What makes life really matter? Over the holidays I read a book that addressed this question in a beautiful, heartbreaking way: I gulped down When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi in one night and one morning: I can't remember the last time a book gripped me so fiercely, or stayed with me so indelibly.
This month I’ve been taking part in Susannah Conway's August Break photography project — a photo a day for the month of August, and sharing them with the community. The photo prompts have been a lovely reminder to pay attention and be present in the moment.
Happy New Year, friends! I've been doing a lot of thinking recently about how I would like this blog to feel, what I hope to get out of it, as well as what I hope you will draw from it. After lots of brainstorming, I think I've hit upon a few fun features to try out in the year ahead, including a regular podcast, drop-ins with creative people at home and in the studio, and some seasonal craft projects. To kick things off, today I would like to introduce what I hope will the the first in a semi-regular series pairing black and white photographs with musings on motherhood and family life.
Growing up, I was always fascinated by black & white photography - there is something otherworldly about seeing everyday life represented in black and white, don't you think? It's timeless, but somehow that also makes it feel more mysterious. As a parent, the days are long but the years are short, and I find myself grasping for a way to hit the pause button; to make some of the small moments of life more indelible. If you feel inspired, please feel free to respond with a comment below, or with a link to your own photo or blog post. :-) So without further ado, here is the first installment of Motherhood in Black & White...
These days, I keep expecting to feel a frost in the air, to see the first swirling flakes, but they won't come. By now back in Rhode Island, we'd be hunkering down for winter: digging out the woolen mittens and long johns, snow shovel and sled; trading emails with mom friends about winter activity ideas to keep us from going bonkers. It's not that I miss freezing winds, or scraping ice off the windshield each morning - I mean, let's get real: yesterday we hiked in a eucalyptus and oak forest, and today we biked along the beach, in January! It is awesome to be out of the path of Winter-with-a-capital-W. But this past year has been such an upheaval for us here that I also can't help but miss our life in Providence, nor'easters and all. I find myself reaching for our favorite chocolate chip granola bar recipe when nostalgia strikes. The scent of toasting oats and honey calls up our old house, the hissing radiators, the view from the kitchen window of our 'girls' in their snow-covered coop in the backyard, and the afternoons when Bix was a toddler and he first learned the joys of scooping and stirring, and tasting (and tasting some more).
These days I am keenly aware of my little guy on the cusp of something: he seems so much more mature since our big move (to Santa he said, "You know, I'm not so easy to fool" ... Oh, we know!) but at the same time, so sweet and small and vulnerable. This little man that loves soft pajamas, bedtime cuddles, beaches, climbing trees, Pokemon battles, robots, treasure rocks, microscopes, hiking, and buttered noodles. This little man who has been through so much this year: a broken arm, surgery, saying goodbye to our elderly kitty, moving thousands of miles away from the only home he knew, starting Kindergarten... To be honest, my heart breaks when I think of it, but at the same time I am so very proud and amazed at his resiliency.
These days I'm reminding myself to appreciate him as he is right now: my messy, impatient, demanding, curious, risk-taking, smart-as-a-whip cuddle bug. The pull of screens and work can be hard to resist, but I am reminding myself it's the little things and small moments that often make the biggest difference, and those are not so hard to give: a few extra minutes in the morning to play; just one more chapter of Frank Einstein and the BrainTurbo at bedtime; a pause on the way home to hunt for bugs; saying yes to that third bike ride (or twentieth robot battle) of the day.
The days are long, but the years are short. I hope to make these days count.