In this week’s column I was trying to convey my appreciation for the things in life that go as planned. I’m not sure I successfully got to the meat of the point I was trying to make in the morning fog I was in after a sleepless night with the baby trying to meet my deadline while she took her typical 20 minute morning nap.
Re-reading it now it’s funny that the little baby that was our plan has finally made her way into our life, throwing every other plan we’ve ever had upside down or out the window.
Like sleep. Or ever getting work done. Or having a conversation that doesn’t involve her ever again. Or getting anywhere on time (like I was ever good at that in the first place, but now I can blame her…)
Today I’m thankful for the rain and this baby and the husband who helps me raise her and the work I will get to later and this body that stays healthy enough to make it all so…because sometimes those things don’t go as planned.
And then, sometimes they do.
Sunday Column: Noticing the everyday moments of life, routine and frustrating
by Jessie Veeder
Outside my window a mist has settled in heavy and has been busy soaking this thirsty landscape for days, turning the grass green. We’re all breathing a sigh of relief before going back to holding our breath, because we needed the moisture but we’re worried about calves being born in this weather.
Inside this house, I’m pressing my nose to the glass. The wiggly baby in my arms does the same, her eyes transfixed on something she finds interesting out there in the big wide world.
When I’m done writing this, I will fill up a big bottle with warm water and powder milk, put a little beanie and snowsuit on my daughter, and we will go feed the baby calf in the barn. I will set Edie in her seat on the floor and she will watch the calf suck the milk from that big bottle, listen to the squishy noises it makes and smell the must of the straw and the breath of the animal.
She won’t look back on her life and remember these daily rituals we kept when she was so young, but I know she’s learning something here. And already she knows what she likes and what she wants.
As it turns out, she likes to be in that big wide world we see outside the glass.
So I take her out there. Because I want to and because some days I have no choice. She sits beside us when we feed the cows and check for babies, the bumpy trails combined with the way we bundle her up and the heat and the closeness lulls her to sleep.
Someday soon she’ll be telling us that the cows say “moo” and the sky is blue and that no, she doesn’t want to wear her snow boots and it will be another ceremony entirely getting this girl out the door.
But these days, when my husband gets home from work in the late afternoon he’ll find me sitting in the chair feeding his daughter. I’ll say hello and he’ll set his thermos on the counter along with the mail he picked up on his way home and we’ll say something about supper and I’ll fill him in on his daughter’s state of affairs that day (she was fussy or she rolled around everywhere or she took a full hour nap), and then I’ll lift her up to him and she’ll smile, eyes bright and wide at the face of the familiar man she knows.
And he’ll scoop her up and say, “Hey, baby girl,” and I’ll say, “Let’s go check on the cows.”
There are dozens of other moments in every 24 hours together as a family that are difficult or frustrating or go so incredibly awry and off the rails, the kinds of moments that you don’t see in the musical montage of the life you’re planning when you’re young and in love and certain it will all turn out like a romantic comedy. By now, you all know us well enough to understand that nothing about the horse poop in the yard, the four-year unfinished home construction project or the middle-of-the-night meltdowns willing this baby we waited seven years to meet to please, for the love of blankies, fall asleep, indicate that it all went as planned.
But we also didn’t plan for my husband to come into the bathroom with a towel ready to wrap up his daughter every night after her bath. We couldn’t have, because we didn’t know how great that little ordinary and predictable part would be.
And we didn’t plan on her light hair or blue eyes or feisty little attitude sprouting as early as her first two teeth.
But watching my husband bundle up his smiley baby girl, getting her ready to ride down a bumpy trail, all three of us together and close and out looking at our world at the end of a long day, I can’t help but take a breath and take notice.
Because we might not have planned on waiting so long, but this, we planned on this.