Lately I have been feeling like a marathon runner. With three children under the age of 7, life is full! Very happily full, but full nonetheless.
Much of my day is spent preparing meals, cleaning up messes, doing dishes and laundry, along with sprinklings of damage control throughout the day. Between that and homeschooling my children, there is little time left in the weekday for much else. If I am lucky I will have a conversation with my husband at 10 PM, after the house is cleaned up and we are dog-tired. We then may attempt any creative endeavours we might have energy to do, and collapse into bed.
Sometimes I have a thought which I want to share with my husband, and this thought could wait for days until I find the right moment to tell him. Sometimes when that moment finally arrives, I have forgotten what I wanted to say. It is like living in the some kind of strange time warp where ideas and wishes live mostly in my head, or for a while anyway, until I can find a moment to fulfill them, if they ever get fulfilled at all. Yes, I declare: we are living in delayed gratification-landia.
I sometimes feel like Luis in the Sesame Street clip where he is crawling through the desert, like some kind of demented old dog who has lost use of his legs, saying “agua, agua”, only to be deceived over and over again by finding dry water fountains. Finally, after torturous searching, it starts to rain!
We parents have to be shape-shifters, really…shifting into ever-uncharted territory, only to find we are not who we thought we were before…shifting into roles we never knew existed… finding answers to questions we had never heard before…or not…or only more questions…
I am finding that parenthood is really quite a spiritual practice. You want to become a Zen Master? Try parenthood! Sacrifice, patience and compromise will become your mantras. Over the years, parenting removes the layers of who you though you were… the layers of your ego, one at a time, until you are left with a tiny pared-down little core. This, my friends, is where you meet the wall. You may now sink or swim.
I must say I had a relatively easy young adulthood before diving into parenthood at 31. I worked, went out dancing with friends, and pretty much did as I pleased… when I pleased. If I wanted to go and get a capuccino at 3 PM, I would drive to the drive through coffee shop and get myself one. With cream and extra sugar please!
I always wanted to be a mother and to have children. I didn’t exactly think it would be easy, but boy oh boy, was I clueless, or we could just say…innocently naive.
Despite the sometimes thankless work of parenthood, things around this very overflowing home can be quite blissful. Lately it feels, with the fullness of three wonderful children, these are the days. These are the days of Special Spa nights at home with my girls, the days of long curious walks in the woods, wonder-filled eyes, snuggles under the blankies, and the days un-ending questions.
These days…I wouldn’t trade for the world. So, Youth, you can keep your good looks, your flat tummies, your invincibility, your cappuccinos at 3 PM. I’ll take the poopy diapers and sagging….well ahumm…body parts. These days I choose this curious love called parenthood.