Sophia, age 9

Today, I knew I wanted to write and I had about seven topics I wanted to write about- everything from catching you up to speed on my restarting roller derby, to deep and profound proclamations of my undying love to my Valentine, to a rundown of how last night played out. Actually, I will still give ya a quick recap on that–Wifey loved her gift. LOVED. I also loved mine and we were totally on the same page getting completely unique gifts from localish artists. She gave me a gorgeous handmade, handwrapped bronze and rhodochrosite necklace. We managed to get all the Valentine’s and birthday prep work handled and Garrett made sure to not let little things like Valentine’s Day and a boyfriend get in the way of his usual, after-school Netflix time with Madi. We aren’t too worried about her having a date in her bedroom. Privacy isn’t really in her future anyway.

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These are all great topics that I’m sure I can come back to, but for today, the birthday of my first born, let’s focus on this girl. Disclaimer: it’s gonna get real here. I could go on and on about his daughter of mine for hours. That’s been the case every year of her life, and this year is no different. Maybe you remember this kid from here (when she got suspended), here (7th birthday post), or even here (on letting toddler Soph dress herself).

This child has always been the most intriguing and wild mix of spirited and sensitive I have encountered of any human at any age. She’s a bold empath and not someone I was prepared to raise. I often worry that I’m simply not qualified to raise her correctly. I’m too scattered. Too impatient. I hold her to high standards, but then don’t always recognize when all she really needs is a hug. Her worst feeling in this whole wide world is feeling like a disappointment. I never, ever mean to make her feel like that. But I also don’t sugarcoat things, nor am I as sensitive as I need to be. I simply can be at a loss to appropriately and gently guide her through this life. I was raised in a “spare the rod, spoil the child” home. I was not raised to sort feelings and emotions and as much as I personally need that, it’s still hard to convey to her how to do that effectively. This year we hit new trials.

Through 2018 Sophia has been bullied & threatened at school, gone through major life changes with her dad (new gf, moving in, and then getting engaged), and of course balanced that with the usual struggles of having divorced parents in separate towns, a whirlwind of a little brother and two older step siblings, and growing up in a lesbian household in North Idaho.

With all that thrown out there you may think we’ve had a horrid, tumultuous year. Not at all. I’m more concerned it’s slowly breaking her spirit. Like she is getting way too old, way too soon. Yet, here she is, shining bright like a diamond most days. Flourishing in hip-hop dance, thriving in having finally found a theater and been cast in a musical, doing incredibly well this semester in school. Reading. Playing. Making new friends and having guests, and even an occasional sleepover. Working her own sense of style. Dabbling in makeup. For the most part, just doing her thang.

She is my pride and joy. She is an inspiration, but also a frustration. All I want is to effectively let her blossom into who she should be, safely, kindly, and thoughtfully. I want her to be kind, responsible, bold, and smart. And she is. I just don’t want any of that to get lost as the world weighs on her. I want 9 to be her best year ever. I want her to be her best. I want to be the mom she needs, even when I am not sure how. I want her to continue her performing arts as they provide her sense of community, creative outlet, and the attention she craves. I want her to keep using her imagination whether playing baby dolls in her room on the floor, or mastering shimmer eyeshadow in the mirror.

I guess, I just want to get this right for her. My heart gets heavy when I think of all the times I have lost my temper after asking her for the tenth time to really clean her room. Or when I snap at her for snapping at her brother. She bounces back to life of course, but I know each time leaves a little scar and a tiny piece of her free spirit has been reshaped.

But I’ve also seen her sparkle shine brighter than ever in these last few months. I’ve seen her rock a microphone like she owned it. I’ve seen her frolic with puppies, build some really powerful relationships, and come into her own on stage. Her “fash” is certainly detouring from what I’d pick for her, but goddammit I bought the absurd, nineties-esque, over-sized Tweety Bird hoodie and could bask in the glow of her delight for days.

Here’s to you, my Sophia, Valentine Baby. I’m ready to make 9 be your most incredible year yet.

 

A Little Bit Country

As you may have caught on, I like cities. My heart belongs (mostly) in Seattle. I have no intention of ever living anywhere smaller than my current community. It’s no city but with about 50,000 people, we have enough restaurants,  entertainment, bars, events, shows, and shopping to keep me living my preferred life, all with a small enough population to feel family-oriented and safe. That said, there is something you have to love about the country life, or at least in doses.

This weekend GF and I took my littles to our friends’ ranch. GF has known Kirsten and Marie for many years, and their three year old son since he was just a baby. My daughter just adores it out there. They have everything she wants in life: horses, cattle, dogs, cats, wildlife, and wide open spaces. Look at this joy!

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My son in all his 4 years of glory is a tiny gamer and doesn’t particularly care for animals much at all. But look at him go.

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I am so thankful that Kirsten and Marie continue to open up their home to all of us and let my kids experience so much more than I could otherwise offer them. Not only a peak at the ranch life, but the chance to see a beautiful lesbian family. Neither of my children really said anything about it on the last trip, but this time my son, G, brought up how Colton has two moms several times. And he was excited about it. He told GF that he “yikes” two moms and that he loves her. And that it was like he has two moms because she likes me. I’m just retelling what he told my GF, but you get the idea. He does have kids with lesbian mothers in his daycare class, but I don’t think he really ever picked up on it. It’s beautiful to see that he can love his daddy, love his mommy, and still love this new relationship too. He’s both the sweetest and the cutest. Well mostly. Take his shit and he may try to punch you. We’re working on it. 😛

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I’m working on trying to be less helicopter-y in my mothering. The kids are older and love to explore. This weekend I even let them sit (without keys) on a 4-wheeler without me. Baby steps.

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The pure joy and sunshine in their faces from just running and playing and being just as dirty and happy as they please is a delight. I’m really just sharing all these pics so I can remember them always.

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Oh yes and a view and a Sunday morning Bloody Mary for each grown up doesn’t hurt.

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Cheers.