Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Year

The dawning of the new year and new decade have me feeling introspective. My acute awareness of freshness glints and reflects off all the new moments of 2011. As I feel the pulses of the new year, I realize that each and every moment in life hold the same promise and power as the arrival of a new year.

I must admit that this epiphany feels a bit obvious, elementary. I even feel a bit silly sharing this non-profound insight. I mean, last year, I wrote and wrote and wrote myself hoarse about the beautiful power of Now. And that I finally embraced the beauty of living in this moment--and showed up in each one--instead of living in passed moments or those that have yet to come. Because, not surprisingly, in living that way, I missed moments that I wish I could now reach back and soak up.

Anyway, as with all lessons and epiphanies, another iteration and layer of this evolving knowledge awaited me. I don't need a new year, a new month, a new decade on the calendar page to infuse me with an appreciation of the possibility that exists all the time. Yes, of course, calibrating with the pomp and circumstance of a new year certainly helps.

But. Now, I sit with this newfound knowledge--each moment holds freshness and possibility--all year long.

***
Yesterday I stood in the checkout line at Marshalls. And a woman stood in line behind me with the tiniest baby all snug in her car seat, coozily nestled in her stroller. The mom looked down at her baby and smiled--you know the smile. The one where all else ceases to exist and the hearts and souls of that mother and baby twine together, satiated in love and togetherness. I love you. I adore you. You are my world.

I remember some of these moments with Abby, and even fewer with Henry. Yet sadly, there are many more that I don't. That phase of my life, those nows, have passed. Now I'm at Marshalls, by myself. Just me, my purchases and my purse. I love these moments by myself (and looked forward to them for a looooong time) and yet...I'm longingly staring at this new mother behind me, craving my own tiny baby to share a smile with. In unsuspecting moments, like this one, the realization slaps me--my children are no longer babies. Hubby and I will not have any more babies. No more pregnancy tests, nursing, rocking, awake-all-night, mustard-seed poop diapers, binkies, tiny onesies and heavenly baby smell. I've graduated to solo-trips to Marhshalls, independence, 8 hours a night and a new set of joys and challenges I never could've imagined.

What I do know is this: now that I'm living presently, I savor the moments of youngness with my children. I notice, peripherally, the mother of teenagers smiling longingly back at me when I'm walking through the parking lot, tightly holding both of my kids' hands. The teenagers of that other mother walk ahead, heads lowered as they engage their iPhones, Northface fleeces pulled low over their quickly moving fingers. I turn back to the blond heads of my children. And smile down at Abby. Then at Henry. You know the smile.

Sigh.

I embrace the moments of our current reality. Nighttime spooning with Abby. Henry's silky hand in mine as we walk up the walk to his preschool. The complete and utter chaos of mornings. The gentle, steady beat of their voices--needing me, calling for me. Those moments are numbered. One day, they won't call out for my help. They'll send secret teenage-smoke signals that I'll need several books (and bottles of wine) to decipher.

So, we move forward, marching along into this Now, and the next, and the next. Goodbye babyhood and toddlerhood. A bittersweet lump forms in my throat, tangled with emotion. Bitter because I realize with the passing of each, we will never return to the splendor of those moments again. Sweet because many other unknowns await. Bruised ego moments. Holding hands moments. Even the crabby bitch moments (Abby and Henry can confirm). ALL of them. Even when I'm redirecting and reprimanding Henry, AGAIN. Pissed off moments. Blah, joyous, sad, soaring, slammed-doors moments. Toy-story reenactment moments. Mitigating. Celebrating. Living. Holding tight, fingers and souls twined together.

Now.

Happy Hew Year. Happy New Now.

4 comments:

Christine said...

What canI say, reading this made me cry. My youngest is turning into a little boy at the ripe old age of 2, and because of it I can't give up the desire for another. I can't leave the season of babies behind, somehow the movement seems too profound. Just like you described so beautifully here.

Aidan Donnelley Rowley @ Ivy League Insecurities said...

Beautiful. Laced with hard and gorgeous truths. It is so true that Now is ever-changing and will in some sense always elude us because it must. Time ticks on. Change happens. We can't stay the same. Nor can they. How to embrace the evolution? The new string of Nows? I don't know. I don't pretend to. Wonderful post.

ayala said...

Beautiful post! Time marches on as we try to capture the moments. My son turned 10 in December and my older son is turning 25 this month,so I really feel gratitude in my heart and yet I long for time to go slower. I miss when they were small and life was simpler in so many ways.

Cynthia said...

Wow! I am right there with you, Denise! The whole second half of this post is what I have been struggling with this whole school year...my last year of having a child still at home during the day, longing for a new baby to take his place, recognizing all those moments that will never come again, and trying so hard to soak in all those "little kid" moments that are left - the soft, small hand in mine, the cute utterances that pop out of his little mouth, the neck hugs, and everything else that, right now, I still get to experience on a daily basis. Because any one of them could be the last.