I came downstairs this morning, a little hand in each of mine. One tired girl that had dragged herself out of bed, and one excited one.
The dog howled and barked at the front door, so I turned the bolt and opened it, letting her out. Steve had gone into work early, so the house was quieter than usual. We had also stayed in bed later than usual. The warm air of the house pouring outside, mixing with the frozen January air.
Come March, I will tired of winter, but January holds a special charm of its own. The world is covered in a frozen layer, the trees coated in ice. What was is still there, just underneath, buried and hidden. Frozen. Like a pause button has been pressed and held, until spring.
And yet there’s so much life here still. The bunny who lives in our yard and who has changed from dark brown to dirty white. He hops along the driveway sometimes. We rarely see him, but he leaves his tracks in the snow. Our snowman, our snow angels.Most of the life that is present in our yard right now are the marks left behind. The foot steps and snowballs. The loud silence that children leave behind.
I let myself become so overwhelmed with things, that I waste time worrying and fretting and sometimes working myself into an anxious ball. I snap at the kids and attack Steve, picking at the most inconsequential things, finding spots of weakness and pushing pushing pushing at them. We argue and I cry and he sighs heavy sighs. Sleep comes to him afterwards, but not me. I lay awake wondering what I’ve done, why I’ve pushed him like that again when I promised last week I wouldn’t ever again.
I spend the next day wracked with guilt and shaky hands, tears stinging the back of my eyes. The day passes and there is noise and children and then dinner, kids to bed. And we lay beside each other, talking, and eventually, somehow, it’s resolved. Because he has a reserve of patience and a large capacity for forgiveness. And because he loves me. He touches my face and I put my nose into his neck and breathe in his smell.
And because I love him, too. So very, very much.
This life is hard sometimes. Despite all of the beauty that surrounds, encompasses, swallows me whole. The startle of sunshine on an icy tree or its reflection onto the snow that bounces back into the front window. We feel pain, but sometimes it can be very difficult not to let yourself get caught up in that pain. We promise to be strong, but it can be hard to let that strength shine.
She’s there, inside of you, that strong woman, Steve said. Now stop making her prove herself.