"Sometimes, I look outside, and I think that a lot of other people have seen this snow before.
Just like I think that a lot of other people have read those books before. And listened to those songs.
I wonder how they feel tonight."
The sun sank below the horizon hours ago. It's dark now, but the kind of dark that glows with newly falling snow. The stars are missing from the sky, as if they have sprinkled themselves into the vast white. It covers rooftops, molds into car shapes, and smooths over all hints of busyness from this day. There are those who shrink back from this kind of crystallized weather. But not me. Snow makes the real world disappear. It makes me forget.
I woke up earlier than usual this morning. I had heard what the weatherman predicted, and after breakfast was given and coats were found, Millie, Walter, and I made a trip to the grocery store. It's a lovely, chilly Midwest tradition, I think; when more than an inch of snow is in the forecast, it means we must shop for bread and milk. By the time the storm clouds break open and the tiny dots of white begin falling, there isn't a loaf or a gallon to be found on the shelves in Champaign-Urbana. We have plenty of plows to scatter the roads with salt and sand, but it's a tradition that stays with me still- grocery store, gas station so the tank will be full to the top, and home to a bowl of something warm. Then we press our noses to the windowpanes, straining our eyes to spot the first snowflake. If we turn our backs for a moment, we look back to see an unrecognizable scene of winter on our street.
When I opened this page, I meant to write to you about the snow. It does something to me, as most of the season changes do. I suppose what I really wanted to do is tell you how I am. What I'm doing.
In the past couple of weeks, I have spent time with more than one friend. This is remarkable when I'm such an introvert, and when I often feel I have no friends that I could do those kinds of things with. I spent one evening on a couch with a friend and her tiny baby boy. We sipped drinks and talked for hours about life. I stayed until after one in the morning, completely unaware of time. A few days later, I braved the bitter cold air to navigate brick streets and warm myself in a coffee shop, where I met another friend who I've known since we were both young. We used to write outlandish stories together and have lots of adventures. Her mother taught me to play the piano; I took lessons in their living room. The two of us had fancy desserts and caught up on the years we've missed. And though I love my time alone, that afternoon and that evening were some of the brightest times I have had in a very long time. I realize that community, with people who really understand me, is a beautiful thing, and I dearly hope to have more of in the coming year.
Life now is a sometimes wonderful, sometimes maddening form of the same day, over and over again. It usually feels that most of my day is spent preparing meals, cleaning up meals, planning meals, and shopping for them. Walter is still as sweet as ever, but teething can throw that off some days. Millie is so full of life- I've never seen someone that alive before- and I usually have to beg her to slow down a bit in the morning until I've had a cup of coffee. I pick up the same toys and books every night. I wake up to the same demands of "nana!" (banana) for Walter and fifty questions from Millie. Most days, I find myself feeling so weary at one point or another, because motherhood does that. But I also see her curled up on my bed to read, wearing her long flannel nightgown and playing with her tiny curls, or have a grin and a kiss from him that covers my whole cheek in drool, and in those moments, I find myself near tears, because I know these days won't last.
Sky and I will be married 5 years on the 16th. I always think it's the 15th for some reason. I don't know what the day, or the year, will bring. I never do. But we are still trying.
For the last month or so, I've felt myself start to walk into the familiar dark forest of depression. It's nothing serious, and nothing unusual. I have been walking in and out of it for as long as I can remember. Sometimes, I can name a cause. Other times, it finds me on its own. This time may be a mix of both. I've learned that I can't cheer myself out of it. Instead, I try to minimize its appearance when the kids are awake, and I give myself permission to cry, or write, or do what I need to do to make it until the next day. My last post talked about perseverance a little, and depression requires it. I am doing what I can.
That is life now. The ins and outs of every day. The busy nothings that make up my life. The bits that seem unimportant and are really the only important parts. The sadness. The gritty, unpolished shards of hope. The quiet. The embraces of friends. The milk and bread. The snow.