Somewhere, as I was shuttling between sleep and wakefulness, the year came to a close. It is cold tonight; there is frost in the garden and the chickens are huddled against each other in a warm sleeping mass of black and cream feathers at the back of their coop. The kitchen window is covered in steam. My (amazing) husband is gathering the dinner dishes, and my daughter is sleeping quietly.
Periodically, I find myself stopping to realize that this is my life, and wondering how it happened. New Year’s Eve used to be an excuse for sexy new dresses, red lipstick, one too many cocktails, and dancing for hours on end to live bands. These days, New Year’s Eve is an excuse for a nice dinner at home, a fire in the fireplace, a glass of champagne, and dancing in the living room.
Is this my life?
Inexplicably, irrevocably, YES.
Exactly one week ago, we brought our daughter home from the hospital. I find it amazing that I can have so much love and pride for this tiny creature. The last seven days have been a frenetic blur of diapers, songs, feeding, laughter, and sobs (from all of us). She is beautiful, strong, calm (mostly) and very, very willful. It is as though she is a mirror of me, in my husband’s skin. I am awestruck every day.
Not only am I amazed by her, but by my husband as well. His strength and gentleness, always present in his quiet, concerned way, is amplified. She and I have been wrapped in his caring and warmth. I never believed that I could love anyone as much as he, but now as I hold my daughter, I realize that love is infinitely divisible. I have heard the saying before that only parents realize you can multiply love by dividing, and I believe that is so. When she came into my world, Spoon not only took a fierce helping of love for herself, she allowed me to love him even more — something I never thought possible. I am so excited for our little family as we have made our way through this first week. I am awash in bliss.
I am looking forward to the next year. Running again, including a race the three of us are planning to run together, Audrey’s first words, harvesting huckleberries with my sister and her family, backpacking trips in the summer, homemade bread, book swaps, a ski trip, perhaps a few afternoons in my kayak, folding myself back into the river and the earth. There will be Thanksgiving, Samhain, and Yule gatherings, a visit to Arizona to introduce the baby to her great-grandfather, sewing projects, donation gardens, and christmas lights at the zoo.
This is my resolution for this year.
Is this really my life?