As I look ahead to 2013, or, to the remaining 361 days of it, I’m a little nervous. This is the first year in a long time where I haven’t been expecting a baby or planning a big vacation, a move, or a coup d’etat. Sure, there might be a show or two, there might be one or two weekend getaways, there might be adventures and surprises. But nothing on the books. The dark maw of the year needs a little lantern light. I don’t know why. I hate how I live for mile markers and landmarks and lighthouses. Why can’t I savor a day of laundry, a day of snacks and time-outs, a day when I wash my hair and go to the dry cleaners and clean up the desktop on my computer? These are sweet, humble, forgettable days that make up most of the whole. These contain jewels I can snatch out of the sand, but don’t. I let them lie there, unpreserved.
With that lamentation behind me, here are a few things on the horizon for us in 2013, in order of importance, or in the order they come to me:
1. Drew starts school. As in, kindergarten. A very long time from now, in the mythical month of August — a month of heat waves and unicorns — that unbelievable moment will unfold: a little backpack-ed boy bouncing up the grand steps towards Lily B. Clayton Elementary School. We will walk there from our house. It will probably be balmy and warm even at 7:30 a.m. Maddie will be in her stroller—or will it be a tricycle? She will be 3 then —and I will, I’m ashamed to admit, try my best to look sporty-cute (not TOO much makeup, but no old sorority t-shirts either). I will get Drew a haircut and new shoes and crisp folders and sharp pencils, and I will make his favorite for lunch that day—TUNA. I will sniffle on the walk home. And then I will do a jig. Then yoga.
2. Potty training Madeline. Is this a landmark beacon of light for 2013? Well, yes and no. It is beautiful because it means shoreline is close, but it’s also scary because it means I must first pass through the gale. Some of you might remember the days of yore when potty training Drew seemed next to impossible, when I would cry as I pulled yet another soiled pair of underpants down his legs, begging him to just please poop in the potty, for all that is holy. Let’s hope Jesus has mercy on me this year. Let’s hope I can banish the last diaper from the house in 2013.
3. Buying a bed. Currently, a swath of packing tape is holding our bed together. I have my eye on this one.
4. Cleaning out the other freezer. There are 3-year-old remnants of an ill-fated Grillmaster’s purchase that I can barely lay eyes on and that must be purged from our property. This is a year behind schedule.
5. Garage Sale. Here are another two words: Bumbo. Nursing pillow.
6. Turning 32. On a walk yesterday, I was actually trying to calculate how old I was because I could not remember. This is a sign of things to come. But when I turn 32, I will remember that it still rounds down to 30.
7. Swimming lessons. This is another given for 2013, except this year I’m going hard-core on Drew and signing him up for the boot camp of swimming lessons in Fort Worth. Up ‘til now, we’ve done a sweet little swimming tutor at the country club—no more! My child needs to be treading water like a Navy Seal and doing a Phelps-y butterfly stroke before another summer passes.
Wow. This list is a little depressing. Mostly hum-drum. Ordinary beyond belief. And yet, after words like “Newtown” have come to bring on a collective cringe, there doesn’t seem to be a holier way to describe my 2013 prospects than “precious,” “dear,” and “sacred.”
If you have Italian getaways, movie premiers, weddings, or even a coronation in your 2013, rejoice! But if all you have are garage sales and freezer purges and biohazard cleanups, take the advice of the late-great SNL star Gilda Radner:
“While we have the gift of life, it seems to me the only tragedy is to allow part of us to die – whether it is our spirit, our creativity or our glorious uniqueness.”
So with all the creativity, uniqueness, and spirit I can muster, and with the blessing of God as his child, I will tackle the hum-drum everydays like a child searching a white beach for treasures. I will forge ahead. I will flourish. I trust those treasures will be there, waiting, just peeking out from the drifts.
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