This post may have to be pretty short.
JT and the boys have gone out on an overdue "adventure" this afternoon.
JT has been beyond busy as the climax of competition season is upon us. Practices are often twice a day. Days off are filled with fundraisers and organizing details. Not to mention trying to just relax for a few minutes.
But today's car wash was cancelled (turns out, it was never actually scheduled), and the boys are off to do their boy stuff.
Greystoke is tired.
Then we came home and The Dude wanted to watch the wiggles in our room, and Aquaman was playing in his bunk bed fort in the boys' room, and Greystoke was left to try to take a nap downstairs in the nap nanny...and then Aquaman moved his fort playing to the couch.
His whole face lit up into a grin.
He is beautiful, in case you're wondering. He's just beautiful when he's sleeping there beside me.
I watched his eyes flutter, and the way his lips that are so much like mine fell slightly open. His hair so light and fine (and basically nonexistent).
I don't know why, but my eyes suddenly filled with tears, and since we were alone, I let them fall. I'm not really sure what kind of tears they were. They weren't sad tears, about how quickly these days will go. Or overwhelmed mommy tears wondering how I will have the strength to do it all. I've cried all those tears before. They were just tears. And I enjoyed feeling the way they slid down my nose and filled the room with color.
With them, no matter what I did, they could never stick to a routine, and they were never just going to be content self soothers.
With him, it doesn't seem that there is anything I can do to STOP him from basically sticking to the same routine every day and sucking his fingers for a few minutes if he can't get picked up right away, or just drifting off to sleep if he's tired.
I mean, we have a huge responsibility to teach our children a lot of things, but one thing that we cannot do is change their nature. Their bent. That's why we train up a child in the way THEY should go. Their natural bent.
Aquaman and The Dude needed more mom soothing in order to learn how to soothe themselves.
I'd like to think I have done so with all 3.
They have each all taught me such different lessons. They have so much more to teach me still. Even in all that I have to teach them, I hope never to stop being a student of them.
The first day was really really hard. I felt sick and didn't sleep much the night before.
I missed all 3 of my babies, but especially my littlest one who still needs me so much.
The 2nd day was a little easier, and then, just like that, my work week was over. Pretty crazy.
I enjoyed my leave immensely.
But, when I got back there...when I started sorting through my 400 unread emails, and caught up with all that had been going on in many of the families that I work with, when I talked to several mothers again, and with my coworkers....it wasn't so bad to be back there either. Especially only 2 days a week.
If I was home all the time, I think I would worry more about the house. I put more pressure on myself to keep up with it and it was always stressing me out. I think it's because we all need some way to measure our productivity.
Raising children is insanely productive. It's vitally important. But to be honest, some days it feels like you accomplished nothing. The 5 year old complained all day, the 3 year old didn't listen to anything you said, you didn't read enough to them, you didn't play enough, you didn't talk enough, you didn't listen enough. I suppose when it comes down to it, I am a ruthless supervisor of myself.
Working 2 days a week puts things in better perspective for me. Being separated for a couple days reminds me that having a few crumbs around the house is really not of eternal consequence. That the kids are not acting up because I am doing something wrong, but because that's what kids do. It's a chance to appreciate the opportunity to be available. Maybe I can't always fit in as much reading as I want, but I can guide them as they learn to navigate their own problems. I can teach them how to handle their feelings. I can just...be there. I think I am more present when I'm home now as a direct result of my absence, and of my conviction that my presence in their lives is vital to them, as a calling from God.
As I struggled off to work this week, I found myself wrestling with that same old identity crisis that I've had since I became a mother.
What kind of a mother am I?
I'm not the stay at home mom that makes everything from scratch and sews her own curtains. I'm not the working mom who never sleeps and somehow still does everything. I don't let my kids sleep in my bed every night, but I do lay down and hold them for a while as they're falling asleep.
And then, it just suddenly hit me. Like chains falling from my soul. Like lightning flashing in the darkness.
None of those things have anything to do with my identity.
I'm not a working mom or a stay at home mom, and not even being a mom has anything to do with who I am.
I'm not an active person or sedentary. I'm not organized or a total ditz. I'm not a great and caring and productive nurse.
I am a disciple of Christ.
JUST a disciple of Christ.
That takes some of the pressure out of it. It takes some of the guesswork out of it. And it takes some of the selfishness out of it.
It's not about who I, I, I am. It's about who He, He, He is.