Caroline and Edward turned eight. Let us all take a moment to ponder this because... WHAT? Eight?
Jamy died early on the 26th. It was a good death. Very peaceful. We had made her a bed of towels on the heated bathroom floor and gave her water from a medicine dropper and she just grew weaker and weaker throughout Christmas Day. Steve woke up and stroked her back around four the next morning and by seven she had died. It was painless. She had a good - albeit weirdly isolated - and a long life. But I am crying as I write this because I keep seeing her out of the corner of my eye in the closet and then I remember - oh.
"Caroline," I said last Spring. "My darling. My sweet cherub. My warrior witch queen. I love you. I adore you. I value you. But We. Are. Never. Buying. A. Bird."
"Oh," she said. "OK."
And then she went back to researching birds and bird care. She lectured endlessly about cockatiels, conures, canaries and parrots. She read aloud to the family from the Sibley's Guide, rather pointedly dwelling on the subject of smaller tropical birds that have been domesticated in the past centuries.
She said things like, "Oh! Can I have that empty egg carton? I just read about a bird toy that you can make with one."
"You don't have a bird, Caroline."
"We are not getting a bird, Caroline."
Her magnum opus - produced this September - was a fifteen page, closely written, stapled booklet entitled "A Helpful Guide to Parakeet Care" with each letter on the cover carefully bubbled in a different color. Chapter two was about handling. Chapter three involved feeding. She was positive. She was informative. She was relentless. She stayed just this side of obnoxious. She never stopped talking about getting a bird.
In early December I said to Steve, "Do you want a bird?"
"Have you ever wanted a bird?"
"Of course not!"
I was quiet for a moment. Then I said, "I think we have to buy her a bird" and Steve said, "Yeah. I know."
So this was Christmas morning
and this was tonight
His name is Crivens.
Obviously it was my intention to write here every day in 2015 and equally obviously I failed. I feel a little squicky about my lack of resolve. Like the time I - technically - ran a 5K but as soon as I crossed the finish line I collapsed on the verge, didn't notice I was sitting in a puddle and when I did notice I didn't care. How triumphant can anyone feel when they are sitting in a puddle?
The broader question, though, was whether I am capable of committing to writing on a daily basis in any sort of meaningful (oh shush, you know what I mean) way and I think I am. Mostly. Mostly enough. So my goal for 2016 is essays. Enough essays to put into, well, a notebook maybe. Or a folder. That sort of thing. And to write here, of course, on a mostly regular basis because I love you singularly and I love you even more together and I honestly cannot imagine a life without your wisdom and your generosity.
From the bottom of my abnormally wide feet I thank you for every laugh and every thought provoked and every observation, suggestion, recommendation... every kindness; and I wish you the very best of all good things in the coming year.