Yesterday marked one year.
One year since we turned our focus inward, whether we liked it or not. One year since everything screeched to a halt quiet as snow. The beginning of the year our children would grow behind closed doors.
Today I watched a video from our first week in quarantine and when I heard my son’s voice it shook me; the mispronunciation of words, the softness of his voice, several notes higher than it is right now. The roundness in his face and the hint of toddler still in his smile.
None of this exists anymore.
I blinked and suddenly he spoke clearer, I emerged from the mental fog of it all and his interests had changed. For the last 365 days I’ve been gifted with the ability to not miss a single moment of his growing and somehow I did anyway, lost for months in my own head. I can do nothing but forgive myself, or try, because there’s so much I haven’t missed, too.
This is the year we were together for every meal, the year we painted Easter eggs made from salt dough and he learned to ride his bike on two wheels while his daddy let go and I filmed. The year we took more walks as a family than we ever have before, the one where we had sleepovers and built forts almost nightly.
His voiced has deepened, he’s losing teeth, he’s inches taller. His favorite foods have changed, suddenly he plays video games; he’s this whole entire other person and it’s happened in secret.
There were tears, there was uncertainty (hell, there still is), but there’s been this heartbreaking beauty in watching my son grow through the chaos. It never stopped, the growing, even while the rest of the world stopped turning for a time. Despite so much isolation he grew, he evolved, as a wildflower grows almost anywhere it finds itself.
As for me.
I entered quarantine in my second trimester of pregnancy. I closed the door on life as we’d known it and emerged with my son in my arms. I lean hard on the luck of my son adjusting so well to life as a big brother. I labored, I brought our second baby into a world ignited, I was sent home and there we were again – alone, just us four.
I remember these moments as if they’ve happened all at once and maybe over a number of years, it’s all so hard to tell. Time has slowed and sped up several times in the last year, I’ve hit rock bottom and I’ve ridden happiness high as the stars. I went to sleep with this small boy by my side and woke to find him reading stories and thinking a little more deeply than he did only yesterday. I went to sleep growing life and woke to a baby nuzzled in my chest.
It’s all been one crazy dream.