Archives for posts with tag: Thank You

The other day, I sent my four-year-old to find a pacifier for my three-year-old.

“There are a few in her room. I remember seeing them. Can you go grab one for me?”

She helpfully and eagerly bounded up the stairs, only to return a while later, with no pacifiers.

“I looked on the bed. I looked behind the bed (Did you know I’m big enough to move her bed??). I looked all over. There are NO pacis in her room!”

Flustered, I walked upstairs, entered my youngest daughter’s room, and looked down at the floor, where no fewer than THREE pacifiers lay, scattered on the grey carpet.

Exasperated, I yelled, “Sophie! You’re so terrible at looking for things! Didn’t you see these? How could you not see these?!”

It’s amazing what kids just don’t see.

They don’t see mess.

They don’t see toys.

They don’t see the mud puddle.

They don’t see cars, or waiters, or busboys carrying precariously tall stacks of dishes.

They don’t see clean underwear or socks.

They don’t see the water drops on the sink. Or around the bathtub.

A lot of times, I think they don’t even see the toilet.

They also don’t see those five (or ten, or fifty) extra pounds you’ve been dieting over, or stressing over, or grabbing in hateful fistfuls and wishing, screaming, cursing over.

They don’t see the dark circles. Or the worry lines.

They don’t see the rough hands. The short, chewed nails.

They don’t see that zit on your forehead.

They don’t see the dirty dishes that have been piling up.

They don’t see the stack of mail cluttering up the kitchen table.

They don’t see the mismatched plates. Or the chipped paint. Or that really loud, squeaky spot on the floor.

They don’t see the failing.

Or the flailing.

They don’t see the tears.

They don’t see what you see.

They don’t see it.

Instead, they see that, even though you’ve served them cereal for dinner—again—tonight, you remembered to shake the bag before pouring their bowl, bringing all of the marshmallows up to the top. Just for them.

They see that you’ve still managed to shove aside the clutter on the table to make a space. Just for them.

They see, in the dirt that has built up on their faces and in their hair, all of the hours that you have let them play. And explore. And investigate. And given over to the grime of childhood. Just for them.

They see that you know exactly what their favorite shows, their favorite songs, their favorite apps are, and you can and will summon those things for them. Just for them.

They see that you are magic. Just for them.

They see the splashing game they played together in the bathtub, which you filled with perfectly warm, soothing water. Just for them.

They see a pile of clothes, still dryer-warm, perfect for a cannonball, that you have washed and left in the basket. Just for them.

They see unmade beds perfect for jumping.

They see round, soft bellies for story-time snuggles.

They see sleepy, bloodshot eyes that crinkle in the corners when you smile.

They see you kiss them goodbye early every morning.

They see you come back to them. Every night. And smile.

They don’t see anything that happens in between.

And what they don’t see? What they don’t see is all the stuff you are not.

They see you.

They know you.

And they love you for it.

Because they see it all.

 

November 1st: Today, I am thankful for my daughters. Every day, they teach me a little bit more about how to see myself, my home, and the world the way they do.

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This week, I defended my dissertation at Ball State University. After seven years in a PhD program, I am finally Dr. Rachel. I honestly wouldn’t have been able to complete this project without some serious help from people I love. The joke of the academic dissertation has always been the Acknowledgments page. “Not even your committee reads it!” So the saying goes. A depressing prospect, especially since (as another joke goes), the odds of every member of your committee reading your entire dissertation are slim.

But this changes today. Below, I am publishing my Acknowledgments page, as it appears in my dissertation (names have been redacted). There are more people responsible for my degree than I even mention here, but I want to make sure that the people I love, who are primarily responsible for me finishing (and for maintaining my sanity throughout the finishing process), get at least some of the meager accolades they deserve. I love you all.

And to those whose names are missing from this list, including all of my readers here: Thank You. You have allowed me to continue this, my creative outlet, which has been essential for reminding me why I do what I do. Your readership and your responses. They have sustained me. They truly have.

Acknowledgments

I owe the completion of this dissertation to many people. Firstly, my incredible committee, who fought alongside (and with) me throughout this process to make this work a true showcase of my theoretical and academic ability. I am especially grateful to my directors, Dr. M and Dr. C. You gave me tough love when I needed it, and showed me support and encouragement even when I didn’t deserve it. Coffee, pastries, gossip, hard questions, mixed tapes, and Dylan lyrics. These are the things I will carry with me from our time together.  And I will cherish them.

My parents, R and C. I told you at the age of seven that I wanted to get my PhD, and you have since taken it as a given that I would one day succeed.  You are eternally on my side.  Mom, you showed me as a lived example what a feminist is, and what a working mother could accomplish.  You taught me to never be afraid.  Dad, you gave me poetry, and taught me how to gaze at the stars.  Both of you taught me that passion and beauty are only as valuable as the hard work I put into them.  Thank you for that.

My siblings, M and M. You taught me how to be myself, and to laugh at myself.  That laughter is why I succeed.

My in-laws, B and S.  I will never forget your generosity, and the example you have set for my family for hard work and self-reliance.  I’m proud to be “the doctor” in the family.  I’m proud to be your family.

B, my husband, you have listened with unending patience to my rants, my ideas, my heartbreaks, my accomplishments. You have taught me to never know quit.  You have given even my wildest ideas careful consideration.  You gave me a plan when I had none.  You have pushed me, held me, dragged me, supported me, watched me weep.  And, somehow, you still seem to like me a whole lot.  You once told me that you wanted to make me smile every day for the rest of my life. Eleven years in, and you haven’t missed a day yet.  Thank you for being my partner.  I choose you. Every day. For forever.

Finally, my girls.

If anyone asks, I did this for me.

But, really?  I did this for you, dear S and M.

All for you.

To the moon and back. To the Sun and back.  To the stars and back