Sickness brings surprising reflection time. When you are going hundred miles an hour like we all are these days, I often feel very bittersweet about technology and the pace of life. And I watch my beloved British historical TV series like Larkrise to Candleford, Cranford or watch Sense and Sensibility for the 88th time and literally feel jealous of those women who can enjoy life at its snail-like pace. Even Laura in Larkrise can stop to sit and reflect on the gorgeous sunny-baked Oxfordshire scenery for an hour or two while still making her post rounds. I completely feel robbed.
And of course, being an American (and an American WOMAN at that!), we feel this overburdened responsibility to be the ultimate multi-tasker even in the smallest sense. Things that can get taken granted for, things my husband rarely helps with or thinks about or even stresses. When he does it’s definitely on his own terms – like the house has been a mess for weeks and he’s fed up! But it’s more based on his mood if he comes home stressed out. And now that we have an almost one-year old, of course most of that responsibility has fallen on me this past year. But I have LOVED, absolutely loved every minute of it!
Well . . . that’s not entirely true. If I’m being totally honest with myself, the only time when I started to really stress out taking care of Mr. G at home was when I started to feel responsibility to “get things” done with my freelance work. I had hoped (unrealistically of course cause this is my first kid), that I would be able to work part-time at home with little G being about 3 months old and I could realistically get in about 20 hours per week. Ha ha ha . . . the experienced mothers chuckle! Of course I couldn’t UNLESS I was extremely strict about his schedule and mine. I’ve heard of other mothers doing it – they are like the general in the army, going down to the very minute, being relentless with their managing time. It’s pretty impressive. But I know myself. And that is not me at all. I would resent it even more. And I hated myself for even resenting just a fraction that I couldn’t get anything done and I always felt “behind.”
Well, over these past several months, I’m slowly starting to relearn like we always do – the lesson of being present, being grateful and trying to be 100% engaged in what you are doing now. I started to feel really fast like the little hamster in the hamster-wheel, while, like a lot of folks, see the world whizzing like on a train. TOO FAST. SLOW DOWN!!! I’m getting better but obviously it’s a life-long skill.
But these past couple days, I’ve felt a breather again. My son has been super sick. Obviously a normal 11 month old, walking at 9 months, we have gotten used to him being mobile, and gotten used to him learning to entertain himself, getting all the tuperware out of the bottom kitchen cabinets (I of course placed them there just for him!), squealing at the dishwasher (he loves to poke and put things in the silverware boxes), and rapping on anything within 2 inches from his arm with his little drumstick making lots and lots of noise! Busy busy busy of course. What 11 month old is not?!
But this past weekend, he was so ill, taken with a fever, vomiting and you know what else, he just ended up laying in my arms most of each day, content to look into my eyes, slowly dose off to sleep but never once could I put him down. Otherwise he would end up whining and crying until I scooped him up again. Of course I indulge that! Knowing that these are those precious moments when he actually WANTS me around as his mom. Very soon here, he will exert his independence and start to say “no.” So of course I relish in those opportunities. I didn’t realize that I would end up having almost 4 days of these precious, slow days with him.
And at first I started to feel that “mom” pull – there’s so many things I should be doing! the laundry, cleaning his bottles, taking my check to the ATM, making the list for Whole Foods, should be preparing meals for the week, etc. But gratefully, I decided to just be with my son, holding him on our couch, both of us cuddle up in fleece blankets with New Age music pulsing in the background on the TV. HEAVENLY. Hours later, little G is still snoring away, getting rested up after an exhausting couple of days for him. And my husband is out on this glorious October sunny day. It’s only about 68 degrees, the screen door is open with a slight cool breeze, the sun is streaming through our floor to ceiling windows. I close my eyes as the sun streams through the leaves of the trees rustling outside, creating that strobe-like fluttering, as the yellow light embraces both of us in brightness. HEAVENLY.
I will remember these days with fondness actually. Yes, I should be working. Yes I should be doing all these chores. Yes I should be doing this or that. But I didn’t! I just sat there or laid there with my son in my arms. Remembering almost exactly 1 year ago, I did this same thing, with him as a brand new baby, someone we’d just met, and I felt then as I do now, what a privilege it is to spend quality time with your little one – no matter how it comes your way. These moments are so fleeting. They never come around again. And I thank the Universe I was given a small gift again to get grounded and get grateful to reflect.