There was a moment on New Year’s Eve when I held the blank slate of a fresh beginning. Sitting in mismatched chairs around a farm table with friends, we clanked glasses and declared goals. The shared sense of determination and anticipation was stronger than the champagne with each of us knowing in our own ways that secret thrill of stepping into so much newness. Each of us hoping for change and birth in ways tucked into deep folds.
It has been over two weeks since that night when we clanked glasses and shared goals. It has been over two weeks since I woke up on the first day of a new year and drove that baby right off the lot. And somehow, she’s already lost her New Year smell. Somehow, she already carries the scent of hard conversations and a little too much piled on the plate. Yes, in many ways it feels like I’ve been driving this year for quite a while now. And though she’s only two weeks old, I’ve started to wonder if I’ve lost much of the value I placed on a brand spanking New Year.
But here is what I know about hard conversations and a little bit too much piled on the plate: I know that I would never bend and stretch without them. Nope. Left to my own, I lean towards easy. I gravitate to the path of least resistance and to the worn road. I look around at all the smiling faces and plug my own figures into the formula, trying to come up with the same smiley-faced balance.
And newness? Well, it was never up to the calendar. Because outside my window, leaves are crumbling into the ground and earthworms are dying while green sprouts hide in the bark of the oak’s branches. Spring grass cowers beneath the surface of the icy lawn. Invisible skin cells peel off my hands and my baby boy walks around with pants bought just months ago now skimming the tops of his socks. Last night I went to sleep covered with worry and this morning, the sunrise scraped it right off.
So this year, two weeks into a serious case of buyer’s remorse, I’m reaching for the real. Instead of searching for slimmer, shinier and easier, I want to slant closer to human, to share the beauty of the bruises that we all feel just beneath the surface. I want to come out with muscles grown from carrying just a little bit too much on the plate. None of us are warriors, but simply women who feel the blows and soften and strengthen our stances because of them. We are women who won’t let tears slip silently through the shower drain. No, instead we plug up the hole and remember to breathe while all that wetness pools. Then we go off to irrigate the dry patches of the earth.
This year, I want to walk along the dry patches of the earth with my watering can in tow. And sometimes, the dry patches are simply sitting at the end of the living room couch wearing a blue business suit and tired eyes or sprawled out on the floor of the cluttered playroom with Legos in hand and sneakers on the wrong feet.
It is all old and new.
And the skin peels off while the grass peers out and the boy grows tall.