Posts Tagged 'honesty'

ode to arkansas 

I’m not even going to lie. When we first moved here from Denver (I KNOW), I hated it. I couldn’t wait to leave. I counted the days until Tim’s company would move us starting the day we got to this godforsaken place. It was ridiculously hot and there was nothing here and the grocery store sucked eggs and had moldy produce and I HATED IT ALL.

The days kept going by and the new position for Tim never came after the promised year….year and a half….here we are at two and a half years and still. nothing. Oh, there have been interviews. Even final ones. Yet not a single one has panned out. Not a one.

We were both over it. The emotional letdown from having one rejection after another after another was too much. Those opportunities weren’t meant to be but WHY???????

Sometime last summer, we were in the neighborhood walking and talking with Kellan and I brought up something a friend from Colorado said to me as I was lamenting over our situation. She said, “maybe you haven’t moved because you have to find what’s good about it all first.”She was right. We had been saying how much we loved our neighborhood. It’s the best neighborhood we have ever lived in. We don’t really have any friends in it, but everyone is nice, it’s an older neighborhood with big lots, every single house is different, and it has great running roads. They just added a park at one end and our house is amazing. Built like a tank. Huge backyard and has gorgeous windows that let in so much light. The sunsets from the backyard in the winter are incredible. I still despise summer…so we won’t go there…but we realized there are a lot of good things about where we physically live.

Then, Kellan and I spent two months in LA in August and September. It was a huge culture shock, especially for Kellan. Everyone is too busy, in too much of a hurry, and too important to give anyone else – especially a four year old – the time of day.

Kellan was almost in tears one morning when he kept trying to talk to our server at a restaurant and she never spoke a single word to us. Zero. Not one. When I finally was able to tell her that Kellan wanted to say something, she mumbled something as she walked away about being short staffed and busy and was gone. Kellan just looked at me like…why is she being like this??

I didn’t have a good answer other than that is the way people are there because that’s how the culture is…and that’s what people are used to and expect. It’s normal to them.

(Granted, we did run into people here and there who would stop and talk with Kellan, so it’s not everyone in LA…but the vast majority…they all need to just take a second and breathe)

Well, what’s normal to Kellan is the complete opposite. What’s normal is anyone and everyone stopping in the middle of what they’re doing to notice and talk with Kellan. A few days before Christmas, we were in a packed Bath & Body Works to pick up a gift. Kellan had just visited with santa and was SO EXCITED about it. He wanted to tell everyone. As we were waiting in line, a woman was rushing out and I had to tell Kellan to move so she could get by…I mean when there’s only one mall in the entire city, packed means basically walk to wall people and everyone has to squeeze around everyone else.

Anyway, so as this woman is inching her way around Kellan as fast as she can, he looks at her and says, “I just saw santa!”

Now, had we been in LA…his comment would have fallen on deaf ears. She could have pretended she didn’t hear him over the ambient noise and Christmas music.

But not here.

Not here.

That woman, who was obviously in a hurry and had no time for anyone…that woman stopped dead in her tracks, turned around, and responded. Not only did she respond, she inquired. She had a conversation. She took time out of her day to make a child feel special.

She didn’t stop because she felt obligated or because she thought she’d get the mean mom, “I can’t believe you’re so rude to a kid” eyes.

She did it because she genuinely wanted to.

And that’s how a majority of people are here. They stop. They are never too busy. They understand that a child’s question deserves just as much attention as an adult’s.

The checkout person – Jo Ann – at our grocery store? She knows Kellan by name. She calls him the “movie star” and asks where he is if he’s not with me. Same with a handful of Target employees. I have had them ask me if it’s okay to give Kellan a special treat. They ask himhow he is and give him high fives.

The entire staff at a restaurant know us and will come talk with Kellan at our table when we are there. It’s probably because Kellan walked around the whole restaurant one day, introducing himself to everyone from the hosts to the manager to the people working behind the bar. But…they remembered him. They didn’t just see him as “some kid.”

Kellan has an entire cheering squad at swimming lessons. Every single one is probably over 70, save one guy who does therapy in the same pool he has lessons in…but they all help him when he’s struggling or scared. They tell him he did a great job or how he’s improving so much (and wow has he…but that post is for another time). 

Just the other day, Kellan was having a reeeaaallllly tough day. Tears and the whole nine yards. He didn’t want to “dive” in (kneeling at the edge and kind of falling in like a dive) and swim to his instructor. He can and he usually has no issue, but he’s four and sometimes things are hard even when he’s done them before.

Well, the therapy guy starts talking with him – because he’s seen Kellan swim and knows he can do it – and then out of nowhere says he will race him to the middle of the pool. His therapy person swam out to where Kellan’s instructor was and the therapy guy and Kellan swam next to each other all the way to the middle of the pool while they were cheered on by the instructors.

And therapy guy turned Kellan’s entire lesson around with that small gesture. He even made sure he told him goodbye before we left.

I have example after example of people in this town going out of their way to make a kid feel special.

I have never lived anywhere like this. The way everyone stops and is never too busy…it is truly heartwarming. It isn’t easy to find a place like this. It’s a wonderful way for Kellan to learn how to interact with people. Without phones in faces and half distracted conversations. It’s fully engaging and 100% genuine.

Had we come here and left right away…or had we not decided to try and find the good in this place…I am not sure if we would have ever opened our eyes to the people here. They are wonderful. They have taught us all how we should pause. Life is lived in little moments every day. And we are blessed with those moments here every single day.

Never in a million years would I have given Arkansas credit for anything other than being a dumb old hick town.

But I was wrong.

Very wrong.

And not one person here has rubbed that in my face. 

Instead, they taught me with their kindness and genuiness and desire to treat people, young and old, with love and respect.

I’m humbled by the people here. And I’m so glad Kellan has learned such important life lessons…how to be human. To never be too busy to stop and talk with someone, even if we ARE busy. 

Because you should never be too busy to be kind. To have a conversation. To brighten someone’s day.

We stop.

We talk.

We smile and say goodbye while we are still facing each other and bid them a nice day.

We live the little moments that are the formative moments in the lives of little children.

Arkansas gets that.

And now…we do too.

I am thankful – April edition

And the happiness continues…

Also – FYI – I post on Instagram (jessicabold) pretty much daily, if you’d rather not wait for the monthly wrap up…

My 365 days of thankfulness. I reflected on the one thing I was most thankful for at the end of every day as part of my journey to live a happy, positive life…and FYI it’s not exactly a cake walk to change into Miss. Super Happy. It’s a real struggle some days….a real struggle. I know I said this verbatim last month, but it still holds true. Learning how to be happy is hard. And that seems really dumb to say…but after years of living in a kind of funk/ability to see the negative too easily/getting down on myself after a bad day/hour/minute, changing my views and inherent, automatic reactions take time. It takes actual consciousness to see when I’m slipping back into old habits…and sometimes I don’t realize that that’s what I have done until I’ve already done it….If that makes any sense…

…but this is what happened….in April.

(Catch up on the past months…JanuaryFebruary….March)

April 1: My goofball of a husband.

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April 2: A safe trip to a weekend getaway for Tim’s birthday AND snow! Kellan loves it! Also, we are not sure if the snow that is happening now will be the last “big” snow that Kellan (and the dogs, who are here with us) sees for awhile….and we had no idea it was going to snow until a few days ago…(this picture was before it really started coming down).

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April 3: Finally realizing that there is actually a sleep regression around 24 (or so) months. Because I am going crazy and it is making me crazy and I have lost all patience waaaaay too many times already because I LOVE SLEEP AND I AM GETTING NONE. I am instead getting woken up every two hours/having battles over going to sleep/ridiculously late bedtimes (looking at you, 11pm)/etc/etc/etc. I’m really hoping that acknowledging this will help me make peace with it and be a better, more gracious mom instead of a crazy person.

April 4: a random stop at the local grocery store for Crazy Bugs Mac and cheese (because they didn’t have “tractor pasta”) and a “remembry” that a stationary train was nearby netted one happy kid with the “biggest train I’ve (he’s) ever seen!”

April 5: Reconnection and “truth grapes.”

April 6: orange play doh that I had put away for Kellan’s Easter basket…and while Tim and Kellan were playing with the small tubs we already had, I mentioned in passing I had purchased orange and green…and Kellan walked over and asked for the orange one….so instead of saying no, I went and got it for him. When I came back into the loft and handed it him, he started dancing around and said, “I’m dancing! I’m happy!” That genuine reaction was so worth it.

April 7: linen closet de-clutter and organization. Organizing and order make me happy.

April 8: Junk drawers – Yes. Plural. Three to be exact – have been de-junked!!

April 9: no idea what to write. I’m thankful the day is over? That’s so bad to say….oh! I’m thankful for friends who send me inappropriate disney pictures. Because after a night of basically zero sleep (OVER IT, sleep regressions. OVER. IT.), I needed the laugh.

April 10: my lock screen. I changed it yesterday and every time I look at it, it makes me smile…warms my heart.
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April 11: being able to be outside! It’s so nice and warm….but not too hot!

April 12: Kellan learned how to “kiss” making the noise with his lips. It is so cute! He kept asking to kiss our cheeks this morning after waking up.

April 13: More organization stuff done. Basement style.

April 14: Two unsolicited thank yous from Kellan. One in Michael’s after handing him back a Cars book )after the cashier scanned it) I let him buy. He even waited patiently to take off the stickers inside until we paid for it…but after I handed it back he said, “thank you for my Cars book.” MELT. Then right after in Petco (cat food and dog treat run), while we were checking out, the cashier asked him if he wanted a coloring sheet and he said yes, so she handed him one and he goes, “thank you for my coloring sheet.” MELT AGAIN. I guess we’re doing something right after all.

April 15: The random trip to the grocery store after dinner, just Kellan and me, that led to a random employee holding a red balloon, meeting us at a corner as we turned out of an aisle, and saying, “does he want a balloon?” DOES HE WANT A BALLOON?! Are you kidding me?? Made his whole day. And a red one at that “just like Christopher Robin’s!” Kellan made a point to tell him thank you and couldn’t wait to get home to tell Tim about it. It’s the little things.

April 16: Tim making me laugh at dinner….regarding one of his employees saying he should just to put his pee pee on the table (metaphor for being honest/trying to change) and then Tim being all, “I should tape three sizes on the desk when he walks in for his review and be like, so, how big of a change are we going for?” Inappropriate at best but it was hysterical. Had to be there. He didn’t actually say that to the work person.

April 17: How Kellan never has an actual temper tantrum when we have to leave a place. Like today at the park after the (super fun Kellan had a blast!) egg hunt, every other kid cried or protested leaving, except Kellan. I told him it was time to walk home and have lunch, and he got up and started walking, zero complaint. I think I take that for granted sometimes, the ability to reason with him.

April 18: Laughter. Tim gets funnier and funnier the more tired he is….not sure that’s a good thing but it gives me a good laugh during dinner time storytelling, anyway.

April 19: RAIN! Steady, soaking rain. It’s so rare here….

April 20: awesome, nontraditional Easter meal (hello chicken kabobs and amazing Israeli cous cous…and wine….and a few jelly beans because I mean, hello!) and a fun family day all around. Pictures. Baskets. Egg hunt.
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April 21: Tim getting to his first super travel work destination safely. And this article. Because being a mom is a super important job. Just ask Julia Roberts. http://m.us.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304512504579491530648481774?mobile=y

April 22: Tim made it safely to his hotel after crazy travel day 2. AND it was the most PERFECT evening. The temperature was perfect. The walk/playing at the (really busy) park was perfect. Kellan and I had a really nice time. It was one of those moments you want to try and remember.

April 23: totally impromptu dinner guest friends who brought dinner and stayed awhile so the evening wasn’t so lonely while solo with Kellan.

April 24: Kellan. How much love and laughter and pure joy he brings to my life. I absolutely adore being his mom and feel so lucky to have such an incredible kid.

April 25: I mowed the lawn! And weeded! All by myself! Well, Kellan helped. And we have a self-powered mower. Think blades in front, no cords, no batteries. Just (wo)man power. And Tim is finally home safely. Hooray!

April 26: A beautiful, smart, amazing, and healthy son and a wonderful, loving, funny, and also healthy husband.

April 27: Kellan FINALLY pooped. You have no idea how much trauma and tears “stuck poop” will cause.

April 28: Kellan schooling Tim a after dinner on how to pronounce dinosaur names. “No, I’m sorry, it’s [insert really long and hard to say Dino name here]”

April 29: this conversation: Kellan, you have stinky toots, do you have to poop?

“No. I don’t feel it. It’s just stickers coming out.”

Oh. Stinky stickers?

Yes.”

April 30: my Super friend. Replace super with best and yah. She’s pretty awesome.

it will all make sense…in reverse

I know…my actual blogging is basically non-existent. I’ve been trying to let go of some social media….like Facebook and having/checking my phone in general. Less internet. More life.

Also? We have had a lot going on the past few months.

A LOT.

Some was getting ready for and having Kellan’s party…some just every day stuff…some still ongoing “drama things” that I’m not at liberty to discuss at the moment, even though I REALLY WANT TO.

Tim and I have been trying to embrace taking life one day at a time….to accept that everything happens for a reason, even if it doesn’t make any sense. We have had a few really big swings of both highs and lows in quick succession, and they seem to keep happening, even today, so adjusting to it all has been a big challenge, because the highs we have had haven’t really lasted long enough to fully enjoy (or feel like we got to soak it in, even) before something else comes along and takes the wind out of our sails.

I say all of this….and it kind of makes it sound like life altering/shattering things are happening….and maybe in the long term, they are? Obviously we have no idea what anything means at the moment – the why or how or whatever – which is why we are trying to just take each day as it comes.

It is much harder to practice this than it is to preach it, by the way. Follow your own advice, they say. Be the bigger person. Let it all go. It happens for a reason, they say….

This is the quote that has been getting me through life these days, basically.

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this is where you ask those burning questions

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