I’ve had it in my head to “start writing again” for many months now. But it’s always a difficult thing, beginning is, especially after so long an absence.
(I don’t regret that long absence; while my writing fell silent, my life certainly did not, and the last year has been full of good and worthwhile things. And yet, it’s hard work, exercising these muscles that haven’t had use for months.)
I’ve started and stopped and erased. I’ve overthought. I’ve pulled up WordPress and updated plugins and let my fingers hover over the keyboard without writing a word.
But now here we are, the last day of another year. Though this poor blog has been neglected, left alone and quiet for days that lapsed into weeks that lapsed into months, almost with nobody noticing, it seems wrong, somehow, to allow an entire calendar year to pass without a post.
Time to write.
I named this blog “Choosing this Moment” with the not-so-original idea that I want to be present in my real life, to actively choose to see the beauty in the small things that make up my days, to continually and purposefully turn my gaze upward and outward as I walk through each hour, each minute, each second. I want to remember and celebrate the everyday moments.
And so, to warm-up and stretch these long-dormant writing muscles, to get back to the heart of this blog here at the beginning of a new year and a fresh start, some recent small things to remember.
Miles, (who, because I fell out of the habit of writing shortly after he was conceived, is only now making his first appearance on the blog, at 50.5 weeks old), was largely indifferent to the wonder of the holidays.
That said, he did appreciate pie at Thanksgiving, and he loved the box of crumpled wrapping paper he received from my sister.
Which is, of course, all that one might expect from a baby.
Abby, at three, has an active imagination, full of wonder. She encountered Santa Claus this year and, though we don’t typically talk about him much as a family, she took to him as though he was an old friend. She had three opportunities to have her photo taken with him at various holiday events, and she did so with excitement each time.
The first two Santas she met wore glasses, but the third did not. As she was climbing down from his lap, she looked back, concerned. “Mama, where are his glasses? How can he see tonight?”
On Christmas Eve, Jonathan asked her if she thought she might get a present from Santa. She gave him a puzzled look.
“Santa doesn’t do that,” she informed him. “He sits in chairs and takes pictures with people.”
Katie has been asking for a haircut for months and so, the week before Christmas, I finally took her to get one.
She told the stylist she wanted “to look like Mama.”
We butt heads often enough. There are days when she yells and screams at me, when she tells me that she wishes she had a better mom (and, truth be told, when I wish she had a better mom, too).
But I want to remember this, to hold it with the humility and joy it deserves: Right now, more often than not, in ways big and small, my five-year-old still wants to be like me.
On Thanksgiving night, after a day full of feasting and family and fun, we loaded three small, exhausted humans into the car. It had snowed earlier, just a dusting, but it was enough to hide the grime and the gray and to add a hint of silver wonder to the dark. We sang together as a family. Christmas carols, long-anticipated by the girls, at full volume. As we swept through the wide curves of the empty highway, their sweet, slightly-off-key voices blended with ours and it felt like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting: homey, peaceful, perfect.
(Of course, the effect didn’t last: the peace dissolved into tears and tantrums the moment we walked through the door, but for those fifteen minutes in the car, it felt like our own, small, Christmas miracle.)
And this is life, here, now, with three tiny people who call me mom. It is sometimes peaceful, sometimes silent, sometimes picture-perfect – but more often, it is messy and chaotic and crazy. There are tears and yelling, tantrums and anger.
But there is also joy, always there is joy.