Things I Like Include: Fall Air

There is no feeling more decadent than sitting next to an open window, soaking in the first crisp breaths of Fall. The leaves haven’t started to turn yet, and I have a feeling that this weather is nothing more than a fluke. I am sure that by Tuesday it will be unbearable hot again, and I’ll have to break out the shorts that I haphazardly placed in the back of my closet until next Summer. Until then, I’ll sit in limbo right under this open window, breathing in the cold air.

 

There is something so quintessentially “Fall” about my home town. I don’t know whether it’s the small town football games or the County Fair that I stumbled upon this weekend, but everything about Windsor, VA screams “autumn” to me. Coming home after being at school for a while always makes me really nostalgic. I can’t help but think about doing my homework on the back porch or sitting in the third pew from the back every single Sunday morning. It’s not a sad nostalgia- I find it really comforting to revisit old places. However, I also think it’s important to realize that they are just that: places of nostalgia. I am headed in new directions, and I can’t stay here forever. 

 

In other news, Fall weather means that I can’t stop eating pumpkin flavored stuff- everything that includes some semblance of pumpkin, apple, or cinnamon. Last night my mom made this pumpkin crunch cake thingy, that I plan on devouring in its entirety this week.

 

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Cooler weather also means that the Avett Brothers/ any band with a banjo and a bearded lead singer are on repeat in my room, my car, and my mind. Take a peek at my favorite fall playlist, courtesy of ashleyveekay and 8tracks.

 

 

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Things I Like Include: Muskateering- For my Four Best Friends

I’m in a strange place between not being able to accept the inevitable. I am not ready to grow up.

 

Adults around me listen to me say this, and they scoff and mention something about how the real world will put me on my ass. I am not afraid of this ominous and mysterious “real world.” I think I can handle a budget and some ramen (even though I do have a propensity towards nice things). I am more worried about compromising my friends and myself.

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A few weekends ago, I had the opportunity to spend time with my three best friends in the entire world in one of my favorite cities, Washington, D.C. Alyssa, Alice, Grace and I have been friends my whole life. Alice and I met in the first grade, and Alyssa and Grace came to me around the third grade. These women know my soul. They know what makes me tick and what makes me cry. They have been around to celebrate some of the most beautiful and most sad times of my life. It was Alyssa’s house I stayed at when my mother had surgery on an invasive tumor when I was in the 7th grade. Grace and I rode to travel Rec League soccer every Saturday from elementary to middle school, and Alice has been a rock that has gotten me through failed relationships, failed tests, and the past 12 years of school, and three years of college. They are all so important to me on a level that I can’t even begin to describe.

 

And I am terrified of losing them.

 

I am crying even while I write this because I worry that College graduation will bring us new jobs in different parts of the country, relationships that will lead to marriage, and houses with picket fences that are so far removed from our lives in Windsor and Suffolk. I am terrified of never being able to sleep in Alyssa’s huge bed- all four of us lined up in a row- ever again. 

 

Life is changing, and it is taking me in a direction that I anticipate with great reverence and terror. 

 

There are moments when the terror overtakes me (mostly when I’ve had too much to drink), and I get overwhelmed. However, I always remember:

“Don’t let life pass you by :)”

 

This phrase (smiley face and all) was graffittied on Pitchkettle Rd. in Suffolk, VA, the way I rode to get to Alyssa, Alice, and Grace’s houses. This phrase became a staple in our high school life and friendship. Whenever we were in a car, we stopped whatever we were saying when we reached Pitchkettle in order for us to be able to read the phrase aloud.

 

Life is changing for us. We are morphing into four different people with four different lives that may take us to four completely different places. Instead of living in fear of a broken friendship, I vow to celebrate every single day that we are together. Alyssa, Alice, and Grace live in my soul and run through my veins. I cherish every moment I have and will have with them. I cherish the fourth grade slumber parties, underage beer, soccer games, and Christmas Break reunions as much as I will cherish the husbands, wives, weddings, babies, houses, paint samples, and phone calls of the next forty years.

 

“Don’t Let Life Pass You By :)”

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I love you.

 

 

Things I Like Include: Words For Da

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Memory, Sunday mornings 1994 until 2000

My Da and I spent every single Sunday morning shaving, him bristly hairs on his face and me, smooth baby skin with a capped razor. It was our Sunday morning ritual. After waffles, we would head to his bathroom in the back of the house. He would turn on Gene Chandler’s Duke of Earl, and we would start to lather up. He helped me put the white foam all over my face and get ready to shave with him while we got ready for church. I would stand at a chair in front of the her side of our his and her sink. We would sing and dance and get ready for church.

Memory, 1996

Sitting on my Da’s chest in bed, he methodically and slowly teaches me the Lord’s prayer. Every night we learn a new line. He tells me how important this prayer is because it came from the mouth of God himself. He is patient as I try to remember the words. He repeats them over and over, filling my head with knowledge and my soul with grace.

Memory, December 2009

“I got in.” I cried over the phone on a call to my Da, telling him I had gotten into the College of William & Mary, a goal I had been working toward for years. He cried. He came home later that evening with a W&M cup in his hand and a W&M hat on his head. He later told me that he had bought both a long time ago, and was waiting for the right time to use them. He was so proud and happy to see my dreams actualized. Congratulations, Mom and Da. We did it. Three years later, I’m beginning my last year at the College, and the joy my father had on the day I got in still persists.

Thank you, Da, for always letting me chase my dreams and supporting me endlessly all the way. Thank you for teaching me grace and routine and the payback for hard work from an early age.

I love you.

Things I Like Include: Memories for My Mother

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Memory- 1996

My mother is a teacher at a local high school, and she’s been a Senior class sponsor for as long as I can remember. When I was about three or four years old, she took me along with the rest of her Seniors to Baltimore, Maryland for the day. On the agenda: the aquarium, the zoo, and an Orioles game. She was pushing me in my stroller when we entered the giraffe house, a large building dedicated to giraffes and only giraffes. The house was circular with a pathway going along the outside, and the giraffes in the middle of the building, separated from the onlookers by a tall circle of plexi glass. Three year old me was wildly perplexed and in awe of the greatness that stood before me. So much, in fact, that I stated to the entire giraffe house constituency “Momma, look at the size of those testicles.” Naturally the adults around me broke into an uncontrollable fit of laughter. I was upset because I thought I’d done something wrong. My mother comforted me by assuring me that they were, indeed, testicles, and that yes, they were also very large.

 

 

Memory- 2006

I skipped soccer practice.  My coach told our team that practice that day would be optional, and I wanted to go to my friend’s house instead, so I slyly told my mother that practice had been cancelled, and I would be going over to Mary’s house instead. She agreed to pick me up from there, and I thought the issue was settled.

On the way to Mary’s house, my mother drove by school and saw the JV girls soccer team practicing on the practice field (or at least the sadistic overachievers who agreed to go to an optional practice…I mean, COME ON). She drove furiously all the way to Mary’s house. When I got in the car, I didn’t even have time to explain myself. She yelled and rambled expletives the whole way home. When I got home, I was told to put on my tennis shoes and get in the car. She drove me up to the track at our local high school, and she told me that I would be running until she determined that I had run as much as I would have at practice that day. I must have run up and down that football field 60-80 times and crawled at least 4 times. I was throwing up by the end of the evening and cursing my mother all the way up and down the field. 

Memory- 2004

My seventh grade class was participating in a mock election in celebration of the Presidential election that was going on at the time. My seventh grade social studies teacher informed our class that there would be an essay contest to determine who would be able to represent the Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates in the mock election. She also informed us that the boys would be allowed to run for the President and Vice President positions and the girls could run to be their wives. Enraged by this, I went home and told my mother the bad news. I wanted more than anything to be President, and I had no intentions of settling to be the first lady. My mother talked through my emotions with me, but she charged me to do something about it instead of sitting around and griping about it. I was mad at my mother and I was mad at my teacher. Why didn’t my teacher know enough to understand that these project qualifications were wrong, and why didn’t my mother care enough to fight for my right to play President? That night, I wrote a letter to my seventh grade teacher that ended with the phrase “I do not aspire to be the first lady. I aspire to be the President.” That year, the mock election was cancelled. 

 

My entire life, my mother has been teaching me how to thrive and exist in a world that would not always be fair to me. However, through her actions, and often, her silence, she has taught me how to work to achieve justice and what is right for myself and others. Moreover, she has taught me to never apologize for my intelligence (giraffe testicles), that hard work is never optional (skipping soccer practice), and to achieve justice for myself and for others by peacefully and articulately fighting my own battles (the mock election).

 

For these things, I am forever grateful. 

 

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