Monday, December 9, 2013

The best kind of busy

This season of my life is so incredibly sweet that sometimes, in complete awe, I just have to stop and look around. I want to remember it all. 

The past few years have been a whole lot of busy, busy, busy, rush, rush, rush. Working 50+ hours a week, one or two grad classes a semester, summer sessions, and summer school mixed with Jeff's 60+ hour work week and both of his baseball teams, while still balancing family and home life. Sometimes it felt like we were just getting through the week then slogging through the weekend, and for what? In no way will I say that my life didn't have purpose, because it always has, in so many ways, but my purpose has completely changed. 

I have always given so much of myself to my students, throwing myself into my school work and taking too much of it home with me, physically and mentally. But now, as I find myself going into my third month away from the classroom, I have found a new purpose. If I'm being honest, as much as I've always wanted to be a stay at home mom, part of me wondered if I would feel lost without my students, my creativity, the energy of the classroom. I always knew that being a mother was the ultimate goal in my life but in a society that seems to glamorize a busy, overworked lifestyle, I wondered if staying home with my baby would set me apart, even if it is only for a season.

And yet, I am busy. My life is full. It is rewarding. But most days, I don't get dressed until after noon time and when I glance in the mirror, I see that my hair is ten kinds of crazy, my shirt is all sorts of stretched out and stained from being pulled and spit on, and good Lord, my pedicure, if you can call it that, is in dire need. I always felt so accomplished with a good pedicure but I guess my tune has changed. 

Some days, when Jeff gets home from work, I see him glance over at the sink, which is still full, or at the dozen dog toys strewn across the floor, and at my coffee cup still sitting next to me while Ellen is on at 4:00, and I know what he's thinking. Still, as I look down at my daughter, who is nuzzled up to me, filling her belly and looking into my eyes, I know that the day's greatest accomplishment is that 12 pound bundle of love sitting in my lap, smiling, happy, healthy. Even when it doesn't look like it from the outside, I am busy all day. Rocking, shushing, snuggling, singing, swaddling, kissing, changing, reading, walking, kissing, bouncing, tummy-timing, and more kissing. I am so busy. My life is so full. It is so rewarding. 

I don't ever want to lose the person I was before I was someone's Mommy; the person who was showered and out the door by 6:30am and could get 25 kids converting fractions and loving it by 8:00am, but in this short, sweet season, I want to enjoy my new busy. When I feel flustered trying to switch the laundry, take out the trash, wipe down the counters, sweep the floor, so that it looks like I "did something", I realize that I am "doing something" all day long. And on the best days, I am showered and dressed, using my teacher voices to read stories, with the hum of the dishwasher and washing machine in the background, a tired dog at my side and a happy baby in my lap. 

If I don't get to return a phone call, or update my blog, or check the mail, it will still be okay. If I don't get to the dishes or put away the laundry, it will be there tomorrow. At this point, I don't know how long I will get to be home all day with my sweet baby, being the only one who can meet her needs. She will only be this little once and I know that I will blink and be back in the classroom, up late preparing lessons, rushing to get dinner on the table so I can post online for a grad class. For now, I will enjoy being the best kind of busy I can be, because I know too well, that babies don't keep.

Mother, O' Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth.
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.
Oh, I've grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo.
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due,
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek - peekaboo.
The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew,
And out in the yard there's a hullabaloo.
But I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren't his eyes the most wonderful hue?
Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo.

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow,
But children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.
~ Ruth Hulbert Hamilton