I've been wanting to go back and read some old blog posts from this time last year, and today I finally remembered to do this at a moment when I also had the time- those two things do not always coincide, lately. I found this:
December 23rd, 2012
Our Christmas this year is still going to be modest and we are not able to travel up to Indiana as we usually have.
We did, however, buy something for Baby- the crib mattress. Keith jammed it up into our cart and then we looked at each other.
"For Baby!" I exclaimed happily. "Whoever and wherever he or she is!"
"Whoever," Keith repeated, smiling.
When I got home, I put away the groceries and then dressed the crib with Winnie the Pooh sheets and bumper pads. The nursery looks much more cozy now. I can imagine a tiny, wrinkled new born lying on those sheets, wearing footed pajamas and looking around with jerky movements and wide eyes.
We are going to take one month to try and do some repairs to our battered finances and then we will take out the loan in February and go active at the adoption agency.
This Christmas has been rough. I always feel as if I am scavenging through all the emotional clutter to get at something meaningful, some small piece of joy or hope or wonder that is left under the pressing anxiety of expectations.
I was cleaning out my bedside drawers recently- looking for something which I did not find- and I came across this scrap of paper on which I had written all the anxieties that had been pressing down on me at that time.
It was a long list and the funny thing was, I couldn't remember a single one of them. None of them mattered, in the long run. All of them were resolved.
All I could remember was how oppressed I had been by them at the time.
I've brought that scrap of paper to mind many times in the last few weeks. I don't know how or when, but I know that everything that feels heavy and impossible, everything looming over me right now, will be resolved and pass away.
As usual, I try always to wake up in the present moment; to be alive here and now, no matter how much I would like to escape into a rosy vision of what the future might hold, no matter how tightly I feel myself to be tied to the past.
Right now, for example, I hear the quiet clatter of the dryer and the whir of the heater, as it fights off the chill of this gray morning.
Keith's sneakers are tumbled at the floor beside my desk and my glasses rest on top of a Christmas card sent from my parents.
The Christmas lights twinkle in a haze of red, orange, green and blue; their reflections shine diffused and soft in the wood floor below.
Lynn sits at the window next to me, intent on some mysterious and pressing matter that only she knows about- a rabbit, maybe.
Right now, I feel worn out, inside and out. And that is okay. Even the landscape around me is resting now, bedded down deep and sleeping in the short days.
After the quietness, a different season will be coming. Right now there is only the promise of it, a light in the dark.
I can't help contrasting my life then to this year's Christmas. This year, I'm having to write with one eye on the baby monitor. There is no such thing as free time. If I chose to do one thing, it will cost me another.
I have a new desk, one scavenged from the curb outside Keith's office at work, where it had been left for the garbage truck. It must have been used as a concierge desk. It's very large and only slightly battered and set in what should be the formal dining room in the new house. My windows look out into the neighbor's siding, but they are large windows and they do let in a lot of light.
Beside me is the pack and play with the mobile above it in bright colors, diaper clothes and flannel blankets draped over the edge. Pushed up to the bookcase is a disintegrating cardboard box with unused Christmas decorations still partially unwrapped.
It's sunny and cold, the floors are scattered with bits of dry grass that the dogs bring in with them on a daily basis. Upstairs, laundry lies neatly on the bed, folded but heavily wrinkled from its long wait time in the dryer. I have to decide what's for dinner soon, because whatever it will be, it must come out of the freezer to de-thaw.
Yesterday during out weekly team Indiana, let's get in there, get what we need and get out again shopping trips, Keith and I bought a prime rib roast, to try it out as a Christmas meal tradition. Now I am terrified of ruining this ridiculously expensive cut of meat that I have never before cooked. It's lurking in the freezer as I type.
We are heading up to Indiana the day after Christmas and I'm kind of dreading the drive. Meri doesn't do well even on short trips. We'll probably end up driving through the night, in the hopes that she'll sleep. We still haven't decided what to do with the dogs.
Meri turns four months old tomorrow. She has that adorable bare patch on the back of her head from sleeping and every time I see it, or the way strands of her fine hair lift up from the crown of her round baby head, my heart melts.
She is determined to move and interested in talking. When I speak, she focuses on my mouth intently before breaking into a delighted, toothless smile and shyly whispering, "Huu!"
If she is happy, her whole self is happy. She kicks with happiness, arches with happiness, glows with it. She is rarely unhappy, but when she is, it is as though the world is coming to an end, right now, immediately and we must all run and yell for our very lives.
She likes to be up- sitting up, standing up, held up. If Keith or I support most of her weight, she will eagerly walk across the couch or floor or table, lifting her feet high and placing them down in a determined way. She wants to be on the go.
She has learned how to put herself to sleep, and will fuss if I hold her too long. Now I kiss her ("How many kisses a day to you get?" Keith asks her tenderly, from time to time. Nobody knows for sure, but we estimate in the hundreds) and lay her down, and she will remain there, cooing and murmuring until she falls asleep.
At night, she sleeps straight from six in the evening to six thirty in the morning. Though this has been happening for a while, I have yet to take it for granted, because I can still remember just how terrible it was before.
I wake up lately with this sense of freedom from dread- there is nothing more to be anxious about, the adoption is finished, complete, done. For three years, there was always something weighing down on me and it simply got more and more intense as the journey continued.
Now there are no more papers, appointments, meetings, phone calls, financial worries, unknowns, forms or deadlines- nothing. I can simply love and help and guide this delightful little person as she grows because she is my daughter.
There is just every day life, with each thing meaning more to me. I feel as if I am returning to myself, but softer, with more of the sharp edges worn off.