  Thank you that without knowing where I needed to be, I had ended up in exactly the right place.  How I left an hour later with two new phone numbers and a playdate set up for later this week.  And when I walked outside I found Orest in the parking lot, patiently waiting to jump-start my ancient car and follow me home.

March 3rd, 2016

Blog - The Pen & Camera - Gratitude Journal, Inspirational, Friendship, Colfax, Writing, Motherhood, Denver, Colorado - Molly Rees Photo - Black and White Documentary Childhood Photography - children laughing on bricks by M. Menschel

Thank you for three little boys pressed up against a schoolyard fence, making faces at the cars on Colfax as they drive by.  One boy who throws a rock that lands half-heartedly on the side of the road, and in a moment of pause all three turn to look at each other, their mouths dropped open, eyes wide with excitement, before dashing back into the playground.

Thank you for Darcey bringing us to the zoo.  Those monkeys with their long, graceful arms, swinging overhead as Eloise and Kellen chase each other across a footbridge.  Thank you for Darcey who is patient and consistent and for how she defends her love for her two boys.  Thank you for Kellen who is mischievous and sweet and who was not allowed ice cream because he was naughty.  Thank you for Eloise and Kellen sipping empty wine glasses together in the yurt display at REI.  For Eloise’s delight in having a friend for the day.  For little boys who bring out her wild exuberance for life.