Last year I opened up Little Tin Soldier and all of my images had turned into broken links. Unbeknownst to me, Tumblr had updated its range of themes (website designs) and most of them were no longer free and the oldest of them (like mine) were outdated and unavailable. The support staff said I could fix the problem by manually updating each image on the site. With the blog sitting at over 1,000 posts, I didn’t have time for that. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

I haven’t blogged regularly since Henry was born. He’s five now. Our weekdays are full of work and school (or technically school and school because I’m a teacher). In the afternoons we walk the dog, wash the dishes, and prep supper. Henry is entertained with Legos, washi tape, and outdoor bug hunts. When Michael gets home, we eat and and then he’s usually roped into acting like a pony or building a fort. In the evenings after Henry’s asleep, my creative outlets include taking a shower and occasionally painting my fingernails.

Before I became a mother I dreamt of balancing it all— working full time, raising a happy and healthy child, nurturing a marriage, having meaningful hobbies, and making a difference in the world. It didn’t seem like that much; who was I kidding? I struggled with postpartum anxiety and guilt over not being who I wanted to be (or who others wanted me to be). I realized that the more things you try to juggle, the more likely they’ll fall down. I didn’t need to be a performer for others to oooh and aaah. At the end of the day I was simply a woman reading Crazy Rich Asians and blowing on my nails so they’d dry faster.

I loved blogging and missed it tremendously. I loved drawing and doodling and sharing recipes and crafts but I couldn’t keep up with daily cycle of a  drawing, outfit photo, and editing, the rigorous sort of work Little Tin Soldier deserved. My posts became more and more intermittent before morphing into non-existent. The lovely project— launched over nine years ago— neared the end of the road.

When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.

Helen Keller

An open door. Maybe these last few years I’ve stood on its threshold. I overcame depression. I felt strong and wise with clear eyes and a full heart. Ideas were flowing. I learned how to garden. I taught Henry how to draw. I passed down my affection for thrift stores and libraries. We finally finished decorating our own room (ten years after moving here) with Ikea lamps, new blinds, and nails for my hats. I bought lots of ankle boots. Instead of thumbing through my dresses in the morning and saving them for another day, I wore them.

In April 2019, I reunited with my best internet friend Indiana Adams and we ate queso and hit up Austin’s best vintage shops. Indi blogs sporadically, works on her own podcast (Today By the Way), and shares some of the funniest Instagram stories. We talked about Texas Style Council and its lasting impression. We rattled off “Wouldn’t this be a great idea?” over and over to each other. We debated whether she needed an oversize bronze seahorse and should I buy another midi skirt or not. We spoke about our children and wondered how long we could pick out their clothes. After the trip I came home and felt that funny, ticklish itch that authors know well, the spark that gets in your brain and doesn’t leave until you grab a pen or punch the keys as fast as you can. I missed blogging, but more than that, I missed writing.

I titled the story, This is the end (just kidding). It’s a farewell to something old, and it’s a hello to something new.

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