Friday, April 26, 2013

Slow Moving Sun

Just when it seemed spring had forgotten about us, we had a day like yesterday: clear, blue skies sparkling on a vibrant ocean, eagles soaring and diving after carcasses, crisp strong winds trying to blow the shell of winter away.

I couldn’t get enough of being outside: a run, a walk, time spent rocking my baby on the deck, her face shielded from the bright, warm sunlight while mine couldn’t soak it in fast enough. Small commuting planes took off and landed as we watched, their engines accenting the quiet of their absence. While the ravens perched on streetlights and tall spruce, the sun moved across the sky.

“Time moves slowly,” I was told by friends who had babies before me. It’s a truth that I understand better now that I am in the caretaking roll myself. At the end of the day I can often list no other activities then holding and rocking a baby. Yet in this slow pace I notice much that I previously might have missed in the chaos of busyness, even if it’s the distinct cry of the raven or the arch of the summer sun. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Golden Moments

On Sunday as I sat in church, it looked like slushees were being thrown against the window. Thick, wet, dense snow blanketed the city as the wind tossed it against anything standing in its path. It’s spring, so they say, but the signs have been elusive.

As I sit and type I’m in my running clothes (in hopes of an outing soon enough), listening to the whirl of the washing machine, bracing against signs that our little one has woken prematurely from her nap. I have an hour (at most?) of time to be productive—and I’m paralyzed. What should I do with these golden minutes: Eat lunch?  Sit on the deck and watch communiting planes land on the water sparkling in today’s glorious sunshine? Straighten up around the house? Read? Work on a quilt I started almost a year ago and desperately needs to be finished?

These days a moment of quiet—where my first inclination isn’t to sleep—is rare, a small glimpse into the way things were not so long ago.

This morning she and I went on a walk, a necessary activity when rain and snow are not whipping against the windows. I was happy to shed my gloves when I realized my hands wouldn’t freeze without them, happy to push the jogger up and down the hills of the neighborhood, lost in conversation with my walking partners as I kept one eye on the sleeping baby—lulled by the rhythm of the sidewalks and the fresh sea air.

Every week that passes brings me further into this new territory, new identity as mother, caretaker of this miniature being that requires so much. The 3am wake up calls, so harsh in the first weeks, now feel familiar. As I finish feeding her I relish the expressions she makes as she stretches her arms before settling herself to fall back asleep against my chest. Though I too am ready to climb back into bed, I find myself lingering as her breathing settles, as her smell washes over me with such familiarity.

This new normal has become so familiar, so welcome.

This golden moment will soon pass: quiet, sunshine, indecision and all. And with it will come the other pieces of my day—familiar and rewarding in their own way. In the mean time, I will go check on the crying baby, who has decided an hour is far too much to ask.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Instant Distraction (or Productivity Monopolized)

In what has quickly become six weeks, life has taken on a completely new rhythm. My days feel busy and yet empty at the same time. Yesterday when I picked Curtis up from work, I felt compelled to recall all the events of what felt like a monumentally productive day: "I washed the sheets, and I unloaded the dishwasher, and I made myself lunch..." only to realize the list that felt GIGANTIC was actually quite short. 

Yet, that didn't steal my satisfaction; instead, it only cemented what I have quickly come to realize...I can easily spend all day, just taking care of her. Everything I accomplish above and beyond that feels like a bonus these days.

I made it to a track meet recently, and had a wonderful time showing off my daughter to all sorts of students and parents and athletes. So many people have shared in our joy since her birth--bringing meals, sending gifts, writing notes in thoughtful cards. Going anywhere with her strapped to my chest brings a smile to seemingly everyone, strangers as much as friends. There is something about a small, bright-eyed baby that brightens the gloomiest day, and make the mundane special.

I suppose that's how my days pass, pausing a moment and sometimes an hour while she practices rolling over (already), tries out her newly discovered voice, and elicits the most ridiculous faces from me as she smiles and attempts to laugh. Soon enough, she falls asleep again, while I run around trying to prioritize my productive minutes until she wakes--ready to monopolize my day a bit more.

There are days when I can't wait to hand her off to Curtis the moment he walks in the door, but mostly I hand her off to him, and proceed to stare at her a while longer until be both crash at the end of the day from exhaustion (and then start over again tomorrow).