Monday, January 4, 2010



I'm not depressed.

But it's almost January, and the excitement of chilly weather and snow has worn thin, and the tedium of gray days and cold has set in. Plus our heater broke and the inversion that happens in the valley where we live has caused a particularly bad spell of polluted air, and my lungs are burning.

I've been feeling glum. Christmas is over and Trav is back to work, and I am moving slowly.

And my house is messy.

And I've gotten fatter during the holidays.

And Avery is getting her last two teeth.

So I walk around the house a lot, not actually getting anything done. Just moving from chair to chair. Feeling achy. Waiting.

Waiting for the day to be over. For Trav to come home. For something to give me a boost. For Avery to stop screaming at me.

And I sit and watch her from the couch. She is getting into things. Making messes, but I am too tired to care. If it entertains her for a minute then its fine. I'll clean it up later. She empties the contents of a drawer and dumps all the straws on the ground for the millionth time, and I wonder why I never move them, or at least most of them so she can only have a few to play with?

And then I watch her as she pushes a chair up to the counter, purposefully. Her little lips pursed in concentration. She lays her body across the seat, grabbing hold of the bars sliding herself closer so she can get her feet in the rungs and maneuver a knee on the seat. First one leg, and then the next till she is standing at the counter now. The fruit bowl is in her sight. She reaches, fingertips outstretched, dangerously spanning the gap in space. She slowly scoots the fruit bowl nearer. And plucks up a juicy ripe pear.

"A Pow!"

She's proud.

So she plops down on her chair and laughs and nods her head as she samples her prize.

And I am a little awed. Of her. Has she just done all of this by herself? Is this magical little being really my baby girl?

Her accomplishment of helping herself, and finding enjoyment and nourishment in her delicious fruit gives me a certain sense of accomplishment as well.

And I feel better.

She puts the pear down on the table, satisfied with her progress there, and scoots off the chair. On to other messes now. And I realize that her hands are sticky and she's coming towards me, towards the couch,


"Yes baby?" And I wonder if its odd that I still call her that, since she is certainly not a baby anymore, and that thought makes my heart pang.


And she doesn't really have a question for me, but just likes to call to me and make sure I'm still there. Still listening.

I am.

And I scoop her up, sticky hands and face, and she holds a finger out to me.

"Uh oh!", because its covered in pear mush.

So I lick some off, which makes her laugh hysterically as we lug up the stairs. "Again," she says. She is speaking so much these days. "Again!"

And so I do it again. And her laughter perks me up. And I hug her sticky little self.

And I feel better.

So we head to the tub, which is always the place to settle when the day has made us too tired, or bored, or messy. Its a break. Its time together. Its where we find ourselves most evenings.

Its almost New Year's Eve. 2010. Can that be? And I think about ten years ago...on New Year's Eve.

We went out to dinner as a family at a fancy french restaurant. My parents used to take us to do things like that. It rained so hard that night that the whole downtown Ashland flooded the next day. Including the restaurant were we ate. And I had a snail that night. I didn't really want to, but my brother and sister urged me on, so I ate it. But I didn't chew. I just swallowed the whole garlicy buttered thing. I am always kind of the least adventurous. Which is not how I think of myself, but its the truth if I am honest.

So much has changed these past ten years. Some hard things happened in our family. A lot of wonderful things too.

Which is how life works I guess.

Avery is standing close to me. She is drawing on my face with purple bath crayon, saying "makeup", and "pretty", and she smiles the most beaming toothy grin. And I give her a kiss because I can't help it. She pets my hair and puts her hands on either side of my face and looks right into my eyes. And though I'm her mom, and she's my baby, I can't help but feel that hers is an old soul, and that she knows my heart, and that she is my friend. And she stands on my leg and presses her warm little cheek on my cheek and hugs my neck and stays there for a long time.


"Yes baby."


And I feel good.

And so very glad that this life is ours.
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