Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Lost Arts--Latin, Penmanship, and Tact

I will admit unashamedly that I am a far cry from Emily Post. When it comes to manners, I have my obvious and less noticeable shortcomings aplenty. I have been known to slip and use the word "sucks" in public, uh, repeatedly, and I will be the first to offer up the fact that I have no idea what the inner envelope on formal invitations is for. Why is one envelope insufficient? Isn't the envelope to keep strangers from reading your invites along the journey? Unless Superman is working the mail sorter, it seems a bit much. (Besides, for all my comic-con nerd friends reading this who will contact me later, I am aware that Superman's x-ray vision is not impervious to a second envelope. It was a joke. Go back to your Fortress of Solitude.)
I don't think all modern movements away from formality are unwarranted or ridiculous. A part of me honestly believes that the reason we are so close to curing so many diseases is that people are filling their precious gray matter with useful information instead of the proper location and use of 16 different forks. We live in a computer age, so forcing students to practice fancy penmanship also seems like an useless art--if it's legible, I'm happy. As far as I'm concerned, we've translated everything we really need and Latin can go the way of the Dodo as well. That said, while my etiquette foibles are admitted and (mostly) regretted, there are some current breaches of manners that make even my plebeian stomach turn. These are the rules of manners and tact that need resuscitation as soon as possible, before it's too late for our society and we are all acting like rejected contestants on Rock of Love (heaven help us!).
Burn the blogged invitation
You'll note here that I didn't say "e-vite" because that is not my beef at all. If all the attendees have email and know how to use it, I don't have a problem with extending individual invitations electronically. What I do have a problem with, however, is sending out invitations to the "wanted" guests, and then later posting a copy on the blog for anyone else who might want to attend. I'm seeing this particularly with baby and wedding showers. You can pretend this is an attempt to be inclusive, but really this is the equivalent of saying "I don't care enough to so much as give your name to the person throwing the shower, but if you would be willing to buy me something, I'd love to have it. I mean you, love to have you." Knock it off. Either invite me or don't, but please don't make it perfectly clear on the world-wide web that I'm second tier at best. Trust me, in this economy, I'm not itching for a reason to spend money on someone who forgot me. I'm not even going to touch how much this screws up the person who is carefully planning the food for a certain amount of people in order to make you happy, or the safety issues of putting her address on the internet for anyone to find--I'll stop right here.
Sharing is not always caring
When people I know have babies, I am happy for them. I am unreservedly, heart-happy right along with my friends, and willing to make cooing and gurgling noises I would be mortified to see played back at me at a later date. There was even a rumor that I squealed when a friend told me she was pregnant, though I will deny it under oath because I don't squeal. When people annouce that they are pregnant, I rejoice for them. When they publicly annouce that they are trying to get pregnant, I urp in my mouth.
Yes, sometimes people need someone to talk to, and I am totally there for that. It's simple, really. I do not care who you are, or what our relationship is--if we are not engaged in a heart-to-heart one-on-one discussion about our struggles and triumphs, if we are not being open and honest with the understanding that the information shared will never leave the room, if you do not know my last name--it is completely inappropriate to talk about your attempts to reproduce. It's just plain gross to spring that on someone. I don't want to stumble on it accidentally either. I hate looking at acquaintances blogs or emails and finding the statement "we are trying to get pregnant" or "we hope to be pregnant by _____" or "we will have another baby by {any date more than 9 months away.}" Everyone over the age of (lets be generous and say) 10 years old, knows what that entails and we don't want to think about you that way. It's not okay, and frankly, I worry about people who want us to be thinking about them that way. On a similar note, when you do announce your pregnancy, don't tell me how long you've been trying. If you want to make it clear that you've had fertility issues (although I'm unsure of why you would) it is fine to say this is "long-awaited," but PLEASE, no timeframes. I don't care if it's two weeks or seven years of trying, either way, it's not my beeswax. You do not have to justify yourself to me, and you owe me no explanations. Leave me out of your reproductive business. Let me know when the stork is already on the way and you just may hear a squeal of joy, but let me know beforehand, and I can not get out of there fast enough. For the record, just because you are married does not make it impossible for you to be inappropriate or perverse.
Get your nose out of my uterus
Just as your reproductive decisions are none of my business, my reproductive decisions are none of yours. Once again, this does not apply to discussions with my friends where we are sharing our feelings or bonding, and something in my behavior has indicated that I wouldn't mind discussing it, but that is so rarely the case. I get mighty tired of being publicly asked when we want another baby, or if we are trying for more. Work, church, running into people at Costco, it always seems to be at the forefront of everyone else's mind, which is ironic because it's nowhere near the forefront of mine. I can think of very few things of less concern to you than our family decisions. Whether we are trying for another baby or not is irrelevant--I do not have to explain myself to anyone but my husband. If I want you to nose into my womb I'll bring it up, but I will NEVER bring it up (see above point). To all the people who are just dying to know what our family plans are, I'll make you a promise. The very second my reproductive system becomes your business, I'll call you. Now go along with your life, but I don't recommend waiting by the phone or anything.
Hey, Kreskin, take the weight-guessing act to Vegas!
For those of us who have forgotten, our mother's advice to never comment on another person's weight gain is still very much in effect. There is really no need to ask someone if they have gained weight. I can't believe I have to mention that in this list, but I've been hearing this one come back what with the advent of weight-loss surgery and the Biggest Loser. Here is why asking is a bad idea: If they haven't gained weight, they get to feel self-concious about looking fat for the rest of the day/week/month/year depending on their confidence level. If they have gained weight, for one, it doesn't concern you unless they are taking up your airplane seat as well as their own and you fear for your safety. For two, unless they have acquired some magical clothing that always feels the same no matter what and stretches indefinetly, they are already aware of the weight gain, and asking does no favors at all. So please, listen to your mother, and just steer clear of that hornets' nest entirely.

Ahh, I feel better getting that off my chubby chest! I realize it may be tactless to complain about a lack of tact, but I figure it's the lesser of the two evils here. Also, I'm not known for soft-pedaling, so if you were looking for warm fuzzies, you are on the wrong blog anyway. There are rules of manners that still apply and hopefully, always will, if we still make it clear that we are disturbed when they are violated.
Now that I'm done with that, I have to go, I'm throwing a baby shower and you are all invited--if you tell me when you are planning on having your next baby that is. Oh, and have you put on a few?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Repent, for the end is at hand...

The Arizona Cardinals are playing in the Superbowl. I wish them the best, and hope they win. I am, however, simply, unequivocally, stunned beyond belief. From my earliest memories, I've heard nothing but how much they suck and would never ever ever be any good. My dad used to say "That's sooo sad," when he saw someone with a Cardinals shirt or bumper sticker. The tide has finally turned. Wow. Wow. Wow, good luck guys (because you totally know they read this...)!

Disasters, wars, and rumors of wars...
Angelina Jolie stopped making out with her brother and wearing blood long enough to become a UN ambassador, and "greatest mom in the history of forever," ('scuse me, I urped in my mouth),
The economy of the greatest country in the world is crumbling,
Supporters of gay marriage are protesting in front of the Temples,
The first African-American president is getting inaugurated this week,
Kate Winslet finally won her Golden Globe (two actually),
and now, the Cardinals are in the Superbowl.

What the heck?

If you'll excuse me, I'm going to check my food storage and repent of a few things.
Just in case.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Strike Manifesto

Now that blogger is back up, I can post what I wrote Friday night. Better late than never. :)

We all knew it would happen sooner or later. Better moms than me can go for years before it happens, but anyone who knows me is probably surprised I waited this long. Tonight, I went on strike. Happy 9 months, Sam, now go see Daddy! I'm outta here!
I've read about moms who eventually tell their kids and husband they are taking the day off as of right this second, and to just deal with whatever their problem is on their own--they just strike. I know some people are horrified by this, but I've always kind of admired women who can admit that the subtle hinting for a break is getting them nowhere, and they will hint no more. Amen, sisters.
For crying out loud, it's not like I'm running to Vegas, hitting a casino, and drinking bizarre things that come in really tall funny cups. I'm just blogging.
But there is so very much more to my blogging while I'm on strike. It's not about what I am doing, it's about what I'm NOT doing tonight.

I'm only blogging, but I am NOT...
  • listening for crying, or watching for choking hazards,
  • sharing my low-calorie jello with a small mooching seagull,
  • getting my nose picked by an unwelcome third party and painfully realizing she needs her claws trimmed,
  • weighing in for the bazillionth time on whether or not my hubby's facial burn looks better,
  • ceasing my current action and smiling every single time Daddy "discovers" something Sam has done for me 400 times a day for the last 3 weeks,
  • dealing with anyone else's bodily fluids--including but not limited to: poop, pee, boogers, spit-up, or blood (unless it makes up a significant amount of normal blood volume, in which case I will intervene to save human life).
  • watching anything animated other than The Simpsons.
  • concerning myself with the birds' continued failure to use the very overpriced water bottle we can't return
  • going to the bathroom with an audience crawling in and clapping for me
  • coming "here for just a second" or a minute, or an hour...
  • worrying about money, work, or how my diet is going.

In short, I'm not multi-tasking! Heck, I'm not even bi-tasking, I am doing one single task--blogging. And it feels good to do only one thing for a change.
What prompted the multi-tasking strike you ask?
I had just read an article that said a huge percentage of women get angry with their husbands for their inability to multi-task on anything, ever. I thought it was kind of funny. Ten minutes later, I was packing the diaper bag and going to load the stroller in the trunk to take Sam on an outing. I was also putting dishes in the dishwasher, and discussing our schedule and finances. Daniel came up to me as I was about to head to the garage and said "Take Sam. I have to call my sister."
Turns out, men can't multitask, or for that matter, even notice that you are already multitasking and avoid adding to your pile of stuff to do. I gave him a look and said "You do realize that I make calls from home for work, while watching the baby, and you can't even hold her to call a family member for like two minutes?"
Daniel's response, "Uh, nevermind, I'll call her later."
It was too late, the damage had been done, and the article was no longer funny--it was just painfully accurate.

Thus the strike.
I'm not quitting being a mom, I'm just walking in dad's shoes for a while and refusing to acknowledge anything not directly in front of me.
Oh, wait, actually...
I hear Sam up playing and it's way past her bedtime. If I don't intervene I'm the one stuck with a crank all day tomorrow. Dang it. Mom is back.
Duration of strike: 57 minutes.
It was fun while it lasted though.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Modern Day Hitler

The day after Christmas, I went to see Valkyrie, the Tom Cruise movie about the assassination attempt on Hitler in 1943. I actually went to see it despite Tom Cruise (ew), and I really did enjoy the movie. It's not exactly an upper of a flick, but I didn't see how it could be considering the fact that I already know they didn't kill Hitler. To expect it to be happy would be like going to Titanic and hoping the boat makes it to America. Hollywood will play with the truth and all, but even Hollywood has standards. I saw the film (oooh, don't I sound like a pretentious teenager using film instead of movie? Or maybe James Lipton?) right on the heels of watching a documentary about the pre-CIA's psychological profile of Hitler. It was amazing to watch, and eerily accurate even though it was the first profile done without actually meeting the subject, in the days before profiling was actually a thing. Through out the documentary and film I kept thinking the same exact thing. How in the world did this little twerp get all of Germany to fall down and worship him? None of the usual culprits behind baseless adoration applied to him. He wasn't physically attractive unless you like pervy little mustaches. He had nothing in his heritage to recommend him as a great leader, or even a celebrity. He wasn't nauseatingly wealthy and therefore commanding of undeserved respect. He was spewing disturbing hate-filled vitriol at a group that made up a large chunk of the German population, and yet, an entire country placed their future in the hands of a lunatic. I realize that hindsight is 20/20, but this guy was waving red "I'm crazy" flags with all his appendages. How could the good people who saw through him and fought against the Nazis possibly be outnumbered? I kept coming up to the same question--What is up with that, Germany? What were you thinking? Hitler!? Nice picking.
Eventually, I decided that without being in the political climate of that location and time, I will never come to a satisfactory understanding of how Hitler seemed like a good choice. I will never understand what would cause a people to choose such a terrible leader. History will look back at Post WWI Germany and always wonder what they were thinking exactly. The why will always be a mystery.
It's not just Hitler's hold on Germany that is completely inexplicable to me. Slavery is another thing I don't understand ever being okay. Was there not a meeting before slavery caught on where someone raised their hand and said "Excuse me? We are talking about buying and selling people for manual labor?! Are we all drunk? There is no way that this is okay!" I just don't get what type of mentality devolved into that. How do you get from normal to certifiably insane as an entire society?
My thoughts evolved from that generation to our own. I wonder if someday the our great-grandchildren will be reading history books and looking at some of the things we do and ask themselves "On what planet did that seem like it was okay? Seriously, what in the world were you thinking?! You must have all been morons." I actually came up with a few things that I think history will eventually deem completely unfathomable within the next few generations. I call these our Modern Day Hitlers because we (meaning society, not me) find them perfectly acceptable now, but someday, left unchecked, they could derail the world and we'll all wonder how we got there. Good people need to rise up and overthrow them now, before we're left to nothing but a Hollywood film honoring our failed attempts.
Big Brother. Not the show specifically, but yes, the show, at the same time. I'm talking about our willingness to let cameras into every minute aspect of our lives. I'm not an anti-technology psycho here--I blog after all--but YouTube, traffic cameras, cell phone cameras, reality TV...we are not only letting our privacy be violated daily, we're handing it over on a silver platter. People are so hungry for their 15 minutes of fame, they are putting their drunken rampages on TV. They are uploading commission of crimes on the internet. There is no such thing as private mistakes or even successes. At any given time, during any family moment outside your home, someone could be filming you with a phone and putting it on YouTube. Surveillance cameras are always watching us, it wouldn't surprise me at all if within 10 years, you could track someones entire day on film, from when they leave the driveway to when they come home. I find it disturbing. While I'm all for safety and crime prevention, at what price? Facial recognition software, entire cities putting up cameras, mandatory fingerprinting, GPS tracking, where does it stop, 1984? Someday our descendants will wonder why the country founded on freedom handed it all over for a probably false sense of security. They will wonder why we were so fame hungry. They will be stymied by our seeming lack of concern over the entire process. That's assuming of course, that Big Brother hasn't shot them in the back...

The issue I think most likely to disturb and nauseate our descendants, however, is abortion. I think (and hope) that someday our children will be disgusted by our generation for allowing abortions. "Do you mean to tell me, that not only was killing the unborn legal, they actually demonstrated in the streets for the right to keep it legal kill their own children?! They thought that after the deed was done, and the child was already on its way was the time for 'choice', and not beforehand? They called the right to kill the right to 'choose'? They punished an unborn baby for their bad judgment? They didn't consider the weakest of all living to be a human being or in need of protection? What is the matter with these people?" The argument for abortion is pathetically weak and tissue-thin, it will never stand up to the scrutiny of history and clarity of hindsight. Someday, the evil abortion represents will be cast into full light and future generations will cringe and recoil from those who condoned it. Humanity will rise to the surface again, and when it does, abortion will be relegated to it's proper place in the realm of the unspeakably terrible. Today's abortion activists will tomorrow's slaveholders or SS in the eyes of history. The cold, hard selfishness and twisted, cruel heartlessness toward children that abortion requires in order to operate within a society will someday be the ultimate black mark on our generation's permanent record. Our only hope of leaving a legacy to make future generations proud in the face of this monster is our resistance. Good people always exist to fight evil, and the fight is ongoing. Someday, there just may be a movie about the unspeakable evil of abortion, and those that fought it. In this film, however, I hope with all my soul that the good guys win. So while I still don't understand what made Germany lie down for Hitler in the first, I now realize that all it takes for one of these modern monsters to take over is for me to say nothing. I refuse to be part of the problem, and I am going on record to say that losing our personal freedom, and aborting our unborn children is NOT OKAY.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Avian Flu

While we were staying at my parent's house, Samantha fell head over heels in love with their pet canary, Gordon Bird (Gordon B. for short--he's named after the police chief on Batman, not the prophet). He is a new addition to the family after the unfortunate and premature demise of Cooper left a canary vacancy in the house a few weeks ago. Much like Cooper, Gordon B. is small and yellow with an sweet little song that gets louder when the TV does, and every time Sam was taken over to his cage, she would wave, talk, giggle, clap or preform some combination of all four. In my two virtually chore-free weeks with my parents, I got all these fuzzy memories of our birds growing up. We always had birds outside, at one time we had 13 finches in a large aviary in the backyard, and I remembered loving their little "meeps" and watching their busy endeavors. Sweet little birds! So low-maintenence, and so pretty! I began to take action with my romanticized memories, telling Daniel all about the many birds that we had brought into our lives over the years, and Daniel always had birds too. Wonderful golden bird-related memories filled our heads instead of sugar plums. This my friends, is the real Avian Flu--the sickness you catch when you are around other people's pets that makes you think you need one too.
By the time I got home, I had convinced myself we needed a bird for Samantha.
This conclusion came from a combo of half-true memories and mandatory compliance with all my "pet rules":
If something poops as much or more than a baby, it had better be a baby and learn how to clean up after itself in less than 3 years. Therefore, no dog.
We are not cat people. Period. If I want to raise something that stinks up my house, eats gross amounts food I have to provide, is rarely seen but only shoots me a dirty look if it is caught, I'll take in stray teenage boys, thank you very much.
I am morally opposed to anything that eats it's own offspring, which eliminates pretty much all small hamster-like animals.
I'm LDS, so there's enough babies going around without adding a rabbit to the mix.
I don't do scaly, slimy, or venomous (I don't need to justify that, do I?) which eliminates all fish and reptiles.
I'd prefer something I don't have to remember to feed every day, if possible.

Enter the birds.

I'd love a canary, but I couldn't really bring myself to spend 100 bucks on my first experiment as an adult pet owner (meaning no parent to step in if I forget to feed or water it). I have this theory that you shouldn't spend more than 50 dollars on a pet that doesn't get a proper burial when it dies. If it goes in the trash or gets flushed, keep it cheap. Insensitive, probably, but practical. Finches make adorable meeps, they are very small, and they stay away from people, so no biting. I took care of ours for a long time growing up, so I know what they need. Plus, zebra finches are dirt cheap.
Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner!
We went to about a million pet stores (massive hyperbole there) before getting all the stuff we needed and bringing two male zebra finches home to stay. Sam loved going to the pet stores and waving at the birdies (awwwww!), and I couldn't wait to get them home. It was late when we brought them home in their little cardboard box, so Sam was in bed while I set up their cage with every comfort a finch could ever ask for. I couldn't wait to get our little chirpers set up in their five-star cage. In an uncharateristic moment of clarity, I decided to take the cage and box into our small guest bathroom for the move up to the East side, so in case they got out, they couldn't get far. This would turn out to be the first and last good decision of the entire process.
While I tried to sneak open just one flap of the box against the open cage door, something happened, and I suddenly had one finch flying around my head. That's right, he got out. In between all the psuedo-swears (ie: "You flippin' fetcher bird! Oh my heck! Come back! Oh, crap! Oh crap! DON'T POOP ON MY GUEST TOWELS!") going around my head I could hear the common sense portion in singsong, "This was a bad idea! What were you thinking! You are not an animal person." The bird settled on a light fixture about 2 inches from the ceiling and I was at a loss. Finches are extraordinalily fast, I swear, this one broke the sound barrier. Now the common sense part of my brain was throwing in new jeers--"What do you think you are going to do even if you are fast enough to grab him, huh, little Miss Germophobe? Are you going to touch a live bird? Disgusting!!!" I was about to tell myself to shut up, but I raised a good point. How in the world do you catch a extremely small fragile bird too high to reach, who is lightning fast, and additionally, you are afraid of? I realize this makes me the biggest wuss on the face of the planet, but everytime he flew near me, instead of trying to grab him, I would protect my head and run away. There are few things in life more humbling than realizing you are terrified of one of God's frailest and most benign creatures. By this point, Daniel had come down and realized I was trapped in the bathroom with a finch and was taking great pleasure out of my terrified yips. "Don't just stand out there giggling! Help me! Yikes! He flew by me again!" I waited until Devil bird was back on the light fixture, opened the door a hair and yanked Daniel inside.
"What exactly do you think it's going to do to you honey!? He's a bird! He weighs an ounce!" he managed to helpfully toss out inbetween shooting me "I told you this was a bad idea" looks and "I'm trying not to giggle because you'll kill me later looks."
After much ado, I was eventually able to get a pillowcase over Devil bird, and put the bag in the cage to let him out again. Rather than have a repeat preformance with his roommate, we just put the pillowcase over the entire box to start with. He was a relatively smooth transfer, but the damage to my psyche was done. The entire rest of the night, the birds did not move from their spot on a perch. Super. I just wrangled these birds, grossed myself out, and spent all this money so they can be too terrified to ever move again. I wondered if the 14-day return policy on animals applied to all the crap I bought to go with them. These birds were going back to the store as soon as I worked up the courage to tell Daniel I was an idiot to beg for them in the first place.
The next morning I woke up to find (surprise!) our new family members had still not budged. That was just awesome. I brought Samantha downstairs to let her say hi to the birds that would be ours if I never did get the guts to tell Daniel he was right, and we shouldn't have bought them. Sam's face lit up when she saw the birds. She clapped and started talking to them. I totally melted. During her morning bottle, they not only moved, but broke into an excited chorus of meeping that caused Sam to excitedly drop her breakfast and whirl around to watch them raptly. She smiles and giggles every time she sees them. She adores Bart and Milhouse. So yes, the birds now have names and a permanent place in our home. And everytime I see Sam's joyful reaction to her new buddies, I know we made the right decision. I am now a pet owner, because I'm a mom, and we do things that gross us out, scare us, cost us money, and cause us more effort, just to see our kids happy. It's part of our job and I'm doing my best not to get fired.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

My Golden Year

Well, it's been a long absence, I know. I've been partying in Utah for two weeks with my family for the holidays, which are even more jam packed for us than for most. Instead of just the usual Christmas and New Year's festivities, we cram my birthday and our anniversary into that two weeks as well. Busy, yes, but I've had a lot of time for thinking, if not napping. I remember hearing as a kid that the birthday where you turn the age of the day of your birthday (ie: your 15th birthday if you were born the 15th) is supposed to be your "Golden Year," only spoken of in reverent tones where awesome things happen for you. After establishing that I would be ancient before that happened, I hadn't given it much thought ever again. "Seriously, 24?! Just put me in a home!"
I realized a few months back that 1) 24 is not old at all, and I feel too young in fact to have any knowledge about anything, and 2) Christmas Eve marked the official end of my "Golden Year." Basically 2008 (excepting the last week) was supposed to be my golden year, and what did I have to show for it? After hearing the New Year's newscasts talking about 2008 as the "worst year ever"--the economy took a huge swan dive, and we're all going to explode from pollution and lack of proper attention to greenebrities (environmentalist celebrities) and blah blah blah, I started to feel a little bummed about my promised and long-awaited awesome year. Even the "plus sides" they reported dampened my mood--"'The first black president!' Yeah, that's good on a civil rights level, but on a political level, Holy cow, I'm a republican, this year was the pits!"
So I decided to flip off the TV, ignore the majority of the rest of the planet and actually think about my year. Not what everyone else wanted me to think about 2008, but what I thought and felt in 2008.
As most of you know, I'm a pessimist, so retreating into my brain doesn't usually yield an "up with people" special, but for some reason, this year brought nothing but gratitude and happiness to my mind. I decided to think about what made the year "Golden" and instead of coming up empty, I came up with a lot. Most of these aren't major, and maybe they wouldn't make a fantabulous Christmas brag letter, but because they meant so much to me, here we go.
My husband finished his bachelor's degree this year. He may not be done with education completely, and the masters will be harder, but I remember when finishing that degree seemed endlessly far away. Nigh unto impossible, even, and now it's done. That was a happy wonderful event, watching him walk across that stage. Big points to 2008 for that.
Daniel had a job the entire year, and I chose to leave mine, meaning I wasn't laid off. My parents still have their jobs. In this scary economy and crazy world, the fact that we are all still okay is something to cheer for. No matter what happens next I am extremely grateful for the protection we have had so far.
I got to spend a month living with my sister and introducing her to her niece. When you are over a decade and 400 miles apart, it can be easy to let the closeness slide, but I got to be reaquainted with my little sister all over again. That month saved both of us a lot of loneliness, and taught me what it was like to be a teenage girl (I was never very good at that). It was more fun than I imagined and we can't wait to have her back this year.
I was able to speak to my brother for the first time in 18 months. It seemed the universe was keeping me from speaking to Andrew from his missionary assignment in Mongolia for a while there--he can only call home twice a year, last Christmas it wasn't our turn to be with my family, and on Mother's Day I was unable to travel to Utah with a 3-week-old baby. Hearing his voice and having him hear me and talk directly to me this Christmas meant more than I had anticipated it would. I had no idea how much I missed his personality shining through and I will carry that conversation with me until he returns home in July. My siblings are my best friends and I can not wait until we are all together again. 2009 will get points for bringing us that.
Mostly though, this year gave me Samantha. Becoming a mom was the most amazing experience I have ever had, and I can not even express what she means to Daniel and me. She is silly and drooly, and yes, she can't help but flirt with strangers no matter how paranoid her mother is about germs and weirdos, but she is just the absolutely best thing in the world to us. I wouldn't trade her for the fulfillment of my job, fitting back into my skinny jeans, and the money we spend of diapers, formula, and smelly pureed foods combined. I wouldn't trade her to end global warming. Heck, call me selfish, but I wouldn't even trade her for world peace. As a teenager I didn't think I would ever have kids, not because I didn't want to, but because I didn't ever see myself getting married. The general population bugs me, and I didn't think I was patient (or, hey, popular) enough to pick out a diamond from all that rough. I didn't expect to fall in love with Daniel, and once that happened, I figured that was as good as it would get for me--it would be greedy to expect more. God does have a way of working miracles, whether we think we deserve them or not, and I shouldn't have been so shocked that I would get Samantha too, but I really was. I am so immeasurably grateful for her, and even if 2008 turns out to be the worst economic crisis ever, even if history books end up treating it like the gateway to Armageddon, and everyone else hated it, it will always hold a special place for me. I may be alone in this, but I'll miss you 2008, you were good to me. You truly were my "Golden Year."