December has been surprisingly generous this year in Northern California. We have had an abundance of mild, sunny days that have encouraged us to spend most of our time outside. On the best of days, we set out on planned get-togethers with our treasured friends. But even on the worst of days, the parks are teeming with families and we always seem to bump into someone that we know for conversation and lessons in toy-sharing.
g has never been a good sleeper. Although I have tried to get him on a schedule that retains a modicum of respectability, I can’t claim to have succeeded. These days, he goes to sleep at night at a later hour than most adults I know and by the time he wakes in the morning most of his peers have been disseminating chaos for hours. Naps have been starting around 4pm, extremely late by most toddler standards.
Our prelude to naps is usually a story and a squeeze or two and it often takes g a little time to actually fall asleep. By the time he’s out, darkness is quickly descending upon our little bedroom and it always manages to catch me by surprise. After an afternoon in t-shirts and sandals, I have a hard time remembering that it is indeed wintertime. But, as the last traces of light disappear and the stillness takes over, I am thankful for our version of winter and this life that feels so wildly indulgent, this freedom to just linger.
Soon our version of winter will arrive. There will be many days when we will be stuck indoors, isolated by the rains and viruses of the season. Playing and conversing with friends will come at the expense of painstaking planning and I will be reminded that there is hardly any traffic in the slow lane. But during these final afternoons of 2011, I just watch until the darkness robs me of my vision. And then I listen – to the silence of a winter afternoon, to the rhythmic sounds of g’s sleeping breaths.