I haven’t posted in the last 6 weeks. On an almost daily basis an idea would come to mind. The first few sentences would magically appear. And then? Life would happen. The day would pass. The idea would pass. The blog would sit.
As time marched on and ideas stacked up, I kept noticing how much there was to say – about resigning from my job, my first day away from Henrietta (thanks Grandma and Grandpa!), the terrors of Sandy Hook, spending the holidays in Ohio, the hilarity of taking a road trip with an infant and two dogs, Hetta’s first day at daycare, Mom stepping back into a world of adults. There was so much to say that I couldn’t say anything at all.
Has this happened to you before? There is so much you want to say or do or change or be that you do nothing. When faced with the sheer enormity of possibility, standing still often appeals as the easiest option. “If you can’t do it all,” your internal monologue may run, “why begin?”
But today I remembered the easiest trick to doing great things: Starting. It is in that spirit that I offer the following vignettes today.
This week I celebrated my 32nd birthday in the most glorious way. I made a pie.
For Christmas my parents gave me a beautiful pie dish and my in laws gave me The Pie and Pastry Bible. I was inspired. I started making the chocolate cream pie at around 9am. I measured and organized all the ingredients for the filling into brightly colored prep bowls. I’ve never measured things into prep bowls before, so I can only assume this is a 32 year old kind of habit. I had a premade pie crust in the freezer, but when I read in my Bible that there was a particular kind of crust that was recommended for this particular pie, I thought what the heck. It’s my birthday. I’m 32. Why not?
Well that crust required me to go to the grocery store. And since I was going out, Hetta and I decided to make a detour to meet Colin for lunch. And then we needed to get gas. Hetta had been sleeping peacefully from lunch on, so it only made sense that when she awoke at the grocery store she had a five star meltdown in the produce section. And so I abandoned my full cart and whisked Hetta away to the parking garage where she had a good cuddle, diaper change, and meal. Thankfully the cart was still in the store when we returned! With our shopping completed, we returned home. And then – at 5pm – I started the crust that needed to be cooled before the filling went in. A filling that needed to chill for several hours before serving. Yes, as you may have suspected, we ate that pie pretty darn close to midnight. But seriously. Totally worth it. Happy birthday to me.
Henrietta had her 4-month well check up this week. All is well. She’s still in the 90th percentile for weight (15 lbs 6 ozs), height (25 1/4 in), and head circumference (43 cm). After discussing such pressing issues with the pediatrician as her sleep and bathroom schedule, the doctor departed and the nurse appeared. Vaccination time. At her last appointment I witnessed her first round of shots and it was pretty terrible. That gasping for air. That silence. And you just know that the longer you wait for the scream, the more ferocious it is going to be.
When I heard the horrific news about the massacre in Newtown, CT, I was flabbergasted. Devastated. Mortified. Angry. Sad. A few days later, when the reports of the first funeral began and details about the nature of this little boy’s death filled the radio airwaves, I burst into tears. I was crying for this little boy and his eleven bullet wounds. I was crying for his parents. His family. I poured out tears for this community, still in shock, full of incomprehensible mourning. And I also cried for a very personal reason. It hit me for the first time: I can’t fully protect my baby. What I can do is be present to the joys of everyday parenting. What I can do is help build a positive environment in my own community. What I can do is hold and honor the real suffering that this violence has birthed. There isn’t a simple bandaid solution for how to move forward. Complex problems deserve well thought out, comprehensive solutions. May we see those emerge in the weeks and months ahead.
In the meantime, I happy to report that I am still loving my little girl to the moon and back. This morning, I took the bandaids from her vaccinations off. She is all better.
Auld Lang Syne
Last year a wise woman I have the good fortune of being related to told me that she “didn’t do new years resolutions.” It was New Year’s Day and we were sitting out on the back deck of my in laws house in the sunny, cold, January air. Instead, she told me, she would pick an adjective each year that she wanted to carry with her. Silly 2009. Joyful 2011. I really liked that approach. Especially because it was a stark contrast to my own create-a-monster-list-of-resolutions approach.
This year again I felt the tug to start writing out all of the many things that I’d like to prioritize. I wanted to create a list that would be translated into an excel spreadsheet with timelines and goals and milestones. It would be comprehensive. It would be motivating. It would be a catalyst towards all the many things I wanted to be a part of and work towards in 2013.
And then I remembered the adjective approach. So delightfully simple in comparison. But somehow an adjective eluded me. I just couldn’t land on something that felt right. In the meantime, I stumbled my way into a simple sentence that did work. In 2013, here is my intention: Fear not! (Exclamation point is not optional.)
Happy New Year!