I have a small moment of stillness. Right now. Dad has Ellie out to the store to get blueberries and strawberries. Ben is sleeping. I should be napping too but instead I want to enjoy some quiet time while I’m not comatose and oblivious to the peace.
Moments like these are precious. I have relaxing spa music playing and I’m eating a Hershey Bar. Ahhhhhhh.
Mom flew home yesterday and Bill goes back to work on Monday so…this precious moment is to be savored. I may not get many more for the next five days. I saw a mom at the pediatricians that had three boys and a newborn swaddled to her chest. It was a boy too and I looked at her and thought….you either don’t believe in birth control, you REALLY wanted a girl or…you’re a different beast altogether than I am.
Motherhood has impressed upon me two distinct lessons about myself. 1) I’d do anything to protect my kids. The wildest Mamma bear in the farthest reaches of the most remote and volatile forest has nothing on me. The past 36 years of civilization falls away in the face of the fierce and iron will used to protect my cubs, I mean, babies. 2) I’m also really, really selfish.
I’d step in front of a speeding bus to scoop Ellie to safety and stand in front of a firing squad to give Ben five more minutes of life but I really, really, really, really just want to sleep for like, three hours straight tonight. And to leave the house without having to figure out where I’m going to duck in to nurse or if I can make it home in the two hours between feedings.
I knew the first few months would be difficult for me. I am selfish, I love my independence and my freedom. I love doing what I want when I want. Nursing a new born does not lend itself well to a wild and care-free lifestyle. I know this.
I’m reminded of when we were trying to get pregnant with Ellie in Virginia. I couldn’t wait to be a mom. I couldn’t work as I hadn’t gotten my social security number yet and so the days dragged on. I was impatient and bored and lonely.
I spent the days going to yoga classes and shopping. (Terrible right?) One of the teachers, Masuda, had a class on enjoying the present moment and of recognizing that we will never be here, now, ever again.
This moment is an island we are visiting that we can never visit again. We can go back to the same places and see the same people but it will never be as it is here, now,
I took her advice to heart. I began to focus on the details around me. The sun streaming in the windows and falling around us like melted butter. The white ceiling fans circling lazily overhead.
You could just see the tips of the oak trees from the windows in the second floor of the class and I used to watch the sun shine through the green leaves while we did our poses, or meditated. There was such peace. I let go of my monkey-thoughts bouncing all over about the future and the past and just sank into the moment like you would a hot bath.
We all go through cycles in our lives, of blooming and budding and resting and strengthening our roots.
Right now, a little house-bound, recovering from the C-section, nursing around the clock and unable to take Ben out with too many people until he gets his shots, it feels a little like root-strengthening time.
It certainly isn't fun-blooming-flower-bursting time…
So I will focus on the details. The jaunty way Ben’s hair sticks up in the back. The way he smells, the way his cute little face bunches up when he’s getting ready to cry. The way Ellie has taken to her big sister role, dolling out kisses and always wanting to hold him. She sings when he’s upset, and reminds us to be quiet while he’s sleeping.
There are moments, I’m feeding Ben and he’s happily eating, I can see Bill outside playing with Ellie on her slide, and I think…this is the good life. I’ll focus on those moments, on enjoying this sort of lonely, kind of isolated, certainly a little boring, time at home root-lengthening.
There is a joy in the exhaustion and every little fat roll appearing on his arms and legs are evidence of a job well done.
In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.