30: Be the conductor
31: Follow the fear
32: Plant the seeds
33: Completion is freedom
34: One thing at a time
35: Bigger follow-through
Oh, what a year. I am tired, and a little sick, so I’ll make it quick. (Ha ha! Like I ever do.)
We have a one-year-old now. She is capable and tenacious and resilient; she loves food (all the food; we’ve yet to give her something she refuses, as long as she’s in control); she dances to almost all music immediately. Sometimes she dances about food.
I feel, vaguely, like I might truly be someone’s mother now; this time last year I wanted to crawl out of my skin and my life and never come back, and I certainly didn’t feel like anyone’s mom. I expected things would be better in a year, and they are. I am still mad, I still feel like I am in the wrong timeline, I am still healing in so many ways, but it takes up a lot less space already.
Very little has been how I expected it. I am still not in the mood to hear about how That’s Just How Parenthood Is!!! But there are the ways that have been delightful, too: our weeks-old baby figuring out how to roll over (but not how to roll back). Learning that her bedtime feistiness was just her saying “please stop trying to help me; I got this.” Understanding that the tiny shifts (the new phonemes, the subtly different movements, the early giggles, the way she eats a blueberry) really truly still do not matter to me when it comes to other children, but I am deeply fond of them in my own child.
That is this twelve-month-old, though. What about me?
I feel like I’m maintaining a reasonable sense of self through this early parenthood stuff. I appreciate working outside of the home (especially now that I technically spend most of my days working outside our house). I joined a women’s work/social space that I fondly call the “business coven;” I worry about the money sometimes, but I like having my own desk away from home, and it’s been a phenomenally supportive space in ways I couldn’t have dreamed of this time last year. Someone there found me a therapist. I’ve done some mentorship of another new mom who’s just returned to work (the Official Guidelines about pumping at work are so prescriptive and unrealistic; no wonder so many folks are like “wow that’s too much work; I’m done”), and so now we’ve got two people who just pump at their desks sometimes. We hired someone from there to come over and help us make our living space into a place we want to hang out in (some of the best money we’ve spent this year). I’ve said things which are insightful enough to make people cry.
I’ve had two new managers, both from within my team, which has been complicated but ultimately positive; I’m really hopeful about my current career prospects (finally!). I still struggle to focus, but I’m not feeling as hopeless or desperate about it.
I don’t feel like I follow through on the things I say I will do nearly as often as I’d like to, which is weighing heavily on me. I like to be right; I like to be trustworthy. I want people to be able to depend on me.
I contemplate mortality in a different way since becoming a parent, which seems as obvious as it seems surprising. I think a lot about the way the world went on for a long time before I was here, and it will (we hope) continue to do so for a long time after I am gone, and there is this strange overlap we get with kids: we share, and then we separate. And all of this will be gone one day, anyway. What do we do to make this time matter? I’ve thought about this my whole life, but it’s always seemed so much darker. I’m finally letting it out of my head a little bit, and it really does let the light in. Time will destroy, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth building.
My 750 Words streak is back up to something absurd. Last year I had almost surpassed my previous record of 1533 days. Today it’s at 1850 (!).
I really did need to get through one day at a time this last year. One day of parenting, one day of existing in my body, one day of work, one day of writing. (I said one thing, eh? Same difference.) I am happy to set my sights a little higher this year.