One of the biggest shocks of adult life and parenthood is how much of it is based on Completely Making It Up. I always thought, when I was young, that older people somehow knew what they were doing. But then I discovered: they didn't. That maybe it was luckier than I thought that I made it out of childhood in one piece.
Today the strain of being a parent of a newborn and a toddler is wearing on me. Truthfully: it is hard. N does not like to be put down, and it has been two solid days of holding her all day, nursing her all night. Today I took a shower and knelt down in the bottom of the tub, in fetal position, for about two solid minutes, totally alone in the hot water raining down. The hardest part is just not having a break, not having a "naptime" to reboot myself, having another human strapped to me 24 hours a day. The shower moment was actually less of a meltdown than it sounds -- it was relaxing, centering, sort of like the power-nap of meditation: only two minutes but very restorative. Sometimes a girl just has to be alone.
Today I am doing what I try not to do: praying for something very specific. I am praying that N will learn to rest out of my arms during at least some of her naps, that I might have 2-3 hours during each day that I can have my body to myself.
Ben held her for a while this evening so I got to play in the sandbox with C -- it was sweet, simple fun. I think I need to make a point to do more of that -- playing alongside him, even briefly, every day. Little kids know how to break through to fun and smiling a lot more quickly than we OverSolemn adults do.
I think there is something to that -- when the kids are stressing me out, the thing to do is return to that state of kidness. Motherhood is such a huge gift in my life, because it puts me in daily contact with my kids. It ages me physically, but it allows me to act a lot younger in other ways.
Maybe as N is sitting here nursing on me, maybe I am the one drawing the nourishment I need from her, instead of the other way around. Maybe in the morning, instead of wondering where in the world I will get the energy to take care of C, I can just wait and see what energy he will bring to me. All this time I have been praying for someone to come and minister to me, to help me through this challenging time, and it turns out I have two little tiny ministers living in the house with me, full of exactly what I need: vulnerability, sweetness, laughter.
Oh, Lord, your little nuggets of hidden-in-plain-sight wisdom!
These kids are beautiful.