Among the big headline events, the little things were what gave this year its real luster. As I write this, my perfect two-toothed little girl is sleeping beside me. Bright mid-morning sunshine filters through the curtains and the coffee has not yet gone cold. Watching her sleep while I furiously write in a journal has been the greatest hit of this year, and I’ll never tire of these sweet, fleeting moments.
We settle into nap time by listening to a collection of her dad’s old CDs, from a time when CDs were their own currency. Sometimes I tiptoe downstairs after she closes her eyes for another cup of coffee, but usually I sit next to her, propped up with pillows, savoring that soft in and out of her breath.
2016 was the year of the donut. The combination of being pregnant and living ten paces from the best bakery in Baltimore led to many a sugary morning. No wonder we bought a house on this block. My current excuse for donut consumption is breastfeeding. The goal for 2017 is to just eat donuts without making an excuse.
There have been so many peaceful, serene moments. The kind that are easily forgotten. Sunrise on an abandoned beach in Virginia, snow coating the sand. Fall colors from the blustery top of Prospect Mountain. Beignets and cups of coffee from white saucers in New Orleans while watching Spanish moss drip its own sweat. The entire month of rain after Ella was born, in which we sat on the couch and stared at her lovely face for hours and hours and hours. Sitting on a bench in the tiny neighborhood park I discovered nestled in an alleyway, joined only by a man who gave a treat to my dog with joyful gusto. The crab feast we hosted with family and friends featuring a giant steaming box of Old Bay encrusted creatures.
Watching the effect a baby has on humanity is equal parts surprising and gut wrenching in the best way. A woman at the post office gave me ice cream money for Ella when she was two months old. A rough looking man stopped to stroke her face and hair with such tenderness that tears flooded my eyes. A group of moody teenage boys sitting next to us in church couldn’t help but put down their phones and take turns making her smile.
I could go on and on and on listing these tiny, meaningful moments. But let’s not skip over the big ones, like giving birth, publishing my first book, voting for a woman for president, and moving into the coziest house in the USA. We have obviously decided to do all the things in one year, ya know, just to get it over with.
Ella fell asleep around 8pm on New Year’s Eve after I turned on It’s a Wonderful Life. I took her to bed and poured two glasses of champagne, one for me and one for my love half way across the universe. Finishing most of a homemade pizza, I only cried a little at the end of the movie. ZuZu’s petals! Get’s me every time.
Climbing into bed a couple hours shy of midnight, I fell fast asleep. The booms of the New Year fireworks woke both me and Ella. She turned and gave a giant smile. I scooped her up in my arms and took my midnight kiss. The sparkling fireworks reflected off the neighbor’s windows as I nursed her back to sleep. Now that my friends, was a good year.