The year rolls over with words clutched to its belly. Some of these words fall, torn confetti at our feet. They are blurred, unreadable, already disappearing into the mulch of things to be let go of. Other words become dust as soon as they are exposed to the air, as if, purpose-served, they simply cease to exist.
The words with weight remain. They step away from 2011 and stretch. They politely assert themselves into our conversations:
Courageous, Perserverance, Kindness, Love
This morning I tidy up the bedroom, folding the top blanket, throwing it over the boat of our bed, arranging the pillows, stepping back to admire the way it all comes together neat and quiet. The sounds of six children sprawled on the couch slip beneath the door as I open my notebook, run my finger along the rough edge of a chapter that Belicia has chewed to pieces.
And I feel another word stepping into this new year.
I flop down on the bed, my bones still waking up from a night of sleeping sideways because the urge to have Dan’s hand resting on my head, to have his belly rising and falling against my cheek wouldn’t leave me. A night of Joaquin’s body, electrified and warm, moving with an animal-like pounce if contact was broken between our skin. He searched me out in his sleep; leg against leg, fingers curling and uncurling. In that moment before sleep swallowed me whole, the rough sole of his foot was pressed against my mouth and I remembered the same imprint of his foot pressing outwards when he was curled inside the womb. I remember the same curling and uncurling of his fingers, the fluttering sign-language of his presence.
This morning, as I begin to write, this new word eases apart the two words that have presented themselves to me personally: Love and Kindness
This new word is Consistency.
It is humble but unafraid of its power.
The past year has been about big movements forward. Surges and retreats.
Now, I feel a deepening. A quiet tending to.
Just beyond the door of the bedroom the voices of Andy, Charlotte, Dan, Alziere, Jon, and six children fill our home. Joaquin opens the door, a satisfied smile on his face.
“Mommy, fuck!” he says, waving his truck in the air. I don’t try to correct his pronunciation.
“Is that right?” I ask.
Yes, that is right.
Outside, I hear Tumanako yell at Sol, “Ah-Sol!”
And I know I will repeat the story over breakfast. Andy was the first to notice that when Joaquin gets angry at Sol, it comes out sounding a lot like he’s calling him an asshole.
These are the words that weave us together, the pretty and the profane.
We have been gifted with a new definition of family this year. Over the last months as people have entered our home and played games and shared food and conversation, the old definition has been erased and rewritten:
Blood is spirit and spirit is blood. Love is love. Family is family.
So what I realize as Joaquin pushes on to my lap, babbling at me like an old man, is that this year is about the small daily acts of tending to the way we define our days. To consistently writing our stories with pages of love, kindness, courage, and perserverance. This family made of spirit and blood, blood and spirit.