I started reading again. Thanks to boys troubled with sleep and summer sunlit evenings, I’d sit in Owen and James’s room, quietly reading in a rocking chair until they drifted off to sleep or the room got so dark that I could no longer see. And I still read many evenings, even though they sadly, gratefully, no longer need my presence to secure sleep.
I ate a dreadful amount of popcorn. And cheese.
I watched my baby boys turn into toddlers, with little boy haircuts, little boy temperaments and little boy language. Bottle parts no longer litter our countertop, all furniture is something to climb, the arms of chairs are roadways for small trucks and a moon sighting can make even the most tantrum-filled night happy once again.
I accepted my stomach. Mostly.
I fought back happy tears while watching my children witness the ocean for the first time. Perhaps it was the bigness of the body of water or the bigness of the moment but I understood why writers so often like to make hearts swell because mine, that day, did.
I watched my little girl grow, both inwardly and outwardly, into someone who is both physically taller and mentally deeper, someone who I love to listen to sing when she doesn’t know I’m listening, someone who wrote her name on my Christmas gift tag this year, someone who exhausts and exhilarates me, someone who I love more, more, more.
I ended my milk-making days and with that has come more time, (much) smaller breasts, no more bottles or pumping accessories to clean, a body that no longer allows me to eat ridiculous amounts of food, freedom and sadness.
I wrote an essay that’s been published in a book. I tackled more freelance work than I thought possible. I also reached the won’t-this-number-be-impressive-when-I-do-publish-my-first-children’s-book rejection status.
I helplessly witnessed grief envelope people I love, seeping into every crack of their everyday lives—losses of parents, a sibling, a son. It has made the mundane seem silly, the shortness of life seem shocking. And yet, it also has made the everyday—buttered toast and a hot cup of coffee, a cardinal on a tree branch, a small hand tightly clutching mine as we cross the street—greater.
I gave up on socks. For the last six months everyone’s clean socks have been tossed, mismatched, in a laundry basket in our bedroom. And every time I had to find six socks I cursed the mismatched pile, wishing I was the type of mother who found time to match socks and put them in sock drawers, which, I’m sure, would take much less time than spending five minutes searching for three matching pairs in that (insert curse word here) laundry basket every morning.
I found time to shower—almost daily.
I held my two-day-old beautiful, crying niece in the middle of the night, so amazed with my sister and so full of memory, of the feelings of sleeplessness and helplessness yet also intense love. I became an aunt and my sister became a mom—a most amazing mom.
I walked Brooklyn’s streets with my brother, through pouring rain, learning about his life, then—where he lived, where he bought his food, where he grew his food, where he biked, where he walked, where he ate a bowl of rice or a plate of hummus, where he put his wet shoes to dry. He’s moved and his neighborhood has changed. I want to do that again so I can better envision his life again. I miss him.
I wasted time watching TV. I had almost daily three-on-one tickling sessions on our living room floor. I spent entire dinners trying to convince Sophie to eat broccoli. I cleaned dishes. Picked up toys. Mowed the grass. Got the oil changed. Bought new mascara. Organized the coat closet. Forgot to take out the trash. Enjoyed quiet evenings with Andy. Argued about taking out the trash with Andy. Pleaded with a child to please go back to sleep at 3am. Let Tucker out. Let Tucker in. Nuzzled my face in my children’s hair. Dined with friends. Dined with family. Left a Chinese restaurant minutes after our food hit the table because our children were behaving so badly. Bundled up all three kids past their bedtime so they could catch winter’s first snow on their cheeks. Buckled and unbuckled car seats again and again and again. Drove to preschool. Drove to therapy. Drove for peace and quiet. Embraced joyful screams.
Here’s to health. Here’s to more of the comfortable sameness Tuesdays bring. Here’s to more happy moments than not. Here’s to another year and all the goodness a year can bring.
“Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man.” —Benjamin Franklin