It’s that time of year when work quiets down to the point of a gentle ebb and flow rather than its usual breakers pace. This year has been particularly rough for me (and for everyone in my family) and this moment of peace is very welcome. I’m much more inclined to reflect on the year in June – too long spent with students, perhaps – than in January. After all, I’d much rather consider the highs and lows with a gorgeous garden to look over than with a desolate, frozen lawn. Looking down the barrel of June makes it much easier to think hopefully.
This year we’ve been hip deep in loss and sorrow. Too much of both. There is no upside to that, not really, and we’re left with frayed edges and hanging threads. Nothing is neat and tidy or perfectly concluded. I can see this in the small things – dog fur in the corners, sticky spots where RR ran past with god knows what in her hands, cloudiness on the back window where another year has passed without windex. I see this in the personal things – hair left to grow long, clothes too big or too small but nothing just right, dinners cobbled together from cereal and popcorn. It’s all a little overwhelming when taken together. And when I find myself multi-tasking while scrubbing the shower door as conditioner sits on my hair I know the backlog is getting the better of us.
On the other hand, there is so much blooming around us, it’s impossible to keep my head down. Things are sunny. Literally. We’ve had a perfect spring. Seeds have taken in the garden and wildflowers are pushing up. The herb harvests are primed for picking. The rain barrels are brimming, ready to step in when the intermittent sprinkles stop. Our child is springing past babyhood. Her pants are too short. Her smiles are glorious toothy things. Photos are blurry messes because she barely stands still. She runs likes she’s in the Matrix, legs wide, leaping from the pavement, rushing forward without checking her speed. She is frequently scabby.
I can see why baby books are important now, since we’ve only haphazardly collected this year of memories. On the plus side, there’s no line to fill for the mornings where we quietly dress and shower while she babbles in her room, waiting for the right moment to shriek and cackle with glee when we walk past her door. And there’s no picture spot for the moment she started singing to herself in the backseat. But our memories are perfect for that. Also, for collecting the bits of childhood better left forgotten (Butt hurts mama! Yogurt down the shirt at breakfast. Nooooooo shoes, noooooo!) She’ll be two at the end of this month and her timing is perfect. We’re closing out this cloudy, stormy year and bringing in a better one.