Sunday, December 19, 2010

Out of the Cacophonous World Symphony, A Melody Emerges

Geez. A month between posts. This is my longest hiatus since I started this thing. And I don’t even have a good excuse. I feel rusty, disconnected and a little lame.

The simple reason is my routine has shifted, and when my routine shifts as significantly as it has recently, it takes a while to figure out how all of my life parts fit in. The girls and I have stayed up in Massachusetts since Thanksgiving, with only one week back in NYC. Nicole comes up on the weekends, or longer, if she can. She comes back this Wednesday, and will then be here for the rest of the year.

Up here, seemingly out of the blue, the girls and I suddenly and serendipitously found a rhythm. It’s like we jumped into a fast game of double-dutch with both feet. I discovered an amazing parent’s group that meets every morning for two hours. The girls and I go there, and I get drink coffee and make mom friends while the girls start flexing their social muscles and playing. Then, we go to the library to pick out books and DVDs and color pictures at the crafts table. We take mini hikes in the woods or play outside in the yard, collecting rocks or sticks or leaves or whatever Madeline deems collection worthy. Even going to the mailbox is an adventure. I take them to the food store and shopping, two tasks that are much easier here than in the city. We pop popcorn and watch movies and take long bubbles baths. And at night, I read them two books, tuck in one (Maddie) and uncover the other (Avery), and kiss them both goodnight and then I relax on the couch, reading books luxuriously like I haven’t a care in the world or catching up on TV shows (Dexter, Nurse Jackie, Good Wife) that I have missed over the past two years of our TV-less life. It’s all very good. Except for that Nicole-in-NYC-thing. It’s hard on the girls and it’s hard on me, and it’s hard on her. After this season, we will need to find a better balance.

And now we are distracted by holiday madness. Last Monday I spent a lovely evening wrapping presents and drinking egg nog and feeling the spirit of consumerism I mean Christmas all around. It was all good, and I was merry indeed. The very next day I inconveniently became sick. I developed a dry, hacking cough, which turned into a rattle, then a wheeze, then back to a hacking cough, with low fevers sprinkled in here and there. I tried to carry on with the play group and the girls’ busy social agenda, but I think that in the long run prolonged my illness. Only now, on Sunday, a week later, am I staring to feel like I am turning the corner. Thank goodness, because there is less than a week till Christmas and there quite a few loose ends to tie up.

There’s a lot to look forward to this week. Nicole comes up Wednesday, which makes all of us happy. There will be lots of holiday baking. I can’t wait for our Christmas Eve fondue. And to make cookies for Santa with Avery and Madeline. And to for our annual screening of Love, Actually. And to see the looks on the girls’ faces when they wake up Christmas morning and see that Santa visited. This is it, the beginning of the wonder of childhood, unfolding before my very eyes. The magic reel that plays until it is replaced with the jaded version. How many years do we get until they stop believing? I want to appreciate and enjoy this while it lasts.

I also need to figure out which smoke detector is chirping in this house. It is driving me crazy!

Pictured above, Madeline meets a sure-to-be very important player of her childhood memory bank. And, while I was watching TV, Nicole was spending her evenings with Arianna Huffington. Yes, I am jealous! Very jealous!