20

(I took my love and I took it down 
I climbed a mountain and I turned around 
And I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills 
‘Till the landslide brought me down)

I worked my last shift of this pregnancy last night.  People must have sensed something was up, because most of my customers threw money at me.  It was pretty nice, although I do still need to plant a money tree and water it pretty much every hour.

I’ve been pretty stressed about going out on leave, for financial reasons.  I told myself I’d try to make it to December 1.  Or maybe even a couple of days before my C-section.  But the pelvic pain, the breathing problems, the general exhaustion – I’m done, and I pushed myself pretty hard to make it here.  But I made it.

And we’ll make it.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned these last few lean years, it’s that the holiday season does not have to cost tons of money, kids do not need tons of presents to invoke the magic of Christmas, and Black Friday is for suckers.  In other words, all you need is love.

(Oh, mirror in the sky 
What is love? 
Can the child within my heart rise above? 
Can I sail thru the changing ocean tides? 
Can I handle the seasons of my life?)

So today was my first day of maternity leave.  I felt so relaxed and relieved all day, ready to make the most of these final weeks of this pregnancy, before our little family of four turns into a family of five.  I seem to have returned to a state similar to that of the first trimester: I’ve gone inside myself to rest and prepare for the journey ahead.  I am sleepy yet alert, aware, watchful.  I look at my boys and feel such pride, such love, and then a pang of sweet heartache knowing that there are big, amazing changes ahead.  I know they sense them, too, because it seems all they want is to be held.  And to watch another episode of Diego.  And a peanut butter sandwich.

I’ve been working diligently on cleaning and organizing our little apartment, and I’m happy to say that things are really shaping up well, much better than they used to be.  All the baby clothes are washed and put away; the infant car seat has been installed; I’ve pre-registered at the hospital.  We need to deep clean and pack our bags and do a million other things, but mostly I just want to relax and enjoy.  We’ll be flying solo this Thanksgiving and I will miss being with Roy’s family, but nothing thrills this gigantically pregnant girl more than the thought of staying home and cooking and baking and napping and giving thanks for this little life we’ve managed to put together in this little town.

(Well, I’ve been afraid of changing 
‘Cause I, I built my life around you 
But time makes you bolder 
Children get older 
I’m getting older too 
I’m getting older too) 

Over the past year, it has all felt so impossible most of the time.  How do you start over without knowing anybody?  With kids?  While being broke?  With only one car?  (I know, I know.  The “only one car” bit is such a first world problem.  But it was very difficult for us.)

How do you build a life?  It really is a moment by moment endeavor.  Laugh by laugh.  Tear by tear.  Many of the days over the past year were long and lonely, and they still are sometimes.  We still haven’t built nearly the community we had in Southern California but we are slowly and bravely learning to trust new people and this new place.  We’re finding immense courage in ourselves.  We’re doing it: building a life we want.  We may be broke, we may live in a kind of crappy apartment that’s seen better days since the kids and cats got ahold of it, but we’re doing it.

Returning, building, becoming, nourishing.

(So, take my love, take it down
Oh, climb a mountain and turn around
If you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
Well the landslide will bring you down, down) 
 

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