January 4, 2013 by 8junebugs
I’m a bit behind this year. I woke up on January 1 with the realization that I HAD NO WORD. You know. The Word for 2013.
By the time we’d walked the dog, I realized I had a few front-runners: Adult. Responsibility. Family.
“Mom” is going to mean something new for me in 2013. (I know some people feel like parents from the moment the lines turn pink. I don’t. I feel pregnant — full of baby and anticipation.) But I suspect the Year of Being Mom is still ahead of me somehow, somewhere down the line, sometime after our son can manage voiced bilabial nasals.
This is not that year.
“Adult” and “Responsibility” are conjoined, really:
- We’re becoming parents in April.
- We’re looking for a house and just put in the very first offer (yes, we’re staying in Oakland, or trying to). I have not been through this process before and I AM NOT A FAN. More on that later.
- If, by some miracle, we get this house (That buyer’s market you’ve heard tell of? We don’t live in it.), we’re on the fast track to becoming landlords by way of a cottage on the back of the lot. The square footage of my overall responsibility could go from zero to A LOT in the next six months.
- Our parents seem — and, of course, are — older this year. My dad will turn 60 in September. We come from long-lived stock (for the most part) and he is mostly in excellent health, but 60 is a milestone. Graham’s parents are…older. They’ve faced many more health problems in recent years than I think Dad’s faced in 60. This is something we talk about a lot.
- My “baby” brother will meet his first kid any day now — his girlfriend is due on January 9.
- I actually care about — and am grateful for — the life insurance my employer provides.
- While Graham’s parents were here for Christmas, the words “My house, my rules” actually escaped my lips (regarding whether we would budge on making them take our room).
- WE ARE BECOMING PARENTS. Jesus.
But…I tend to want my word for each year to be aspirational, rather than tied to thing-doing, so “Adult” and “Responsibility” feel a little cumbersome.
Family fits. We’re expanding ours, and we’re not the only ones — there are several knee-high cousins in the Bay Area whom we’d really like to be part of our son’s life, not least because we like their parents. I’ve written before about how my first cousins were also my first friends, which was ever so easy with so many of us living close by, and about the “pride of family” that my great-uncle talks about in his book of Gingras Family Marriages. Graham’s experience was different — every family is different. But we’re all grown-ups now, we live within easy driving distance of each other, and the idea of our kids playing together just makes us happy.
It makes me happy. I’m uncomfortable with the idea of not knowing one’s own family, at least within one’s own generation and the one before it. I get that it happens and I get that my kid’s experience will be different from my own, but there’s a grounding in knowing where you come from. I learned a lot about my Grand from my uncle, a lot about my mom from her sister, and a lot about myself from every last one of my cousins — good, bad, and ugly, it all paints a picture that’s better than a gaping hole.
In about six weeks, my eldest aunt is visiting us for a couple of days. This is important to me for a bunch of reasons, but here’s the big one: I don’t get a lot of family visits, for a lot of very understandable reasons: I live far away. I’m the one who moved away. Travel is expensive. People have families and other responsibilities. I totally get it.
But this year I’m having my first baby, my mom is gone, and my dad…well, if he’s planning to come out and meet his grandson this year, he hasn’t shared that with me yet. Although this isn’t unusual for him/our relationship and I will probably be okay with it (but only if he gets his webcam hooked up and shows some interest in seeing the kid), it does make his big sister’s visit even more meaningful. This is also the year KidBrother and I expected to try to spend Christmas together — it’ll be the five-year mark since Mom died, and we said we’d try for every five years — but we’ll both have newborns in a minute, so all bets are off.
Good year for it.
Happy 2013, y’all.