Sunday, June 27, 2010

My. Own. Office.

I have an office.

Don't think glass buildings and a view of the skyline through professionally cleaned windows.  Think more along the lines of I can look out  and see when the recycling truck is here, as long as I have first cleaned the dogs' nose prints off the window. 

It's not fancy.  It's not even pretty.  But it is MINE.  And I find myself really conflicted that I can be so over the moon about a tiny former bedroom when I've really tried to teach my children that the accumulation of stuff does not make you happy.  But here I am, in my office, with my stuff. and I'm happy. I even have a door!

Please understand that I have been working from home for several years now.  My office has been in a 36 square foot loft outside of one of the bedrooms and then in a 60 square foot corner of our bedroom.  It's been cramped.  It's been inconvenient.  It's been, at times, quite difficult to navigate around the work projects to fall into bed for a few hours and wake up with the work projects staring me in the face again.  And, let's face it, as patient as he is, Dale has spent many years trying to fall asleep to the sound of the keyboard and the light of my monitor.

The very day our oldest child moved into his own apartment, we moved my desk and filing cabinets. And by we I mean Dale.  He cleaned and hauled and disconnected and reconnected and made sure that I could still finish my project with minimal disruption. He brought up boxes of books from the basement.  He found tubs and tubs of all kinds of stuff  I've been saving.  He even found things like my former Wyoming license plate and my chili pepper lights which have been in storage for YEARS because they didn't really blend into the decor of any of our rooms.  Until now. 

I know.  Not very office-like, right?  But so very me.  This room is full of stuff that would make most people gag. It's certainly not going to win any awards in Architectural Digest.   Honestly, I don't want that.  I want to look around this room and smile, and I do.  Right there is my stuffed killer whale, Shampu.  Over there is one of my dad's caps.  On that wall is a painting of a lighthouse my mom did many years ago.  Right there are pictures of my boys.  Over there is a poster Dale talked a shopkeeper into giving us on our honeymoon.  On my desk is a vase of beautiful flowers my sister sent me for my birthday.  And right there is the license plate that resided on my little Honda Civic and that saved a friend from getting a ticket one night as he drove my car to his security job:

OFFICER: Son, you are driving in Texas with an expired Indiana driver's license in a car with Wyoming plates, and it's not even your car.  The only reason I am not going to give you a ticket is because I don't want to call in this plate and have dispatch laugh at me when I say, "That plate is One, Cowboy on a Bucking Horse, Four, Zero..."
MY FRIEND: Thank you, sir. [Drives off laughing.]

So, if you want to come by and see my office, you are more than welcome.  I'll show you the license plate, I'll turn on the chili pepper lights, we'll laugh over my yearbook pictures, and you can be impressed with my pink curtains.  And if you don't like my office, that's okay, too.  I do.

Did I mention that I have an office?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Babies Having Babies

Recently a little red-haired girl had a baby.

I remember so clearly the day the little red-haired girl was born.  Well, honestly, she didn't have a lot of hair, maybe three or four, and they stood straight up on the top of her head.  Dale and I were engaged when his childhood/high school friends had that little girl, and I distinctly remember dropping by the hospital that evening.  Shea Lynn was a beautiful baby.

I've watched that girl grow up.  Just to make her parents mad, I taught her to say "Image is everything" and can still hear her saying that to me in her 8-year-old voice.  From the little girl who wanted me to watch the "Teenate Moocha Minja Minja Turtles" with her to the killer softball player she was, to the beautiful bride in her beautiful wedding, she has been wise and mature beyond her years.  Which is really funny, because she LOOKS younger than her 23 years.  She gets carded renting video games. She gets pulled over for silly stuff (perhaps because she looks too young to be driving).  It's a running  joke about how she looks too young to be married and having a baby, but at her baby shower this past New Year's Day, this one thing was obvious: Shea Lynn is a beautiful woman.

Shea has had a very busy year, to say the least.  Among other things, she found out she was pregnant shortly after her husband joined the National Guard, sent him off for 8 months of training, quickly escalated into high-risk pregnancy status, tried to go into labor too many times to count, and delivered her baby with her parents standing in for her soldier-husband who was not allowed to come home.  There were challenges with the baby's eating.  There were challenges with her own health.  And the weather where she lives was absolutely HORRIBLE this past Winter and Spring.  Still, she's been determined to make it through and help others along the way.  Shea Lynn is a beautiful person.

Last week, she brought her baby to see us. We were thrilled to get to see her and spend some time with her, her dad, and her little man (her husband was away at his Annual Training).  We cried about struggles. We giggled over her little boy's noises. We somberly talked about deployments and support systems.  She rocked, she played, she washed baby things, she changed diapers, she handled teething like a pro, and she was her bright, funny, engaging self.   I watched this woman I have known her entire life, and it hit me square in the face:  Shea Lynn is a beautiful mother.

Shea Lynn, I want you to know that I don't just think of you as my little almost-niece.  You are also my friend, and I am blessed to know you.  I love you, little red-haired girl.