welcome to

It’s a new year.

2012 – year in which we brought home two sons and said goodbye to one – is of the past.

I’m always a big, big New Year’s person (not for partying reasons – I only leave the house for a walk – but for the sense of possibility that comes with a bright, clean year) and this is no exception. It feels like being welcomed into something, but there’s no way of knowing what. It’s like the universe saying welcome to and not finishing its sentence. I like that. Though the sadness of losing Sauly still comes in waves, I’m full of hope about 2013. I have some specific posts planned for the next couple of weeks, but for now, I thought I’d try to orient myself a little by documenting a few things here. A bulleted list, then, in no particular order.

  • We took a trip this last week to visit blog friends. Really, we were running away (the house was so sad after S left), but Yogi’s mama, her wife, Yogi, and Monkey of Love Invents Us welcomed us into their home with generosity and graciousness. It was exactly the kind of spontaneous trip that I’m completely opposed to taking, which is to say that it was absolutely wonderful and totally what we needed. [I think I’m at my best when life forces me just the slightest bit outside of my comfort zone (which it does anytime spontaneity is involved).] Anyway, B found Yogi and Monkey to be delightful. Getting to spend time with other lesbian-led families is always a gift, but these moms are especially thoughtful and caring; we were lucky to have them to run away to. To wit: I came home feeling understood and upheld, and armed with lots of great new parenting ideas. Here’s Yogi teaching Bram all about the world.

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  • We also received the most amazing gift in the mail on the day before we left for our trip: a hand-sewn mei tai for Bram to wear his new baby doll in. Cricket’s mama at Parenting Cricket made B and Cricket matching carriers, and Bram already adores his. Because he’s been eating Rudy’s hair (which means B needs a few more months to develop his parenting skills before he can be trusted), here he is wearing Mortimer the Moose. But truly: how sweet is this mei tai?!? And hair-eating aside, isn’t Bram quite the proud papa? ;)

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  • On the Saul front, there’s no real change, and getting home reminded us of this fact. Grieving a child who is alive and healthy is a strange, diffuse sort of thing. I think it might take me awhile to understand it even enough to write about it. I get J’s anger (expressed in her last post), but my dominant emotion most of the time is confusion. I’m not sure L will offer us any more updates. She seems to feel that she’s been wronged by us in some way. I just miss his face and his sweet baby smell and his oh.so.lightness in my arms. This is my favorite photo of him. It will probably be the last photo we post of his perfect, little self.

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  • J and I have finally decided to start taking regular dates, so that’s a good thing. Our beloved friend Christina watched Bram for our third wedding anniversary a couple of weeks ago – which was our first night-time date since B was born – and we liked it so much we decided to make it a thing. A lovely former student of mine – whose long red hair B is IN LOVE WITH – is going to come once every other week so we can have an early evening out. Our second date will be a SHARE meeting (for pregnancy and infant loss), which we haven’t attended together since B came. It will be good to have a place to share our grief over S.
  • In the not.so.great.news category, though, I didn’t get any job interviews. Feel free to take a moment to ponder two months of writing application materials almost full-time, twenty-five applications, and no interviews. It’s defeating. I should be on my way to Boston right now, but I’m not. It doesn’t feel as doomsy as I thought it might, though. I’m still ABD, and from what I’ve heard, ABDs did not fare well this year (not that they ever fare especially well). I know that the position I applied for at UT Austin got 480 applications. If even 200 of those were PhD-in-hand, ABDs probably had little chance, right? Fordham got 300 applications, and I made it into their top 40. I am holding onto that piece of goodness with the life-grip of a toddler on…well, anything they don’t want to lose. And anyway: I’m thrilled to be staying here another year. I’m beyond thrilled, really; I am elated. This town is home, and I wasn’t ready to leave it. I got an article accepted to a great journal in the time since my applications went out. Gods willing I’ll graduate in June. And I hope to have another publication pending by the next application cycle. I’m as optimistic as can be expected, I think. Still, scholars: feel free to offer encouragement and cheer in the comments of this post. :)
  • Finally, today is J’s first real day back since her maternity leave (which was followed, after one day in the office, by holiday leave), so we’re settling back into a new (old) routine. Bram and I took the bus to a museum with B’s Aunt Madeline this morning, which was super fun. We’re in between two naps and one nap a day, though, which is not super fun. This is made all the worse by J’s return to work, which finds me wearing the boy (after a twenty minute bed nap) in front carry all the way through a nap for the first time in weeks. I often wear him down this way, but I have to transfer him to the bed because he is WAY.TOO.BIG to just sleep like this. We’re both a bit jarred by J’s absence, though, so I’m craning my neck around his head to type. Closeness is just irresistible right now.

 

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12 thoughts on “welcome to

  1. I hope the new year brings continued joy for you, J, and Bram. I’ve been reading your blog for a while, but felt it was time for me to comment. You and J’s strength is astounding to me, and I am glad you have each other.

    Take care,
    Jess

  2. I’m so sorry to hear about the interviews, but I love everything else in this post. You really sound like you, and I’m so glad you had a restful trip with your wonderful family to refresh you all for the New Year. In the wake of such enormous changes over the past few years, I hope another year in your cottage filled with love will bring you all peace and comfort. Happy New Year, dear friend.

  3. your hopefulness for the new year is inspirational, particularly given all that your family has gone through in recent weeks. I cant offer any words of wisdom on the missing/longing front, but I can say — three-cheers for date night!! and it seems like you have good perspective on the job situation. As W sits next to me, (hopefully) putting the finishing touches on her Diss draft – she also has high hopes of graduating in May, but only vague hopes of the elusive tenure-track academic job even after months of applications and and a handful of interviews. The odds (as you said) are bad and (at least in her field) she is competing against full faculty at other institutions. Keeping these factors in mind, its also nice to remember that there are SO MANY other valuable ways that you can continue to do the work you do (professionally and in your family) even if it takes a few years to land the perfect job. She has begun to explore other options, and potentially giving up “the rat race” for a year or two is actually feeling like a blessing for her — and our family. Whatever you make of what comes your way, it will be the *right* move for next year — and then, you can always re-group down the line.

  4. If you made it into the top 40 out of 300 at a school like Fordham as an ABD, that is pretty freakin’ rock star. You are right to cling to that. That, along with PhD in hand and new pubs, will make your year on the market next year vastly different and you have reason to be cautiously optimistic that you will land a tt-gig. Still, the process is ghastly. I’m quite impressed by your resilience and fortitude.

    Hooray for date night–so so necessary. I’m glad you will be making it a regular thing.

    And thanks for sharing the precious photo of S.

  5. Take this time and enjoy it, R. Once you land that tenure track job (which you will), the ever-expanding workload will be heavy. I hope this year brings you all calm, peace, and much much happiness.

  6. Happy new year to you all as well. What a sweet picture of Saul, thank you for sharing with us. I’m sorry to hear about the lack of interview, perhaps that means that something greater is destined to come along to you. Hold faith and peace in your heart.

  7. I’m sorry you didn’t get any interviews. I know how brutal the academic world is. You should be incredibly proud to make it to the top 40 at Fordham.

    Hooray for date nights! We’ve only gone on a few but they’re fabulous. I’m glad you’re taking time together as a couple.

  8. I am so glad that you are finding peace amongst all the chaos. I wish I could tell you what your writing does for me. As my wife and I wait on this seemingly endless list towards adoption, your writing inspires me and gives me hope. Thank you for so bravely sharing your story and allowing all of us to be inspired by your strength.

  9. I think it’s the postpartum hormones taking the lead but your blog keeps leaving me speechless. I cried after I read of your loss of Saul and I am inspired by your bravery in the face of tragedy. Thank you for sharing all of this with us. It’s an honor to read about your journey.

    Searching for academic jobs is the pits. :( Congratulations for the top 40 at Fordham. That is HUGE. I hope that the next application cycle will go your way. Particularly, that you find a position at an institution you love in a community that suits your sweet little family.

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