Happy Something: A Guest Post by Molly Brumfield

Mar 17 2016

This is a guest post from my friend Molly who attended the most recent Magic in the Mess Writing Retreat. I’m super excited to introduce you to Molly today and to feature this piece, which I SO understand, titled “Happy Something!” Enjoy, friends.

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(Psst… the next writing retreat is in June, and there’s only a couple spots left! And there’s also a spiritual formation retreat in June. I’d love to have you come join me!)

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Happy Something!
by Molly Brumfield

I don’t send Christmas cards. I don’t mail out a whimsical custom-printed collage of family photos each December, the six of us dressed in effortlessly curated and pin-worthy outfits, along with a cheerful holiday message and best wishes for the new year. I don’t write a letter on holiday themed paper updating loved ones near and far on our shining shimmering children and the recent highlights and brag-worthy happenings in our life. I don’t even send out a Dollar Store greeting card signed simply with our names.  

But if I did send Christmas cards, here’s what mine would say. And, obviously, I wouldn’t actually get around to writing it until well into March.

Merry Christmas Happy New Year’s Valentine’s St. Patrick’s Day!

As another year ends begins, I am reflecting on the last twelve fourteen and a half months filled with much joy and many blessings some super fun memories and also tons of stuff I can’t really remember, plus a lot of days that we just had to get through. Get. Through. Like countdown-til-bedtime-starting-at-10am kind of get through. So probably the primary (yes, of the many) blessings during the last year was that we did, in fact, get through. Alive and mostly well.

We were under the weather a few times deepened our friendships with the front desk staff and weekend care providers at Vancouver Clinic’s urgent care, and began what’s bound to be a beautiful relationship with Legacy’s emergency room personnel. They are both quite a bit more expensive than the rest of you, our other dear friends, but you all don’t have to take care of our bouts of strep throat and pink eye, fevers for days on end, pesky impetigo (or “Uncle Tigo” as Hannah began to refer to it on round two out of three), stomach viruses, influenza A, shattered thumb (hammering in the dark. I’m not making this up.), epididymis complications (you’re right – you don’t want to google it), and clean-ups after a metal s-hook to the ocular. It is important to note here that despite my wishes for a day in bed – just one – not a single one of these afflictions were mine. There was no free pass to nap, watch Friends on Netflix, and eat all meals alone in my room.

In the summer we spent a long weekend at Cannon Beach. The weather was beautiful. The weather was beautiful for the Oregon coast, and our northwest-grown kids legitimately swam in the ocean while most beach-goers had their sweatpants on and hoods cinched tightly around their faces. Hypothermia was probably a possibility, but I think nobody called CPS because our four appeared happy and well-fed. If memory serves me, the kids ate only the following during our beach trip: pizza, corn dogs with fries, ice cream, pizza again, candy, milkshakes, hot chocolate, sandy hot dogs, and s’mores. Yancey and I adhered strictly to the same diet, plus coffee and chai twice (or thrice) daily.

The kids are growing and changing so quickly! want snacks the entire live-long day and we continue to have to buy bigger clothes, so I assume they are growing. Claire is eight, Logan is seven, Hannah is four, and Campbell is two. Claire and Logan go to the neighborhood school my brothers and I attended, and are thriving academically and socially love their teachers and friends and school in general, except for the days they fake sick and beg to stay home. Hannah is in pre-kindergarten at a school with a fantastic outdoor classroom. I love that she gets so much opportunity to be outside do a lot of laundry. Campbell is a character! clearly the fourth of four. His penis jokes are encouraged by all siblings, and he mastered the art of unsupervised step stool-moving and –climbing to reach anything his little heart desires many, many months ago.

Yancey has continued to enjoy his work need regular chiropractic adjustments to counteract the hours and hours he spends driving to see his customers each week day. As a token of appreciation for a sales job well-done the last couple of years, his company has given him two meaningful, generous, and tasteful gifts a very large, gaudy sapphire ring and a “Heavy Hitters Club” wooden baseball bat we can hang on our wall to commemorate the reaching of a sales goal. Both are ridiculous. Kind gestures of recognition, sure, but utterly useless. The ring cannot be pawned or made into some kind of jewelry for me because his company will ask for it back each year they add more bling to it. Obviously it could be worn, but if Yancey were the kind of man who would wear it, we would probably definitely not be married.

I am blessed to be staying at home with our kids during this precious time in their lives thankful for my role as a stay at home mom and also kind of confused about what it means for me. I miss being a teacher, but, at the same time, I can’t imagine what life would look like right now if I were teaching. In the summer there are days I’m jealous that I’m not the one leaving the house by myself to work with other grown-ups all day long. As real as that feeling is, it is overshadowed by the sweet, albeit sometimes fleeting, mommy-child moments that bring me real joy. But then it’s under-shadowed by the deep yearning to stop doing dishes 19 times every single day and to break my streak of eight and a half years of changing diapers. During the past school year, I made some extra money for the family got out of bedtime duty by tutoring two evenings each week. This school year I’m doing some writing instead. Not so lucrative, but I get to wear slippers and don’t have to talk to anyone.

It has been an amazing a messy and laughter-filled year. Frighteningly fast at times, blissfully slow at others, with the steady hum of growth and change and trial and error throughout. There have been more tickle-fights than doors slammed, more stories read than tearful goodnights, more prayers said than days spent believing we can go it alone. The apologies have at least matched the offenses. Even though there are times that I stand back and look at my life and think it’s a little bit of a wreck in a mountain of ways, all I truly hope for this year is the gift to continue to live it with those I love.  

Merry Christmas with love! May the luck of the Irish be with you and yours in what’s left of 2016!

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brumfieldMolly Brumfield writes and wrangles kids in the glorious pacific northwest
where she is a lover of sunshine and books,
food, family and faith,
teaching and the art of procrastination.
She writes and writes and writes, and is beginning to share and share and share.
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