I can't remember giving Leap Year much thought before. Just a date on the calendar that is rare but not particularly special. I have one friend from my graduation class who is celebrating her "eighth" birthday today. It seems to me that a Leap Year birthday would be cool but not especially convenient. I remember Marie really didn't want Charlie to come early for that reason, back in 2008.
Ah, 2008. I wrote a blog post on February 29th, 2008:
So I am back to work this week, but so is Juliette. With me. All the time. Which is LOVELY, don't get me wrong, except that I haven't written a sermon in a really long time and last time I checked I was one of those persnickety writers who had to have the perfect balance of silence, procrastination, inspiration, long stretches of time, and a general lack of irresistibly cute distraction in order to commit a single word to the page. Oh, and back in the day I was pretty hooked on having two hands with which to type the aforementioned word.
This is a very temporary arrangement, as this is Ben's last week of work. His company has their big annual event tomorrow, and it would have been bad form to resign just before it. But as of Monday morning, he is the resident stay-at-home parent. He's currently looking for a part-time job, and the naive plan is to figure out a way to tag-team Juliette care until she's at least a year old. Thankfully, the busyness of my job is matched only by its flexibility. And it doesn't hurt that we have a whole church full of people who are rooting for us. They really mean it when they offer to help. I've been told that there are few better jobs than ministry - especially in a small church - for being a working mama. I don't suppose that means it's going to be easy by any means, but easy is overrated. "Worth it" beats "easy" any day.
That is actually one of the few blog posts from which I poached a few sentences for my book. Such a raw week that was, that first week back at church. I was not remotely ready. Not at all. But I was right: "worth it" beats "easy," and even though that chapter of our lives was so trying, I honestly wouldn't change much. It was a good path, but regardless, it was the path that got us here. And here is good.
So here's the digital time capsule for Leap Year, 2012. I have Wednesday mornings off, and today the girls and I had a playdate with a friend from church who also has a preschooler and a baby. We chatted and ate homemade whole wheat chocolate chip cookies. Genevieve was her chill self, and Juliette was uncharacteristically reserved. She did perk up for a game of hide-and-seek. I dropped the girls off at home, to their stay-at-home-father, who spent the morning shopping for king-sized sheets because our new bed will be delivered on Saturday.
I dashed to church in time for a pastoral care appointment, about which I will say merely this: please pray for the soldiers who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan with post-traumatic stress disorder, and pray for their families. I chatted with the senior pastor about the United Church of Christ History and Polity class that I'm taking online, and the UCC in general. I had skipped lunch, so struggled with my afternoon of attempted sermon writing (some things never change: writing sermons is ever and always a sacred struggle, one- or two-handed).
I headed home in time to pick up the girls for Juliette's ballet class, which she loves (will she still be taking ballet in 2016?). I also love her ballet class, because I have made friends with the ballet moms. At first we mostly sat quietly, only occasionally talking to one another, but over the course of the months that our daughters have been dancing together, we've totally hit it off. I suggested we try a book club during ballet class, and a few of us discussed Lift by Kelly Corrigan a couple weeks ago. (Last night we met at the Salt Creek Wine Bar for a girls' night out - no uncomfortable folding chairs, no overheated studio waiting room, no little siblings waiting impatiently. It was fabulous.)
By the time class was over I was famished and knew we were a little low on food, so Juliette and I had dinner from the drive-through, which happens only slightly more often than leap years. After dinner, I read Liza Lou and the Yeller Belly Swamp and Jump into January to Juliette and Genevieve, and put the girls to bed. I talked on the phone to one of my dearest friends whom I am marrying in a few weeks time.
Ben will return home shortly from his last night of basic editing class. He is most likely going to pursue the University of Chicago certificate program in editing. He discovered the program just a couple days before the first eight-week class started, and I admit that at first I was a little thrown. It is not the path that had previously been discussed. But Ben is really, really good at it. I know this firsthand, because I was seriously mortified by the amount of errors he found in my book manuscript, after the professionals and I had scoured it multiple times.
That's where we are. Who knows what will come to pass before the next leap year, when our daughters will be double their current ages. We have a lot of hopes, and a lot of hope.