For those of you who might have missed it, Jote started this "30 days of Gratitude" thing in 2009.
Jote's the kinda gal whose good ideas spread like wildfire. Last year, more than a handful of us picked up the idea, and I know that this year, the community of people looking at their lives and seeing all the amazing things to be grateful for has spread immensely. People acknowledging their siblings, their spouses, their kids, the right timing of a cup of coffee, their gyms, their running buddies.
We've all got a lot to be grateful for.
And many reasons to be grateful to Jote for inspiring this introspection.
I know that a number of the folks doing gratitude blogging in December are part of Jote's Austin community of mamas and friends.
And I'm loving seeing those people, and how they connect with Jote.
She and I were college friends. Knew each other in those malleable years, while we were still figuring out who we were and what we wanted. Drinking White Russians, watching football, taking long walks through farmland and thinking we were prepared because we'd brought a small water bottle and a single powerbar between us. Bitching about boys -- we probably called them men, but really, we were all just kids then. Dressing to the nines, and then spitting as we walked to a college dance, one each on W's arms, leading him to declare "You can dress 'em up, but you can't take 'em out".
Growing up, together and apart.
I went to graduate school. Jote fell in love (Hi, Matt!).
I missed her wedding, because I couldn't afford a ticket to Austin on my wimpy graduate student stipend. We talked on the phone. Intermittently.
But life happens, and when you're not in the same city, or the same community of people, it's easy to let things lapse more than they should.
I saw Jote when "The Teen" was a toddler; connecting with her when El Bandito and I were in Texas for another friend's wedding. By then, it had been 5 or 6 years, but it was still like catching up with an old friend.
More time passed, and the contact became more sporadic. An email bounced. We lost the immediacy that forges bonds. I still think of her every July.
And then, I found her blog. I remember reading through it going, YES, JOTE. This is the girl I knew, turned into a woman I *want* to know. And being thrilled when she replied to an email. She's Jote. She's awesome. She's a rock star in her own inimitable way.
Sometime in the last year, I sent her an email telling her how glad I was she was part of my life again. She replied "it's like we're having the same conversation, only wiser and more bad-ass". Amen, lady, amen.
So, Jote, thank you for so much. For the reminder to be grateful. For your part in my freaking awesome life. For being older, wiser, and more bad-ass. For still touching a chord in my soul, all these years later. For being an awesome mother, for raising kids I'd love to know. For still sharing my love of coffee, tasty drinks, yeast on popcorn, and artichokes. For the tofu recipe that's become a staple in our household -- and known simply as "Jote's Tofu". For taking gorgeous pictures and including me in your distant life.
I hope that some day, we can have a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. A walk together. In the meantime...
Lady, you rock. I hope today, and every day, you're showered with the love, affection, and gratitude you deserve from all angles. Happy December, darlin' gal. Together and apart, we're older, wiser, and more bad-ass. You called it.