Day 125: Second Year PhDone

Here is what I wrote about finishing gear two. It’s a wonder I made it (ha). I wanted to finish today because it marked another year finishing on Cinco De Mayo.

SECOND YEAR of the PhD: complete ✅

Just turned in my second Final Portfolio amidst a global pandemic while being thrust into the role of a full-time stay at home mom. If this season has taught me anything, it’s that I can work quicker and more efficiently than I think. It’s taught me to enjoy what I cannot control, too. Being with Bennett so much has been like a second maternity leave.

And I have good news, which feels weird to share during this time. But I love seeing others’ good news, so I’ll share some too in pleasant spirits:

  1. I will be joining the OSU Writing Center in a leadership role as an Assistant Director (AD). I’m so excited because I love leadership and writing and this is a perfect mix.
  2. The wonderful OSU creative writers nominated and voted me to be the President of the Creative Writers Association (CWA) for next year. It will be like the ASB experience I never had. But in the best of ways.
  3. The English department awarded me a teaching award for outstanding pedagogy in First Year Composition. And it came with money!

When I deliriously applied to a PhD program as a new mother (and I only applied to one, this one), I never imagined I’d get to work and create with such a talented, caring, passionate, and dedicated group of people. I didn’t know what my life would look like when I became a mom, but it’s helped me see all the potential I didn’t even know I had. I’m grateful to my son and husband and our families and friends who support us. And I say “us” because this has always been a team effort. Thank YOU for supporting me, and let me know how I can better support and serve you. 💖🍾

Photo: reflecting that this is all coming from a global pandemic & stay at home order with a messy kitchen behind me. May we never forget what we made it through.

Day 27: The World is For You

I’ve been thinking a lot about how wonder is not quite what I hypothesized it as: deep and accessible. This experiment has complicated that definition and challenged it. I think of wonder as small surprises, natural delights, the changing of time, growth. But overall, today this phrase came to me: The World is For You….Not Against You.

What do I mean by that?

I was trying to pick just one wonderful thing that happened today, and my mind was moving like a spider across a web, trying to pick just one. So I will share them, chronologically.

At 6:45 am, my son knocked on my door. He sleeps in a crib and I’ve been scooping him up out of his crib every morning for 3 years and eleven days. The knock made me pause. My boy was getting bigger. He was a monkey and could climb out of his crib easily, but even in his athletic ability, he still called my name in the morning from his room. Him knocking startled and delighted me. I told him to jump in my bed and get some more rest. I wasn’t ready for this moment, yet, I was. Of course I was. But in a way I was sad to realize my son wouldn’t need me in the ways I’d been accustomed to. But I was delighted by his independence, his growth, his joy to come and find me.

At 10:00 am, I entered a fairly empty TJ Maxx looking for thank you cards to send to everyone who so lovingly bought my son a birthday gift and/or attended his third birthday party. I know handwritten thank you cards are so old school, but I love them. However, once inside TJ Maxx one cannot just buy the desired item one came for then leave. (Cardinal rule!) I stumbled upon an orange Nike Oklahoma State hat…..normally $25, on sale for $6. This was a moment of wonder to me. I’d been wanting a hat, there the hat sat, on the shelf, waiting.

At 4:45 pm, I was on a jog. Well. It was more of a walk than a job because it had been cold and I had been busy so I hadn’t gone as frequently. When I run I play Spotify music from my phone that cozies up inside an athletic fanny pack. And as I was running, the birds chirped like it was spring, a melody, their own song. They were louder than my music and I attuned my ear to listen to just them. Before iPhones and digital music and cassette players — there were the birds. To sing and sing and sing some more.

So, world: how do I pick which wonder? Perhaps a side effect of this experiment is noticing wonder more, subconsciously. And by seeing more than one wonder a day, I affirm that the world is on my side. I can look at the small three moments today and see this to be true.

the hat!
My awesome child (right) reading at school…also wonderful.

Day 16: Bennett Turns 3!

What three years can do. I mean, just look at these two photos. I am in awe, still, of the wonder of childbirth. (But also still recovering in some ways, too. Childbirth will be in my book so I don’t want to give it away here!) And I am in . awe at the growth of my son — and the pleasant, cheerful, kind, playful, smart, athletic boy he is. I am SO proud. And full of LOVE.

On this night three years ago I remember being so grateful he was finally here, outside my body, wrapped in blankets, breathing, and already full of so much love. One of the most profound and challenging and important nights of my life. Happy third birthday my love!