Thursday, March 29, 2012

March Madness...reflections on being 35

I look around and feel suffocated by: the sunlit dust on the perimeter of our hardwood floors, random toys peering from beneath the sofa or found underneath clothes in my closet, dirty diapers and the constant questioning of whether my child's ______ (fill in the could be anything-ear wax build up, shape of toe nail growth, etc) is normal; the never-ending pile of dishes in and around my sink; the junk newsprint mail I receive, let alone the mounds that Steve gets; the reality that the tick infestation in my backyard may or may not be actually eradicated; the mornings when the kids and I are home and awake and Steve is sleeping from a nights work; the layout of my office space and the vacant game room that remains to this day, not a game room but a storage unit of random, misplaced and forgotten c r a p.

I look around and feel renewed when I: see dress-ups hanging off a toy box from an earlier Princess and Pirate raid the kids enjoyed; spot a greeting card celebrating a recent holiday from the kids biggest fan, Jessica; get into my car with or without kids to drive away...anywhere; pick the children up from school and feel their embrace that is loaded with pure love and happiness; know both children are finally asleep at the end of the day and I take that first calming breath to the start of my night; enjoy the first 24 hours following our cleaning crew bi-weekly visit; take a mini mind vacation and imagine myself walking barefoot on a barren beach; try on a new lavender nail color or surprisingly, wear a little eye make-up for an ordinary day out; hear Dylan say 'You're welcome' after a polite exchange.

Recent happenings have me in a spin which only ruins my nerves, aches my belly and no doubt adds weight, emotional and physical. However, in the midst of personal storms what celebrations do exist are worth noting here:

Dylan has officially started brushing his teeth like a big boy and he will consistently let me help him. This is a huge stress reliever as the boy unfortunately has some horrific looking decayed canines. They showed up this way and will stay this way until permanent ones roll in. Apparently during my pregnancy there was a deficiency or response to my pregnancy that impacted his teeth development. Interesting. Not sure what to make of it, but his teeth look fairly jacked if you get up close and personal. He continues to be a mama's boy and recently decides to whine or mumble instead of using learned words for his desires-this has been challenging to deal with as it's simply annoying and persistently tests my patience. He loves a good chase through the house, a solid ride on his bicycle and will clean the whole house with the vacuum if I'd let him. He's also my little budding chef, thanks to his Baking Fridays at preschool. He'd rather help me in the kitchen than watch a TV show-this is probably due to the mama's boy title, yet regardless, knowing he will take kitchen over couch....sign me up! He responds to music with great interest and now sings his top five hits: Jingle Bells, Skina Ma Rink a Dink, You Are My Sunshine, the ABCs and Itsy Bitsy Spider. He makes out every fifth word on average-but doesn't miss the applicable hand motions or miss a chance to smile with you while he sings. This melts my heart.

Kaitlyn can count to 10 in Spanish, to 30+ in English skipping over the number 16 chronically, and apparently totally digs the difference between verbs and adverbs (the latter was reported by her teacher). She is a bully at times, body slamming her brother, elbowing him to move out of her way, chasing after him with a tackle and my favorite, the full on love smothering kiss that looks so darn aggressive but is truly an outpouring of love from an overly energetic toddler! She's an instigator and the queen bee of sneakiness, wearing her guilt ever so well when found hiding under a table with ___________ (again, fill in the blank: daddy's fancy blue water bottle; a carton of unwashed strawberries half eaten by her daring self; a blue crayon that's already intimately met the floor her bottom rests upon; a to-go soy sauce packet opened and drizzled on...everything, etc.). Needless to say she is C U R I O U S and full of might. The sassy back talk has dwindled and her more loving nature has been showcased, often wanting to sit on my lap for a story or kiss my check spontaneously, all these I have enjoyed tremendously. She has developed an interest in foods on my plate, taking a bite to declare whether she likes it or not.

I'm turning 35 this September and envision a girls trip to that barren beach I vacation to regularly in my dreams. Spa packages with wildflowers in our rooms, toe soaks and big hipster sunglasses! Freedom. 35. It's approaching fast and I feel it. Someplace within me longs for 25 when I was carefree, had a circle of friendships for frivolous outings and uplifting conversations. It was when I had time to volunteer and feel important within my community, when I could love and not feel hurt from a shared history, or when I could skip and talk without being short of breath. When I think of the age, 35, I feel my mortality, I recognize that now as a mother, my life is not for me, but for my children. My life as a wife is overshadowed by my life as a mom. My sole purpose of life right now is reserved for wiping snot from noses, offering necessary care for bruised hearts and scraped knees, teaching values by doing and protect them from harms way simply by being with them, engaging in their personhood despite how shriveled up I may feel. Breaks don't come often enough and quite frankly, are moms supposed to get breaks? This full time job isn't even a job, it's a way of life. SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) is all consuming at all times, awake or asleep. My job is never done and will never be as long as I continue to be 'Mom'. When I think of turning 35, I crave time for myself that lasts longer than my child's hour nap, or the late hours of my night that become time distributed among home duties, motherly duties and personal responsibilities.

35 will need to be a year of remarkable discovery, adventure and new expereicnes. My children will be that much more independent, will have a larger vocabulary, will have a greater understanding of my boundaries and their own. I will be able to hike with them for a quick nature get away, find ways to fit them into my life as it competes for a revival of life when 25-well, ok, portions of that era! Steve is like the backdrop-he's always there but not with us. My life as a mom has become very solo and with children this young, I feel estranged from what marriage is meant to be. The real challenge for this year will be to rediscover the life prior to children as shared with Steve. Becoming parents is a journey that rips you, slays you, hits you over the head, diminishes you and then can lift you up, heal you, and revive you all in one day. Lord help me, I'm suffocated more often than not and pray that this year of 35 the suffocating stops and the feeling of being renewed replenishes my shriveled self!

Now, how is that for a blog mind is filled to the brim, to take the time and document the moment offers me satisfaction in that it releases some of the stories, freeing up space for the inner dialogue to spread out, lighten up and truly vacation!