Well! It's the new year, and we're back from Christmas Visits 2012--which I'm calling Bonaventure's Great Train Adventure. In the course of 12 days, we took a total of 7 trains, including 2 overnights (we got sleeper cars, but the very smallest sleeper cars, and it turns out that these are very small indeed. They certainly put the "ette" in "roomette").
Bonaventure is now a seasoned traveler; he even brings his own reading material. See:
|On train no. 5|
Oh, and the visits themselves? Yeah, they were good. Bonaventure got loads of toys, but he's not really old enough to appreciate a lot of them, so they'll last us for a while. And it was such fun to share him with our families. One thing that I didn't anticipate enjoying so much about having a baby was how pleasurable it is to entertain other people with him. Okay, most likely I overestimate how entertained these other people really are--I am unabashedly and unashamedly in love with my little pudding--but honestly, we have a surprisingly sociable guy on our hands. He loves smiling at people. Both TM and I have noticed recently how, when we're out in public with him, he'll look at every single person who walks by with this hopeful little smile, and if they smile back at him, he just beams--a full-on Muppet smile, his mouth as wide open as it can get. It astonishes me that anyone can resist him.
(Here he is grinning at my dad, who is, in his opinion, the funniest--or funniest-looking?--person on the planet:)
Today has been one of those relaxed, easy, post-holiday days. Bonaventure napped more than usual; I did a load of laundry, washed out an apron that's been dirty for too long, and baked cookies; TM fixed some good meals, played with B, and worked on his manuscript. I feel so happy to be home. As, it turns out, I usually do. Lately I keep thinking about how lucky I am: I have a snug little house that I love, am married to a wonderful partner whose conversation I adore, get to snuggle the sweetest baby in the world whenever I want, and make enough money to pretty much buy what I want (our incomes actually aren't very good, certainly well below average for our disciplines and status, but our needs are modest and we have no big, looming expenses at the moment); everyone in my family is apparently in quite good health; I have a job that I find sufficiently interesting and meaningful (no job is always interesting and meaningful, right?); and my own habits are largely healthy and orderly.
That last one sounds a little weird, yes, but I'm thinking about new year's resolutions here, and there aren't many habitual actions that I think I need to worry about too much--I mean, I'm sure I could refine things here and there, but I eat well (with enough treats thrown in to keep me happy), floss daily, and certainly do not need to resolve to be more organized or neater or anything like that. In fact, lightening up could be a good idea.
But, seeing as it's new year's day and all, I'm thinking about what I'd like to have more of in my life, and it's this: enjoyment, or presence; actually living through all of the beautiful moments in each day. It's a habit of mind, not a habit of body, that I'd like to change. While I have concrete things that I'd like to accomplish this year (including dramatically revising Stupid Article, applying for a research-related course release, getting Bonaventure to sleep in his damned crib, and maybe trying again to find an agent for my novel), my resolution for the year is to ease up on the need to be productive and accomplish stuff all the time.
Maternity leave has been good practice. Certainly one doesn't need to have a baby to realize this, but one of the things that caring for Bonaventure has taught me is the importance of letting go of the need to Get Things Done every moment of the day. There have been times, especially early in my leave, when I was worn out and frustrated by my inability to Accomplish; but by the end of the semester, I was much more comfortable with the idea of lying in bed for two hours with Bonaventure sleeping against my side, idly reading a few pages of a book now and again, dozing or letting my mind wander the rest of the time, and occasionally bending down to kiss his fuzzy head. Or sometimes when I'm playing with him and I start to get bored, I remember that he won't even be a baby anymore by this time next year, and suddenly my attention is drawn right back into the moment and the pleasure of watching him grow.
That's what I want to keep with me. And not just when it comes to Bonaventure, but in my moments with TM, with friends, even with myself--the other night I wrote in my diary for just a little while longer than usual, letting myself not be in a hurry, but taking the time to describe things at greater length, even moving the pen a little more slowly than usual across the page. It felt good. I spend too much time straining for what's next; I want to bring myself back to what's now.
Oh, and I should work out or whatever more often, too, of course.