Here’s a list of random things:
1. We went skiing last weekend with friends. We waited up at the summit for this back bowl section to open. We hiked up a ridge and at the top looked down into at least ankle deep untouched powder. It was like floating. On a cloud. Over a mountain. At the bottom, there we were, surrounded by these peaks, blue sky, white snow. Skiing’s always fun, but when you get those moments of euphoria, you’re like. Yes. This is why people are so bananas over this sport.
We made fondue and drank way too much wine. We tried to make Dan sing Journey.
In the morning, James woke up at 6 and I read to him quietly in bed while Dan snoozed next to us (apparently, there had been some whisky at some point). James reached over and started pawing Dan’s cheek. “Give him a kiss, James” I said. And James leaned over and kissed his daddy’s cheek. Dan grinned with his eyes closed. James did it again and again and again. It was the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen.
2. I know why we all thought our moms were crazy: because motherhood makes you cray cray. I behave in the role of mother as I never have in any aspect of my previous life: paranoid, neurotic, anxious, irrational, (not to mention, usually un-showered – why would I spend precious nap time showering when I could be writing here and googling things? You really want to know what mat leave looks like? I’m not usually one for selfies, but here you go you lucky ducks:)
Sometimes I can see that Dan looks at me and thinks: Who is that and where did my well-groomed, laid-back, free-spirited wife go?!
But there’s so much to worry about. Is he getting protein, carbs, healthy fats, eating every fruit and vegetable known to man and every vitamin in the alphabet? Did he sleep for 13.2 hours (or whatever) today? Is he warm enough? Happy enough? Loved enough?
As hard as it all seems sometimes, I also fully understand how basic James’s needs are right now. Food, sleep. Love. It’s all just going to get so much more complex as time goes on (…and so too will my craziness).
I’m sure momma grizzlies were the sweetest live-and-let-live kind of ladies before those cubs came along.
3. My beater jeans have died and it’s devastating. Every person needs this pair of jeans: the ones that are cute enough to make you feel good about yourself, but crappy enough that you won’t feel too bad when holes appear in multiple places – as happened to me this weekend. It’s the sentimental value. I’ve been through some shit (literally) with these jeans.
4. The mother guilt is different than I thought it would be. I’d heard about it, of course. But what I’ve discovered is that it comes even with dropping your kid into someone’s care for an hour or two. It comes with looking at your sweet little baby that you couldn’t love more and thinking: Could you just. Go away. For like, three minutes? Or worse, while they are wailing and your patience starts to run thin, you think: What if I just put you in the crib and went for a little walk? You’d probably be terrified, but ok, right? I feel guilty when I’d rather be running, writing, reading, etc.
The mother guilt comes with wanting to do anything other than mothering.
5. You really get in tune with your neighborhood on mat leave. There’s a lady across the street that sits on her front porch and smokes like all day. No matter the weather. Minus 15 out there, no problem. I always wonder if she looks at me hoisting the stroller down the stairs and wonders about us like we wonder about her. She’s this funny touchstone – every time I’m leaving or arriving or just gazing out the window I look for her.
A house is going up next door. An apartment complex across the street by the park. The workers always give a wave to James.
James and I sit at the window sometimes (in the summer, the stoop) and just watch the cars go by. “What do you see, James?” I ask him. Of course, I know what he sees. But I wonder what he notices. He’s always so content to watch.
4. I’m always looking at James thinking You’re getting so big, baby. It seems like only yesterday he was this frail squalling infant. In the early days, I remember looking at six-month and 12-month clothes and thinking: Preposterous! He’ll never be that big. (I still feel that way about the 18-month clothes we have kicking around.) I keep having to remind myself that in the course of things, James is still very small. A year from now. Five years from now. Ten. I’ll look at the 12-month clothes and think: Wait? Was he really this tiny?
5. He’s such a silly nut these days. Our house has become an obstacle course, with endless nooks to explore and things to pull apart. I know I should stop him sometimes, but he’s just curious. And it makes me laugh. He’s getting so playful, hiding behind things, wanting you to chase him while he crawls, squealing. Sometimes we’ll just look at each other and burst out laughing. He’ll hold up books for you to read to him. He has ideas and opinions. Yesterday, we were looking out the window and he just crawled into my arms and popped his thumb in his mouth.
6. I wish I could bottle the way it is when we put him down. The way he snuggles his blanket and sucks his thumb and rests his head on your shoulder to listen to you sing a made-up lullaby. The way his little hand will sometimes reach for your hand or your cheek or your mouth. His soft, warm cheek against yours while his breath fills your ear and his hair brushes your lips.
Everything falls away.
I’m quite sure we could solve most of the world’s problems if we could all experience this once a day for a few minutes.
This fragile, precious life in your arms.
This most essential thing.