I remember the sound of running: the thwack thwack thwack of sneakers on pavement, my breathing working in syncopated measures. I remember listening to passing sounds of lawnmowers, cars, the smack of a storefront door slamming in the distance - and I remember how these noises seemed to fill the spaces of my own running melody until it was a symphony of my own making. And even later, when I'd walk through my front door exhausted and sweaty, the steady beat of that music worked its way into my life: something to live by, to breathe by--- a steady drum tattoo that kept time with the blood pumping through my veins, a rhythm I could call my own.
The rhythm of my life and ways has changed dramatically since those days of solo runs and eating chinese take-out in front of the television.
Those first six months of Life With Alice were so full of stops-and-starts, the search for some kind of drum beat that would work for us took far longer than I ever would have imagined. And in the past three years, the beat itself has had to suffer through the small adjustments that all veteran parents know: teething and sickness and potty training and sleeping in a big-girl bed.
I'm not talking about a schedule. This is not about a schedule. I'm talking about the pulse of our lives, the measure of breaths we take as a collective we, the silent but palpable tick of our family's clock.
A month ago, Chip and I listened to little Polly's heart for the first time. We waited while my doc maneuvered the doppler to first hear the strange sea sounds of my internal workings, and for a breathless few seconds worried when we couldn't find Polly's own beat. But then it was there: a thumping steady badow-badow-badow-badow-badow at 155 beats per second. The sound of it filled our senses with this very new rhythm, one we're already trying to work into the sounds that we know and love, knowing that it's going to change everything come some unknown day in March.
And now, after two months of having him as a daily presence in the house, Chip is going back to work. It's a bittersweet experience for all of us: Alice will miss him something terrible, as will I. And Chip, dear Chip---- I venture to say that he's making the biggest sacrifice of all. I know that the rhythm we know will skip and stutter for a while, that it might suffer mindless abstractions of disruption while we look for new things that will work for us.
A change of routine. A change of sound. A change of method. A change. Lots of changes.
But I think if we try, if we have the faith to keep putting one foot in front of the other, we're going to find the music in it. And it's going to be great.