An Open House

3Though I have spent much of my adult life buried in work, I only actively bury myself in work in the avoidance of some other thing. Now, it should be said, that whatever this “other thing” might be, it must be horrible. Why else would I chose the essays and quizzes and tests?

Our school is hosting an Open House tonight and this means it is highly likely that I will not see Cole and Avery (awake) until tomorrow afternoon. There was a time not long ago when I wouldn’t necessarily have been upset about this scenario. I would have welcomed the time away from home. Until very recently, Cole and Avery were the other thing(s).

“I think I’m finally coming out of my funk,” I told Lynnette over this weekend. The funk began two Novembers ago when the twins were born. It got better last May, then it got worse in July. Now, the twins are 14 months old, I’m halfway through another school year, my wife is addicted to leggings, my oldest daughter is a sports traitor, and my dog still cannot tell a wee pad and the carpet apart. It sounds bleak, but things are looking up.

A few months ago I tweeted out something “How long can you say ‘I’m in a rut’ before it’s just the new you?” Obviously, it was not so much rhetorical as it was introspective. It was the start of an overwrought process of recovery. How had Cole and Avery affected my life? What did I lose? What could I get back? I realized that I stopped reading. I took pictures less frequently. Most important, I decided, was the fact that I wrote much, much less than I had in the past – even when Madison was a baby.

In looking over some of those old posts of a young Madison, I was struck by the tone. There was excitement mixed with bemusement; there existed a kind of humor which springs from hyperbole (which itself is often the result of a lack of true difficulty). I noticed that tone rarely found its way into posts written in the last 14 months. I know why. But the why wasn’t the hard part. The how to fix it was.

21I took small steps. I started to take more pictures with my camera and with my phone. I’m a hoarder with these pictures. I take so many random photos because I want them, but also because I think I might need them down the line or something, and then so many of them rest dormant in my phone, never finding their way into a blog post or onto Facebook or Instagram. I keep them there and every once in a while I scroll through them to inspect how much Cole and Avery have grown. Remember when Avery was bald except for the hair on the side of her head? Remember Cole’s wings that extended down past his ears? What about when they couldn’t sit up by themselves? Or hold their own bottles? Objectively, it was only a few months ago, but it feels like years have passed since then.

I’m trying to write more. I suppose this coincides with the winter break and actually having time to both do things and write about them, but I’m also trying to recall the wonder and appreciation of what it was like to be a first-time parent. I’m trying to find the joy in watching the twins’ new tricks, in learning the specifics of their personalities. Recently we figured out that if Cole doesn’t like something, he’ll refuse to look at it. Avery’s brain is mostly in her stomach but there’s still enough in her skull to figure out the two ways to get around the gate of the play area.

I haven’t finished playing Pokemon Moon yet, nor have I started reading The Undoing Project, but those things can only come, I think, as the twins get older. For now, I’m still trying to climb all the way out of the hole I helped dig for myself 14 months ago. It is the writing that helps the most. Thank you for your words of support and love. I hope that you also find joy in watching my family grow.

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