Now and Then
I’m in our living room, on the couch with my son next to me. No one else is in the house, besides our dog Ollie. We’re both in our pyjamas. I teach English to Chinese students online, so the time change has me working until 1:30 am. I am fortunate that Felix is not a morning person and often sleeps until 8:00 or 9:00 am. We take our morning pretty easy when he does get up, have a lazy breakfast, and often don’t get dressed until it’s nearly noon. I try to take some photos to send to my husband, Nate, who is at work so he can feel included in our daily activities.
There is a little bit of makeup smeared under my eyes, which may not seem like a strange occurrence except that I rarely wear makeup. I stopped when I started working online, while some teachers dress up their face for the camera, I didn’t feel as though it was necessary, or good for my students to see me dolled up every day. When I used to wear makeup it was more for the people I worked with, but I would get dressed up to go out after work, and I remember being very focused on wardrobe and accessories up until Felix was born. Now “fashion” has dissolved into messy buns and braids to keep my hair out of the way, and a collection of cute maternity wear that gets thrown together without much thought. Now that I’m in my third trimester, I might stop getting dressed into “real clothes” all together!
You can’t tell from the shot, but it is extremely hot. We hit a heat wave at the end of June that persisted right through mid July. We’ve finally had a cooler week where the humidity has lifted, but at the time of the photo Felix and I were spending a lot of time in the basement to escape the heat until we finally figured out how to switch on the AC! The challenges of being in a new home!
I’m smiling in the picture, but you can also tell that I’m tired. This photo was taken right at the beginning of another stretch of teething symptoms. On top of that I had finally cleared the “first trimester” nausea that had persisted well into my second trimester. With a burst of energy and motivation I had ambitiously signed up for a writing course and started the application process for a new online teaching position! With teething came earlier mornings, busier days (my son gets this weird energy when he’s teething) and bigger meltdowns.
Sitting on the bookshelf in my office is a framed photo of me next to my husband Nate from several years ago. There are balloons in the background. That’s something that always captures my attention because they’re blown sideways, and every time I see them I feel that breeze on my face as if I’m standing right there with my arm around that tall skinny man. It’s a bright sunny day at the Misener family cottage, and even though we are the only people in the photo, in reality we are surrounded by family members. Nate’s mom has five sisters, most of which have had four children, and having just started dating that spring it’s a little overwhelming for me. Fortunately the family is as warm as the weather, and the worst that happened to me was that I was subjected to way too many hugs. There’s a wine glass in my hand, the cool glass pressed against my fingers. The wine is free flowing, and back then we drank it like water. Nate keeps tickling me, and though my arm is around him, it’s in an attempt to shove him away!
My necklace swings against my skin as I pull away from Nate, hanging over the loose fabric of my shirt. It’s a nice shirt and shorts, but I’m casually dressed, but I am wearing makeup and my hair hangs loose around my shoulders, blond streaks bleached into it by the sun. I keep laughing and I feel very happy and free, a care free summer day, but I still haven’t entirely shaken my earlier annoyance. The Misener boys (Nate has two brothers) have an annoying habit of disappearing, especially at crowded family gatherings, and leaving their partner behind to fend for them self amongst the crowd of over-welcoming aunts and uncles. Nate’s mom told me “That’s just how the Misener boys are,” and I responded, “Not if one of them wants to date me.” Fortunately Nate’s best friend, Tom, was there, and I was able to find him when I couldn’t find Nate. He plied me with lots of wine refills, and Nate’s fiery little sister insisted “If Nate screws this up he’s an idiot.” I think she was more in love with the idea of having a big sister then Nate being in a relationship, but I found it endearing.
My annoyance has not melted away, but I am young, happy, and in love. I have a hard time staying angry on a beautiful day full of laughter, and so mostly I just feel giddy, happy, and loved as I swing off of my boyfriends arm, and laugh as he teased me, wine sloshing in my glass.