What’s New With You?

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This time of year always ends up being so active around here, and the days have been flying by. Every now and then someone asks me, “What’s new with you?” and I often don’t know how to respond.

My son has changed from toddler to boy overnight, it seems. His facial expressions, his mannerisms, even his sense of humor – classic little boy now, not so much baby. When did it happen? Suddenly he repeats conversations he hears on outings or among family, and asks “Why?” “Who?” He always wants to know. And I don’t always have an answer. That’s new.

My daughter looked me in the eye last week, and told me “Ellie do it, not Mama.” I was proud. Her independence and her spirit are wonderful qualities that I treasure. But for just one tiny second, I was sad, picturing a time when there would be much harder things I’d have to let her do on her own. That was new.

My baby found his voice. He yells, he calls for attention, and he laughs hysterically. When Mikey walks in the room, he starts dancing with excitement. They are such buddies already. That’s new.

My husband had a week off this month, which despite the kids being sick, was quite lovely. When we first became friends, and then started dating, we spent hours (literally) just talking to each other, getting to know each others true selves, and sharing thoughts, dreams, plans beyond all the empty small talk so prevalent in society these days. It’s one of the hardest things about his night schedule – day time conversation is much trickier with three littles running around. But this week, we relished our every moment together, talking, loving, being. It wasn’t exciting. It was perfect. That was new.

But often the “new” things that happen in this quiet life are not things easily shared. Sometimes it’s a passing thought, one random skill my child mastered, a slight rearranging of home or routine that made our family more comfortable.

The other day, all 3 kids were sick, the kitchen was torn apart, a million little things seemed off, and I felt overwhelmed. Trevor walked over to me, put his hands around my face. “Stop. Sweetheart, what do you need?”

Such a simple offer. But when the quiet of the evening came, my mind went back to his words.

What do I need?

I need the hearts of my babies to grow strong and loving in the midst of a superficial, violent world. I need the walls of our home to provide our family with a sanctuary from all the troubles which we cannot control, and cannot change. I need the richness and beauty of my Catholic Faith, with all the depth it has added to my heart and to my marriage. I need the unswerving love of the strongest, truest man I have ever known, and I need him to be always certain that here, by his wife and his children, he is respected, he is honored, and he is so very, very loved.

I guess, in the end, there isn’t anything I need – everything I need is right here.

That’s what’s new.

But I don’t say that.

I just say, “Oh, not much. What’s new with you?”

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