Day 30: The end of the beginning

To my readers and followers, today is the day. The last day of NaBloPoMo. Day 30.

I started this post off like any other – I checked the blogher prompts, read a few blogs that have already posted for the day (one of the perks of writing later at night), and then checked the daily post prompt. Every day for a month I’ve checked the prompts but every day I’ve wandered off in my own direction. When I opened the daily post today I finally saw it – the prompt I’d been waiting for –

What’s the longest stretch you’ve ever pulled off of posting daily to your blog? What did you learn about blogging through that achievement, and what made you break the streak?
(If you’re a NaBloPoMo participant, congratulations on reaching your goal!)

Now I can officially say that my longest stretch of daily posting is 30 days. Congrats to any of my fellow NaBloPoMo finishers and a shout out to all those NaNoWriMo finishers too! Congrats on accomplishing your goal this November. I’m sure for some it was a hard fought victory. Well done!

So, what have I learned about this month?

Well, first and foremost I learned that I do enjoy writing. Blogging is different than poetry or the non-fiction writing I’ve done in the past but it’s a nice way to help get my thoughts out there.

I’ve also learned that Tony is a great supporter. He doesn’t immediately pick up the pom-poms and start shaking his rear (thank goodness) but he does encourage me when he knows it’s something I want to be doing. Thanks dear.

Finally, I’ve learned there is quite the warm blogging community out in the world. I’ve only been at this for a month but already I’ve encountered at least 20 other people in this world who have taken an interest in my writing (a shout out to my zen homies ♥). That is such a neat concept to me – having other people reading and/or commenting on the words I say. Thank you guys for that.

I’m not sure where I’ll go from here or what my plan is. I’m not really one for plans anyways. I do know I’d like to learn more about blogs and web development. I’d also like to keep writing in some form. I think that’s a good start. So while we wave good bye to the month and the blog writing challenge, I can safely say this is not a good bye for me This is merely an ending to the current chapter. An end of a beginning if you will. There is always more life to explore.

For those who would like to keep on this journey with me I’ve signed up for NaBloPoMo December. I may not be writing every day but the theme of “JOY” was too wonderful a fit to pass up on. The only requirement I will put on myself for the month of December is that I must address all of the prompts listed here on Blogher. It’s my hope that exploring a month of JOY will help me in my journey to living a more purposeful life.

Congrats again to those of you finishing this journey and good luck to anyone who is continuing on through December with me.

Yarnosaurs

When my sister and I were little we used to get into all sorts of benign childhood trouble. By far one of our favorite things to do was trick my mom. My mom, the poor thing, has always been very easy to fool and very easy to startle… and we ate that up. My sister would often think up a wonderful prank and I, the younger sister, would willingly help her do the dirty work. A few of my favorites:

1) We hid a stuffed dolphin in the door of the fridge so that it would fall on her if she moved the door too sharply (hiding the dolphin in the freezer was even better because my mom is blind in one eye and so it took her longer to catch on to the fact that it was a stuffed animal)

2) We would hide the TV remote in the fridge whenever she left it on the kitchen counter (bonus points if you could do it while she was talking to you)

3) My mom was a mask collector and had an array of masks on her bedroom wall. One day we put glow in the dark googly eyes in all of her masks. (midnight shrieking? So worth it!)

4) Pretending ketchup was blood (an oldie but a goodie and mom always fell for this)

Thankfully for everyone involved my mom had a pretty great sense of humor. She would often re-tell stories with tears of laughter in her eyes. I think she enjoyed the time and attention we put into freaking her out. I can say this with a certain amount of confidence thanks to the handful of pranks that um, weren’t met with such wonderful reactions.

I remember one time in particular where we raided her sewing ottoman and set up a “booby trap” in our bedroom. We pretended the strings were like security lasers and touching one meant you set off the alarm. We weaved complex patterns around our bedroom incorporating anything that could have yarn looped around it and then we practiced crawling jumping and falling through various holes in the security system. When my mom called us for lunch we fell quiet and hid under our bedsheets. Of course she came down the hall and pushed our door open – tightening the threads of our security web. Apparently nearly clothes-lining yourself is not on a mom’s list of “preferred things to do when trying to get your children to eat”. I’m certain our near maniacal laughter didn’t help our case either.

To make a long story shorter, our security system was ordered to be de-comissioned and disassembled immediately and we were chastised for wasting so much yarn and causing a fire hazard (we didn’t have the only mom who thought any/all impediments to doorways constituted fire hazards, right?) After lunch were ordered to go play quietly in our beds.

And so, we did as we were told. We fashioned dinosaur reins out of the leftover yarn and rode around on our imaginary yarnosaurs. We made sure the yarn was long enough that when mom came in for a spot check we could slide flat in our beds hiding the yarn under our blankets. As soon as we heard her steps fading down the hallway we would leap from under our sheets and stick an imaginary spur into the sides of our yarnosaurs.

I’m sure that wasn’t what she had in mind, but hey, it didn’t technically break either of her rules. 🙂

It’s all just a memory – or is it?

I met a friend for lunch today. We hadn’t seen each other in a while so it was nice to catch up. We talked about the usual suspects – kids, spouses, work, our spouses’ jobs, that sort of thing. It seems like at least one of these topics will always lead one of us to getting lost in the fanciful nature of life. Today it was a story about her eldest child. I’ve known her oldest kiddo for his entire life and I have loved watching him grow up. (Fun fact: I 1st met my friend when she was 8 or 9 months pregnant with him). I used to teach in his school when he was younger so I had also had the luck of being able to take part in his day-to-day care. Those days are long gone now but I still consider myself invested and interested in his development.

Anyways, back to the story. I don’t remember how the topic came about but she was telling me  how his memory still seems a little spotty. He can’t always relate events at school as they actually happened but will occasionally bring up events from months ago with amazing detail. This is a pretty common phenomenon for preschool/early elementary aged kids and it is something that always makes me smile. We started talking about how probably a lot of the things he does say he remembers are actually just stories that have just been repeatedly reinforced by adults. Really, we went on to say… isn’t that the case for all of us? How many memories are uniquely made by us and are we even able to tell the difference between those two things?

“When he gets older, what do you think he will say his earliest memory is?” I asked her
“You know what,” she said, thinking distantly “I don’t actually know. That will be interesting to see”.

We continued to talk for a bit about how far back we think we have legitimate self-made memories and what sort of stories we were told, or what documentation our families had for us to be reinforced with. We both agreed that we have little to no actual memories before the age of 4.

“You know what that means, right?”
“What?” she looked at me curiously
“That means, when he gets older… he won’t remember any of this. The little boy we have known for his entire life up to this point… will never have existed to him.”

We both stared at each other for a few minutes. Then we continued talking about that crazy thing we call a brain and just how weird it is to watch a little human develop. It’s such a pure and open look into how a mind develops. It’s almost otherworldly.

The conversation ended hours ago but I still can’t stop thinking about it. 4 years of living and being present… 4 years of knowing, learning, seeing, feeling… In 2 or 3 years the details of memories will become distant and questionable for him. Two more years after that? The memories will be nothing but background noise… if they are even anything at all. How crazy is that?

The human brain is truly an amazing thing.