Every year around the holidays, I feel the same sense of nostalgia and like, “Woah, this year went fast, didn’t it?!” I mean, it did, right? Weren’t we just celebrating Hanukkah and Christmas and saying how awful 2016 had been and we were all so ready for a new year? Ha. And this holiday season, mercury is retrograde, which makes the nostalgia feel even more acute. Oh! That reminds me:
total tangent, but last night I was too tired to cook dinner and the kids were asking for sushi, so we went out to Geido, our favorite neighborhood sushi place where they always bring a bowl of ice if the kids order Miso soup, and there was this couple sitting next to us (like inches away because the tables are so close together there) having what I am sure was their pre-breakup conversation. She was telling him that she really wanted him to foster his friendships with other people because, while she enjoyed being the most important relationship in his life, it’s really attractive to her when he goes out with other people besides her.
“I mean, I’m not saying I need you to be MORE ATTRACTIVE,” she said, “It’s just… nice, is all. Like, when you go out with your friends and have a life beyond me.” Ouch.
Then he told her he wanted a relationship with less friction. And then she said, “But I don’t want that. I would never want a relationship with no friction. Friction is what allows us to grow and evolve.”
And then he rolled his eyes. And then she said, “I read your horoscope, you know, every day. So you don’t have to. You’re welcome.”
“Well, what does it say?” he asked.
“That you need to focus on friendships!” she said. Then he rolled his eyes again.
It feels important to note: they were both wearing jumpsuits. And he had a teeny dog in a bag on his lap that he kept petting. They also seemed to be new to sushi, even though they looked like they were in their 30s and live in New York. “This rice tastes… different,” she said. “It’s sushi rice,” he said flatly. “It’s made with rice vinegar.” (Maybe he wasn’t so new to sushi, actually.)
“I’m glad we did this,” she said when their check came. He didn’t reply, and I bet you dollars to donuts they are splitsville today. I wonder what her horoscope has to say about that.
Anyway, I get so nostalgic this time of year.
Yesterday, I took Jackson to the holiday market at Bryant Par–just the two of us–because we did that last year and it was a fun thing for us to do together while baby Joanie and Drew stayed home and napped, and I wanted to re-create that holiday magic for us. He was five last year and still pint-size and wide-eyed about everything (see the above photo). He thought the carousel was so much fun. But this year he’s six, he’s grown about a foot in the last twelve months, and I’m pretty sure he thought spending an afternoon with me at a holiday market was lame (minus the chicken in a waffle cone I bought him, which he admitted, after a lot of cajoling, was “good”). He only finally cracked a smile as we waited for the subway home, and I took a snapchat picture of him with a holiday filter. “I look cute!” he said. “Right?”
On Saturday, we got and trimmed our Christmas tree, and I showed the kids the ornaments we’ve been collecting for them over the years. There’s the subway car from when Jackson was two and obsessed with trains. And last year’s astronaut ornament when he was obsessed with space. And there’s the one my parents got that is personalized and says “Joanie May, our family’s favorite.” And then one for Jackson from my parents that is personalized and says “Jackson, the family favorite.” This year Jackson is obsessed with rainbows and fairies, so I got him a personalized fairy wand ornament from Etsy and I let him pick out a cool rainbow ornament from a store in Park Slope a couple weeks ago. Joanie’s obsessions are not as intense as Jackson’s always have been. She sort of loves everything, but she’s especially keen on animals, with puppies being her favorite, and hippos the newest interest (I think she simply likes saying the word “hippo,” and I have to agree, it’s fun to say. Hippo.). I’m still searching for a cute puppy ornament to mark this year in time — Joanie almost 2-1/2 and sweet as pie, and Jackson, my 6-year-old going on 14, suddenly so tall and right on the cusp of losing his two front teeth (and maybe also his interest in spending solo afternoons in the company of his mom, sigh).
Everyone always says about parenthood that the days are long, but the years are short, and at no other time do I feel that more than at the holidays. Next year this time, God willing, all traces of babyhood from this one here will be gone — the diapers she hasn’t given up yet and the bottles she takes before bedtime. She’ll be less than a year away from starting public school, which is crazy, and maybe she’ll even have an obsession or two for which I can celebrate with an ornament. But for those days ahead when she might find a solo afternoon with her mom kind of lame, I have this moment of her sitting across from me at the cafe, eating banana bread and smiling, held safely in my pocket. I’m already feeling nostalgic for it.