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Halcyon Days

There’s a Greek myth about the
goddess Alcyone who fell in love with a mortal. When he died at
sea, she drowned herself in grief. The gods felt pity for the
couple, transformed them into sea birds, and would calm the seas
every year for a couple of weeks to enable the birds to safely lay
their eggs. Over time, the phrase “halcyon days” came
about to describe the two weeks around the winter solstice that
sailors believed were typified by unusually calm seas; a sort of
calm peace before the storm.

And that’s where we’re living right now: in the calm
peace before the storm. While a part of me tenses in expectation of
all that’s coming our way – my husband’s
continued job search and the possible move that may result from it,
adapting to a newborn in the house and all the sleep deprivation
that comes with her, and oh yes, let’s not forget the joy of
labor – another part of me is physically willing myself to
try to simply dwell in the moment.

I look around and realize we’ve got
a pretty great life right now in many ways. With Brian doing
consulting from home, he’s here for every meal, for
Maddie’s waking and her bedtime. Since I stopped working
I’ve felt myself physically slow down and yet still continue
to get things accomplished. The days have turned warmer and Maddie
spends every possible minute outside wallowing in the weather,
while we follow after her and enjoy the stage she’s at right
now. Sure our future’s uncertain and our child’s
showing every sign of mastering the “terrible twos”,
but we’ve time right now to enjoy being a family as we know
it and that feels pretty great.

I’m also treasuring these last few weeks (days? hours?) with
Madeleine, enjoying our one-on-one time. She’s at such a
great place right now – temper tantrums notwithstanding
– and I never tire of watching her discover something new. I
see the world through her eyes, and it is marvelous. I hear her
language grow at an astonishing rate and I rejoice with her in her
new-found ability to effectively communicate. She’s gorgeous
and bright and talented and blossoming from our combined attention.

All of this will change soon, I know, and part of this time for me
is a mourning period as I grieve for what we’ll be losing
– my intimate, one-on-one relationship with Maddie will be
forced to change and these are days we’ll never recover.
Brian and I will find our marriage tested as we have to divide
ourselves even more as parents, no longer having the luxury of
having “one person on, one person off” for childcare.
And peanut’s personality is one big question mark on our
horizon, as is just exactly how she will affect Maddie. So even as
I look eagerly forward to meeting my baby daughter for the first
time, I gaze wistfully at these moments and know they’ll soon
be lost.

This time is bittersweet. But I’m happy to recognize it while
it’s happening, rather than have it be something I look back
on and wish I’d reveled in more. So for now, we’ll
build our nest and enjoy the calm seas.


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