Tuesday, February 2, 2016

On family

All photos from This Rad Love during a November 2015 photo session
It's the beginning of February, which next to October and November, is my favorite month of the year. Winter is melting away from our front yard. The blizzard temperatures of last week have given way to winds that don't bite my hands as I ride my scooter to work. 

The beginning of this month also feels like the new year to me. In January, our little family returned from a trip to Guinea to visit Abdoulaye's family. It was my first time back since our visit in 2012 and so much has changed since then. Not only with our family - we got married, bought a house, had a baby, changed jobs, finished grad school (me), started grad school (Abdoulaye) - but also in Guinea. 
 When I was in Guinea in 2012, Abdoulaye's family had electricity every other day for a few hours at a time. During this visit, the power only went out for no more than 15-30 minutes a couple times (thanks to the completion of this hydro-electric dam).

It's incredible what a difference consistent electricity makes (understatement, I know). It meant sleeping was better because we had fans on all night. It meant we had water for cooking and cleaning whenever we needed it because the pump that fills the cistern down the block was continually being filled. It meant our phones and cameras and computers were always charged. It meant Abodulaye's siblings could work on their homework after the sun went down without having to crowd around a lamp or, worse yet, not do it all. 

 We came back the first week of January and since then work and life has been on overdrive. It's only in the past couple days where I feel I've caught my breath and been able to have a few moments to reflect on 2015 and give thought to the year ahead. I am feeling so grateful for this life I'm living and the people in it who are making every day better than the one before. Can you tell someone has gotten some good sleep the past couple of nights??

I was rocking Lillie Foulé to sleep tonight, holding her close as she hummed herself to sleep. As I watched her chest rise and fall, her little fingers grasping at the thin skin of my hand, I started thinking, as I have many times before, about the groove in the top corner of our mattress. I've sat in that same corner so many nights over the past 14 months in the same position - the only thing changing being the size of my baby and the subtle sinking of the mattress. 

I'm grateful for nights like tonight where LF falls asleep early enough for me to have a few moments to myself before I feel so tired that it's hard to find the strength to brush my teeth. I am grateful to have the time to actually download our family photos and look through them again. All I need is one more night like this to order prints and/or a photo book - something that's perpetually on my mental to-do list.

All photos by the marvelously talented Sarah Williams from This Rad Love.
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