This July marks the end of our first year in Seattle. I’ve spent the better part of a few nights this week putting together a photo album that highlights the past twelve months. I was struck by a few things. One, I take a lot of photos. Two, we are really enjoying Seattle. And three, to quote myself from that first night of picture-sifting: “We do too much shit.”
I knew we were out and about a lot, which was intentional. After spending three years in the ‘burbs, I wanted to enjoy city life again. Kidlet had reached the stage where her attention span and ability to engage in the world made going out together feel like having a little partner in crime. It was important to me that she get used to going outside every day, regardless of the weather. Physically, I was on the mend, so getting around on these two legs was less painful and no longer something I took for granted. And, lastly, I wanted to appreciate Seattle, make the most of it. You never know in this life when you may have to relocate or when circumstances might change in such a waythat you no longer have the time, means, or physical ability to do these kinds of things.
So my photo book is 67 pages. It was an important year for us; it feels like the time we really began to operate as a family of three. Kidlet is more and more her own person, learning to express her preferences and getting to know our neighborhood and recognize her favorite parts of it: the library, the ice cream shop, the boats. Now, when we go out for a walk, she sometimes says, “I want to go this way,” which annoyed me until I realized how often I’ll tell Hubster, “Let’s go this way,” when we’re out together. She’ll be three in October, and I would say both Hubster and I agree that our family isn’t the two of us plus one, but the three of us, all giving and taking at turns.
Kidlet is less cognizant of our needs, of course, but she will learn. I’m learning how to express my needs in plainspoken terms. I’m learning that when I’m tired and she wants to do something for the 50th time, it’s okay to say, “I don’t want to do that anymore. I’m tired” instead of telling her she’s being annoying or “Enough!” And she is learning to do the same. She’s finally taken to saying, “I want food,” or “I want more food,” instead of whining or suddenly shouting “AAAAAH!” She’s learning to empathize in more complex ways. Today, for example, I feel very under the weather and after fulfilling a variety of her food requests in a short timespan, I let out a big sigh. She stopped playing with her butterfly wings and looked at me. “You’re making a sad face.” And she made a sad face. I said, “Yes, I’m feeling a little sad. I’m going to put this food here on the table and you can eat it. I’m going in my room.” She didn’t say anythingwhen I left, but 20 minutes later she came in and gave me a hug. “You making a sad face. You making a cry face?”
So, we are figuring out how to be a family together here in this city. This has been a good year, very necessary. This coming year I look forward to turning inward more, settling in to the things we’ve decided we like best. We’ll spend more time at home, and do fewer new things. We’ll still explore, and take our daily walks, but the sense of busyness isn’t there. The city isn’t going anywhere, and hopefully we aren’t either.
(photo of me and Kidlet in July 2010 - we were constantly on the go)
Inara’s First Trip to the Movies
In the seat next to mine
is your little stuffed pig
his grubby snout pink and happy,
Daddy’s dot paper notebook
that records the precise coordinates of the notes he takes
with his digital, audio pen,
and one kernel of unbuttered popcorn.
(For more on National Small Stone Month, visit the blog, a river of stones.)
It’s been my tradition for some time now to start my New Year’s morning off with this reading by Nietzsche, from Book 4 of The Gay Science:
I still live, I still think: I still have to life, for I still have to think. Sum, ergo cogito: cogito, ergo sum. Today everybody permits himself the expression of his wish and his dearest thought; hence I too, shall say what it is that I wish from myself today, and what was the first thought to run across my heart this year - what thought shall be for me the reason, warranty, and sweetness of my life henceforth. I want to learn more and more to see as beautiful what is necessary in things; then I shall be one of those who make things beautiful. Amor fati: let that be my love henceforth! I do not want to wage war against what is ugly. I do not want to accuse; I do not even want to accuse those who accuse. Looking away shall be my only negation. And all in all and on the whole: some day I wish to be only a Yes-sayer.
This year I’ve picked up my husband’s family’s tradition of having the first meal of the year be mochi. Eating mochi is for good luck! This is the first year since we’ve been together that he won’t be spending New Year’s Day with his family, so I wanted to make sure he gets his mochi.
As usual, my primary “resolution” for the year is to “learn more and more to see as beautiful what is necessary in things.” Beyond that I want to read more books, and continue with my efforts to become an incrementalist - breaking daunting projects down into non-daunting steps and taking them, one at a time, until the work is complete. Best wishes for the New Year for you!