I love/hate the new year: a time to reflect, which often turns melancholy for me, filled with regrets about the past and fears for the future. It doesn’t help that I am super crappy at celebrating New Year’s, and haven’t been up to see midnight for four years running (this year, I watched Sleepless in Seattle by myself, home with the baby while the husband worked a double. It sounds depressing, but I actually enjoyed myself–in bed by 10!).
In the still, small spaces of rocking a sick baby for the past week(s), I kept hearing an insistent voice. This is the year I take on the mantle of motherhood, where I embrace that life-altering role. For too long I have been trying to keep things as normal, to push on and find my identity in new careers (teaching, writing). But that isn’t what my true identity is.
The next year promises to be a big one. We may or may not be moving overseas; in any case, BIG changes are afoot. I have the year to keep writing for McSweeneys; I have some other secret dreams to work on. And this is the year the baby will turn into the toddler, and for the next season or two I will be the primary caregiver. This gives me a pause, makes me realize how little intentionality I have put into the mothering process up until now (well, it is mostly intuition that gets you through those first sleep-deprived years).
Am I being asked to give up my identity? I think I am. I think I will be asked to stop finding my value in productions or results, no manageable increments to be weighed. My identity will be broadening, with a great big hope that it will be less about me by the end of it.
What is your one word for 2012? I want to know!