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Article posted on Friday, September, 7th, 2007 at 5:50 am

I am going to go and get all sentimental on you. I am just feeling it tonight.

I spent the last several weeks in Houston. I had the great blessing of two sets of grandparents to take the load off for a while. I never imagined, nor could I imagine how taxing parenting can be: Mentally, physically (oh my aching back!), and emotionally (sometimes I think Annabelle hates me — mainly when she just won’t stop crying). So a huge thank you to my folks and Andy’s, who took turns spoiling Annabelle while I slept in. Yep, I slept in. I felt really guilty about it, but I did it anyway. Kind of like that piece of cake Andy and I split tonight, but that’s another story.

I just wrote a note to a friend from work whom I haven’t seen in ages. I was telling him we’ve had a nearly constant stream of visitors this summer. It’s been so wonderful. We’ve had the grandparents, Andy’s cousin Whitney and his Aunt Nat, my cousins from Ottawa (!), all of Annabelle’s Aunties: LeeLee, Kelly, Cathy and her uncles: Chuck and Dan. Now we have Mrs. Rayburn (er, Jan, I still can’t think of her as anything but Mrs. Rayburn!). Anyway, Nana Jan and her lovely husband, Ken, came to see us and Annabelle. Let me tell you a little bit about Miss Jan.

She is the mom of Ross, a boy who was one year ahead of me in high school and was oh-so-cute (still is!). When I think of Jan, I think about the time my best friend Jen and I were busted for wrapping their house (yes, they lived across the street — how dumb were we?!). I also think about the time she came over the night of one of the big high school dances — maybe Homecoming. She said something about how I was “really growing up.” I remember being so mortified at the time. Over the years Jan has been a dear friend to our family and we think of her as a part of our family now. And over the years, Miss Jan has become such a treasured friend to me, as well as my mom. The day I got married Jan was in the bride’s room with me and my girls. I was nervous. I thought my hair looked like *bleep*. And I’d fought with my dad about said hair a few hours earlier. Anyway, Jan comes bursting through the doors. She’s one of those charismatic people who, after five minutes you feel you’ve known all your life. So she arrives on the scene and within a few minutes she tells a dirty joke and has everyone cracking up. That’s one of my cherished memories of my wedding day, along with all the usual ones. Jan is just one of those fabulous women you want to know. I am glad I know her. And I am glad she came to stay with us for a few days.

I was wandering through the house today, cleaning up a bit before our visitors arrived and I was just marveling at all the gifts Annabelle has received. They are far too numerous to mention, but high chairs, swings, a rocking horse, clothes galore! We’re so blessed to have been given so much. This is going to sound insane, but when I get depressed, I sometimes think about those moms and dads who live in mud huts and have little to nothing to feed their children. I have no right to feel depressed. I have been given so much and enjoy such bounty in comparison. I should be ashamed of myself for being so self indulgent. But depression just doesn’t work that way; but I try to remain mindful of all that I am lucky enough to have thanks to the generosity of others (and, truly, our hard work as well).

Tonight Andre and I went out for dinner (thanks to Miss Jan and Mr. Ken for babysitting). These past six months have been rather tumultuous for us and sometimes I feel like Jesse in “Before Sunset.” He describes his marriage as running a small daycare with a woman he used to date. *laughing* I’ve felt that way A LOT lately. We have not had much free time together and when we do we’re too exhausted to talk or, really, enjoy one another’s company. So we’ll just sit in utter silence, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Collecting our thoughts and conserving energy, I guess. All this is to say that tonight Andre and I went out and really talked. It’s great to go out and remember what it is you love about the person you married. I know many of you think Andre is shy and reserved; and he is. But he is also wickedly smart and truly hilarious. He was helping me with a couple of fiction ideas — and I was jealous I hadn’t thought of the things he suggested. I was blocked and he gave me some fantastic ideas. Plus, he knows all my secrets and he’ll never tell. So, this is just a big love letter to Andre.

Truly, I am just thankful for friends. For the friends I see a lot; the friends I see sometimes; the friends I don’t see nearly enough; and the friends who pop up out of the blue to invite you to lunch or suggest a playdate. Not to mention old high school friends who agree with me about Michael Vick and will yell about it in a restaurant. Sorority sisters who love me no matter what. And even those friends who won’t call me back. I have been running on the depressed side of the meter for a while now. It’s such a blessing to be reminded of the wonderful people in your life.

Finally, hockey season starts soon. Finally!

So *hugs* to the family, the friends and most of all Andre and Annabelle. (Oh and Slava Kozlov, too. He brings joy and game-winning-goals.)



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