I blame it on Datha. Her post on Facebook:
Check out this awesome article by Judy Garrison of Seeing Southern. She was my journalism teacher in high school, and I had the pleasure of writing for the magazine she edits, Georgia Connector Magazine. She has gone on to do some pretty fabulous things.
It has been a good week, one where all those hours sitting in solitude before a computer screen praying the perfect words erupt from my fingers do so - and by deadline - , come full circle. I see them published, whether online or in print. Sometimes this is months down the road, even a year has gone by since I pushed the key "send." This is happening more and more lately (a very good thing), and each time is as magical as the last. My words and Len's photographs help to introduce people to a unique destination, change vacation itineraries for people I've never met, encourage men and women to look beyond their own community for enrichment, document the lives of people most will never meet but have a significant influence in the world. I love what we do. Travel and writing about it has made me so much richer, and it has nothing to do with money.
Now, back to Datha . . . I read her post while at an intersection in the back of a long line of cars that wasn't going anywhere anytime soon. And poof, the tears just flowed. My teacher. Some pretty fabulous things. How in the world did I get so lucky? Then, I realized this. It was because I was a teacher of some of the most outstanding people on the planet, because I challenged myself to be better than yesterday, because I dared to dream a little bit bigger than normal, because I really didn't want to take no for an answer, and because I let God direct me through all of it. Pick me up through all of it. Provide me with patience through all of it. I cried a little more.
I sat in the rear of the line of cars for almost 5 minutes. I cried for almost 5 minutes. I wiped my face as I began to move. Thank you Lord. Thank you for it all. Now, what's next?
Writer's confession: As I begin, the photo pops up. I start to cry. Damn, this mother stuff.
As a mother of a girl, you always think your little spit-fire will be just beyond your fingertips. You'll always hear her Jeep barreling up the stone-graveled driveway. You'll be able to call her for an impromptu coffee and Starbucks, and she'll drop everything and be there in five minutes flat and order the most expensive thing on the menu. You'll be able to see her at the end of your workday, and you'll drop into each others arms. You'll split a gut laughing at her brothers, our laughter at the boy's expense. You'll hear she and her friends in the next room, plotting and planning, and you wish you could be in the middle of what they were cooking up.
Then, there's that moment in the airport when you realize this is it. I'm putting my little girl on a plane, and God, please let her come back soon.
It's been almost four years, and the touch in-between has only been one. I have learned many things during the interim. Some good, some not so good. And as always, a mother has a few things to say. And on your 31st birthday, here's lookin' at you kid . . .
1. Never lose your childlike innocence.
2. Remember your brothers back home and those epic gorilla squeezes.
3. The glass will always be half-full.
4. Teach Caitlin and Noah the importance of family, especially that quirky Southern-Italian family from America.
5. Be impromptu. Serendipitous. Great traits for little girls.
6. Every now and then, put yourself first. It makes the others happy in the end.
7. Leave the past there.
8. Take responsibility for everything in your life.
9. Grandma Hill would be tickled pink spoiling Caitlin and Noah. Kind of like bringing her leftovers home to Silas - never!
10. Pray. It solves everything.
happy Birthday my dear Mari.
Whether it is exploring this amazing world or being content on my own piece of real estate near Athens, Georgia, I'm spinning stories and fashioning tales from a Southern perspective. As an editor and writer, I get to meet incredible people and share their stories. As a photographer, I get to cement these moments in time. As a wife and mother, I'm always excited to see what's around the next corner, For it's anything but ordinary.