Anyway, what I’m getting at is that no matter how hard we are on ourselves–no matter how little it seems we’ve done–we have arrived.
In high school I wanted nothing more than to read, write, and become a teacher.
In college I wanted to travel, paint, and have the type of fun only 20-somethings can.
Throughout my life I’ve dreamed of art, passion, friendships, and family. I dreamed of a house of my own.
Done, done, and done.
I’ve had moments where I’ve wanted nothing more than to be a stay-at-home Mom, tending to the house in between caring for a couple of little humans.
And here it all is, and here I am, in perfect disarray.
. . .
So, despite how it sounds, this doesn’t mean I’m finished. Just because I’ve accomplished some major goals doesn’t mean there aren’t more on the horizon. My middle school self would be quite proud of my high school self. College SnapDragon evolved into Teacher SnapDragon.
We all keep moving the bar, because really, isn’t that what it means to be alive?
I want to relish each moment, yet continue to plan for a kick-ass future.
. . .
You have done amazing things in this life, Dear Reader. So have I.
So just because you’re in the same sweatpants for three days in a row and haven’t yet brushed your teeth today, it doesn’t mean you’re slacking.***
We’re simply doing the best with the day we’ve got.
. . .
SnapDragon is an artist who just loves traditionally-feminine things.
Hello, Dear Reader. And greetings from my shockingly somewhat-cleared-off dining room table, where a fresh iced coffee patiently sits within reach. I’m in fruit-punch pink sweatpants. My lips are annoyingly chapped.
(takes a deep breath)
Blogging is a funny thing: Really, it’s a strangely intimate relationship. I feel the pull to write–to check in–every single day. For real. And it truly bothers me when I don’t. Even when I was in the hospital–mindlessly eating egg salad sandwiches and trying not to freak out about another impending premature birth–SnapDragon was there, too. I viewed myself in all of my facets, the writer included.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that Snap’s still here. Even though I’m in mama-mode full force these days, the artist within still breathes. (And she’s been downing delicious cold brew coffee like it’s her job.)
So, let me back up, and clear the writer-ly cobwebs from my sleep-deprived brain. Here we go:
. . .
But First: A Word on 2021
I did sort of a shit job of posting this past year. I dropped the ball in more than one way, but I must say that not completing my Book-of-the-Month posts for the year bothers me, and more than it probably should. And so, I feel the need to declare that I did continue to read.
Here are a few books of note:
To a God Unknown by John Steinbeck
As far as Steinbeck goes, this one was just okay. I didn’t hate it, but wouldn’t be in a rush to read it again.
The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel
This was an intriguing read. Definitely pick it up if you get the chance. I also felt a strong connection with the hermit, when he said he wasn’t going to be ‘intellectually bullied’ into reading Ulysses. Umm, yes.
The Wangs Vs. The World by Jade Chang
I definitely enjoyed this novel. There were parts of it that were true page-turners! I’d be quite proud if my debut novel is as well done as this one.
The Best American Short Stories: 2020edited by Heidi Pitlor and Curtis Sittenfeld
Reading the newest edition in this series has been a tradition since 2015, The Year of Our Sweet Wedding. And I must say, this one has been the best so far. It’s filled with really smart, beautiful stories.
. . .
Here are a few more thoughts on 2021. In fact, here’s what I started writing on New Year’s Day, right before I went into the hospital:
2021. (lets out an exasperated breath) Amiright?
Well, it’s over.
And while there were certainly some low moments–as there are in every year we live on this planet–I’m choosing to recap the year with some of my favorite happenings:
Home-cooked meals; children’s books on repeat; the flickering of jarred candles; RV adventures; drive-throughs*; well-designed playgrounds; eating vine-ripened tomatoes straight from our container garden; cat snuggles; intelligent cinema; exploring every winding road of our neighborhood; discovering all-but-vacant malls are perfect for toddler-running during a pandemic; moments of solitude; reuniting with vaccinated friends and family; celebrating the holidays in simplicity; modern medicine; yogurt and granola; warm hands and feet.
*Yeah, no. I’m taking a stand against the asinine Drive-Thru spelling. Somebody has to.
. . .
Ahh. Oddly enough, I feel better after airing those accumulated thoughts.
. . .
So Dear Reader, I want to take you warmly by the hand. I want to say Hello, and Happy New Year. I want to remind you that even though we’ve probably never met, you are my friend. You are human, and I am human. And we are in this thing together.
Let’s do this.
. . .
SnapDragon is a blogger who enjoys the hoppiest of IPAs.
I’ve got the AC chilling on low, Toddler Snap snoozing in his car seat, and a pumpkin iced latte within reach. Each sip reminds me of pleasant fall mornings in my classroom. Singing along with Regina Spektor as I readied myself for a day of chaotic happiness.
. . .
1. All I can hear is the steady hum of my FJ Cruiser. I watch my fellow suburbanites scurry across the parking lot, to who knows where. A storm is brewing, and the gently trembling leaves on the pre-planned shrubbery soothes me somehow.
2. My eyebrows need to be plucked. It’s funny how I used to do this every day in college. Now the need only strikes about once a month. Funny how our bodies change.
3. I’ve always been a thinker. I suppose it’s hard to be a writer and artist and not think about things until your stomach literally hurts. And I’ve been privileged with the gift of time. Even at my busiest, I’m never worried about where my next meal will come from or if I’m physically safe to leave my house. This allows my mind to reflect, to grow. It allows me to wonder what kind of wife I am. What kind of friend, daughter, and sister. I think about these things, then I think some more. Who am I?
4. I’m pregnant. Yep. The Littlest Snap is scheduled to be here in late February. Here’s to an uneventful, full-term delivery. #ptsd
5. I saw a picture of a pot-bellied pig today that made me ridiculously happy. It was so big and chubby that it almost looked like a cartoon. I wanted to give it a hug, and name it something like Stanley or Walter or George.
Wishing you well, Dear Reader. Take time for joy today.
. . .
SnapDragon is a writer and reader of delicious paperbacks.
‘Cuz it’s the first day of the rest of our lives, right?
. . .
Today is my first official day of being a full-time, stay-at-home mom.
And despite the whole working remotely thing happening for months on end, it feels pretty good to be 100% done. Close the book. Wave goodbye.
And so begins the next chapter in The SnapDragon Tale!
First and foremost, I recognize how fortunate I am to be able to lose my salaried-with-full-benefits job, and not feel the sense of panic so many have experienced lately. I live a very comfortable life, for which I am extremely grateful. That’s not lost on me.
I’m definitely a stop-and-smell-the-roses kinda gal, and this situation is no different.
There is always something to be thankful for, Dear Reader.
. . .
So as I take a breath–during nap time, that is–I’m going to get a few kinks worked out.
Clean Up, Yo. If I want this blog to take off, I’ve gotta get my shit in order. Yes it’s a fun outlet for me, but I know I can turn it into something more. I’ve got ideas. I’ve got material. I need to establish a schedule I can actually stick to.
Office Space. As ridiculous as it sounds, I have trouble getting started on things. Like, a lot of trouble. I’m talking like, my laptop being closed instead of open kind of trouble. I look for any and all barriers to prevent me from my creative work. (Why I do this, I do not know.) And so, I’ve realized that I need my own space. My own desk, equipped with my (open!) laptop, easel and canvas at the ready, and a stack of delicious notebooks and pens for creative thought. It’s happening. And soon.
Keep Calm and Be Kind. It’s the only thing I can control. I will never get everything done in a day. I will never arrive at some task-free life. I will never have total understanding from each and every person. But I can be kind. Always.
See you soon, friends. Be well.
. . .
SnapDragon is a human being who finds satisfaction in clipping coupons.
This past month or so has been filled with visits from those who were starting to feel like long-lost friends. (Pandemically speaking, that is.)
It truly has been joyous to see so many (vaccinated!) loved ones after at least eight(ish) months of diligent social isolation on our part.
And I’m not gonna lie: it was a little hard at first. A little. . . weird.
How do I talk to people other than Sweet Husband or Baby Snap?
We can actually eat at restaurants again?!
What the frick am I gonna wear?
And then, like strumming the G chord on an old guitar, things fell right back into place.
. . .
I’ve had a bunch throughout my 34 years on this planet.
Many stayed only for a time; a few have graciously remained.
And when we’re together I’m reminded of what friendship really means:
(I could probably just end the post here. But there are, of course, other things worth noting.)
listening; always giving the benefit of the doubt; being honest; being humble; not being afraid to sound stupid; nurturing; the sharing of secrets, recipes, and dreams; being bored together; laughing until one or more bodily functions kicks into gear; putting the other person first.
It’s a safe haven; a philosophical community; a shrug of the shoulders at her shortcomings.
A friend will drink with you; rub sunscreen on your back; drive an extraordinarily long way just to hang.
I am forever grateful to have these special humans in my life.
Looking forward to the next soirée, Dear Ones.
. . .
SnapDragon is a writer and artist who lives in her native state of Pennsylvania.