For me, motherhood has been a love in progress. My kids I love. LOVE. I love them tremendous, indescribable, crazy amounts. And it's automatic. The mothering gig, on the other hand, has taken some getting used to. I'm still getting used to it, in fact. But I'm also learning that so much of the pleasure of hanging out with children is losing yourself in the activity with which you're both engaged. No, I'm not talking go-down-the-slide-with-your-kid engaged. No, no, no. Playgrounds are for small people. I am not small. I guess what I'm trying to say is for whatever reason this summer has been our perfect time to get lost in activity together. Perhaps it's the experience of juggling the dynamic personality of a very talkative almost four-year-old with a curious, still-somewhat-portable one-year-old, but I'm finding more value in the time we spend out together. The museums, the hikes, the picnics. Late mornings followed by mostly unstructured afternoons. A gift of endless encounters.
It's not all sunshine. Of course not. Everyday there are cogs. With sleep, it's still anyone's guess how it's all going to go down on a given night. And this week our pediatrician joked I was using her as my social hour (oh dear). Jon has been working long hours (he has been away this entire week), but when he is gone I notice I undergo a mental shift. The parenting work is all on me, there is no one else to lean on and nobody else's schedule to keep but our own. So we just go. Maybe the kids are merely responding to that. I need to act with more independence when he's in town, too, I think.
The other night, a thunderstorm was rolling in overhead just as I was going to bed. I found myself asking, When was the last time I listened to a thunderstorm in the stillness of night? I was tired--exhausted, even--from having the kids to myself all day, but I decided to stay up and watch the storm. From our front porch I inhaled the perfumed summertime rain, and then I watched the steam rise off the streets, twisting and tangoing under the white light of the streetlamp. How many little moments in the everyday are lost to keeping pace with a schedule? And what relief, to occasionally throw it all to the wind.