Sunday 25 September 2022

Closing the circle

Eight years ago this fall, we were preparing for the arrival of our baby, “Ember.”

There was excitement, resolve (eventually), anticipation, and a good deal of anxiety.

Everything from clearing a room in the house to hiring a doula to making the first purchases of baby gear seemed fraught with terrific significance.

Finally, we were “kinda sorta almost” ready with a fully furnished “nursery” that was unnaturally tidy and organized.

By this time in 2014, I could just visualize that a baby would soon be joining Mr Turtle and I, and most of the time I figured we would probably be alright.

What was beyond me was to imagine life with our daughter. I have heard that people speculate about and imagine their future child, but I never did that when I was pregnant. I never really talked to her either, except maybe some prayerful pleas to “baby”, as much directed at a frightening, uncontrollable, incomprehensible universe as at her.

Today, I can still recall the feeling of being on the cusp of parenthood. Every life has moments of change and transformation: these are not unique to having a baby. Each transition recalls the others.  What is harder to remember now is what we were leaving behind: the life without AJ, and later Dani.

AJ and Dani are full personalities now. On this, a random Sunday, I did the following:
  • Made the girls their two bowls of oatmeal for breakfast, and instant coffee for me
  • Took Dani to a birthday party
  • Chatted on the phone with the friend I have known since AJ was a toddler
  • Laundry… much laundry 
  • Walked to the house of another friend of AJ’s and spent the afternoon while the girls played (her mom is a friend too)
  • Listened to AJ singing “Part of my world” (she wanted to take voice lessons this year)
  • Helped Dani with her music practice (she started Yamaha lessons this fall)
  • Ate Mr Turtle’s delicious tacos and talked around the table 
  • Participated in a rather long Zoom meeting with the board of AJ and Dani’s dance organization
Also today, a colleague of Mr Turtle’s came with a pickup truck and took what was left of the baby gear, including all the furniture.

Mr Turtle’s colleague is a first time mom expecting twin girls. She was willing to take everything and sort it later. It is perfect. And apart from a couple of bins of mementos (ok, more like four) we have now cleared most of our baby/toddler gear.

Is it sad? Not really. It was due to happen. I could have kept the crib and change table, maybe for future grandchildren. But the thought of them being used for real infants versus collecting cobwebs in the basement is more appealing. It was the same when we gave away the bassinet a few years ago.

I know in my heart that the real treasure is AJ and Dani.  And they did not come from a cruel, confusing world by random chance. Whether I can fully perceive it or not, they are part of a beautiful, unfolding pattern that touches my life and others. Whatever material things have passed through their lives, it’s ok to let them go into other lives. I’ve never really wanted money for their baby stuff, either. Whatever good energy has come into my life, I only want to pass it on.

(Dani loves her new big girl bed, too. She had refused to sleep in the crib/toddler bed for several months, first sleeping on the mattress on the floor, then in her sisters’s bed, then on the couch.)

AJ and Dani, enjoying musical moments in 2022:

Tuesday 20 September 2022


Well, it’s been an…interesting…school year so far. Not terrible, but with unique challenges due to changes in my work team.

I relate to this statement because it is something I’m trying to do, not because I’m really good at it yet. I tend, I think, to be very accommodating and collaborative, except when I’m pushed to my limit then I become quite abrupt. I need to practice graceful ways of saying No, I think.