Dear Amazing You

Dear Fantastic, Super-Awesome Readers,
To all 51 of you, and those more of you to come, you have made this a great year for me.  If this blog had a birthday we would celebrate it a week from today with chocolate and coffee, or maybe something fizzy for those in a different time zone (five o’clock somewhere, right?). I’m personally not one for resolutions because I believe that if you live each day to the fullest, each day is as special as any other. Tonight we will be staying up if not because we planned to then because the fireworks ensured it, and so I make a toast to you.
Social media sites let me down with their limited character count and for those moments when I would have friends complain to me that I write a lot, which is why I couldn’t keep a Twitter account and didn’t care for the shallowness of FB. A seed was sown in my heart when I discovered REL’s blog (lead singer of Icon for Hire), and the desire was truly kindled in me when I saw the first episode of Sherlock (BBC), as it was recommended to Dr. Watson by his psychiatrist to keep a blog. A week shy of a year ago I Googled about blogging and dove right in. My inhibitions have since melted because of it.
This year my family has battled in two court cases for custody of our children (neither of which are over yet), and two more for irrelevant things (because people). We’ve lost two pets, we’ve moved, Bailey and I got married, Bailey and Alice had babies, and I’ve written a complete rough draft of a novel while working two jobs and keeping up a few hobbies and helping to maintain a house of between five and fourteen inhabitants, depending on the time of year. Thank you for joining me on this wild journey, dearest readers.
-Charlotte Smith

A Delayed Christmas

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Christmas came late for our household. The records show that the temperature was 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 Celsius), though I was sure it had gone up to eighties. Edward and Bailey didn’t have to work, I got the day off, and Alice was able to leave early. There were no plans. It was a leisurely day.
We ran out of coffee and all the stores were closed. When Bailey and I waited for Edward to pick up Alice from work, I looked sorrowfully at my cold cup that contained all the coffee in our house, unwilling to dirty a pan to warm it up (Daisy was the last to use our microwave before it went kaput). In walked Ed, handing out flavored Starbucks coffee like presents. I felt loved when I found that he got me caramel flavored.
Guinevere loved her present I knit for her. She had been going from wrapping to wrapping from the phone cases Ed got for the Ladies until I gave her a knitted pouch with a musical ball in it. She stood in place shaking it up and down, mesmerized, eventually throwing it down to hear it clank. The Ladies are late getting Edward’s gift, I gave Bailey and Alice their presents a month early (oops), and Bailey’s presents to us are in the mail.
The Girls are ‘visiting’ from their grandparents for New Years, so we delayed the decorating and gift wrapping for after Christmas. The house sang with joyous chaos and merry songs sung out of tune, off key, and off beat, tuning out the thud of little knees scurrying in and out of rooms. Initially Guinevere was too stunned by the presence of little people all around her, mouth gaping as dress up clothes were donned and cast down all around her. Grace stopped in front of her and there was a moment where they took each other in. I don’t know if they remember how close they were before Grace had to be taken with her sisters, but whether or not they do, they hit it off just like before.
It stings to see your children with bad habits you worked so hard to not expose them to. Grace snatches whatever she wants, and cries from confusion when anything is kept from her until she is reminded to ask nicely. I tell her to say, “can I have it please,” and she looks at me blankly. “Say ‘please’.”
“Pees.” Her vocabulary is exactly the same as when she went to her grandparents, which tells us she was not encouraged to use her words. She is nine months older than Guinevere and they are at the same level of development, and that breaks my heart. Gloria spanked her inflatable bull for being bad, and I reminded her that we don’t spank in this house. Geraldine tattled to me about her grandparents spanking them for reasons she didn’t think was fair.
I am infuriated that they want to describe our relationship as confusing to our children, yet I have to explain to the Girls that they live with different rules in different houses with different morals. In our house we want to teach our children to be Christian, which for our family means placing your trust in God and living for your fellow neighbor. This also means praying to Him when you desire something, not wishing for it to just happen like magic. This means a self appreciation for being a creature filled with the breath of God and made in his likeness and his image, not wishing to be something else because something else is better because it has wings and I don’t. I suspect that because we have told their grandparents that we wish to not raise our children with magic, they have gone out of their way to give them many magic themed things. “We’re cooler because we let you have cooler stuff.” And for the cherry on top, we’re not Christian enough for their grandparents, and in court they accused us of starting up a cult.
I have grown a resentment for stupid.
My reaction is to just not think about it so that I can continue to function, because I am needed to keep up with laundry and dishes while someone else looks after the kids (often Bailey and Alice trade off or collaborate, depending on schedules) and to perform well at work so we can continue to be able to afford fighting for custody of our children.
My heart’s not bleeding, it’s merely a flesh wound.
Since I’m not on talking terms with my mother and sister (I’m not sure that they noticed that they became our enemies pawns), and for obvious reasons I’m not in touch with my father, I didn’t have to worry about getting them presents and wondering if they’re going to assume I didn’t have enough money to get them better presents because they think my husband is manipulative and has seized control of my money but can’t afford to pay for our family. If you’ve ever tasted baker’s chocolate and had it with anise you might know the taste in my mouth during family visits. So as odd as it may seem that I’m being so anti-family on a family oriented holiday, understand that I haven’t enjoyed myself more than this because of it.
The cold front has finally come through, and I’m donning my hand knit fingerless gloves and the gift wrapping is covering the floor and laughter is filling the halls and it finally feels like Christmas.

Update Overdue

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I never wanted to be the one to apologize for not posting on my own blog.
On another note, I finished the rough draft of my novel! I’d written something around 50,100 words in 30 days, and didn’t know how the story would end until I was writing the ending (which I’m not sure that I’m satisfied with). Though I’ve had the names of my characters for eight years, I feel like I didn’t get to meet them until November. I would rave to my family about how my characters surprised me, and Bailey responded that she didn’t understand how I could credit them with so much when I was the author. Fortunately the forums for NaNoWriMo was so supportive and well constructed that I could find like minded people who wrote entire threads about how their characters rebelled against the author’s will.
Aside from NaNoWriMo, we’ve also had two babies born to us, and Steve and Daisy had a baby boy as well (notice how everyone gets pregnant at the same time? Okay, much of the women is what I mean). I also hand knit presents for the girls who will be home and over a year old, which is five. All the while I’m working two jobs and pitching in with chores. Now you’re caught up with what’s going on with me, as long as I didn’t forget something.

The Limit of the Horizon

When I look at a sunset and try to memorize every shade of red and orange, I suspect that my memory will be the only recording of this moment. I don’t bother with cameras, which never capture the right hues. I wouldn’t know at which moment to close the shutter for that perfect moment. What a waste of time to capture the most brief and vibrant of moments by staring at a screen, which is sub par by comparison to what my naked eye can perceive anyway. The camera cannot capture the moisture that builds in the air as the cool of night gathers around me in darkness, or the way the smell of the nearby woods spreads and sharpens the air. I am the only one standing in the parking lot, turning about in circles to see the way that the wisps that extend beyond my reach capture the refracted light.
And what crosses my mind is how limited my perception is. Two miles west of me, someone could be just as enchanted and straining to experience this moment to its fullest potential. They will have a few minutes longer to enjoy it because it’s two miles further from the horizon. The clouds will be arranged differently and may not capture the colors of the star like where I am. That person’s eyes may perceive it differently (maybe they’re color blind, or to a degree that I was not aware of, I am).
And then, there is the rest of the spectrum that the human eye cannot perceive. And did you know that of what our eyes can perceive, some of the data is lost because the brain cannot compute it all?
In this moment, I am limited, and yet I am the only recording of this moment.