Just like that, I woke up a bit merrier. The light shone through my bedroom all the more brighter. And with it all, the list of things I wanted to do with the kids not only seemed doable, they also seemed enjoyable. It may have been the winter solstice, or it may have been some other body insistence and brutal honesty asking me to, “be here. be here. do this.”
I had been waiting for it to hit, that singular moment of all things that are merrier and brighter, and had unfortunately been disatistfied with my soul’s pace. The tree went up. The lights were hung across from one corner of the room to the next. The party went on, and I danced the night away–proven to be a snip of a cure. But it didn’t hit. Not like it always does.
In truth, it may have been the exhaust of the sesaon, trudging along on fumes alone, as we round out the year. But also, it has been the back-end checklist of the decade. The kind of check-list that acknowledges all the thigs I did, do, that exist and that exist no longer. Of course, there is the many that has taken on a different shape, and continues to do so. Considering it all can feel daunting, even when you are trying your best not to.
I’ve learned so many lessons this decade, one of the most important ones was how to be an evolving woman and mother. I learned how to grow humans inside of my body and not, and how to mourn them when the hope of them being one-day babies is no longer. I learned how to grow a relationship, shift one, and how to keep some relation of family beyond everyday personal and structural constraints. I’ve learned how to accept love that asks me to grow and let down my guard for it. The lessons have meant that I have inevitability nearly broken my back to keep things up and intact. Things won’t be the same. I am not. Nothing is. The beauty is in that.
This is where the reality that we are here and in this minute lies. And maybe that’s what finally caught up and allowed the light in. I centered myself in that. Not in the dollars, but in that I just don’t know past these moments. I have the privilege in any given moment, to know how to love and try hard to give and be part of a shifting narrative and large platform. I know how to stick up for what I believe in and let go of what I don’t. I know how to be this woman I am right now. She just is.
This Saturday, River and I put on our fanciest duds, applied purple eye shadow and red lipstick. We put on shiny shoes and matching cross-body purses, and headed uptown to watch The Nutcracker. For the first time in their history, The Nutcracker’s Marie is black. This is our third year going to The Nutcracker, but this year was different, of course. I bought seats with this in mind, ones so River could move up close and see curls and color and recognize herself. And she did. After the show she shared that maybe it was time to switch out of modern dance and go for ballet.
I am not sold that it takes this specific kind of growth to see light. Or that growth alone is often quantifiable. My own desire to document the growing process this past year and decade, has also been about the things we can’t see or truly measure. Tiny moments like a sentiment after a show, or a morning when you feel a small degree of a shift. Or, the bits of mourning in-between that need to seep through the cracks. The joy that arrives some time after or with it, too.
It does not always take money or things, but to let light in we have to be able to see other ways. We have to be engaged in other conversations and experiences. And in those, we have to see ourselves. Just even a sliver will help.