Harleigh and I agreed that this was one of the best visits home that's she's ever had.
Don't know exactly why.
We certainly grow closer each year.
We've had 21 years to get to know each other.
With earned respect, a healthy dose of humor,
and flexibility and patience in excess,
our relationship feels comfortable.
We're transparent to a fault,
each of us unafraid to expose our vulnerable underbelly and sometimes-ugly insides.
This time home, there was a good flow to the dynamic of two women living under one roof.
We spent time together just the two of us, time with family,
time apart (she with her friends and I with mine),
and savored that safe and warm feeling of being at home together,
she in one room and I in another,
Christmas music on,
good smells wafting from the kitchen,
the tree and candles lit,
Gideon asleep on the sofa . . .
I smiled to myself a lot this holiday, a content girl, indeed.
The New Year came upon us quietly.
Harleigh had to be back at school on New Year's Day to work,
and decided to go to a friend's NYE party at Lake Sinclair.
She left at around 5:00,
the car packed to the gills with Christmas gifts and loads of freshly washed clothes.
The two of us cried like fools, hugging to not let go,
and when she drove away, my heart broke a bit.
I was in bed by 11:00 (barely waking at midnight to the orchestra of fireworks in the neighborhood), and spent the next day putting all the Christmas decorations away
and cooking like a mad woman.
2013 was a pivotal year for the two of us girls.
I was never more grateful for Harleigh. So proud of all that she's become.
I've tapped into a creative side of myself that makes me happier than I've ever been.
There have been tough decisions made this year, and sadnesses and struggles that
have crippled our family, but not defeated us.
I can't say that I have 2014 mapped out, with goals etched in stone
(and believe me, the blog world — bless its heart, and at no fault of its own —
both inspires my dreams and
belabors me with regret for all that I've not done and what I've fallen short of).
But I do know that faith and trust guide my every day.
It's a little thing.
And for that, I am thankful.
Christmas morning. Not sure if she's loving on the Justin Bieber wrapping paper
or the Vans inside (that she picked out online and I wouldn't let her open until Christmas morning).
And she's wearing her Northface down vest, an early Christmas present.
Giddy sits like a good boy waiting for his giant Christmas rawhide.
For the first year ever, Harleigh and I got matching pajamas.
It's something she wanted, and so we took an afternoon to make an Old Navy
run and pick up cheap bottoms and tops.
I wore mine sans down vest.
I adore the top of this boy's head.
I made a few of my matchboxes, coupled with a candle, for Christmas gifts.
Chateau Gahan now has a Keurig!!! Which means I had to make something to hold the pods.
I wrapped a large pickle jar in flocked paper, painted the lid,
and attached a vintage ceramic kitty in a cup.
Harleigh just shook her head.