I thought parenting was humbling, the flashes of thinking I’d be able to do it all, the fantasies of avoiding the ruts, the memories of choices my parents made that I questioned. Six years on the doing side of parenting and I realize how often we have to react as opposed to decide, that even when we anticipate, prepare and account for every eventuality, something unexpected happens—a bill, an invite or an unintended slight. It is as if you are swimming in deep water and juggling balls and just as you find your groove the balls are spritzed with oil. You can touch them, maybe even latch on for a time, but before you know it, despite your best efforts, they slip from your fingers as if in slow motion. Sometimes they land softly, other times they do not.
I have begun to forgive myself the occasional slip, not saying I like it or broadcasting it, but I feel the weight of time so firm and unyielding on my back, I press forward to stay present. It isn’t perfect, but it is how I travel. A few weeks back I didn’t land so softly. Not only did I not find a gentle cushion, I continued to bounce upon surfaces harder than I could handle. Reliving the first was enough, being grateful for the care during the aftershocks is all I’ll do here. My blood volume is improving, my color is following suit, but the warning to proceed slowly hangs heavy over my every move.
I do not hurt, but my body is leaden. My mom and sister have flown in to care for the girls and the house. Our business surges ahead, meetings being booked and clients calling every day. I track the calendar, beg for scraps of news, but sit wearily as the days and hours pass without my involvement. There is no scooping kids up or sparring with Sean, I am sitting, not doing. I understand that it is what I need to do, but it feels so much less than natural.
Watching the girls run laps, zigging this way and that, kicking up sand along the southern edge of our yard and then leaving emerald wakes of fluttering grass on the other end, I very nearly twitch. They go without stop, playing soccer, running races, practicing yoga inspecting morning glories. I want to give chase, all the more so seeing my mom and sister gallop and exclaim along with them. There is, in the very farthest corner of the yard a complex system, a tunneled river of sorts, that Abbie has made for their Barbies. The ringing of another time meeting in a glorious summer’s day crescendo tortures me.
I am back in Eugene, Oregon. I am 5, crying on a rainy soccer field. I am 6 playing beneath a forthysia plant, pretending it is my house. I am 7 and arranging Star Wars figures inside a rhododendron bush. I am 10 at Hayward Field pretending to be Mary Decker. As the sun shines through the slats of the blinds and warm my arm, I cannot tell if the sounds and smells are now or then.
The mother in me keeps me still, the daughter and spirit inside of me want to lace on a pair of running shoes and race the wind and spin with those girls until I am dizzy.
Saturday I will be 37. Today I am living in minutes, not years, biding my time until I am whole again. I am choosing to be grateful for the minutes, rather than resent them. It isn’t easy and so I think of things that make me smile. This song always has and its my internal song right now as I think about moving again.
PS My plan is to be at BlogHer… 🙂