It's a weird contradiction in perception as I look back on the blur of the past twelve months and, one the one hand, feel as if I was just pregnant yesterday, while on the other...it seems as if we've filled that time with more events than are logistically possible.
Nathan was born and my parents visited. That was October.
November was figuring out how to keep the baby alive while somehow finishing my Master's project. We made Trip 1 to Columbus with all four kids in tow for Thanksgiving. I think I tried running for the first time in there somewhere. That didn't work.
I officially graduated in December with somewhat less than my best effort, but my committee apparently decided that my heart was in the right place. I took my first post-baby freelance assignment and Christmas happened.
I took Trip 1 to Richmond in January for two weeks to try and gauge how things were going there with my mom. While a worry, things were still at a point where it seemed okay to let her stay in her condo. My memories of this visit are actually a little foggy.
February. I guess the inconsistent sleep was starting to take more of a toll at this point. Aside from a vague impression of a lot of snow, I don't remember February. I do believe though that this is when the fire in my mom's condo happened. We spent a couple of frantic days trying to wean Nathan so I could fly out to Virginia and drive my mom to Ohio, but the sick baby was having none of that, so in the end, he came with....Trips 2 to Richmond and then to Columbus with my Aunt Erin as co-pilot.
March brought Spring Break in Florida, which was a lovely break from reality. We returned to face the fact the Columbus wasn't working and made Trip 3 to Columbus to get my mom and her dog. I guess we drove. Apparently, I have no memory of this trip. (addendum...we listened to a Hank Aaron biography audio-book. such a relief to remember something)
April, May and June...basically a juggling act. Baby, Mom, photo/video assignment, Baby, Mom, photo/video assignment... I think this is when I started squeezing in some running again too. Geez, I impress myself. Good thing there are photos, because again, I really don't remember too much in the way of details.
By July, taking care of Mom was starting to get more time intensive and I started accepting fewer freelance assignments. Nathan was still not sleeping more than a couple of hours at a time. We took Trip 3 to Columbus for my mom's birthday and Nathan and I took the opportunity to sneak off to New York for a delicious few days in the city. A couple of weeks later in August, we made Columbus Trip 4 for my grandma's birthday. The older kids headed back to school and we had a concurrent wave of colds and birthdays in September...and then the month ended in grief.
So, that was the year. I have a fancy new academic credential and am gainfully employed making a couple of hundred dollars a month. I'm running slower than I have in years, but I'm back to weighing what I did when I was at my fastest. That tiny baby is getting close to standing up on his own two feet, while my smart, independent and capable mother has become more and more reliant on my help to do almost everything.
Life on a day-to-day basis is not unhappy, but I do feel the strain of all the obligations and the isolation out here, so far from my closest friends. It's hard on both Jack and me and in terms of our relationship, it often feels like we're hunkered down, weathering a hurricane and just hoping that once the winds lighten, we'll still have the resources to fix the holes in the roof and all of the broken windows.
With an eye to that future calm, my mom and I visited an assisted living facility today that offers short-term stay options. While she didn't express any positive sentiments about the place after our visit, she also didn't seem upset by what she saw there. I thought it was nice and cheerful and would serve our needs quite well. And while I wasn't even going to worry about what it might cost, the daily rate for respite care is actually super reasonable. Jack and I would really like to get away - just us and Nathan - sometime this fall, so this gives us another option besides possibly driving to Columbus first and then flying out from there. I guess it will depend upon the timing of when we travel and how that fits in with my brother's visit from Romania after Thanksgiving.
So apologies for anyone who didn't really need to suffer through a summary of my past year, but I think I just needed to pause and glance back at it while I've had a couple of quite hours by myself here. I've only been running about once a week lately, so for my next entry I'm anticipating a photo-related topic.