New Year, Old Winter
by Julia Bloom
It had been a difficult week. Spilled milk and little-girl scream fests had become part of the daily routine. So Thursday morning I decided I would take it easy. “Make breakfast” and “bathe the children” would be the extent of my to-do list.
One-year-old Silas enjoyed his bath immensely. While I bathed and dressed him, his sister Luthien slept an hour later than usual. She woke up happy, chattering sweetly. She was glad to take a bath, even willing for me to wash her hair.
As I bathed her, Silas stood at my side, splashing chubby hands in the shallow bath water. Luthien lay back and I leaned over to wash her hair. Suddenly, I heard a sloshy thud. Silas had reached farther into the bathtub while I was washing Luthien’s hair, and the weight of his Charlie Brown toddler head gathered enough momentum to pull his entire body into the bathtub. I quickly rescued my surprised son. It was a cold morning, so he had many layers of clothes on. All of them were soaked. All those dripping, sticking-to-skin clothes would need to be removed. And then as many dry clothes would need to be put back on the body of this squirmy boy.
Silence fell. Luthien watched cautiously to see what I would do. Something in me watched curiously as well. Much yelling had come from my mouth, much scowling from my face, in the past week. What would happen now?
Maybe it was that drippy cherub boy and the wet-headed gracious pixie girl both staring up at me that did it. From the mouth and face too often held captive to grumping and grouching in the past week, came an explosion of joy. I laughed, and laughed, and my children did too.
It's ironic that New Year's Day comes in January, a month when many of us feel our most worn-out. The holidays are history and spring feels a long way off, especially to us northern moms. But we can always choose to start fresh in any given moment. We can laugh — even over spilled milk and dripping toddlers.