ten ways [the she version] part 1

This next installment of our Ten Year themed posts is "Ten Ways: Same and Different." Unsurprisingly, a lot can change in ten years. And surprisingly, a lot can stay the same. We shall attempt to jot down ten of each. Call it a personal evaluation, if you will.

In a shocking turn of events, these ten-plus-ten things got all wordy and out of hand, so my lists will again be separated into two parts. 🙄

Without further ado, "Ten Ways I am the Same as 2008 Me!"

- I cannot whistle. I don't understand what I'm missing. A part of me still thinks whistling is a made-up skill by people who get a kick out of making others look silly.

- I still dread showers. I don't know why. I like to blame my hair and its it-takes-ten-hours-to-dry-because-who-has-time-or-desire-to-blow-hot-air-at-it-for-an-hour-ness. I don't mind the shower once I'm in there, but I dread the entire lead-up time. I will not admit how many days I have procrastinated showering before, but I will say being a mom has only helped extend my All Time Best.

- My dream is still to one day live on a farm. It doesn't have to be massive. It doesn't have to have the whole menagerie of animals. There may only be 7 kids running about instead of 21. But there will be two horses, and Jason and I will ride off into the wooded acres of our property every evening to check on our duck pond. And there will be a few miniature goats. And some laying hens. And our subsistence garden will be filled with tomatoes and potatoes and celery and herbs and pizza. It will be the good life.

- I am not at all interested in politics. Ten years ago, this would have been a perfectly benign admission. Nowadays, I feel like this comment would be met with some amusingly passionate [to put it mildly] reprimands. Oh well, check back with me in another ten years.

- One day I will write a book. I fluctuate on whether I have enough stamina for a novel or if I should keep my oddities to a 20-page children's book. There may not be a publisher. There may not be any allowed readers. The illustrations may be clipped out of the ever-growing file of Lucas's childhood artwork. But there will be a book. One day.

- I cannot chit-chat. I cannot emphasize how bad I am at chit-chat. It is some world-class awkward. It was a toss up to decide whether "I cannot chit-chat" should go in the Same category or if "I am even worse at chit-chat" should go in the Different category. I think I truly am worse at it now than I was pre-2008, simply due to getting better at avoiding situations requiring it which, inevitably, caused my limited skills to atrophy at an alarming rate. But, the awkward result is still the same, so here I will keep it. I promise I do not mean to be rude, world. I just can't chit-chat. I never know where the line between "engaging and interesting" and "too personal and odd" questions lies, so I just sit there. My apologies.

- I still eat Cheerios with apple juice. No shame. It's so good. You have to make sure to use plain Cheerios and not the already sweetened ones or else it will be a disgustingly sweet breakfast. Oh man, I just had a brilliantly delicious idea: Cheerios mixed with applesauce. My mouth is watering. Breakfast tomorrow!

- My sense of style and fashion is so... undeveloped. I have no idea how to develop one's sense of style. I have no idea if I would even want to develop a sense of style given some of today's styles. I feel a surge of pride and accomplishment any time I choose and buy a shirt that isn't a t-shirt. I feel an even greater surge of accomplishment any time I change out of my standard literally-10-years-old t-shirt and pajama pants. [Side note: When I tried to type "pajama pants," my phone decided "island pants" was a better correction. If I had some island pants, I think my decline into Never Ever Change My Clothes would be complete.] I realize how sad this sounds, but I just think of this super lax dress code as a side perk of my work-from-home job. Anyway. I have zero ideas how I would ever be able to change my sense of fashion even if I were interested enough to try. Are leggings still the in thing? Jeggings? Woggings? (...wool leggings?) Suffice it to say, this particular Same is probably destined to never move to the Different category.

- I am meant to be a stay-at-home mom. The days can be long, the crying-over-nothing fits many, the desires to eat tortilla chips while locked in the bathroom only just barely resisted, but this mom-ing business is unquestionably my purpose. It's a little weird how much I doubt my parenting abilities and yet still know I'm doing a solid job of it. I think the confidence comes from the Big Picture of parenting and the doubt comes from the Minutiae Picture. Is everyone alive? Fed? Largely content? Is there growth, both physically and mentally? Is there love? If yes, then, success! Good parent award! You're doing this thing! [Yes, this is what conversations between me and the voice in my head sound like... except there's also a lot of indecipherable mutters and resigned sighing and "ugh, whatever" grunts...] It is only when I allow myself to microscopically examine an area that I start getting the what-if-I'm-a-terrible-parent sweats. Do I allow too much free play? Am I not encouraging enough outdoor play? Am I introducing foods too early? Too late? Am I enabling a bad habit just for the sake of a few minutes of peace and quiet? Am I not giving enough hugs? Am I being too stern? Should I have more varied activities/foods/learning opportunities? Maybe I should Pinterest more things? Maybe I should take a course in time/life/child management? It's endless. And it's easy to say, "There's no one answer, no one solution, no one perfect way to handle this situation, so just do your best," but it's an entirely different matter to stop the wondering, the self-badgering, the "let me google just one more thing." It's hard to shut my brain off when I get on a kick about something. But, bottom line, I am meant to do this thing. Hold hands. Give haircuts. Excavate boogers. Ask God for peace. Learn more about cotton pickers than I ever thought I needed to know. Take pictures. Wipe tears. Answer 38 whys before breakfast. Make up goofy songs. Beg God for patience. Sing goofy songs so much they start feeling like real songs. Keep a straight face in the face of you-can't-make-this-stuff-up toddler-isms. Compliment ragged stuffed animals on their cleanliness. Take spontaneous walks to the park. Love through the screaming and hiccuping and whining. Thank God for joy. This is my life. It is an extremely tiring but incredibly fulfilling life, and it is one I know 100% I am meant to live.

- I would marry Jason again in a heartbeat. I feel this should go without saying, but I'm going to say it anyway. The ten year anniversary is a triumph that a good number of marriages never achieve. And even though it has been pretty easy for us, I know it hasn't been for a good many others. So I do feel this tenth Same is a notable one. Jason is hands down the best friend, husband, father to my boys, killer of bugs, eater of questionable homemade meals I could have ever married. Hindsight is 20/20 they say, and looking back it is quite, quite clear that I could not be living the best version of my life right now if I hadn't said "I do" on that grossly hot Texas day nearly ten years ago. He is the rice to my sushi. He is the sandbag to my hot air balloon [though I promise I will never jettison you from my gondola, love]. He is my Same, whether it is ten, twenty, or fifty years out.

The exhilarating Ten Differences coming up next! Exhilarating, I tell you.

my same, forever

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