Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Lately, I have found that my life is very full, so full that I can't possibly find time to do everything that needs doing, and yet when people ask me what's going on in my life, I find that I don't have much to say. I have been thinking about this and have wondered, "how can I have nothing to say? My life is so full!" Then, I realized that my life is very full but it looks very much the same every day and progress is slow and change very gradual. There are not many tasks that I can point to that are truly and finally done as most of them are tasks I will simply have to do again the next day or the day after that (e.g., laundry, dishes, grocery shopping, cooking, changing diapers, putting kids down for naps, feeding kids, burping my baby). These things all take time, and none of them are inspiring to talk about, but in the midst of them I am learning to recognize the rhythms of my children, their needs, their highs, their lows. I am learning when to discipline and when to laugh (and sometimes choosing to laugh is one of the hardest choices in my day...I tend to be more of a worrier than a laugher, and laughter is so necessary to both my sanity and my children's sense of hope and confidence).
I am learning to enjoy this slow and gradual process. I am learning to laugh when I would rather shout or maybe even cry. I am learning to give choices when I would rather just push something through and say "because I said so" (although sometimes it comes to that anyways). One of the greatest achievements in my recent life is beginning to discover my daughter's cues of tiredness before she reaches the point of sheer exhaustion. This was difficult to do with my son, and that was when he was the only person I was paying attention to. Now, I am paying attention to him and to her, and having enough presence of mind to read her signals has taken most of the attention that I have to give. But it is so exciting when I put her down and she drifts off without fighting it, when she can fade into drowsiness and sleep because I didn't wait until she was too tired. I feel like I have served her well and like I am getting to know her better as I begin to sense her rhythms.
My son is finally starting to be okay with me saying "I need to go feed your sister and put her down for a nap", and I cannot tell you what a relief it is when he does not pitch a fit every time I need to put her down. He has been having to learn new rhythms. Everything he thought he knew has been shaken up and put back down in a different space. This has been very trying for him at points, but he is beginning to be able to move with the new tempo. He is beginning to find himself again in a new way, and is learning to enjoy his sister. One of the great joys in my life right now is how he can make his sister laugh. She is only 4 and 1/2 months old, and while her father and I can make her smile, only her brother can really make her laugh. When he is silly for her, she will laugh from her gut and will shriek with glee. What a gift! What a pleasure. What a wonderful thing for him to discover that one of the spaces he now fits into is that of her friend.
As I move through my days, one looking much like the other, I am discovering what a privilege it is for me to get to watch and take part as my children begin to discover themselves and one another, as they learn how to move within their own rhythms and that of the other.
It's a full life, and one I love. So, that is what's going on in my life for those of you who have asked and found me silent or slow to respond. I wanted to share and let you know, but the rhythm of my life is slow and it took a while for me to figure out what to say about it.