Some days I channel my inner Billie Jo. Actually most days. When I'm stressed or when I don't know where to start first. I sometimes think "gee, what would Billie Jo be doing?" And then I know just what to do. (usually that's just stay home... because usually any of the stress is coming from the going going going and staying home to cook a yummy supper, enjoy my family, and really just be together melts all that away) (although sometimes it's getting my jammies on at a crazy early time... that works too)
Yes, I'd drive all the way here for a reminder on life. Because I need it.
And I need this friend.
Long ago when Anna was a baby girl I felt so different from all of the other mothers. There were constant playgroups and neighborhood babysitters so you could 'go for a run.' I'd think, "are you crazy?" I waited my whole life for this girl I can't imagine putting her down out of my arms; let alone let a teen babysitter watch her so I could get my nails done. "Tara, join our running group. We meet at the college track." No thank you. Miss bath? And footie jammies? No way!
And some friends dropped like flies. They found babysitters and cleaning ladies. And I was happy as could be on the couch watching Elmo with baby Anna and Chester. Day after day after day.
I wondered back then what would happen if I really lost all of my friends. And just when I thought I should try to join in for fear that I was smothering Anna (when in fact that was just what she needed) I found Little Bear and story time at the little library. And I found cozy afternoons when 'just a teacher then' daddy came home from the school that was in our backyard. We built big block towers for little Anna in our playroom. We taught her how to kick them down and laugh.
I pushed her in the stroller for slow (not for exercise) walks as much as I wanted. Sometimes twice a day. I loved the sunshine on our faces and talking slowly to her about all we saw around us. I loved tucking a blanket around her on chilly days and putting cheerios in her stroller for her to munch on.
It was bliss. (and in some ways still is) But I wondered every once in a while. For it was just the two of us. And Scott and our families. Because I didn't want to join in. And little by little I cared less.
I found peace in my little colonial. I learned to really cook and bake. And a 'huge day' for me was dropping off some board books to the library so that we could get some new ones.
I thought I was the only me out there. I had no idea that I wasn't alone in my little life. And then years later I found her. My only regret was that I didn't have Billie Jo back in 2004 when I was just learning, just figuring things out.
But I do now. And she validates my motherhood. And she reminds me of what is important in life. Family. Faith. Home. Love. Family. Faith. Home. Love. over and over an over again. (with some pasta and chocolate cake mixed into that)
She's deep that Billie Jo. But she's also funny. So funny. And smart. So smart.
And being around her... even if just for a few days makes me feel happy. More than happy. It reminds me that happiness in life come from within. She reminds me that it's 'quite alright' to do it that way that works best for your family.
People throw the slogan "family first" around these days. Like crazy it seems. I've never met anyone, anyone who lives that more. In fact I think Billie Jo invented it. And I am just the lucky one; the blessed one to call her friend.
For all that you are Billie Jo to that precious family of yours; for blogging so that I can see how it's done; you are loved by all of us in this house... (my couch too)... we thank you.