January…the month when I feel like there are expectations galore. Although I’m not a voice for new year’s resolutions, there’s a tiny part of me that expects January to be….different.
And it was. January, in California, was DRY. Watching the rest of the nation shiver with the Polar Vortex certainly provided a certain sense of comfort and envy as my family yearned for snow. I watched my rosebushes begin to bud out in the garden, and actually wore a short sleeve shirt. January in my life required a little bit of bravery, scads of patience, and at the end, surrendering to things beyond my control.
My Best January:
One of the best parts of my day happens in the morning when I open my daily email from First Sip. This was one of my favorites-doesn’t it just ooze January?
“I would love to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.”~ John O’Donohue
I first began reading Ida B. Wells in college; when I read this quote this month, it shouted out a reminder for my year:
“The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.” ~ Ida B. Wells
January was a month of reading. Two of my favorites were A Well Tempered Heart by Jan-Philipp Sendker, a story about an American woman, a Burmese monk, and unexpected love, and Impatient With Desire by Gabrielle Burton, a fictional recounting of the Donner Party experience in 1846.
January was a busy month, and sadly, not much original cooking occurred in my kitchen. Fortunately, my daughter continued her Wednesday baking tradition with these INCREDIBLE dark chocolate brownies from The Pioneer Woman. If ever the expression ‘death by chocolate’ were applicable, this would be the time!
Best Blog Reads:
Edutopia is one of my favorite education blogs, and often times I find posts there that bleed inexorably into my ‘other’ life. This post, about teaching grit and resilience, touched me. So much of what I do as a teacher and a parent is try to encourage, support, and show kids that they can and will survive life’s challenges. I’m seeing many examples of kids giving up on themselves, and parents excusing them, because life gets hard. The idea that they’re learning this life strategy, instead of focusing on developing grit, frightens me. It’s something we all should think about.
One of the best blog posts I read in January was “A New Season”, written by Lindsey Mead for Huffington Post. I follow Lindsey’s blog, A Design So Vast, and have enjoyed getting to know her through her poignant and often times painfully realistic reflections on motherhood. Although she’s a few years behind me in parenting years, her posts never fail to remind me of the delicacy of our time with our children.
My sister found this image of my girl, taken around 16 years ago. It brought tears to my eyes; I could feel her little fingers holding mine, and the sinewy hug she wrapped me in right after the photo was taken. The fleeting nature of motherhood…
I’m including a video in this month’s Best Photos, simply because it captures my heart, my child, and how we spend so much of our time in the mountains-and because I was lucky enough to be at the start gate for one of his races.
January handed me several ‘parenting handbook’ moments; one of the toughest was during my daughter’s ski race. I wrote about resilience, and life lessons, and thanked a stranger for teaching her.
And of course, some joyous ones as well – ski season is off to an exciting start!