Onward Bound

Do you smell that?

There’s a hint of victory in the air; ah yes, victory (Roll Tide) mixed with a splash of productivity and a hint of melancholy. It must be January.

I hear lots of people love January. As a self-proclaimed list-maker extraordinaire and lover of productivity and purging, you might think I would, but I missed the fresh-start gene. January is, by far, my least favorite month, because Christmas is gone, it’s grey, and there’s nothing to look forward to.

I’m sorry. I can tell that my cheer is overwhelming you.

Anyway, in a totally out-of-character move, I welcomed the dawn of the new year this year, and not just because 2016 was the year Alan Rickman died (though that did make me cry.) Our 2016 was remarkable–hard but lovely. Joyful but challenging. Probably just as life should be.

The first half was spent preparing: buying little diapers, tying up loose ends at B-Metro, finding Caleb a double-car-seat-friendly car, buying new pants. We grew. And grew. And grew some more. OK, that was just me and Emerson.

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And then, almost smack dab in the middle of the year, around 3:30 in the afternoon, everything changed.

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We embarked on life as a family of four (six! six! Sorry, Scout and Francie) and moved to a new city and waved Caleb off to start a new year of medical school…all in three weeks. It was so much fun!

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It really was. But sometimes–sometimes it was pretty hard. A certain baby I know had a knack for hour-long nursing sessions and a certain now-4-year-old I know had a knack for (understandable) meltdowns and a certain me I know had a knack for forgetting to eat snacks and a certain husband I know had a knack for going to school when he was supposed to and luckily, my sister-in-law is really responsive to her text messages because I needed help.

But, as you do, we survived in a sleep-deprived, love-drunk haze. Eventually, Gabby adjusted to her baby brother and the baby brother started sleeping more. Caleb, of course, Caleb Osborned every rotation. And I adjusted (and am still adjusting) to life as a freelance writer and stay-at-home mom, where the joy is rampant and the pants are yoga.

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Which brings us here. This year, life seems quieter. We have no plans to welcome any babies, make any moves, or even adopt any fish (although we’re aware we’re not fully in control of any of those things, especially fish adoptions.) As January dawns, it feels like our whole house is letting out a sigh of relief: We did it. We made it. Let’s take a nap.

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Still, this is the first year that I’ve felt the urge to make some sort of plan for my time and energy. In years past, either it was a given that I’d get to do the things I love–read, write, leave the unmatched socks in the laundry basket for months at a time–or, like in 2016, all my energy was focused on L-I-V-I-N and that was enough (see: that day in July when I gave 6-week-old Emerson a cookie for the 15-minute-long nap he took.) This year, the challenge is to be intentional with my time and my energy and my gifts and all of those terrific buzzwords people like to throw around in January.

So far, things are going exceedingly well. We ate at Chick-Fil-A today and I’m halfway through my first book of 2017 (not including the three times I’ve already read Green Eggs and Ham.)

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No real resolutions here, except to send my husband funnier text messages and talk on the phone more with my best friend. I’d also like to spend more time petting my cats and figure out the formula for bottling up a 7-month-old’s giggle. And, of course, I want to write more and love better. More patience, less arm-crossing and huffing while I unload the dishwasher. More gentleness and less eye rolling (I’m looking at you, Emerson.) More phone calls and text messages to say hello and less scrolling through Instagram even though I just checked it six minutes ago.

More coffee? Definitely.

Happy 2017, friends. May the force be with you.

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