The stray horse at my mom's house. Yep. Stray horse.
My aunt, Mozella, helps Stella model a local haircut.
My brother, Jason, is Stella's doppelganger.
Stella's aunt Nikole is smitten.
My sister, Nora, rocks as an aunt.
My mom, Judy, with 3/4 of her grandkids: Bethany (Nora's daughter), Stella, and Daniel (Nora's son). My other brother Kerry's daughter Claire lives in Las Vegas.
I really should be packing to move into our new (BIG!) apartment. I am literally surrounded by boxes and humbled by Dave's admirable efforts to pack up our entire 650 square feet lives. But I am a master procrastinator, so blog I must.
We had a simply incredible visit to Kentucky. Stella dazzled and charmed my family until they were dizzy, and my family, in turn, wittled their way into my daughter's enormous heart. I got to experience what parenthood is like when you have the help of trusted loved ones (how will I ever go back?) and I was stunned at how well my sometimes touchy daughter adapted to all the new places, faces and Southern energy that surrounded her. I literally feel as if I left about half of myself back in the bluegrass state.
I often feel as if I inhabit two worlds. I love living in Brooklyn. I crave constant action and I love being surrounded by diversity and excitement. However, I miss the gorgeous landscape of my home state, the openness and friendliness of its inhabitants, and most of all, my wonderfully loving and hilarious family.
C'est la vie, or at least that's what I tell myself to keep from balling for a week straight every time we return from a trip.
We also had an awesome time at my 10-year college reunion. I had an amazing 4 years at Centre College, making intense friendships and falling deeply in love with some stellar professors who opened my eyes in so many ways. Sometimes, when times are rough, I reflect fondly on my college years. I'm embarrassed to admit this, but there are times when I completely understand the song from Avenue Q, "I wish I could go back to college." Here's a sampling of the lyrics:
I wish I could go back to college.
Life was so simple back then.
What would I give to go back and live
In a dorm with a meal plan again!
I wish I could go back to college.
In college you know who you are.
You sit in the quad, and think,
"Oh my God!I am totally gonna go far!"
So, yeah, I've totally romanticized my college years WAY too much in the past decade. But going back to my reunion, I had a really healthy realization: I had a wonderful college experience, made the best friends of my life, was in wonderful plays, had a cool campus job (techy extraordinaire for our drama department), studied in France for a semester, and took amazing classes. Out of the 19 years of schooling I've had from kindergarten to grad school, those are the 4 that I'd happily relive, if I had to.
That said, I am so happy to be where I am now. As much as I learned at Centre, I learned way more the 10 years following graduation. And as much fun as college was, I never really had someone during that time with whom I could share my life, and now I have my husband Dave, my partner in crime, and our gorgeous little girl. I live in an exciting city and have a wonderful family scattered around the country.
The best moment of the night of my reunion came when we returned to the hotel room, where my mom was watching Stella. I couldn't help but be nervous almost the whole night, as Stella hasn't been apart from us very much at all and still drinks her breastmilk almost exclusively from its original container. But there they were, my mom and my daughter, cuddled together on the bed, sleeping peacefully. I felt so overcome with love at that moment I almost burst right out of my spanx.
Now here we are, getting ready to move on up (or down, technically) to a 2 bedroom apartment in the sky (or on the 2nd floor). I feel so blessed and rich.
The only problem is now Stella seems to constantly be searching for that adoring and entertaining cast of characters we left behind in Kentucky. She may have been born in Brooklyn, but I have a sneaking suspicion that she's a Southern girl at heart!