My alarm goes off at 6:00, an intense vibration buzzing against my wrist. I tap it once to stop the buzzing and I roll over, willing myself to get out of bed. For a split second I debate falling back asleep but decide better, swinging my feet towards the ground and walking sleepily into my closet. I quietly pull a long sweater from its perch on a hanger and slip it on. I stuff my phone into my pocket and I tiptoe out of the bedroom and down the stairs.

Relishing in the placidity of the dark, early morning hours when I feel the freedom for a short time from the busyness of life, I turn on the lights in the kitchen and start the coffee maker, letting the rich earthy aroma of the ground beans linger for a moment before sealing the lid over top of the aluminum can and placing it back in the cupboard. I press play on our music speaker where film scores begin playing softly, a composition from Saving Mister Banks humming quietly through the kitchen in a perfect dance to the rhythmic plip-plop of the coffee brewing beside it.

I turn on the computer and let my eyes adjust to the brightness of the screen while double clicking on a brand new notepad document. I sip slowly from the steaming cup in my hands while I watch the curser blinking on the fresh white page, taking a moment to ponder on where I would like to begin, on what words my heart feels like writing this morning.

But then, I never had the chance. Before I could type even one word, as the clock in the bottom corner of my screen flashed 6:15, I heard a little voice squeak a tiny hello from the top of the stairs. I jumped from my chair and walked to the bottom of the stairs to look up, where standing in the darkness was a sleepy-eyed blonde-haired toddler wearing only a diaper, clinging tightly to his well loved green crocheted blanket. Upon seeing me his eyes lit up and a smile spread his chubby cheeks as he reached his hands out wide in his hold me mommy! sign language.

I wanted to be terribly upset that he had ruined my forty-five minutes of peaceful writing time, but instead the sight of his sweet morning face made my heart swell. I scooped him up and kissed his cheek. Good morning baby! I carried him down the stairs and sat him beside me on the couch, where I bypassed my morning quiet time for him. Me with my crossword puzzle, him with his Curious George. Me with my coffee, him with his bottle of milk. I sat on the couch with this beautiful boy of mine and tried not to think too hard about how much I longed for what should have been a lovely morning spent writing and wallowing in the quiet all by myself.

I have had so many moments of interruption lately. I am in the interruption stages of life, I suppose. I have had many moments of toddler melt downs and re-sleep training alongside threats of a very prominent teenager-like attitude that has entered our home so suddenly. I have had many moments that leave me swaying softly, like a sailboat in a windstorm.

This is my life now, I continually remind myself.

Because I have them, my life will never be the same. I am living on their schedule, revolving around their worlds, day in and day out. Even when they aren't with me, they are all that I am thinking about. Whenever they are sick I am taking days off work and nights off sleeping. Whatever stage they are going through, I am stumbling along beside them, trying my hardest to help them through it. There isn't a manual for this gig and every child is so very different that it wouldn't really matter if there were.

Because I have them, my life is changed.

Being a mother is a terrible and beautiful tornado. It is a lifelong meticulous commitment. It is an ocean filled with a contradiction of emotions from exhausting to exhilarating to horrible to beautiful. And it is almost always hard. I wish we as a society were more candid about parenting. I read a book once and although I can't remember the book, I did write down a quote that I found in it which struck me because it was so wonderfully poetic. It said:

"Even I know that being a parent is awful 95% of the time. As far as I can tell, it's that last 5% that keeps the human race from dying out. Four parts blinding terror, one part perfection. It's like mainlining heroine. One taste of life on that edge and you're hooked."

More often than not I lack for sleep, for quiet and alone time. My life isn't my own anymore. My absolute freedom has been replaced by the beautiful beings that are now who I am. In fact, in the large sense of it all, they do define who I am. They aren't all that defines me. I have me for myself, my career, my marriage, my writing, all of my passions and hobbies in life. But I find that I am most largely defined by the two boys that I carried inside of me for nine months each and then brought into the world, the two boys that I have loved wholly and rigorously with all that I am for every single moment since they were born, for who I am absolutely prepared to love wholly and rigorously until the day that I die.

The truth is that I chose this life and I wouldn't have it any other way.

The other day as we were driving into town, a mundane trip to the grocery store on a sappy, sun soaked afternoon, I peeked in the rear-view mirror that was slanted downward to show my crew in the backseat. On either side sat a blonde haired button nosed boy, while in the middle seat sat a beautiful brown eyed Boston Terrier. There they were. My posse. My team. They were all sitting still just then, intently focusing in on the drive ahead of them, and in that moment life felt so unblemished and lovely, so much so that my eyes filled to the brim with tears. It was a perfect moment sandwiched between many hard moments, as most of our days tend to be. I have so many difficult and demanding moments at these young ages that at times I forget how very perfect they really are.

The life of a big crazy family with lots of kids doesn't much appeal to me personally. Me? I crave quiet and peace. I crave the opportunity to take my crew on vacations, on trips and travels that will leave them cultured and show them that this is a very big world that we live in. I crave a life of adventures and financial freedom. I crave the dexterous ability to exercise all of my love and kindness and patience throughout the years as a mother to my boys, and with even two children, pulling off that kind of patience is quite the feat. I have dreams for us.

I feel that perhaps I am in one of the harder stages of parenting life right now at this very moment. I have accepted that fact and past the acceptance I do my best to live in the thick of these years with confidence and dignity. I would like to live these days in awareness while not taking it for granted, because it is hard but it is short and I know very well that time will pass all too quickly. So I am letting the exhaustion and the hard work of parenthood callus my once soft skin, like a farmer who works in the fields from sun up until sun down, and one day I can show the world proudly that I worked so very hard for these calluses.

This parenting gig is so challenging, but even still, I am reminded every day how wonderful a privilege it is to be theirs, and for them to be mine.

"The most terrifying day of your life is the day the first one is born. Your life as you know it is gone, never to return. But they learn how to walk, and they learn how to talk, and you want to be with them. And they turn out to be the most delightful people you will ever meet in your life." 
--Lost In Translation

1 comment:

  1. Beautifully written. And I am right there with you, in thick of it ;)