The intervening time between my blogs about New Year reflections seems increasingly short. Time slips away as life with two little people in it gets busier and more wild by the day.
Today, January 3rd, Will is seven months old. The little sprite truly is a ray of light. His facial expressions are an everlasting source of enjoyment as he vacillates between focus, confusion, interest, and joy. When he looks your way and breaks into a smile, his whole face lights up. Even Cody is at times overcome by his cuteness. Just yesterday, Rick told me about how he was driving my car and the boys were in the back and Cody burst out saying “Dad, Will is just SO cute!!” He is a loving soul. We all revel in his cherubic warmth and sweetness.
And on the subject of birthdays, tomorrow Cody turns 3. Somehow to me, this birthday is truly a milestone bringing Cody into childhood in a more full sense. He isn’t a toddler or a baby now. His world is real and changing and the experiences he has each day feel to me like they are making him into the person he will be. Cody is a bright, inquisitive, and creative person who makes observations on life that astound me. His grasp of language impresses me each day, and he soaks in the information around him and is able to spit it back out in new and different contexts. I love hearing how he makes sense of the world. Just yesterday, he told me that he was taking a car to bed to “nuggle” with it, and that would leave another one with me as long as I “was the scarecrow” and would not let Will put it in his mouth. Scarecrow, huh? Sure, bud. I can be the scarecrow for you. He is a caring older brother, keeping me posted on whether Will is hungry, fussy, tired or in need of a diaper change. He loves his little brother and wants to help me care for him – even in a sometimes nagging way. For his third birthday, Cody has requested a sprinkle party. I don’t know exactly what that will be, but it’s planned for next Sunday and I have fun fetti cake and sprinkles in bulk at the ready.
For me, trying to write about the year almost has to be a sampling of vignettes. I don’t have the time or energy to lay them out more fully. So here are some moments that captured 2016 in all it’s intensity and glory:
- Rick, Cody, me and my baby belly hosted about 30 people at our house the morning of the Women’s March last January. Our teeming lot gathered, readied ourselves, and rolled out and on to downtown with donuts, coffee, and protest signs in hand. It was a moment of empowerment and joy in a year of challenge.
- I presented to the Denver Transportation Symposium on the Federal Boulevard outreach program we led, focusing on the School Ambassadors program that won a an APA Colorado Award. It was exciting to present on our work, and hilarious to watch folks try to focus on me despite my giant pregnant belly.
- I unsuccessfully tried for a VBAC for Will’s birth. I didn’t get the birth experience I wanted, but got 85% of the way there and can say with certainty that I had a real and valid shot at a vaginal delivery. I learned that barring some miracle, that’s just not in the cards for me – whether due to the previous scar tissue or just an oddity of my pelvic dimensions. I’m still trying to understand what that means for me and for our future.
- I took 5 months of leave to be with my family. Part of that came before the birth, but most of it came after. It was a huge blessing to have that time and I will never regret the special moments that I was able to share with my kids and the time I was able to spend focusing on them without the distractions of work in the back of my mind.
- Work presented me with a new path – I shifted away from Strategic Communications and back to environmental planning. The shift was a long time in the making, but sadly, was precipitated by a lot of weird stuff that felt bad in the moment, feels bad in retrospect, and which I am still trying to understand in full. I learned some hard lessons about myself, what I want in my coworkers and peers, and my priorities and values in the workplace and beyond. I am happy with my new role and excited about the future. I’m happy I’ve been able to build strong connections in my company that allowed me to smoothly shift out of Strategic Communications when the time came to get out.
- We finished remodeling our house! Our new kitchen, laundry room, and upstairs bathroom are awesome. Many months of dust, drafts, challenging contractor dynamics, and old house challenges finally got us the kitchen of our dreams.
- I’ve truly had a wonderful year with Rick. On a regular basis I look over at him and marvel out loud about the fact that I’m amazed I still like him with all the crap this year has brought us. Still, and more so than ever, he makes me laugh, feel cared for and respected, he listens to me, and he is my partner in this wild ride called parenthood. I can’t say enough about how lucky I am. Plus, I think he’s so handsome. 🙂