Happy New Year, All! R and I were just remarking to one another how this might be the “newest” feeling New Year yet. 2013, though it came with great joys and lessons, was a year of heaviness. There was much to assimilate into the narrative, much to process, and much to grieve. Now, we look to 2014 as a year of great mystery and excitement: The birth of our baby Dragon; Bram continuing to explode with new found skills and interests and sweetness; Another year to grow and tend this garden that is our marriage; The vulnerability that is not knowing where we’ll live at the start of the next New Year. It’s all a great wash of anticipation and (not a small amount) of anxiety.
One spectacular way we were able to usher in all of this newness was in taking a family vacation to our friends’ cabin in the mountains for the week between Christmas and New Year’s. We were joined by a dear-to-us family of moms and boys who made the epic trek to meet us in real life (sidenote: Bram is IN LOVE with these “boysies” and continues to ask after them daily since our return). We were also able to see my mom for a day, followed by our dear friend M from Nashville, and then we were joined by our friends who own the cabin for our last day. It was everything you would want in a holiday vacation: Laughter, excellent company, excited children, enough adult hands to make the work so much lighter, and a much needed change in geography and perspective. We returned feeling connected and recharged. Also, someone should call the book of world records, as our almost two year old spent 24 hours of driving time in the car without shedding a single tear. For the record, R cried at least twice, and I cried in the hotel room on the drive back because my back ached so badly. Bram, he just rolled with it all (except for when the older boys drove away without him – then, he sobbed for thirty minutes while asserting, “Bram go too. Boysies come back!” Heartbreaking.)
Our pregnancy with this Dragon baby seems to be moving along smoothly. We’re 27 weeks yesterday. Except for some hip and back pain, I feel great, though I will be happy to be rid of maternity clothes forever after this! Still, I’m glad we have three months to go, as our family of three is in a nice groove right now. It’ll be good to have a little time to rest here before the onslaught of toddler happens again.
I know parents always say that whatever phase their children are in at current is “the best age,” but I have to say that two feels like it’s taking the cake so far. True, he won’t be actually two for another 2.5 weeks, but the constant conversation and curiosity coupled with his still sweet desire for hugs and snuggles has us in such a fun and interactive place. He hears and repeats everything. He adores other children (especially older boys), animals, reading the same books over and over again until he can repeat them from memory, curling up in our bed for the last few hours of every night, and running in delight away from us at full tilt at every available opportunity. In short: all things two. Which is not to say that he doesn’t sometimes also say “no” to our every request of him, or “dead-weightenize” on the floor when we try to change venue, or still attempt to pick the cat up by her fur, but it’s all pretty tame (most of the time) ;-)
Per R’s last post, we still don’t have any clear plans for our move/career changes this year. However, our many hours spent together in the car did elicit a lot of different options. I think at this point that we have a three-prong plan of attack (what is that, a phalanx?). Regardless of where we end up and what we end up doing, I think that we can count on a) selling our house in the late-spring/early-summer, b) having me change full-time jobs over the summer (locally or in a new city), and c) having R teach part-time next year so that she can be home with the boys in a primary at-home parent situation. Obviously, something tenure-track-y could come out of the woodwork in the next few months, so that could alter the last part of that plan, but we’re feeling pretty comfortable with our goals even if it doesn’t. I’ve also been seriously considering the possibility of taking a few nursing classes while working full-time in the next couple of years. If the academic side of things feels right to me, I might pursue labor and delivery nursing. I love being a doula, but I’m not sure how we can meet some of our family goals (i.e., money, benefits, normal time commitments) with me in that line of work. L&D nursing would allow me to engage in a lot of my favorite parts of being a doula and supporting families while allowing for a better paying and predictably scheduled career. It’s just a thought, though, as I may really find peace in the next career step I take and not want to go afield from that. Time will tell.
In all of this unknowing, I feel a renewed sense of optimism, potential, and gratitude. I am so grateful for the many friends and family members who uphold us with love and support. I sincerely hope that 2014 allows for more reciprocity from our end in those many relationships. I am grateful for the consummate partner I have in R, for the endless gift of our children, and for the freedom to really rewrite our map in the coming years.
“And he set off on his walk, taking his big purple crayon with him.” – Harold and the Purple Crayon