For the past 6 weeks our routine has merged from the slow, quite mornings and meandering afternoons to an abrupt alarm at 5 am. My breast pump calling me. I build up a milk supply for day care, eat a quick breakfast, thwack my hairbrush against several stubborn knots and do the “get-ready-for-work” routine. At 6 am, I coax a deeply sleeping 4-year-old from his warm bed so that he can have time to wake up on the living room couch. Jared and I have learned the hard way that he needs this time to himself. Gone are the days of unfolding a floppy 3-year-old from bed and driving him to day care in his pajamas.
Next, I pull a chubby, warm and cozy baby from his crib to change him, half-sleeping, from his pajamas into clothes. I breastfeed him. The 4-year-old lies quietly on the couch, thinking his 4-year-old thoughts, possibly wondering what he did to deserve this. My husband makes the coffee, packs the car, dresses the 4-year-old and we are off.
Our evening routine is less predictable. There are many contingencies, such as when my husband gets home and whether or not Jude takes a nap and whether or not I have it in me to boil a pot of rice for dinner (a rice cooker remains hopefully on my wish list).
And I wish I could say these routines are well underway to feeling normal. I know that thousands and thousands of working parents have made this a part of their everyday life and do so with more ease and grace than I have in my little finger. But truly, most days I just I don’t feel cut out for this kind of thing. Governing the events that need to happen to make everything work feels like what I imagine voluntarily dragging my face against gravel feels like.
. . .
Last week Jared and I decided to make a change to a new day care near my place of work, 30 minutes from our home. This decision was not taken lightly. The fact that this day care will cost significantly more each month weighed heavily against this decision. Especially since my unpaid maternity leave is now affecting my paychecks. And some mornings, because my country-drive commute can be plagued with Midwest winter weather, driving two little people who I love so dearly will be scary.
We made the choice for logistical reasons. And emotional reasons. And I don’t know. Sometimes I think I will look back on this phase of life with a sad feeling. Like it was a hard lesson or some horrible medicine to be swallowed. I hope not. But I wonder.
Over Christmas break Porter came down with a very bad case of hand foot and mouth disease. We did the responsibly thing and cut ourselves off from society for 4 days. Porter gingerly nibbled at vanilla ice cream and carefully itched his soar feet for all 4 of them. And on one of those vanilla ice cream afternoons Porter and I curled up on the couch and looked through photo albums. Our eyes fell onto images of other phases of life. My heart and mind grew nostalgic. Old rental houses in the country. A sweet toddler, blond and unassuming and pulling at grass and opening presents and playing with Legos. Chickens and collecting eggs. Making cakes. A place to bring my son before work where I knew he was cared for, loved and safe.
And now. It is our last day of 2016. This year Porter gained two sweet cousins, a beautiful and perfect brother and lost his great grandma. We bought a house and a car and lost a bumper. And in 2017, deep, dark unknowns hover menacingly before us (I knooow. I am being dramatic… but seriously).
. . .
I know many people who voted for Donald Trump. Many of those people are dear friends or loved family members. And I wish we lived in a world where people could disagree and not feel divided. I wish we could accept our different opinions, maybe even talk about them and hear each other’s side instead of experiencing animosity, defensiveness and anger. But that wouldn’t be very human of us, would it?
When I climb in my car to drive home from work and turn on the news I have to keep myself from screaming. All of the issues I cared so deeply for, all the work our previous president did to pave a better future for the generations to come. Pulverised. Turned into dust and swept under the rug.
And I want to have hope for the future. I want to have hope that everything will be fine. I want to hope that Donald will do a smashing job and completely surprise all the people who are, like me, extremely doubtful of his capabilities. But I don’t want want to hope blindly. So for now, I will continue silently screaming.
. . .
Please forgive the lack of recipes as of late. I have scattered a few photos within the post in leu of a recipe… photos from recipes I intended to share but never managed to.The truth is that these days it is difficult for me to even read a recipe without feeling overwhelmed. Most of what is done in my kitchen is done with haste or out of necessity and usually by Jared. And though it sounds sad, I am comforted by the fact that it is hopefully a phase… one that comes and goes with the fluctuating busyness of life.
May your 2017 be filled with blessings and wonder and hope that is not blind.