Ode to Katy

Sometimes, on this here Internet, you find a fellow human that just gets it, gets you, and a kinship develops — sometimes one sided, sometimes mutual.  When you’re really lucky, you develop a friendship with that person.  And when you’re really, really lucky, you realize you live oh, just about 15 minutes away in city traffic.

That’s how I feel about Katy from I Want a Dumpster Baby.

Katy makes my life better.  I read her words and I want to be better, you know?  It’s hard to explain without gushing, so if I gush, indulge me, please.

On Monday, Katy posted this brilliance about winter and why she loves it and why she fears the spring, the lengthening days, the light.  I read it and was immediately texting dear Katy telling her, “I get it, but I have the exact opposite affliction — I want to help you like you helped me this winter.”

Fangirl.  Pffft.

See, I dread the winters.  Dread them.  I mostly find the holidays oppressive with the message to be HAPPY HAPPY and only feel JOY JOY.  Ugh. I cope alright, cause I gots the coping skillz to pay the billz, but it’s pretty much with lots and lots of effort on my part.  I do a secret happy dance for myself at the winter solstice, as even though it is the official beginning of my most dreaded season, every day I know, because science tells me so, that there will be a few more seconds of day light.  Those seconds add up to minutes through January, and by February, those minutes morph into almost an hour of extra light.

In those dark days of winter, Katy pops up into my newsfeed on Facebook, waxing poetic about slushy snow and furry boots and feeling snug as a bug on a cold winter’s night, happily eating pie in her bed.

Chicago is on the tail end of a brutal winter.  Brutal.  Third snowiest on record.  There were cold days and ice days and pneumonia days.  Ugh.  But there was Katy, lovely Katy, shining brighter than any June sun, extolling the virtue of this winter that was pummeling all around us.  She was the tonic I needed.

Photo courtesy of I Want a Dumpster Baby
Photo courtesy of I Want a Dumpster Baby

I could not help but learn to appreciate what she saw, see the beauty in that relentless snow, feel the gratitude for an unexpected day of cancelled school and consider myself lucky that I had everything I needed right at home with no need to do anything other than appreciate the opportunity to be together.

When I would feel myself get pulled into the dark, which, yes, is easy for me to do from November through February, I would call Katy up in my thoughts and remember her words, her joy, her appreciation of beauty when others dwelled on the negative.

It’s all about perspective.

Katy and I both struggle.  Those struggles are the trademark of our respective blogs, and I think, maybe, why we have some significant reader crossover.  Katy’s honesty about her struggles are part of the reason I both adore and admire her.

While our struggles are different, we approach them similarly.  Chin up, forward momentum, and bed pie as needed.  No shame, feel the feelings fully, and bed pie as needed.  Truth and gratitude and bed pie as needed.  Ha!

Now that winter is lifting, despite the six inches of heavy white snow that fell last night in Chicago, I feel the lift of spring in the air.  There is relief, palpable relief on my part, that another winter is almost in the books.  Whew.  I feel such gratitude to this Katy girl that helped me more than she can ever realize just by shining her light for others to see and bask in.

Thank you, Katy!

But now, though her words, I know that Katy is reaching a vulnerable time of year.  The light I crave means something completely different for me than it does her.  The fangirl in me hopes against hope that I can now carry the torch of optimism and glee that Katy carried so beautifully all winter and that guided me here, to the cusp of spring, intact, faking it until I actually made it.

Girl, I got this.

The Spring light is amazing — clear, fresh, intense, vibrant, bright. The color of the sky is different in April and May than it is in January or July. The light and changing green on the trees is more brilliant on that first day you look up from your winter stupor and realize that, yes, those green things on the branches are leaves that have indeed returned.

Spring is a beautiful and profound and sacred return.  It is confirmation that light and warmth follow cold and dark.  Always.  Spring is our annual reward and promise as human beings that things do, in fact, get better, even in nature.  As a family who has buried one of our children, this promised and expected annual return to life and growth and hope is so very needed.

Long story short, if I am doing my mothering job properly, Mary Tyler Son will some day come to recognize and appreciate the glory of Spring himself.  He will teach his own children to love the light, trust the warmth, and plant those bulbs.  He will know that life is universal and that its cyclical nature is confirmation of something to be celebrated.

Katy and I are yin and yang, chocolate and peanut butter, Lucy and Ethel (and we all know who Lucy is in this equation) — all those things are pretty damn amazing on their own, but together — KAPOW, KABLAMMO, BINGO!  Friendship is awesome.

Thank you, Katy, for buzzing around me all winter’s long, guiding me safely to the comfort of spring.  Thank you for walking the path you walk (in heels, too, dammit) and inviting so many of us to walk it with you.  Thank you for your sheer and powerful gratitude and dorkitude.  Thank you for your wisdom and red lipstick.  Thank you for your honesty and sincerity.

I love you, girl.  More than you know.  Probably more than is healthy, but shush, not in a weird way, but in a perfectly acceptable ‘grateful you are in my orbit’ kind of way.

Thanks for seeing me though this winter.  I’ve got this torch now, come spring, just look for the light — it will be there.


Katy knows this well.
Katy knows this well.

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