Mama said there’ll be days like this
I’ve written what seems like a hundred posts in my head, in the middle of the night, in the middle of the day, in the middle of the dishes. Wondering, wouldn’t it be cool if some gadget could “mind to key” my thoughts instead of “speak to text” my words. Maybe this gadget could catch the unspoken mid-flight and pin it down so we’d remember the next time we approached a runway.
Turns out even though we’ve blown past McFly’s future time travel date, we still don’t have flying cars, telepathic gadgets or even Cubs world series winners. The only “mind to key” technology I have available is the only one we all have, mental images limited by temporal and spatial boundaries. Data storage based on cellular function over gigabyte capability.
I wrote to my friend Jenny weeks ago, getting up with the baby this go around isn’t hard because it makes me tired, it’s hard because it creates more space during the time of the day where worries and anxiety take on lives of their own.
It also turns out, all those things they say about time and kids are true. They’re both in constant motion, whirling about whether you’re paying attention or not. Leaves spiraling from your family tree. Sometimes chin-diving into bathroom tubs, scratching into perfectly lice-free hair or crying raspy breaths with stuffed up noses. Stitches, lice combs, baby colds – mama said there’ll be days like this.
At night, I carefully transfer Jonah to his crib, tiptoe out of the room and shoo the cat from under the rocker. I pour a glass of wine. Take a deep breath in and an equally long one out. Up wakes baby.
In the morning, I pour a cup of coffee, hot and spiced with creamer. I breathe it in, cup my hands around the warm mug and take a gratifying sip. Jason and I volley the boys – tie shoes, pour juice and sort school papers.
And I keep thinking about all the half full glasses of warm wine and cold coffee I leave sitting around the house, never finished only started.
Monday morning I found a half empty beer upright in the freezer between the frozen breast milk and the black bananas. Jason put it there the night before to keep it cool, while I was with the baby.
All these blips. Blips of time. Blips of projects sitting on the potter’s wheel, apron donned, clay wet and splattered, rhythm started and then abandoned. Shoes need tying, juice boxes puncturing and school papers sorting. Up wakes baby.
Blip, blip, blip.
Conversations, thank you notes, work. Started, stopped, restarted, stopped. And it’s okay – this time of nonproductivity – this period of starts and stops. Albert Nobel said, “contentment is the only real wealth.” Properly focused, children are not distractions from work, they are the real work. They are not halts to productivity, they are the key to a kinder legacy. A baby who needs comfort, a little boy who needs hugging, these needs met, breed productive children. Productivity today is love and learning for them.
Children turn our starts and stops around.
My productivity isn’t found in overtime hours, tidy rooms or fancy dinners. It can’t be. Both the children and time are rushing forward and I can only chase one.
And no matter what changes, It seems I always need to be reminded of this. Over and over and over. Productive parenting looks more like productive children than worldly efficiency. Blip, blip, blip. Up wakes baby.
Mama said there’ll be days like this.