Leland will be nine months next week and as I write that I stop and count the months twice, with fingers, to be sure, because it doesn't seem possible. I can't decide if it should be fewer or more than nine. Against my instincts, I yield to the math and move on.  For nine months then, my identity has been (nearly) wholly that of a mother. It gave way to farmer, daughter, sister, and partner. For the past 9 months I haven't been a runner, a friend, a baker, a woman who bathes or a blogger. I have been a mother, and it has required all of me. I've gone running once a month, and blogged even less frequently.  I forget to call my parents, my sister, and my girlfriends. I haven't been a particularly present or supportive partner to Nick. I barely see my animals but for the rare occasion of doing morning chores in Nick's stead.  Then, it is only to toss hay in their braying mouths and stomp on  frozen water buckets, curse the shit, the mud and the shit and finally shuffle back towards the house through the mountain of snow and ice that befell our land this winter.

I won't go into exhaustive detail about how much I love my son, as it is irrefutable that I do. My identity as a mother has become by far my most cherished. Yet, in the past few months, the need to attend to my other identities has grown frantic. I yearn to return to work in the pastures, woods, garden and barn. I ache to work my body to physical exhaustion and pain. I whimper at the promise to spend an unadulterated hour with another adult.

Naturally, the Doom and Gloom of this has been made bleaker by the wickedness of this winter. We have had more snow longer and colder than the Vermonters I ask can remember. I am obvious in my leading questions....This much snow in March isn't common....right? March is always the final winter kick to the nuts isn't it? It was especially wicked here. A neighbor called yesterday to talk trees, but talk turned to weather as it always does around here and he mentioned it was the coldest Vermont March on record (since 1884).  Which is both as unsettling as it is oddly comforting. We survived, with barely enough wood, with the luxury of propane just in case. And while we're at it, warm water on tap. And fully insulated walls. I imagine a colder March pre-1884 would have made little mewing kittens out of us.

But in the past four days Vermont began to succumb to the inevitability of Spring. With temps in the 50s our roads have melted, the fields will be next. We missed a snowstorm last weekend by a matter of 50 miles. Instead we got blessed rain. The thaw has me back outdoors. Shuttling animals around between the two barnyards. Sheep in with cows, pigs in with goats and chickens. Makes more sense than the reverse though the goats are indignant with the change.

We're beginning to plan the daily and weekly schedule of the summer and even talking of enrolling Leland in the local daycare a couple of mornings a week to free me up for more farmwork. I've been running more times in the past two weeks than in all of the 8 months of Leland's life leading up to them. I've got a routine baking English muffins and sourdough every Friday. I'm even planning a few days on the Vineyard with a girlfriend next week.

I'm becoming Kate again. Not just momKate. More KatemomKate. As with every step I have taken since I became a mother, I have found the one of reclaiming parts of my pre-baby life exceedingly humbling.

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