It's 10:00 pm. The kids are asleep. The hubby is in the basement. All I can hear is the tick of the clock, the shuffling of the cat adjusting in his sleep, and the tip-tip-tap of the keys as I type.
We are halfway through the week. The Christmas countdown is going strong. We are 7 days from the longest night of the year, and 17 days from the end of one of the most emotional years many of us can remember. As one friend put it, it's been a transition year.
And I'm having all of the emotions.
Miles is getting big. Various videos and pictures viewed over the past few days have reminded me just how little he used to be, and by contrast, how utterly grown-up he seems suddenly. He is confident, yet sensitive. Smart, yet distractable. He can make his own breakfast, put together increasingly-difficult puzzles, and even empty the dishwasher and fold his own laundry. Yet, he still crawls into my lap for snuggles and wants me to sit with him until he falls asleep at night. He's 7, and I can see the days of needing mom for every little thing slowly, yet surely, disappearing. He's still an unusually (?) affectionate little boy, but I can't help but wonder how much longer that will last. I just want to curl him up in a ball and hold him in my lap as long as he'll let me. And so I have been. I feel so proud of him. And so happy for all he's learning and accomplishing. And so sad that his little voice has lost its baby-like quality. And relieved that he's grown into a really easy-going kid. He's a joy to be around, and I simultaneously laugh with the delight of it, and cry at the prospect of what is now well and truly gone. His early years were tough, in a lot of ways, but goodness I miss the good parts. (Though, to be entirely fair, I would not go back if I could - I remember all too clearly just how tough those days could be.)
And Sam. My Sam. She never was a baby, not really. She had one year of infancy, during which she was one of the calmest, easiest, happiest babies I've ever met. And then she learned to talk, and became a miniature adult. I often forget that she's only 3. She, too, makes her own breakfast in the mornings, and helps empty the dishwasher, and helps with her laundry. She engages in deep conversation, ever curious, ever wondering, ever asking the next hard questions. And so, it's easy to forget that she's 3. When she has tantrums and moments of defiance, it's easy to get frustrated and expect her to calm herself and be rational more quickly than, probably, she is yet capable of. She speaks like a child twice her age, or more, both in content and in vocabulary, and yet, under it all, she is still a very little girl in a very big world. She makes me giggle with her silliness, sigh at her defiance, and sometimes, cry in frustration with her stubbornness. I feel so proud of the fierce, determined young lady she is. And so guilty over my (unreasonably?) high expectations of her. And grateful for her constant over-the-top displays of affection. She is a beautiful soul, and I am so insanely proud of everything she is. I look forward to her future, to seeing if she, too, mellows with age, or gains the confidence to be even more steadfast in her determination to do things her own way. Given the long line of stubborn, fierce, determined women she comes from, the latter seems most likely. She is going to make me crazy for many years to come, but I look forward to seeing what she does with it all. For now, though, I feel so very lucky to still have the love, the affection, and the silly parts of my wonderful daughter.
In many ways, I am so thankful for this crazy mix of strong emotions. There was a long time after Miles was born when I was completely unable to cry. It is beautiful to be able to cry over everything again. It is beautiful to feel so deeply, when I had become so numb for so long. And I am trying to hold onto that thought: that there is beauty in everything I feel.
There is so much more, but what I'm feeling, more than anything else right now, is tired. Winter has arrived, cold and dreary, with the promise of becoming more so soon. And really, it has only just begun. And there are so many obligations to meet in the next 11 days. And then an abyss of probable anxiety and depression stretching out until March, at least. And I look at it all...
And I am tired.