Spring break 2012 – girls gone wild! With poetry!

I am sitting in the house I grew up in with all three of my kids sound asleep by 8 o’clock, drinking a glass of wine and writing poetry. This has been one of those amazing weeks you can never plan or count on happening for fear of disappointment, but when they come about, all you can really do is just rejoice and be glad.

We kicked off a week and a half vacation with the exciting news that my first full-length collection of poems was accepted for publication by Wipf and Stock Publishers. I don’t have a contract in hand yet, so hopefully this announcement isn’t premature. I am still in a bit of shock about this good news. I continue to be humbled and in awe at the work of Providence to have placed me in the unique and wonderful position I have with my job. The opportunities and relationships that have developed because of my work and the atmosphere I work in have really compelled me to write and propelled me forward in a way that would have been much more challenging were I to have gone about it my own way, and I thank God that he knows the plans he has for me better than I know for myself.

I am extremely grateful for the encouragement of my “poet mentor,” Michael Miller, without whose encouragement I probably wouldn’t have been writing as fervently or with as much zeal. There are of course many other influences (to be thanked at a later date) but most assuredly I wouldn’t be here, writing about a forthcoming book, without Michael.

So with the happy news of a book coming out in the near future, we embarked on a trip to D.C. with the kids. It was our first family vacation with the five of us, and although we approached it with some apprehension, the trip went swimmingly, partly due to the opportunity to swim (ha ha ha). The kids all slept well in the hotel room, and that is the sort of thing that can make or break a trip for us. Henry was mostly cooperative except for riding in the car, which he hates, I guess, because he screamed 70% of the time. Other than that, we ate well, swam a bunch, saw lots of animals both stuffed and alive, and walked all over the place.

Our long weekend ended with a short stay at my in-laws and a visit with Brandon’s brother who drove Great Mom-O up from Florida. It is always a joy to see any part of the Florida Wells clan. We returned home for a couple of days and enjoyed the brief respite of our own private quarters. AND! Aaaaaand, we found a new home for the dingo dog! Yes, that is right, Beans the great menace of a pooch has moved on to happier hunting grounds. No, he didn’t die, but I am sure he feels like he is in heaven, with a family that likes him and another dog to play with in a yard three times as big. Poor guy. It was all sweet and no bitter in parting, especially when Lydia discovered her most recent favorite dolly had been disemboweled. Suddenly, Beans leaving for a new home wasn’t such a bad idea. I really don’t want to think about how much that dog has cost us in stuff he chewed up, never mind all of the usual doggy expenses.

Aaaaanyway, happiness flourishes in the Wells house once more now that our fourth unruly and disobedient child has moved out.

The remainder of our vacation (or my time off of work) has been spent with family. Brandon’s grandma is beginning to lose her short term memory, or has lost it completely, depending on who you ask, and on top of that she’s quite deaf. Upon returning from Florida, she needed to get some of her household affairs in order, so we have spent some time (hours) at her house helping her out (throwing out magazines from 2001, sorting through junk mail, setting up the voice mail on her phone, writing notes to help her remember what we did, etc.). She knows she is losing it, which makes it a little easier to help her. She receives the help with a little more grace and a little less stubbornness than she might have a year or two ago.

We met up with my family for my mom’s 50th birthday mid-week, and we did a few errands at home, paid taxes, that sort of thing, then packed up again for Easter weekend. I colored eggs with the kids and made homemade peanut butter cups (mmmm google chocolate covered Katie and you will find the recipe) yesterday while Brandon did some yard work at his folks’ house, and then we went out together alone for the first time in a while. It was a way overdue night out, in my opinion, and we had a grand time, listening to Blue Lunch at Northside in Akron. We even got up and danced a couple of songs. Anyone know a place to learn some couple dances in the Ashland area? I would love to force Brandon into it.

Finally, (whew! I bet you thought this would never end) I spent today with my cousins and their kids who all played together for about four hours with not a single whiny tear or complaint. It was amazing! I always feel as if going home to family or friends that have known me a long time is one of the rare moments when I feel most myself. I do not have to think much about what I say or how I might come off because, well, these people KNOW me. They know the awkward lanky me and they know the me that has three kids and a slightly crazy look in the eyes around 7 o’clock at night. They know the anti-alcohol (and everything else) me, and they know the wine guzzling me. Isn’t there a George Strait song along these lines?  All of Sarah arrives around family. There’s no leaving part of the package behind.

Now, back where we began, I am happy to wrap up this post with a pat on the back to myself for seven solid days of poem-ing for the start of National Poetry Month and writing a poem a day. Maybe I can whip out another book… ;). My best work is behind me, might as well call it a career and retire to needlepoint and quilting. Who am I kidding? I know nothing about either of those things. I’m doomed to a life of writing poetry, the only thing I can pretend to be good at ( yup, I’m going to end that sentence and this post with “at”).

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