November's got me all kinds of nostalgic. Combine nostalgic Molly with general, run-of-the-mill Molly and parent of a two-year old Molly and you've got a trifecta of discombobulation. I'm a perfect storm of jumbled thoughts. (that movie ended well, right?)
Norah turns one in two weeks. I love the one year milestone; she then officially becomes a part of the "a year ago we were doing this" memories. But we're not there yet, so this week, I've been finding myself all caught up in those days before she graced us with her presence.
I feel a little wistful about those days, really. Norah was the first change in a season of many, many changes. My life a year ago is a life I don't recognize any longer; every single dynamic has since been disrupted. If I could, I think I would reach into the past, tug on my own shirt sleeve, and encourage myself to breathe in the simplicity of it all (even though I know, at the time, it didn't feel particularly simple).
I've been doing a lot of that lately: breathing. I mean, of course I've been breathing. But, in the recent days, I've had to become more intentional about it. The butt-against-the-floor-back-against-the-wall kind of breathing that I suspect (see: hope) other parents of toddlers might also know all too well.
It's these moments in which future Molly (the version of myself who has grown children and a lifetime of perspective) reaches back in time, tugs on my shirt sleeves, and reminds me of my favorite piece of parenting advice: Don't get used to any one thing.
I have decided that parenting is a rotating reel of growth and regression. Just when they master one thing, they regress in another. Just when you think one thing has become easy, they decide not to do it the easy way anymore. Just when you get used to the way things are, they change. (am I even making sense? I'm a little low on sleep. See: Don't get used to any one thing.)
So Norah's almost one, and the wistful thinking about simpler times gives me hope for the future because a year ago today, I know my life felt overwhelming and impossible to manage. And, a year from now, when the dynamics are certain to be changed again, I'm sure I will look back to this time (the tantrums. oh, the tantrums!) with a wistful smile because, hindsight, things never seem as difficult as they were in the moment.
Norah shook our dynamic a year ago. She made everything harder but also better and more wonderful.
It's a good thing, perspective. And, when I take a moment to breathe that in, I find that I tend to exhale things like love and grace.
A little perspective and a few deep breaths make me a better version of myself. Present Molly. It works.
Now, you had better believe that Present Molly is not squandering our November summer. We're crunching leaves, tossing acorns, and breathing in deep breaths of warm air. It doesn't feel very fall-ish, but we're all happier because of it. Every walk, Lily stops at least once to lay her face against the sidewalk. It's like a silent plea for the warmth to stay. I'm with you, sister.
I wish the warm weather would stay indefinitely, but I guess perspective reminds me that there is good to be found in even the most barren of times. Winter doesn't hang around forever either. Don't get used to any one thing, you know?