Some days I don’t have time to take a shower. Some days I don’t go to the bathroom for hours, even if I REALLY have to go. Some days I don’t drink enough water. Some days I eat too much food. Some days I think I’m boring. Some days I worry that Finn’s been in the stroller or car seat too long. Some days I wonder if he’ll ever want to crawl. Some days I laugh and laugh. Some days I cry and cry.
But every day? I marvel at the perfection of this little life and the unfolding of this beautiful creature that occupies almost every moment of my time. He really is perfect, doing things just as he is meant to be doing them. Isn’t that a lesson? Each step, even the bumpy uncertain ones, are just right. They are all so critical to making up the story that is his life; the learning, developing, exploring, inquiring, imaginative, funny little man that he is already, and will continue to become more of. He’s already completely himself.
As of Friday, Finn will have been outside just as long as he was inside. 9 months in, 9 months out, and just so confidently himself regardless of time.
In the past month we’ve been to Tofino and back, a week of Finn’s first camping, beach strolling, sand eating, and ocean dipping- and he did OH SO WELL. We returned home to him deciding it was time to learn to roll, like for real. (He’d been taking his time with the mobility stuff.) He’s now flopping back and forth, and figured out that he can propel himself towards things by rolling- I see crawling in our future. (EGADS!) Then we headed off to Galiano Island with some good friends and their kids, and again he did OH SO WELL. He came away from that weekend having discovered how to clap, wave and high five!, and he practices these new skills a lot. It’s like he discovered his hands could do OTHER things besides smooshing food and pulling on hair. And he has also discovered that he is a boy, and that part of his body provokes a great deal of curious exploration. Ah, to be a mother of a boy.
I’m doing alright here, journeying along side the kid, attempting to be tuned into him and me as much as possible. I see his little developments so much easier than my own, though. His are marked in bold exchanges with the world and seem so BIG when he begins to do something he’d never done before. “Look at him point to all the eyes of the animals in the book!” My developments are much more subtle and shifting, internal and mysterious (Look, I didn’t eat any chocolate for 3 days!). Honestly, I feel a bit foggy most days, not quite sure where I’m at. I think I’ve reached some level of peace with the breastfeeding struggle, although some days I encounter challenges that feel like I’ve got to start over again. Mostly it has to do with the semantics of feeding our babies and how unforgiving the messages of ‘breast is best’ can be to someone who was unable to give the ‘best’. A workshop on ‘Weaning and going back to work’ felt like an unfortunate demonizing and stigmatization of formula feeding (don’t we all already KNOW why breastfeeding is the best option?) and I watched as a couple other formula feeding mums slipped quietly out of the room during the hour-long discussion. I stayed and did my smiley face, although the sadness hung around with me for a few days after… That’s how it goes these days. I hang out with a good group of happy babies and their supportive and kind mums, who are like me and trying their best to be tuned into their children and give their babies the best chance in this world. It seems we all struggle with something in motherhood, and the reality of this helps to ease some of my own anguish and guilt.
I am feeling a little lost, to be sure. Motherhood is great and full and charming, but it is also a fog of activity all day long that doesn’t leave much time for reflection and consideration…
I just realized that every time I feel like I want to make a statement of honesty about the struggle, I feel compelled to back it with a statement of how much I’m loving this job. That is possibly one of the most curious things about this journey of motherhood; it can be so full of joy, laughter, successes, and marveling, and yet that fullness always seems a little shadowed by grief, anxiety, guilt, and loss.
I am reminded of the unlikely marriage of Sorrow and Compassion. Two drastically different and powerful characters, drawn together through a mutual understanding of human nature. Wandering through life hand in hand, giving back and forth to one another the gifts that each carries. We are all witness to this marriage every day; but on those days when I can remember that they contribute equally to the path of life, it somehow eases the struggle… Compassion is the one to follow Sorrow. The quiet partner, soft and gracious. Can you hear the gentle voice of Compassion?