It has been a year.
A year since I hotly rode the #4 bus to Emanuel Hospital to give birth to Monroe, a year since pain and happiness and relief and quiet and enchantment and then that intense awfulness of breaking my tailbone. It's odd to think back to who I was when Monroe was born, who he was, who we all were and know that we've changed vastly in one year but so little time has passed. It has been so fast.
Monroe is my smart goofball, my foodie, a keen companion on my culinary adventures, eagerly sharing all my edible loves and enjoying many foods I don't care much for at all (dirt and carrot greens among them). I spend so, so much time with him, and I wonder if I've finally figured out how to parent right. (There's a right way to parent. Isn't there?) At least I'm parenting with greater presence and self-knowledge than ever before, though often that knowledge is only that I need to change my behavior and fast.
Monroe walks as if he's being pulled by a marionette's strings, he flings himself exultantly into the arms of his parents, onto his brothers, onto a grassy place to crawl away. He curiously grasps, considers, chews everything he's given to eat, from smoked pork to bing cherries to broccoli raab to whole-milk yogurt to grainy bread. He loves his "dah" and his brothers unreservedly, and they love him back, every licky bit of him. He can hug like no baby I've ever known, hug with his whole body.
At 11:50 p.m., he turned one year old, and though I have often wondered in this past year what were we thinking having another baby?, it's clear that our family needed him. As Everett said while waiting for the bus this morning, "it's hard taking care of two little brothers," and if you've ever seen Everett pick his brother up and squeeze him ecstatically, you'll know that hard work is the thing we need.
Monroe, my little boy, you have your brother Truman's brown eyes, you have your daddy's sturdy build, you have your brother Everett's fair hair and your mama's palate. Everett is my mirror, Truman is my helper, and you are my companion. Where do you want to go, together, next?