Apologies, but I've got to postpone my usual Show & Tell Friday until next week. I am an exceptionally busy and important woman.
KIDDING. I'm postponing because I look like this:
Yep, that's me at my desk moments ago. What you can't hear in the background are the soothing tones of a teething baby trying to go down for her nap.
I love my baby. Both my babies! I love it when they're like this:
Aren't they sweet? I'd set Willa (the baby) on our bed while I threw on regular clothes to take Wylie (my 4 year-old) to preschool. Sometimes I go in partial pajamas. Not that day, boy howdy! I was wearing jeans!
I love motherhood. It's been the most transporting, the most spiritual, the toughest, the hardest, the most incandescent experience of my life. I think, when you're a parent, the act of parenting--and the weighty, unimaginable love of your kids--takes your ego and drop-kicks it. Have you ever watched Australian football? Well, it's nuts. Awesomely nuts. Those guys can take the football and drop-kick it from, I swear, anywhere on the dang field, and it sails through the uprights. And then they try to murder each other.
This, my friends, is what has happened to my ego. And that's a good thing. If you don't get the schnike kicked out of you by your babies, if your ego is unaffected, you're not really parenting.
That's my take. Hey, remember the first photo, above? That's what I look like today.
Some days I look like this, though:
Ha ha! I had showered! And Willa's exceptionally interested in her knee.
But, seriously, most days I look like I do today:
* * *
ELK TAILGATING IN THE CATALOOCHEE VALLEY!
This afternoon I'm packing up the aforementioned babies and heading North (Northwest?) to the Cataloochee Valley. We're going to go elk tailgating. That's right, you didn't read it wrong. Elk used to roam these here parts up until the turn of the 19th century, but in 2001 they were reintroduced to a gorgeous part of Western North Carolina called the Cataloochee Valley, in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The Fall, and mainly October, is the best time to view the elk because it's time for the rut. This is mating season, y'all. And you're likely to hear the male elk "bugling" to warn away other males. It's AWESOME.
For a 2011 article in the Macon County News about the elk reintroduction, click here.
A few years ago, when my oldest daughter, Wylie, was a 1 year-old, we went elk tailgating for the first time with one of my best friends. We packed a picnic, some blankets, a thermos of hot chocolate and bundled up because it was darn cold. Wylie was in heaven, and so was I. I can't wait to take her back today, and I feel so thankful that these elk and this incredible place are there for her to see.
No kidding, it's worth the drive to be a part of this place. It will feel and look like a National Geographic Moment. You will think you've stepped back in time 200+ years. The scene will sink into your soul. But more than that, it'll feel right.
Because it is.