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From you have I been absent …

small baby…in the Spring. And the summer, fall and winter. I’m not sure why. Lord knows new motherhood lent me enough fodder in humor, tears, complaining, ire, spleen, vexation, tarnation, excretion, and self-absorbed self-righteousness to fill a thousand blog posts. But I just couldn’t. Maybe it seemed too personal, explaining my choices or why I was weeping under the bed, when of course, I knew how lucky I was: this baby, this husband, this life. We’ve weathered another move, working while holding a squalling monkey to my bosom, croup, lack of sleep — none of it out of the ordinary, except that it was happening to me. This baby, my Benjamin, has made every moment so exquisite, so desperate, so delicious; and I have had neither the time nor the desire to step away from life to reflect on it.

That has ended — somewhat. Suddenly the old me is rising from her emotional heap (or Matterhorn, depending on the day) and remembers what it was like to put ink to paper and see thoughts pouring out upon a page. Oh! Yes, that. I need it again, fulfillment found from within, and not merely from the slack, contented cheeks of my sleeping son, his amazed glee at silly gestures, his honey-scented head nestled under my chin, his furious hands tugging at my knees. He is able, and I am able to let him, find joy in other people, and I find that greater than the ache of sharing his smiles, is the freedom I have to be myself again, for a little while.

To tear the bandaid off, I begin with my resolutions for being a better person, athlete, friend, knitter, wife, mother. I started them in December. It has taken me until now to post them. God knows, I am trying. Baby steps.

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS 2015

☀ FAMILY and FRIENDS

  1. Be grateful for the friends and family that I have
  2. Be a better listener
  3. Remember birthdays
  4. Give presents/cards on time
  5. Write Christmas and birthday thank you notes
  6. Be a good godmother- visits, presents, cards, letters
  7. Be a good aunt- more visits, babysit, cards, letters, handknits
  8. Write one letter to friends each week
  9. Knit all Christmas gifts before Thanksgiving
  10. Send all holiday cards before Thanksgiving
  11. Give food gifts for Christmas

PARENTING

  1. Try to take B on a fun outing at least twice a week
  2. Parent mindfully, be present
  3. Get a baby pack for hiking
  4. Teach him to swim
  5. Work on sign language
  6. Teaching him manners and gentleness
  7. Continue feeding him organically
  8. Take him fruit picking
  9. Visit the library every other week
  10. Finish his one-year baby book
  11. Take him on trips
  12. Take him on a bike ride at least once a week
  13. Practice patience
  14. Run in one race with him in the stroller
  15. Try to get B to wee reads at the library
  16. Research preschools
  17. Research grade schools
  18. Work on Spanish words

COOKING

  1. Use a cookbook at least once a week
  2. Bake something once every other week
  3. Use more whole grains
  4. Learn better food presentation
  5. Make herb cubes for cooking
  6. Make my own cookbook
  7. Write down wines that we like
  8. Keep track of new cheeses we try
  9. Keep entertaining journal
  10. Meal plan
  11. Eat more vegetarian meals
  12. Go gluten free for at least one month
  13. Make paella
  14. Take a cooking class
  15. Learn to make crispy pickles
  16. Try cooking with quince
  17. Try cooking with persimmon
  18. Experiment with duck
  19. Make baguettes with new pan
  20. Make croissants
  21. Try some Indian recipes
  22. Can tomatoes
  23. Maybe get a pressure cooker

HABITS

  1. Go to church twice a month
  2. Go to more events of an educational nature
  3. Pray more even when I don’t need something
  4. Have better time management
  5. Memorize one poem a month
  6. Eat more slowly
  7. Exercise at least four days per week
  8. Stop swearing
  9. Be a calmer driver
  10. Practice meditation
  11. Turn off lights
  12. Compost
  13. Turn off water while brushing teeth/washing dishes, etc
  14. Keep thermostat low

☀  BODY & MIND

  1. Go to bed earlier
  2. Be more organized in the morning
  3. Do South Beach Phase II from Feb 10-Feb 28.
  4. Use hand weights
  5. Use my Thirty Day Shred
  6. Yoga
  7. Floss
  8. Ride bike at least two times a week
  9. Become a TNT running coach
  10. Find someone to run with at least twice a week
  11. Run in at least two short races this year
  12. Run in a half marathon by winter
  13. Use running podcasts
  14. Substitute one meal for a salad three days a week
  15. Ice knees after long runs
  16. Learn to do a backbend
  17. Drink at least 3 L of water per day
  18. Eat at least two vegetables per day
  19. Neti pot
  20. Moisturize
  21. Use sunscreen every day
  22. Go hiking at least twice a month
  23. Improve Italian, French, Spanish (use tapes, read foreign magazines and books)
  24. Listen to podcasts and audiobooks rather than watch tv

HOME

  1. Yard sale!
  2. Dig up yew and bamboo and plant tea olive and orange tree
  3. Install fence along side of house
  4. Cut hole into attic
  5. Get rid of a few trees
  6. Trim oleander
  7. Add lattice under house
  8. Install verbena, rosemary and lavender in front yard
  9. Create side raised bed for vegetables
  10. Check into adding side driveway
  11. Frame Black and White photos of family
  12. Take some B&W photos of Simons and me
  13. Paint kitchen
  14. Organize scrapbook stuff and letters- put all in one box
  15. Organize possessions more attractively
  16. Figure out what to do with junk that I find (sea glass, shells, rocks, etc)
  17. Get instant hot water heater
  18. Check insulation under the house
  19. Plan new kitchen (someday)
  20. Install new sink
  21. Plan new book shelves/storage in living room
  22. Replace closet doors

WORK & TECH

  1. Find new work
  2. Find one hour a day for writing
  3. Write one pitch letter a week
  4. Look at grad school opportunities
  5. Post at least three times a week
  6. Take a photography class
  7. Take a web design class
  8. Get Skype
  9. Pitch personal essay every month
  10. Write fiction and have personal story published
  11. Enter at least four writing competitions
  12. Learn all current computer programs
  13. Keep better track of clips
  14. Be vigilant about deadlines
  15. Join at least one work organization
  16. Learn how to put video on blog
  17. Find digital camera
  18. Get a macro lens for old camera

MONEY

  1. Sell old house
  2. Start saving 10%
  3. Plan for taxes
  4. Contribute monthly to IRA
  5. Contribute monthly to Benjamin’s education account
  6. Pay bills on time and figure out a good system
  7. Start an HSA
  8. Do something with my measly portfolio
  9. Have more money in savings than I do in checking
  10. Make a budget and come up with some goals

FUN

  1. Go bowling
  2. Join the Gibbes
  3. Renew Aquarium, Lowcountry Children’s Museum
  4. Visit Charles Towne Landing once a week
  5. Go fruit picking
  6. Go to Spoleto opera
  7. Go to the ballet at least once
  8. Go to the theatre at least three times
  9. Eat at Husk
  10. Plan fun monthly excursions, ie state parks
  11. Camp on the Island
  12. Have more dinner parties
  13. Learn to sew: make curtains, a quilt

KNITTING

  1. Understand blocking
  2. Knit two sweaters this year
  3. Complete all current projects by June (sweater, stocking, coat)
  4. Learn Continental knitting
  5. Sew entrelac panels onto a pillowcase
  6. Felt some small objects
  7. Lean color knitting
  8. Create a knitting group
  9. Knit for myself
  10. Knit hats/socks for nieces
  11. Knit socks/hat/sweater for Benjamin
  12. Knit handwarmers for sister

LOVE

  1. Knit another sweater for Simons
  2. Try not to jump immediately to negativity
  3. Help him with work
  4. Attend more of his work functions
  5. Listen more and think of responses less
  6. Plan one romantic thing each week
  7. Take some local trips, National Trust sites, parks
  8. Go backpacking
  9. Think before I speak when I’m mad
  10. Try to honor him as I promised
  11. Remember his small kindnesses
  12. Forget my small grievances
  13. Take more picnics
  14. Plan a surprise surfing trip for him
  15. Organize my junk so it doesn’t fill up the house and stress him out.

Author Jemima