Wk6 520 Moments (51-60)

  1. It’s Monday again.
  2. One day until Halloween, and we are planning Polar Express rides and January birthday celebrations.
  3. The landscape yesterday was jigsaw puzzle perfection: rolling hills, white fences, red barns, and tractors.
    1. I felt home.
  4. I am so thankful for a full night of uninterrupted sleep.
  5. The amount of work that I am faced with is directly proportional to the intensity with which I do not want to work.
  6. I look around at my piles of books, stacks of notebooks, professional journals lined in chronological order and imagine what it might be like to have uninterrupted hours in this office.
  7. I can no longer spell on paper when writing quickly.  It is laziness or something more sinister?
  8. As I wait for the water to boil in the stainless steel kettle, I survey the house around me: empty box on the couch, the helmet from the box on the dining room table, dry(ing) dishes piled high, dishwasher to unload, and overflowing laundry baskets.  Too much for a school morning.
    1. But first, I write.
    2. And coffee.
  9. Fairy lights and soft pink glow of himalayan salt lamp, and I zone out.
  10. Last night we carved our pumpkin.  I had not felt the goopy guts cling to my hands since childhood.  I reveled in it.
    1. Today, roasted seeds for snack.
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Wk5 520 Moments (41-50)

  1. I swear even my earlobes look old today–kind of wrinkled and puckered around the black stones that rarely come out of them.
  2. How is it that I become less disciplined the older I get?  Shouldn’t it be the other way around?
    1. I think it is because I now know life is too damn short.
  3. As a young adult I was a strict vegetarian, then a vegan, then a strict vegetarian again. Today I cannot stick to a diet for 10 days.
  4. Friday night I am eating pizza.
    1. There is “gutbliss” and then there is my bliss.
  5. I hear an airplane in the distance, flying against darkened sky. I imagine the people sleeping, reading, chatting, working, daydreaming while they look out the window at the landscape below dotted with tiny balls of illumination.  I transport myself out of my own life and into that bubble world–outside of time, with the loud white noise.
  6. I hear her bag scrape the wall, as she tries to squeeze out the door, and then the bang of the door behind her.  I’m flooded with relief.  And sadness too.
    1. I check my phone for a text.  Nothing.
  7. The tip-tap, scrip-scrap of my dogs nails on the wood floor makes me jump.  This week we celebrated seven years together.
  8. The sound of my students click, click, clacking brings comfort.  I am in my zone, and they are in theirs.  Seeing them dive into writing and find freedom, thrills me.
  9. I realize it’s nearly the end of October, and I have not checked off the habits I was hoping to develop in my handmade habit tracker.  I haven’t checked them off because I haven’t really done them.  There’s always next month (I guess…).
  10. Days out from Halloween, and from there it seems we slide willy-nilly toward Christmas.  Fast.  It’s all so fast now.  I will try to hold on tightly.

The push/pull of motherhood

I cling tightly for a moment when I drop him off at daycare and then miss him as soon as I get back in the eerily empty van.  I long for the days of maternity leave when we would curl up in the big brown chair after breakfast and read Little Blue Truck.  And yet it was the endlessness of those days that also drove me crazy.  As hard as I hold onto the parting moment in the morning so too do I breath in the moment of sliding into my desk chair, turning the lamps on in a particular order, flicking on the computer, getting my fingers tap tap tapping on the keyboard.  I love working.  Work is freedom.  It is the reminder of the person I was before I became a mother.  It reminds me of who I still am and can be after becoming a mother.  Without it, I would be lost, defeated,

Saying this fills me with guilt. What does this say about stay-at-home moms?  What does this say about my own mom who gave up everything to raise me and my brother?  All it says, of course, is that I am not them, though I deeply respect them. The way I look up to the athletes on American Ninja Warrior. I could not run that obstacle course, and so I bow to them.  I raise my hands up to them.  They wow me.  Likewise for the stay-at-home-superheroes.  Fist bumps and high fives all around, ladies. I don’t know how you do it. But even that–that sounds condescending to me, though that isn’t how I mean it.

I mostly know working moms, but I do know a couple of women who gave up their careers to be home with their kids. They seem very happy with that decision. Very sure of the life they’re living. I’m assuming that, like all of us, they get to the end of some (all?) days and cannot wait to hit the couch with a glass of wine or hot tea and chocolate, but in general their joy seems to be a direct outcome of days spent with their child(ren). I get this, and yet, I do not want it.

But still, I celebrate the days I get to spend with Levi.  I look forward to weekends now in a way I never did before.  As much a stare at the monitor with breath held, hoping he will stay asleep until I get just a few more words onto the page, so too do I get a giddy burst of excitement when I see him start to stir, knowing that shortly we will begin the day together, his sweet voice spinning story after story for me to marvel at.  

I know some moms who would love to be able to give up their jobs to stay home with their children, but financially cannot. We too are in a situation where even if I wanted to stay home, we need both of our incomes. However, I am thankful that isn’t something I want. In this strange way I am lucky (again and again. Luck seems to be the theme of my life.) that I so need and appreciate the balance of the push/pull: of the wanting to hold on and the relief of letting go, of the moments filled with the fun of childhood antics and the hours filled with challenging work.

Maybe this is the “it all” after all….

Wk4 520 Moments (31-40)

  1. Rushing, rushing, rushing.
  2. I plan to take a breath when my butt finally hits the front passenger seat and our wheels start rolling toward Vermont (land that I love…). I’ll take an even deeper breath when we cross state lines.
  3. Returning to the state where my heart lives always ends up filling me with an uncomfortable mixture of contentment and sadness. It fills me up and deflates me.
  4. Impromptu to-do list:
    1. LAUNDRY! Pack.
    2. walk dog
    3. post office
    4. Levi bath, me shower
    5. print directions to Fairfield
  5. The foliage is flat this year. Mostly pale yellow, green, and brown, missing the vibrant reds that signal fall in the Northeast. The trees seem to be saying, if you don’t believe the scientists, believe us, waving their yellow and green flags of warning.
  6. When I was a kid, my parents would always say, “It’s nice to go away, but it is sure is good to be home.” (I think every parent says this)? I’d wrinkle my nose in confusion and distaste and think, What’s so good about being home? Now, after a brief stint in an Airbnb, I feel grateful for the familiarity of my own bed, my own kitchen, my own coffee. The comfort of knowing.
  7. My desk is a mess. It hinders my ability to think clearly. My eye repeatedly drawn to the haphazard piles near my elbows.
  8. Only one day trip left between now and Thanksgiving, and that fills me with relief (see #6). Like the messy desk, too much time away from the daily routine boggles my mind.
  9. Once in a P-town bar, I was approached by a lone girl high on something. She carried a suitcase and a broken ukulele. She asked me if I was boggler. Told me I looked like a boggler–something about my eyes. Bogglers, she explained, were prophetic souls who could see things the rest could not. I told her I wasn’t a boggler.
  10. I’m attempting a 10 day “gutbliss” elimination diet. No dairy. I just added almond milk to my coffee, and it zapped all the joy from my morning.

Wk3 520 Moments (21-30)

  1. The weather lately, though never the same, seems consistently ominous. Too hot. Too cold. Overcast skies, but no rain. Intense wind. Humidity. Deluge.
  2. I love catching the sight of the underside of leaves as they whip in the wind. The milky whiteness, rarely exposed to the sun seems to portend something. Stay away, it says.
  3. On a coast far from here, Hurricane Nate touches down. We are always untouched here, except for by the news cycle. And whose heart can keep up this hurricane season?
  4. I have a Victoria Secret bra, hardly worn, that I want to donate. I have money I can give. But to where, to whom, how, which victims? I start ticking locations of need off on my fingertips.
  5. My dog runs up the small hill in our backyard. Squats. He only has sight in one eye. It’s sad. He turns nine this month. We’ve had him for seven years.
  6. I hear my son’s voice throughout the house. Storytelling. A born storyteller. I imagine him kissing the Blarney Stone one day, enhancing his “gift of the gab.”
  7. My wife solo parents while I work. I solo parent while she works. We are almost never alone together.
  8. It’s time for my morning staple: english muffin with almond butter and banana slices.
  9. Nothing makes me long for body under blankets and more sleep than the sound of rain.
  10. Trying but failing to stay calm as I look ahead at a three day work week, and, already defeated, know I cannot possibly get it all done. It will be okay, I tell myself over and over, and despite the evidence that everything always is, I refuse to believe.

Wk2 520 Moments (11-20)

  1. I love go getters.
  2. Sometimes I tire of trying to be a go getter.
  3. Perhaps it’s actually just the alliteration that I love.
  4. Last night I spent an hour and half at the mall. I felt like an alien dropped onto a strange planet. I people watched, squinting my eyes against the bright Vegas-style lights, and fretted over shoes and earrings–generalized accessory anxiety. I missed reading to my kiddo.
  5. It’s morning now, and I’m back in my element: fairy lights in wine bottle, himalayan salt lamp, fountain pen, journal, coffee in pottery mug. (I admit how precious this all sounds).
  6. In the baby monitor, I watch my little man kick and stretch. I brace myself for the sound of his voice calling out. I missed reading to him, but I also often miss writing for me.
  7. It’s Friday morning, and I’m ready for the weekend to be over already. I tell myself no travel during the semester. It’s too stressful, and here I sit with four weekends of travel ahead of me.
  8. I’ve memorized where the floorboards creak. I can sneak past kiddo’s room in cat-like silence. This involves walking balance-beam-style all the way to the lefthand side of the hall. It requires careful balance and sure-footing–both of which are a challenge at 5:30am.
  9. Dear September–I’m ready to shut the windows now. As much as I’ve enjoyed the nights of fresh air, the strange hours being kept by our neighbor’s grandson are becoming my strange hours. I don’t do well with strange hours.
  10. It feels strange–unnatural–to patter around the kitchen, making my morning coffee barefoot in shorts and a tank top. It’s nearly October. Today’s high will be 90.