I am drinking a mimosa & eating waffles with my hands (no syrup). The guests have left. Our newly-minted two-year-old is napping. And father & son are cleaning the latest Lego disaster in the basement.
“Baby” M is two. We had a very small brunch party to celebrate her birthday. (Hence the waffles & mimosas…)
It was too hot to bake & we don’t have air conditioning in the kitchen, so I made a chia seed pudding & we cut up an obscene amount of fruit & called it a birthday party. (I stuck M’s two birthday candles in blueberries, which I thought was terribly clever but was actually just completely ineffective.)
M’s grandparents respected my no-pink request & M also got a much coveted pink baby-doll stroller from her auntie & uncle (to whom I made no such request). The balance worked perfectly & M is very happy. Oh & her grandpa bought her a ton of balloons, which blew her mind.
Life is fun & slow with a two-year-old. I had forgotten that. She is a scientist, observing & figuring out how her world works. Through experimentation, she is discovering her preferences & inclinations & abilities.
Today she realized, as we sang “Happy Birthday” & said her name, that she is loved by her tribe.
But she also needs me. A lot.
She does love her family & friends. I plan to exploit this love for others (& her newly-developing, though cautious, independence) to take better care of myself (& my vegetable/herb garden) in the coming year. (And she can help with the garden care… as long as she stops picking green tomatoes…)
I also remember that the year of two is really when my babies stop being babies. There is now no denying the changes going on, the little child emerging from all of that delicious baby chubby-ness.
I have to respect that process, which takes constant reminders to myself. Reminders that my old tactics may not work. Reminders that her memory is stretching backward even as races forward. Reminders that new activities & challenges, gently introduced. And reminders that I need to gamify our tough moments.
Right around the 2 1/2-year mark with my son, I started to do more, like read books & make homemade kombucha, even while I was clerking for a federal judge.
Sometimes I recall those times & wonder who that person was. But then I remember starting a new job. And then the heartache & depression that came with pregnancy losses. Then the intensity of infancy with M And I try to cut myself some slack.
My inertia is just starting to come back.
And that’s okay. I’m realizing that there is truth to the old wisdom about the seasons of life. Life is not a linear journey & I can respect the place I am in now. I can do a lot but I can’t do everything at once.
So, can we all cut ourselves some slack? Hug our babies (even the big babies) & our loved ones & just be? Be gentle with ourselves & with them? And with our neighbors & others? (I struggle with being gentle with myself & others… it’s a work in progress…)
Our energy does not come from nowhere (thanks, high school physics!), so let’s find our sources of energy & recharge. And maybe we’ll have some energy left over to share.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, remember that for better or worse, this season will pass. More literally, this summer will be over in a snap & while summer can be stressful for us parents (what with juggling childcare & camp & actives), breathe & enjoy it. Even if for only one moment.