Being the ritual-loving folks we are, J and I have a lot of traditions for welcoming in a new year, one of which is to write (and keep in an album) our happiest moments from the year we’re finishing, plus a list of the moments we’re grateful to have behind us. Though this is usually my favorite New Year’s Eve task, I found it pretty painful to do this year. To help pull me out of that sadness, then, I thought I might write a different kind of list here.
For about fifteen years, I’ve made love lists. Not all the time, but when I think of it. Just a list – usually twenty items long – of things I adore. The only real rule is that nothing on the list can be a proper noun. So, for example, I couldn’t say “Boston,” but I could say, “walking in big cities.”
Once in awhile, I find an old love list and am struck by both the things that have changed and the things that have stayed the same. For example, a list from a decade ago might say “rare steak.” Though I can still remember the pleasure rare steak once brought me (can still almost taste it), it wouldn’t find its way to a love list written by my long-time vegetarian self. Grey, rainy days, however, always make my list. I can’t imagine a time when they wouldn’t.
Here then – in recognition of the ways this past year has changed me, but also in hopeful optimism about the year to come – is the last love list I’ll write before our son arrives. The last love list of my pre-parenting years.
1. heavy, cotton sheets
2. free-standing bathtubs
3. grey, rainy days
4. old door knobs
7. happy marriages
8. community (in all its incarnations)
9. red wine
10. discovering new novels and rereading old standbys
11. local/ethical food
12. dreaming of parenthood
13. organized spaces
14. the haphazard nature of soup-making
15. city walking
16. photo booths
17. creative parenting
18. stacks of baby blankets
20. warm slippers
Happy brand new year to all of you! May 2012 bring us all much joy and wonderment.