Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Long, But Very Good

Sometimes at night while rocking my son I match my nose and forehead to his and sway. My neck is unquestionably cramped and my arms eventually tire of his fourteen pound frame but the smell of his breath and the rhythm of his lungs is intoxicating. I fear I will never be as close to him as I am now. He still depends on me for his nourishment, his confort; his eyes light up when they make contact with my own. His distress in being alone or being held by a stranger calms when I scoop him up and whisper in his ear. I am his person.

I am well-rested enough these days that I occasionally miss my children once they are in bed. The relief of two sleeping tiny ones is still rich, but the memory of their smiles, the pitter patter of my daughter's feet as she runs back and forth across the house, the grins and chuckles of my son from the slightest bit of interaction--I am hooked. They are such precious gifts; I can hardly believe at times my life is so full.

"These are the best days," a grandmother from my church tells me over lunch. Her daughter is due with her second grandchild any day, and I can tell she can hardly contain herself in waiting to travel to meet the new child. When I went into labor with my son, I texted my mom that morning to let her know the delivery was only a matter of time. Fifteen hours later she had packed a bag, tidied up her affairs at work and hopped a flight over to our island, where she arrived in time for dinner and met her first grandson before bed. She knows the truth of this time; it is fleeting.

At times it is good to be reminded of the gift of these moments, when the day has gone well and the connection I feel with my children is intoxicating. Some days the feelings of bliss seem light-years away, and it's all I can do to hold my tongue as my patience is stretched far beyond the limits I have previously known.  Yet at the end of the day, the roller coaster I am riding is one I will choose to ride again tomorrow--highs, lows, and everything in between. These are good days, long but good. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Thoughts mid-flight, with a sleeping baby on my lap

Perhaps as a testament to the subject matter, this was actually written nearly a month ago on May 20 while flying over the ocean, on my way to yet another meet.

The clouds have been low this week, leaving the town in a bit of a fog that holds planes at bay and travelers stranded. At times I can't help but feel a part of the fog--the product of not quite enough sleep and hardly a moment alone, let alone in silence. Despite the chaos, we have settled into a bit of a routine around here, with our son's eating falling into a bit of a rhythm and his sleeping mostly dependable.

This is a busy season for many: school is ending, seniors are graduating, plans for summer travel are coming to fruition, and many are moving along to their summertime work. We live in a town that still operates on an agrarian calendar, where clusters of men and women and set out to gather fish in season, succeeding and failing as the price and migration work for or against them. 

These days I am busy as well: wrapping up my commitments that break for the summer and venturing to the track daily to coach the athletes who are up for the challenge--testing their limits and fighting the almighty stop watch, whose truth can't be excused as biased or unfair. The push to the finish of the season is the last of my school-time commitments to end. While I look forward to afternoons where nap time need not be cut short and dinner prep isn't mandated before lunch, I will miss much about it. I love the schedule and routine it adds to my days; I love the conversations I have with the athletes. I appreciate the ways they challenge my thinking and assumptions with their acceptance of behaviors and attitudes I would have written off a long time ago. They ensure I don't get lost in the fog that surrounds me as I juggle life with a two month old and two year old; they ensure I get a good laugh and their parents ensure I remember that my little ones will be teens before I know it. They remind me to sing to songs on the radio and teach me the new lingo and trends. 

I am tired of clouds and fog; I am tired of rain. Thanks to hours on my feet and four weekends of traveling and sleeping on air mattresses while coaching and caring for a newborn, I am just generally exhausted. Yet I am also in love--with my babies, with my job, with this season of my life, which thankfully won't last forever.