With all this free time staring me in the face, I have to be ever diligent and defend against Time Waste. I could drop the kids at school, come home and just sit clicking links on the ol’ Internet for six hours. But I must instead seize every moment of each day, because who knows when another illness will befall us and I’ll lose my time again.
See, I am already calling it MY TIME. With all MY TIME I came up with a great (horrible) statement this morning: It’s easy to be happy as a stay-at-home parent. Just keep the kids out of the house. I get so much done. I am so relaxed. I am happy to see them at the end of the day. And at the beginning of the day.
Why did I have children if I didn’t want to, you know, HAVE children? Well, I did spend five solid years with them. You’d need a break too, imaginary childless critic who is wondering about my motives.
I am also facing a possible return to work in the next *handwave* months, so in theory this lovely time off is but a vacation from my old life, not a real new life and as such I intend to enjoy it, not settle into it and have it become more drudgery and routine. Excitement! Verve! That is what I am talking about.
This morning I was running along a trail at Burnaby Lake Regional Park. My feet fell on the cushioned dirt path, sometimes on slugs, sometimes not on slugs. I had been listening to music but then I listened to the park instead; it’s full of birds and frogs and apparently bears though I did not see any, and that was more pleasant.
As I put one foot in front of the other over and over again for half an hour, I thought about how with kids we don’t really see the work that goes into their growth and development. It starts when they begin to exist without our knowledge and carries on pretty much forever? Babies go crazy and make no sense and then figure out how to talk and in retrospect we get it — baby goes crazy? Baby is making a developmental leap — but it’s still hard to see ahead of time.
It still surprises me when my kids make a leap or suddenly start doing something they haven’t done before. When I see them over here and they used to be over there it feels like they sprouted wings and flew to this new place. But really, the steps were all there. They built the steps and put them in place and followed them. Who knows how long ago that was, how long they’ve been working toward this goal in their own, precious, weird way. It only looks like magic.
From inside me, someone who is trying to figure out what to do with her life and accomplish much with what she’s been given, it feels more like I built the steps and put them in place and am slowly trudging along and holy cow it totally did NOT look this far when I started. How am I not there* yet? And yet, when I do arrive, perhaps to someone else it will look like I just sprouted wings and flew.
* the meditation book would say there is no there and you are here and I acknowledge this but I mean more in a goal-achieving sort of sense, not a self-achieving sense. I have achieved self.**
** or have I? ***
*** yes. For the most part.
Oh, wow, we’re in the same brain place this morning (last night, for you). E is still in speech therapy, and in this weird way, it’s like all that brick-building and path-laying is in slo-mo, so that I do see how we get from here to there. Normally this sort of depresses the shit out of me, because, damn, my kid has a speech disorder. But this morning, it’s kind of…not sad. I get to watch the flight, and it’s fascinating instead of grueling or frustrating.
I’m sure it will be back to frustrating tomorrow. Or in 2 hours from now, when he’s in his session. But right now, I get to watch the pushing through and succeeding in real time, and it helps me see that there’s always a there to match the here (and I think, for you too, for the thing that we don’t speak loudly of).
And yes, the Zen koan rises again. I have found self. Or have I? Yes. and No.
Thrilled by your new stage in life – the Kids in School phase!