Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Infinite Patience and Love

A window to write. Don’t know how long it will be, so must begin right away and not dwell. Perhaps not even edit. I must learn new ways or working, of producing, of pounding out words on this keyboard and sharing them with the world without the long stretches of time I once had to ponder and shape. I must learn how to grab those small pockets, like now, as Cedar sleeps in a wrap on my chest. Sometimes he will sleep for hours like this; other times he will wake as soon as I stop moving my body. It seems he’s out right now though, which is great. I love my child like crazy, but I am always happy when he goes to sleep.

Where to begin? Perhaps I will begin every blog entry now with that question. It seems like so much happens every week, every day, that I haven’t had a chance to write about. But days disappear quickly, and usually I am happy if I manage to get in a walk, a shower, three meals, and some emails. Some days I also manage to do dishes or laundry, read a book, or write in my journal. This is more than I imagined I would get done, especially once Matthew went back to work, so I am pleased.

For now it’s all about appeasing Cedar in short doses and getting things done in between. For example, in the morning I get up and change him. Then, while he lies on the changing table entertained for a few minutes by its black and white pattern, I can put in my contacts, put on hot water to boil, and maybe even get dressed. Then, as he gets fidgety, I’ll move him to his chair by the window where he can sometimes be content for ten or fifteen minutes—enough time to make coffee, fry two eggs and butter some toast. Then, I transport these to the table next to him, pick him up, and nurse him on and off for the next two hours or so, managing to eat and read or surf Facebook at the same time. Then this baby nursing and mommy multi-tasking routine could, and sometimes does, go on all day, but often now I’ll put him in this cloth wrap and after walking around in the yard or jiggling a bit to some tunes, he usually falls asleep and then I can do other chores, make phone calls, pay bills, write emails, go on a longer walk, or-- on a rare day like today—actually attempt to write.

On good days, he will nap for three or more hours, before I finally take him out of the wrap, and then he’ll wake up pretty quickly. I’ll change his diaper, then feed him. And then the cycle of nursing/appeasing will begin again while I eventually try to prepare dinner or shower or fold laundry or nap or what have you in between. This is about as close to a schedule as we have come. Of course, other days we might have visitors or go to a drop-in parenting group, or go to a friend’s house who also has a baby, where we will sit, nurse, talk, eat, and change diapers together for hours—basically the same thing we do at home, without the pretense of trying to get anything else done, and with the benefit of being able to talk to others who are going through such similar experiences.

All in all, it’s not a bad life. And some days-- and many moments-- are pure joy. Especially the more that my little one starts to smile and look around and interact with me and the world. Especially now that my nipples aren’t so sore, and that Cedar’s started to sleep for longer stretches, and that this whole adventure is a bit more familiar and a little less overwhelming. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t little milestones to overcome all the time—all kinds of firsts, challenges, changes, anxieties, and plain old tiredness. So, as my energy and ambition grows, I try to remind myself that it’s okay if we end up getting nothing done today or if things don’t go as planned. My job right now, first and foremost, is to feed and to love this guy, plus take care of my basic needs. Sure, I would love to write more and slowly add back in other parts of my former life like yoga, exercise, submitting work for publication, and applying for teaching jobs, but I’ll take it as it comes. Right now, and maybe forever, my baby is here to teach me infinite patience and love. And any time I get frustrated when he might wake earlier than I’d hoped or feed insatiably for hours, I just need to remember this: patience and love.

Motherhood is the most amazing thing I’ve ever known. That’s why I keep feeling the need to write: where, oh where, to begin? But I should end this here or else it will become too unwieldy. I should print it out and see if it can’t be posted soon, with only a quick edit, before Cedar wakes and I put it aside and don’t get back to it for days, and then maybe by then I’ll decide it’s too sloppy or rambling and unfocused. But you know what? That may just be the way this blog needs to be now. Rambling and unfocused. Messy and “good enough.” A way to stay connected to my writing voice and identity, to the myriad of thoughts and emotions coursing through me each day I spend with my baby, and to my audience of friends, family, and strangers—whomever you are. You are important to me.

I love being a mother more than I can possibly express, and in a way that is very real to me, sometimes I think that nothing else in the world really matters now besides this baby and my love for him. But of course there is also my huge love for my friends and family. And then there is my writing, and all the ways in which I know and greet myself as a writer, which I also can not leave too far behind or else my breadth of awareness, community, and giving will grow too narrow.

So I offer you now these scraps, this stolen moment, this tiny window. I’m gonna try my best to sit down like this and ramble away as much as I can. Thanks for listening.

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