A year ago, my husband had just started a new job, and a new career. It was good, but it was hard, a big adjustment for us all. And it came after many years of training, looking, living off a very small income, worrying, and hoping.
We were still living in our tiny one-bedroom apartment. We were happy there and it was cozy, but we knew we’d outgrow it soon enough and we were overwhelmed by the prospect of selling it, especially since we knew doing so would be another financial hit, as the price had dropped dramatically since we’d purchased it seven years before.
It was a long, endless winter of snow and illness. My second son was still very small, just a few months past a year old, nursing and waking the way most mothers describe their newborns—constantly, his body still very much linked to mine.
So much has changed since then.
By the spring, things felt much more secure in terms of work for my husband, and we found the courage and peace of mind to put the apartment on the market. It sold easily and quickly, and we moved to our new home over the summer.
Now, we can walk to school, and the train that takes my husband to work is up the block from us. We have more space to run, more room for privacy, projects, and stuff (though I still try to stay as minimalistic as possible). We have a small yard, and beyond the yard is a pond with egrets, ducks, and red breasted robins.
Then, in November, my post To The Mom of A Nursing Toddler, went viral (and was soon picked up by Scary Mommy). It was amazing to see that a few simple words strung together could have such an impact on so many people. I got comments both on and off-line from people saying that they cried when they read it, that it made them feel normal and ok about nursing their toddler or young child. I felt blessed to have touched all those people. I felt grateful to all the moms who shared their stories with me.
I realized how deeply I cared about writing. You see, since having children, I didn’t know where I fit in as a writer. Before kids, I was a published poet—that was my identity was a writer. But I was long past my MFA years. I had left my college teaching job, and was never going to have the university affiliation that many poets do. I didn’t have time to do readings or attend many writers conferences.
My heart is still in poetry and I will always write and (I hope) publish it, but in the past few months, I have been pulled in the direction of writing more prose. Prose about breastfeeding, but also about motherhood in general. Prose that draws from all that I love about poems—the rhythm, the images, the language, the silence, the weight, the hush, the longing.
It was going to be my New Year’s resolution to write and publish more of my prose pieces, not just on this blog, but in magazines, journals, and websites that I admired—places that published other writers whose words gave me comfort and solace during the long days and nights of motherhood.
I wrote my first piece for this purpose, and sent it to a few places I admired, and just a few days before the new year, the piece was taken by Brain, Child Magazine. It’s a piece about my first child turning eight years old, and it’s very dear to my heart. I don’t know if writing and publishing my essays will continue to come this easily, but I am happy for the bit of encouragement that this publication has given me.
So I’m looking forward to 2015 being a year that I write more, dig deeper, and share with you. I am forever grateful for the year of renewal that my family and I have had, and I want to spend the next year savoring what we have, how far we’ve come, and the beauty that surrounds us.