On penguins and mountains of laundry

I had this idea, about a month ago, that I needed to get on top of the laundry and cleaning and meal planning and all that stuff I'm not very good at before sitting down to write another blog. And that the first blog following this discipline would be about how important that process had been for me.

Yeah. It was a stupid idea. A month went by, I didn't write anything that wasn't on a deadline for someone else, and you know what? Our apartment is still a disaster. The mess is the mess and it will always be the mess.

I'm letting it go. 

There are mountains of laundry in every room of our apartment. Some of it's clean. Some of it's dirty. To tell you the truth, I can't tell which is which anymore, so it just stays there and is neither worn nor washed. I am currently sitting next to one of the piles, laptop in hand, because the idea that one day it will be "under control" is laughable.

I guess it's fitting to write in the middle of the mess, because this is really just a simple post about where we are right now.

This kid is more than my heart can handle. He is relentlessly stubborn and a little too smooth for someone this small. He is passionately in love with people - ALL people - in a way that exceeds that of any adult I know.

And then there's this guy...

We didn't know what our family was missing until he came along. Like his brother, he is fiery and full of life, yet he is fabulously different in a dozen other ways. I cannot even handle how much older he suddenly seems. The words he's using. The things he understands. My pregnant hormones aren't ready for it.


We're in the process of buying our first house (the other reason I've been absent from all writing that doesn't come with a deadline). After years of living in an apartment, with a 30-month break in there when we lived with my parents, we are about to become homeowners! It's a welcome and needed change, but the transition is laborious...as transitions always are.

I've birthed two babies and stood by sixteen powerful women while they did the same. I see a very literal parallel between transition in labor and transition as a process of life. In labor, transition refers to that last stretch before a mama begins to push and bring her baby earth-side. It's intense, painful, relatively brief and fully necessary.

This current season of transition for our family is all of those things and more. It's bringing that which has been in my peripheral vision out in front; and for a hopeless nostalgic like me, the process is ridiculous. 

I'm more than a little overwhelmed by how aware I become of time during transition. The packing of boxes and putting clothes away that my baby no longer fits in...it's a physical exercise of accepting the end of a season that we loved and are now leaving.

I think the reason I hate transition is that it is the time for saying goodbye. You can't move into a new thing without letting go of something else. It's that space between two worlds, where the excitement of the next step is suspended briefly to allow a mourning for what is being left behind.

That's the next thirty days for me.

With each box I pack, I say goodbye to our life in this apartment. Goodbye to the sounds of our neighbors. Goodbye to the long days we've spent circling this space because the weather kept us from going out and because, let's be honest, small children have a limit on how long they will politely tolerate being dragged through Target.

I went into labor with Parker in this apartment, spending the majority of the hours before his birth walking around this little room. 

When Ian was born, we lived with my parents while we finished school. This was the first place the three of us lived together, on our own.

We've huddled more friends around our tiny living room for meals than many would believe is possible.

BJ called to tell me that my grandfather had died while I sat just feet from where I am right now. We celebrated the news of two babies standing in our bathroom. And we grieved the loss of one, resting within the safety of these walls.

This is the only home Parker has ever known.

I'm ready for the next thing. Believe me, I am SO READY. But I hate saying goodbye, because I know we don't circle back around.

It was easy for time to feel more circular before we had kids. Each year was a new start to try again. But with kids, we all know what a year means. We know how much changes and we can't help but be soberly aware of how different they will be twelve months from now. There's no circling back around with them. These days happen once and then it's off to something new. 

I thought we had packed away all the fleece, onesie pajamas for Ian after his last birthday. Recent low temperatures and an adorable two-for-one set at Target convinced me otherwise. As I watched him zip up his new penguin printed PJ's tonight, running around the apartment telling everyone he was a penguin, I couldn't help but think about the tiny fleece sets he wore as a baby. I could barely breathe acknowledging how much he has grown since then.

And you guys, I am SO aware of this last stretch of time with just these two. I love the moment a new baby joins the family, but I know that it means this time of just us four is coming to a close - and that brings out all sorts of crazy, pregnant woman tears.

So here's to a month (or three) of transition. Weeks of letting go, taking hold and celebrating what has been and what's ahead!