Thursday, October 13, 2011
But the truth is, no matter how I want my ideal life to look, some days, some weeks, some months, and yes, even years, require us to move at a faster rate than we'd like. Here we have had two sports in full swing with nightly practices and long weekend competitions. College hunting, testing, and applications required lots of work for us-for Isaac especially, but we logged hours and hours in the car, and there were so many tight deadlines that we had to work together to keep each other straight. Required school meetings, necessary appointments-just little mandatory obligations that seemed to all hit at the same time, made for only a few blank days on the calendar.
Motherhood requires much of us. We might go from long, lonely, sometimes boring, sometimes heavenly days that last forever, to days that are so full we can hardly keep up. Our minds race, our heads spin. Some choose this hurried pace, but sometimes it's not always the choices we make-sometimes it just comes with the territory of being a parent.
I ran into a friend the other day and had a chance to catch up. Her third baby, a little boy, needed extensive surgeries after birth. This required her to be in a different city from her two little girls and she drove back and forth as much as she could, trying to be the best mother to everyone. At the same time she and her husband, were in the middle of a move. Now no one in her right mind would plan for all that to happen at once. I am sure there were times when she felt torn in different directions. I am sure there were times when she wondered if she had enough to give. I am sure there were times when she snapped or when she sobbed. But I could also tell that now, when things were somewhat settled, she felt enormous relief and was able to look back with some pride at what she, as a mother, was able to endure. She slowed down, brought her family back together, and reestablished as normal as a life as she possible could after that strong rally. In fact when I saw her, she had her husband by her side, her two girls next to her, and her baby in the stroller, out for a slow walk to a beautiful park. She looked tired, but she looked happy also.
Over the years I have learned that the key to regaining my equilibrium when life gives me much to handle all at once is to readjust quickly. Right now I have an adrenaline rush from the last few weeks, but I know that I need to right myself and my family, pull back and slow down. I said no recently to some things that required my time in the near future, and as hard as that was, and as bad as I felt, I know that the next few months will require a lot of me here at home. I don't want to rush the holidays...those are precious, beautiful times with my family-times that I can't get back.
I know how I parent the best. It's not when I am exhausted and frantic, or when my head is full to the brim with dates and deadlines. It's not when I feel like I'll never catch up, or when I feel like I can't stop to enjoy my children, because I need to prepare for the next hour, the next day, the next week.
I also know that without a deep desire to keep a pace that I feel is best for all of us-a slow, steady, sensible pace-I would be flailing in the wind. Or more accurately, just swimming along with the current that seems to be the rage...running from here to there, out and about constantly, with no real sense of a home base. My children don't thrive in that environment, especially the younger ones. Children can cope and adjust to just about anything, and learning those skills is required in times that push us. Like I said, we have to rally sometimes and life is not always predictable. In the long run though, I want more for my children than just coping and adjusting. I want peaceful minds, and rested bodies. I want family time, predictability, and routine in all our lives. I want a quiet joy.