Is it okay to tell you I'm having a hard time right now? Sometimes life is hard. It's okay.
Here's a story in 8 minutes.
A few months after Clara turned one, Dan and I decided to move. It was a little impetuous. We searched for months for a house we both loved, and we found one with a big back yard and room for a someday second baby and my sewing machine. Our old house sold after six hours on the market.
This was our fresh start. Nobody knew us, we made friends in the neighborhood together, Clara learned to walk. I finally got transferred out of the English Department at work and started teaching U.S. History. Everything felt fun and exciting because it was.
I spent the summer at home with Clara, the first summer she wasn't a baby anymore and could enjoy things like splash pads and swimming pools and swings.
Dan's business grew. I took on more writing work, eventually enough to start teaching part-time. We spent time with our kid, and fell head-over-heels in love with parenting together. I loved seeing him as a Dad. I loved spending hours on the back patio with Clara and a bucket of chalk.
Dan and I spent 10 days in London wandering around the city and staying up really late at night watching TV and talking.
Clara turned two. Clara turned three. We threw her a birthday party in the park. It was sunny and unusually warm for late March. Dan baked cupcakes inside ice cream cones and Clara covered them all with rainbow sprinkles. I remember that day so well, because I remember stopping in the middle of the playground, three-year-olds running around me, Dan helping Clara open her juice box, our friends sitting on the steps of the playground.
I stopped and looked around at this beautiful life we built and closed my eyes, told myself to remember this always always always. This family, this life. It felt like a miracle.
After years of traveling through hard things and grief and sadness we'd finally come home.
On hard days I wonder if I can get that back. So much has changed in the past two years. (Clara turns five in one month.) So many good changes (most notably the someday second baby sleeping in the room next to mine,) and some not very good changes. Mostly just life. Sometimes life is hard. It's okay.
I need to believe that someday I'll stop somewhere and close my eyes again because I don't want to forget. I need to believe we'll come home.