How do you stop when you are already at the breaking point? How do you talk yourself back from the ledge before you take the step you know you’ll regret? How do you accept the balance of the universe, knowing the good will always be balanced by the bad? The positive will always be equal with the negative. Or can you somehow spin that- change your perception enough to see the negative as just another momentary occurrence, no better or worse than those moments you perceive as positive?
Today, backing up from the ledge meant getting both boys in the car and driving until they slept; parking and listening to Tchaikovsky’s moody violin concerto. Finding a way to give myself a little breathing room until I was able to appreciate the beauty of the rain falling gently on verdant ground, until my heart was full of joy at the beauty of my growing family. With the dulcet tones of the violin and the accompanying melodious piano chords as a backdrop, I was able to give myself over to the balance of the universe.
It was a challenging day for us. We all threw temper-tantrums at different times. Yesterday I wrote in my journal that “my patience seems to have increased as of late” and, as children will, today both boys found a way to push my patience to it’s newly stretched limits. But too often, our bad days find a way to bring us down. It’s so easy to feel anger and resentment, when you are having a tough day, especially towards those that are having a better time. What if instead we chose to see our rough days as a blessing? If the universe truly finds balance in every moment, then our bad days are allowing someone else to have a good day. It is a blessing to have a bad day every once in a while, not only to keep us grounded and remind us of our own humanity, our own limits, our own strengths, but to also allow the universe to use us as a tool in it’s balancing act.
Today, my sister-in-law, whom I love dearly and consider a true sister, got married to a wonderful man who she loves with her whole being and who I am proud to consider a brother-in-law. I couldn’t be happier for them. I was thrilled to get the pictures from their private, awesome New York wedding through texts today and I was thinking about them and what an amazing day they were having the entire time I was dealing with one of the rougher days that I have had with both boys. I think it was the universe aligning itself- allowing them to have the most beautiful, magical, wonderful day ever by balancing it with a less then stellar day here. And I feel fine about that. I feel honored that in some small way, I could shoulder a bit of burden so that they may have none on their hallowed day
Thank you universe. Congratulations Emily and Preston. I couldn’t love you both anymore….and I couldn’t have been more happy to toast you ( a few times) this evening. I hope today was magical and by the same token, I hope tomorrow is even better all around!
I’ve seriously been sitting here for the past hour and a half with two boys napping on top of me and I couldn’t be any happier!!
Here are a few recent videos:
Lest anyone think I forget about my youngest son, I’m here to assure you that although motherhood is quite different the second time around, watching child grow in their first year is no less amazing or delightful.
Cameron took his first step about two weeks ago, right around 10 months, same as his big brother. I forgot what it was like to watch a baby walk for the first time; that first time tottering off balance and instinctively putting a foot forward, the surprise at finding themselves still upright, the immediate plopping down onto their bottom. Their delight at being able to do it a second time, the joyful laughter when they can put a few steps together and walk from one parent to another. That look on their face as they begin to look down and study their feet and realize that it is their own feet making them walk.
I relish all of Cameron’s toothy grins and infectious laughs as he conquers this new feat. He doesn’t walk independently all the time- still in shorter, usually prompted bursts. He loves holding onto one hand as he walks next to you, always stopping to pick up a toy car or a block so he is holding something as he walks. We do exhausting laps around the house but just as I am ready to deal with the inevitable angry tears at making him stop, he looks up at me and grins his snaggletoothed grin or stops and claps at something and I can’t help but just get down and give him a squeeze, tell him I love him.
Motherhood is decidedly different the second time around. No less amazing but no less hard either. It is a heartful/handful kind of constant that wears me down and fills me up all at the same time. It’s big and confusing sometimes, usually overwhelming, and a lot more sleepless. It’s also joyful and playful and lighter then it was the first time around. There is more yelling but also more laughing, less sleep but twice the snuggles on a daily basis.
I constantly battle the feeling of not being enough; wonder if I have done enough, given enough. Those moments when I have felt lacking plague me. The yelling, the times I have not paid enough attention, feeling annoyed and tired, not giving my all to my boys- those moments sit heavy on my shoulders sometimes. After all, it wasn’t their choice to be born. It was my choice to bring my children into this world and as such it is my job to do right by them, to give them the very best that I can give. And then, just like that, they are grown up into little tiny humans and they’re off, even if it is just for three hours in the morning. It’s a little like watching a baby bird take that first step off of the branch, hoping they can fly, or letting a kitten outside for the first time, waiting for them to return home. The thing is, I know he’s fine. Even as I sit here with my heart a heavy lump in my throat, I know that Casey is having a blast in his new school. I can’t wait to hear about all the friends he makes and the things his teacher says and how he interprets everything he does and learns. I know there will be the inevitable time when he comes home after getting his feelings hurt for the first time or does something that causes him to feel embarrassed and, although those times haven’t yet come, they already weigh heavy on my heart. For now, it’s quiet and I barely know what to do with myself. It feels like I have to learn how to parent all over again, with just one boy to take care of for the next two hours. It’s exhilarating and terrifying and mostly I simply can’t wait to pull to the front of the car line and get my big (baby) boy back!!
In the Spring, the world is green again.
The soul stirs as tiny buds begin to open.
The trees burst forth in multi colored regalia:
split pea green,
bright cherry red,
The fruiting season has begun.
In the Spring, we walk.
Relieved to be outside,
soaking in the sunshine,
reveling in the wide open spaces,
we look for any excuse to meander
down the dandelion lined sidewalk.
I watch our shadows as we walk
stretched like the long warm days.
I study the shadow-mother, wondering:
Is she as exhausted as I feel?
Or are her worries as weightless
as her form?
Her curves are exaggerated,
the bow of her lower back deepened
counterbalanced by the bundle
now strapped to her chest.
In the Spring, everything grows and multiplies.
I study the extra shadow accompanying our walks
the extra set of limbs that expands my edges.
The delicate scent of pear blossoms
The musky molting earth
The jelly-bean colored flowers’
-raspberry, lemon, blueberry-
sweet scents fill my nostrils
and dance with wisps of blonde
belligerently blowing across my eyes.
The fruiting season has begun.