“Mom,” Lainey whispered this morning as she poked my face, attempting to wake me up.
“Mommmmmm! I need to get ready for school. And I want a cinnamon bread cream cheese sandwich. Wake up.”
She left me alone, tangled in sheets and rubbing my eyes for all of thirty seconds before returning to make sure I was out of bed. I’m usually the first one up, so perhaps today is a good indication that we did a lot this weekend, that I went to bed too late last night or, I don’t know, maybe there’s a nearly full term child living inside my body who sucks a little blood flow.
I finally pulled myself from bed and headed to the kitchen where I simultaneously juggled making breakfast, searching for a motherfreaking sock match and tying together a broken hair tie because it was the last one I could find. I hurried to get Lainey ready and went over everything I needed to get done today–a “work day”–in my head. I randomly designate certain days as “work days,” although this means absolutely nothing because every day is a work day and going so far to call a day “work day” means it will turn out to be a nothing-got-done day. Clearly. Regardless, I made plans and pumped myself up. Today’s going to be good. You’re going to get so much done.
A blogging friend asked a group of writers a few questions at the beginning of the year to initiate some good conversation, one regarding goals for 2013. I thought about it a moment and, without hesitation, answered a somewhat contradictory response that involved both professional goals that require time and effort as well as personal goals that require being more present for my family. “I know these are contradictory,” I explained, “but I believe I can do both.”
Talk about balance; beat a dead horse. We all deal with it, and even if we happen to be especially good at walking the tightrope, juggling responsiblities, rocking out the multitask, there are days when everything falls apart and we analyze how we can do it better. I don’t know why, but lately I’ve been feeling very comfortable with the dichotomy of Chasin’ Dreams Me and Raisin’ Babies Me. Both identies exist and need to be nurtured, and just as mamas can spread their love and attention to multiple babies, I too can create and write and connect while being present for this family I so cherish.
I love the creative challenge of molding these two identities. They aren’t opposites, and I refuse to look at them that way. To be honest, I am more creative and productive in my dreams when I focus on being fully present for my family. And I am a better mama and more attentive family member when I also make time to nurture my talents and interests. We are a great many things.
This morning, I wrote several e-mails, checked in on the fund raiser, edited photos and outlined some exciting ideas. And when Nella dragged a baby doll into my room, held her hand out to take mine and babbled the equivalent of “Come, follow me,” I took her hand and let her walk me toward her room to play. We stacked blocks, fed babies and pointed out things that are red in her color book. She followed me to the kitchen where I cut heaps of vegetables for soup tonight, and I watched her pull Tupperware lids out of the cabinet while I savored the scensory experience of chopping. The rhythmic movements of the knife; the sound of sharp metal hitting the cutting board; the scent of parsley and onions and garlic; the vibrant contrast of orange and green, carrots and celery; the cold drops of condensation formed on a leafy head of escarole. I was present, and it felt good.
Our living room reflects our busy weekend of company and sleepovers, and yes, there’s work to be done, children to be fed, homework to be finished, ideas to be manifested and a baby on the way. Tomorrow’s a work day though, so…ya know. It will all get done.
We push forward. We pull back. And we can do both. I am excited about the coming weeks and what they hold for both this blog and our little family. I’ve asked some beautiful women I respect and love–some who are a lot like me, some who are very different–to help me add to this blog space and give us a little cushion of family time as we prepare for and welcome our boy. I’ll still be sharing, but there will be many layered posts in between with some new voices, good writing, beautiful photos and shared ideas. We’ll celebrate mamahood and creativity and the balance of chasin’ dreams and raisin’ babies. So get your drink of choice ready and prepare to make toasts.
With all that said, our weekend…
And Saturday night, Heidi hosted the most beautiful, cozy, candlelit celebration for Baby Boy. I love this little village of women. And I am savoring these last five weeks of waiting. If I close my eyes, I can smell him already–that sweet newborn perfume you inhale when you go to kiss the top of their head where silky hair swirls into a little tuft. Be still my baby-cravin’ heart.
And Friends, thank you, thank you for helping us launch N3lla’s Triple Crown. Since launched, you helped us raise $8,000. In one day. The train’s out of the station, and it’s chuggin’. I can’t wait to share more next week about our mission and continue our celebration of three sweet years with our girl, our family, and this community.