... I am speaking metaphorically, of course, referring to the high winds of the holiday season, the frenzied storm around Christmas and the secondary frenzy of New Year's. I am also speaking literally. Two days before Christmas Eve, a Midwestern windstorm whipped through our region, high-pitched and groaning. It woke our children in the night, making the baby cry and sending Bean-girl scrambling multiple times into our bed; until finally my husband and I gave up and brought both girls into bed with us. When we all woke up, it was into darkness. The storm had ripped down powerlines, taking out electricity for most of the city. My parents and sister had been visiting for the weekend; now we all decamped to Grandma and Grandpa's place for the holidays, two days earlier than planned. My husband made a big show of calling Santa Claus on the phone to let him know that we were moving Christmas, so could he please redirect the presents to Grandma's house?
After the presents and food, the storm of giftwrap and scattered boxes, we are now back home, catching our second wind and waiting for the next trip. Tommorrow we board a plane headed Out West, to spend New Year's with my husband's family. I haven't seen them in a year. It will be Baby Legume's first flight.So this, today, is our pause in the winds, our chance to catch a breath. It is probably my last chance to write here before the end of 2007.
It's been a good year. A busy year. One of great changes for us all in my little nuclear family. In this past year we up and moved across the state to a new city and into our first "real" (that is, one with a backyard) house. My husband started his new job. I adjusted to caring for the Bean-girl full-time. And only one month after our move, I gave birth to our second and probably last child, the Baby Legume.
Over the Christmas holidays my sister R commented that I seem to be obsessed with blog-reading and motherhood issues. Maybe. She recently found religion, and she is proudly wrapped up in her new faith--"hard-core" as she puts it. Is it too extreme to compare the transformative effects of motherhood to that of religion? I've never been religious, so I can't say. I can say that nothing I've ever experienced wrenches me, exhausts me, wrings me out and then simultaneously pierces and expands my heart the way motherhood does. I was a mother to the Bean-girl for ~2.5 years before the Baby Legume, of course; it's just now that I've had more time (or made more time) to read and reflect on it all. And I have my new habit of blog-reading to thank for that: I've discovered voices in the blogosphere writing about motherhood in honest, thoughtful, and beautiful ways that I have never seen in commercial print.
I read a lot of women-in-science blogs, too, of course, as a glance at my blogroll will tell. I have now been out of research science for over a year, and yet I continue to read these voices. Leaving the world of academic science has been very very difficult for me, and I am still trying to reconcile myself with this loss. The other night my husband and I were watching a news show on stem cell research, and as I watched the scientist on-screen pippeting fresh pink media into tissue culture dishes I swear that I felt the most aching nostalgia. That used to be me! I thought. Everything playing out onscreen--the lab equipment, the lab benches, the mundane procedures, little vials being removed from the liquid nitrogen tanks--oh, I knew all that, that was my own "home" not so long ago. Of course, I'd often felt tissue culture to be a royal pain in the ass, so how ironic to be feeling nostalgic for it now.
Leaving my job, being forced into the realization that scientific research is mostly likely NOT a viable long-term career for me--that, too, has been a huge adjustment this year. I'm trying to find a way to reshape my career, to rescue (in my eyes) a decade worth of training. I've been taking on freelance medical writing/editing projects. But I still don't know if that's what I really want to do. Or what I really want to do.
So... career transitions, a move to a new city, and the birth of a second child. A heaping plate. And on top of that all--the cherry on top, the chocolate sprinkles if you please--let me add the discovery of the blogosphere. My funny new addiction. My late entrance to the party. Because I learn so much, reading these other voices in the ether. Because you make me think. Because writing in this blog forces me to sit and think, to work with words again in a way that I haven't since I graduated from college. I love that. And I love the community I've found here, a tribe of smart, thoughtful, supportive women, writing and commenting and coming together in a mental (if not physical) space.
So in the waning days of 2007, I find myself offering up an out-of-season valentine--a valentine to you, the blogosphere, my fellow bloggers and blog-readers, my friends and any who might one day stumble on these words and become a new friend. Thank you for offering me this space. Thank you for writing. Thank you for reading.
Christmas is over. The new year is about to begin. Safe journey through the last days of the old, and welcome to the new.