Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Normal? And Thanksgiving. (Plus a wee bit of other stuff.)

Little Mettesby is now 3 months. 3 months plus a bit more.

Photo Nov 14, 8 28 34 AMPhoto Nov 18, 12 56 57 PMPhoto Nov 20, 8 42 26 AM (1)

I've always said: “It takes a good three months after I have a baby for life to start feeling normal again.”

Upon realizing her age last week, I asked myself if I felt normal yet. My self hummed and hawed and tilted her head -- considering things like bedtimes and sleep schedules, feedings and predictability, things she could and could not count on getting done in a day, etc. . . . but she was completely unable to come up with a clear yes or no. Not even a “sort of”.

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As far as I can figure, I've forgotten what normal is. I have no clear idea of what it’s supposed to feel like. Or of what I was imagining when I said it before.

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Whatever it is, or whatever it was, I don't think I'll recognize it when I get there . . . since . . . I don’t recognize if I'm already there.

Photo Nov 17, 4 05 28 PMPhoto Nov 14, 12 36 32 PMPhoto Nov 17, 4 10 01 PMPhoto Nov 18, 3 06 00 PMPhoto Nov 18, 9 04 37 PMPhoto Nov 18, 3 07 12 PM

But perhaps it’s just as well. Maybe I’m better off just bumbling along with each day being my . . . current normal rather than expecting life to ever slip back to some past normal.

Photo Nov 19, 10 37 53 AM

And, I will say that having a baby and . . . a baby has proven mostly easier than I’d thought it would be (though easier than I thought is not to be confused with simply easy. No. No. They are quite different things.) Also, we are . . . going about our business and generally doing whatever it is we do without too much of the hesitancy occasioned by a newborn’s arrival.

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Here we are tramping around some frost-covered “land for sale” last weekend. (We aren’t in the market, but Mike’s dad was considering it, and Mike’s always . . . dreaming it.)

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And we held our traditional feast-before-the-feast feast this past Sunday. We still have Thanksgiving dinner at one of our parents’ homes, but for the past few years we’ve been cooking our own turkey the Sunday before. It keeps evolving and growing in scope so that, this year, it was complete with gumdrop-turkey place holders, my grandma’s china, sparkling cider, and the girls staying up late to make pies with me the night before. If we rally enough to make Mike’s mom’s homemade crescent rolls next year, it will be a complete “early” Thanksgiving indeed!

Photo Nov 22, 5 33 16 PM
We invited Mike’s parents to join us. Everyone is in the picture except for me – taking the picture, and Mette – on a blanket on the floor behind everyone, and Anders – haha, just kidding, he is in the picture, but his head is low and his shirt matches the tablecloth, so . . . he’s a bit camouflaged.

Our first attempt at a Thanksgiving feast was when we lived in WA. It was exciting to be having our first holiday just as us – our little family unit – but I recall after all the work (calling home for advice on how to make gravy, asking WA ward friends about sweet potatoes, etc.) feeling a bit let down. In a half hour we’d finished eating all of that work, and that was it. It seemed just a smidgen anticlimactic.

However, looking back, I have such happy memories of pulling off that first Thanksgiving on our own, and, this year, I finally realized that the work and effort – rather than just being means to an end (the meal) – are, instead, part of the tradition. Remembering to get the turkey in the fridge long enough beforehand that it will fully thaw, lists and grocery shopping, Mike looking up a new idea for how he’ll cook the turkey (this year the process involved bacon), juggling how to get everything ready at about the same time. It’s all part of it. And, it wasn’t actually that much work this year. The older three kids peeled all the potatoes, Mike did the turkey, Abe was in charge of stuffing, etc. It was happy -- all of us working together to pull off this feast. I felt a wee bit of sadness as I noted all the ease and excess we enjoy, but mostly just gratitude. I love how traditions I grew up with (gumdrop turkeys) have mixed with traditions Mike grew up with (stovetop stuffing) and new traditions of our own (the whole feast-before-the-feast feast). It’s such an unexpected gift: seeing endings morph into beginnings (for example, my sisters and I used to always make pies the night before Thanksgiving together, while that no longer happens, it was this sudden, new, happy thing – the same but different – me making pies with my daughters). All of it just felt like such a circle, a combining, and a creating. I liked it. And . . . we still have more Thanksgiving to come! Maybe Mike isn’t so crazy after all claiming this as his favorite holiday.

And . . . on a totally different topic, I just paused typing this blog post for Goldie and I to look up some pictures of her at Mette’s age. We held Mette right next to this image on our computer screen and had a good adoring chuckle over the equally chubby cheeks and arms, and similar dark hair. Here Goldie was 11 years ago. Who knew she’d get a little near-twin over a decade later.

more halloween


Kara said...

Yes. Yes to all of it.

Gayle Harris said...

I love your pictures so much! I wish the one of us at your early Thanksgiving dinner included you and Mette, and was a bit darker so that I could use on it the calendar. Thanks so much for letting us share in your special dinner! It was delicious,and it was fun hearing who made each of the parts--and the cute gumdrop turkeys.

Shannon said...

Oh what a great post. Loved it. Loved spotting Summer in Lila's red coat! I love your feast before the feast tradition! And I love you!!! OH, and you are totally skinny skin skinny!

Marilyn said...

I love your "getting ready is part of the tradition" insight and have shared it with several people who talked about how thanksgiving dinner is "over too fast". Such a great perspective. And so is not worrying about "normal." I always tell myself things take about a year to get back to normal after a new baby, but what does that even mean? You're right, life just IS. At this point, I'm having to kind of let it all just wash over me anyway--why not embrace that? :)

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