Tuesday, February 24, 2015

This season

It’s about that time again. 10 to 7 on a Tuesday night, the baby sleeping, splayed out over my crossed legs, fleece dinosaur pajamas on, pacifier in his mouth. I’m wearing a short-sleeve grey T-shirt and wish I had a sweater on, socks too. It was -2 degrees when I woke up this morning. John’s out getting Greek food, which we’ll eat on the island. The baby, if he wakes up, will sit in his little chair, next to us, watching us contentedly as he puts his toys in his mouth. The first of our family dinners.

It’s the last week of February of what feels like a never-ending winter. Snow and ice and lots and lots of TV. But warm. It’s been so warm in this house. In this home.

I’ve never described my life in seasons, though they’ve often felt that way, at least in retrospect.

The high school years of taking the train to school, standing on a windy platform every morning, wearing sweatpants under a blue-and-green Catholic school uniform. Of lockers and laughing down the hallways, up the stairs, from the convent to the cafeteria, over the grounds of a school that’s now closing.

The college years of buying milk and cereal, on my own, for the first time. Of convenience store candy and vanilla lattes and all the late night conversations that come with being 18 and 19 and 20 and living with the best girls. Of being so confident, so sure that this was who I was and looking back without regret. Of realizing that giving in to that makes, and made, everything better.

The early days of real life, and feeling more confused than ever. Making lists and lists of goals and wants and I-can-do-that’s. Of looking into grad schools and trying on new jobs and wearing high heels to go out and drinking $12 drinks. Of living at home and wondering if it was all going backwards instead of forwards.

The winter of 2009, this specific time period where I was surrounded by cousins and friends and everything felt wide-open in the best possible way. Of giving up coffee for tea, going out on weeknights and doing lots of writing. Of getting engaged, sleeping in a living room full of my favorite people on New Years Eve and starting to feel that this was the direction.

Those first two years of marriage, living in an apartment with a homemade bookshelf and bright orange walls, cooking dinners in the galley kitchen and running to catch the train every morning. Of big ideas and big trips, to Iceland and to Italy, camping and skiing, knowing, even as I was in it, that these were the stories we’d tell.

And now, early motherhood, cuddled on the couch under blankets with a sleeping baby, a smiling baby, a fussy baby, exchanging stories over text and over chat and over facetime with those same best friends who now have babies too. Of feeling like my person has now also become a partner, that we tag-team things together, I’ll sleep and then you’ll sleep, you wash the bottle and I’ll change the diaper, I’ll trust you and you’ll trust me and we’ll figure out this little family we’ve made.  

This season feels mine, in a way it never did before. That I’m cutting myself a lot of slack, giving myself the time to figure it out, to evaluate and then re-evaluate. To analyze, like I’ve always done, but then to just sit down and read Goodnight Moon or that book I downloaded on the Kindle three weeks ago. When they say soak it all in, it feels cliché. How can you, even. But it’s quiet now and it’s calm now and it’s a season, and I’m in it.

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