I never, ever, make New Year’s resolutions.
You’d think I would: I’m super organized, driven, a “go-getter.” I live for the thrill of drawing my pen across each item on my to-do list. But, new year’s resolutions, not so much.
Maybe it’s because, having been a teacher for all of my professional life, the new year for me was September. So, come January, I don’t sense newness or the need to set goals.
Well, funny how it’s true that having a child really does change your priorities and way of living. I’m not saying that having a daughter has suddenly planted in me a desire to set goals and announce them to the world.
But it has caused me to re-evaluate my actions, thoughts, words, and behavior. In the eleven and a half months that I have been mamá to E., I have found myself asking why quite a bit. D. and I no longer live for ourselves, but have a captive audience of one. It’s because of E. and our decision to commit to bilingual parenting that I started this blog just three months ago.
So, if for no one else but E., for her to read one day, here is what I have learned the last three months of 2014:
1. Writing is HARD WORK –
Ironically, I’ve written more words and formulated more ideas in the three months I’ve been blogging than I did in the eight years I taught high school English. I have a newfound empathy for my students who used to complain of writer’s block, of the time spent on just one sentence, and of the words “You have to change this; it doesn’t sound right.” I remember the advice of a former colleague: “There are no good writers, just good re-writers.” I hold to that truth every time I write a post.
Although I still haven’t begun assembling E.’s baby scrapbook, I have at least documented my bilingual parenting journey through this blog. I’m thankful for that.
2. I need others –
I need Meg who asked me in August, “Why don’t you start a blog?”
I need D., also known as my chief copy editor, to read each post before I hit publish.
I need Jungrok, who keeps me true to the vision of this blog.
I need Team España who keep E. connected to her Spanish roots.
I need Naiara, who has shown E. and me selfless friendship in our new city.
I need my own mother who, although not fluent in Spanish, shows me that learning never stops.
And, so many others.
Humans are relational creatures. We can’t do life alone; we need others.
3. Savor each day –
In two weeks E. will turn one year old. We have already been in our new city seven months. September came and went with Team España’s visit. E.’s baptism was already two months ago. Why, time? Why must you move so fast? Today. That is the only answer I get. Today. Today is all you have, Audrey. So, savor it and rejoice in it.
What about 2015?
This cold ninth day of Christmas, as I sit in front my computer, just as I eagerly awaited the birth of a Messiah, I eagerly look to 2015 in anticipation:
1. The day E. begins to HABLAR!
What will her voice sound like? What will be her first word? In which language? What does it sound like to hear your child say Te quiero for the first time? I long for the day when my daily monologues become dialogue, when my questions are answered, when I see the fruit of my linguistic effort all these initial months of motherhood.
2. Growth –
I anticipate the day that E. grows from all fours to just two, two little feet that walk, jump, and skip.
I look forward to the palabras I will add to my lexicon as I communicate with my little up-and-coming interlocutor. I look forward to how my own Spanish will grow.
On this frigid January afternoon, when all is brown and silent around me, I long for the flowers to grow again, for the grass to come up green, for the birds to come back, and for the children to return to the park in front of our apartment.
I can’t wait to see how E. will change, challenge, and stretch D. and me as parents. Because that’s what they do, children. They grow us.
3. _____________ –
Yes, that’s a blank space.
Although there is much I wait for and wish for in 2015, there is much more that I do not know. What will 2015 be like? Where will it take us? To Spain? Will our family grow? I don’t know. I am learning that I life – and that includes bilingual parenting – truly is an adventure, each day as different as the last. I look forward to next year when I can fill in that blank.
Until then, lo iré viendo sobre la marcha. (“I’ll see as I go.) That’s why I named this blog Españolita…¡sobre la marcha! Because I can only take this adventure one day at a time, on the fly, recording it as I go.
What have you learned this past year? What do you eagerly wait for in 2015? Drop me a line. I’d love to hear from you. ¡Feliz Año Nuevo, amig@s!