My last big act of 2015 was the culmination of wanting control over one part of my life. I ached to create a clearly defined and sustained period of time spent focused on the girls. I didn’t want it to be commercial or rooted in eating, no shopping, no Starbucks, no movie watching or even reading. I wanted something you can’t choreograph or even plan for, but I tried.

I’ll say right now that I should let that be enough, to have tried and to have done so with love, I think that’s it.

My method was to make the advent calendar a mechanism for bringing us together. All those days stacked up together, each with some element that would connect us, no matter how wild or chaotic our days might be. It seemed manageable and welcome.

Each morning the girls tore downstairs to the calendar and took turns opening that day’s pocket. I’d stuffed each one with things for crafting, from squares of felt in bright colors, to markers, stamps, and little kits. I tried to time it so the larger projects fell on Fridays and Saturdays.

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My ambition at the fabric store got the better of me and I failed to fully realize just how complicated and not hands-on for kids some of my purchases would turn out to be. The girls sat happily alongside me coloring while I willed my way through projects that took 4 hours rather than 40 minutes. The embroidered and stuffed foxes curled my hair they challenged me so intensely. The experience of those days of activities for the girls was incredible and despite it having been imagined with much less pricking of my fingers and cursing, it was close to what I had hoped it would be.

I suppose in some ways I thought the block of planned activities and shared moments would pave the way for a new year filled with deliberate time, calm afternoons and sunny mornings spent with purpose.


The lunch I packed for myself this morning, I inhaled on the drive into work as breakfast.

The lunch I made for Briar is in a substitute lunch box because we’ve lost hers.

The library in Vermont has sent me a fourth late notice for a book Ave checked out that we can’t find.

The workout room we made in the basement has languished for a week as I’ve been sick.

The exercise book and dry erase boards I bought to use with the girls sit untouched.

My car needs a wash.

My house needs a top-to-bottom cleaning.

I can’t remember what non-work dates with Sean are like.

The thing is, we still tumble together in pjs at night. We eat dinner around the table, murmur I love you in the hallway and scream, “I’ll get you” over the kitchen island as we start a game of tag.

We’re trying, and we’re doing so with love.

That’s it.