Here I am a little more than 6 1/2 years into a career, 5 years a wife, 3 1/2 years a mother, and recovering from yet another stomach bug. Why is this pertinent? Friday's are a pretty great day for me. I get to wear jeans to work, leave at 3:00, I am amped for the weekend so somehow my psyche pushes the weeks built up fatigue aside and I energetically clean the house so that when Saturday comes around I can sit with my coffee, watch the boys play, and not see the trails of dirt, scattered toys, and random sippy cups around the house. I like Fridays! Well this Friday I stayed at work to photograph our school's annual "Mother & Son Gala" so I didn't make it home until almost 9, didn't clean, barely felt alive. In other words crashed with the hubby and kids. Saturday I usually get to sleep in a little but this week Simon woke us all up puking at 5:30 am. We nurtured the sick little one, put chores aside, had snuggle family time, and actually thought that a miracle had descended upon our household because we made it all the way through Monday with out anyone else showing signs of illness! Tuesday morning, again 5:30 am I woke up to begin my day as usual only something was a little uneasy. I tossed it aside thinking it was far too late in the morning to call in a sub which always entails more work than actually being there. Bad choice. I greeted my 20 7 year olds curled in a ball in my "thinking chair", tossed them some work and warned them not to make a peep or else. I didn't make it through the day, called in a sub after all and left work at 11:00. Adam tried his best to keep the kids from tampering with my nap but Simon is in a "I'm crazy for Mom" phase and it was an afternoon of intermittent napping, nursing, wishing I was in a hole, underground, and alone. I finally crawl out of my cave around 9:00 and Adam convinces me to take Wednesday off. Good idea this time. Adam takes the kids to his parents and I have a day at home alone! Any other day I would have been moving non stop like a lightning bolt. Be proud of me, I actually rested! The guilt periodically overcame me but the illness eventually overcame and kept me flat. That evening Adam returns with the boys, Simon happy to see me, Ben a limp boy now ill, ill, ill. Nurture mode kicks in and eventually all four of us crash in the family bed. Adam and I are both joking that he is still the healthy one, however we both know that he is going to be boarding a plane early Saturday morning for his Colorado "Ski Mancation" and we are both actually wishing that the virus starts soon (how sick is that!) Wishing aside, the virus hit Adam this morning just when I was crawling out of bed for work. He insists on keeping the boys. I go to work and begin the clean up from a two-day absence with a big math test to give Friday. Ahhhh! I make it through the day rather exhausted. I come home to Adam curled in a ball on the couch, and the boys making do with a sick daddy. I send Adam to bed, take the boys outside for a peak at all of the blooms that appeared during our sick week, beg the kids to come in, bathe, nurse Simon to sleep, snuggle Ben, and alas here I am, looking around my home and I see a never-ending list of things to do...vacuum the carpets, clean the bathrooms, fold more laundry, organize the art room, finish the income taxes, wash the windows, weave another basket, make the boys a sail for their pirate ship, on, and on, and on.
I titled this post "evolving perspectives" because of this, it was just a little stomach bug, a 24 hour mess per person. I am feeling guilty because my carpets haven't been vacuumed in two weeks, my table needs to be wiped, and all I can muster up is a cup of tea and this post. What was my mother feeling as she watched her own independence and control slip out of her grasp, not during the course of a week but over 12 years? My mother, a woman who had a full time career as a nurse, moonlighted as a mid-wife's assistant, mothered 6 children, married my father, made anything she put her mind too. how did she feel about all this? She laid there in bed watching her home fall to pieces as it was attempted to be cared for by two teenage girls and man-size boy. She laid there in bed watching her husband try to manage while spining in ADHD circles unable to rest her arms upon him and calm him with her focused energy. She laid there in bed watching the family's already tenacious finances get worse. She laid there in bed watching her two youngest children attempt adolescence without their mother's reassuring words to guide them. I was too young to understand, too much an angry teenager to accept a different type of motherly communion. One that now I crave on a daily basis. Just as I was realizing what was happening to my family and starting to process the picture of our new life she was rapidly losing her ability to communicate. When I did have the questions, she couldn't answer with words, but I do remember her eyes, my mother's beautiful eyes. All I remember is a deep sadness that none of us could make better. As I venture forth in my new role as teacher, wife, and mother, I think I know where that sadness in my mother's eyes began and it breaks my heart. All a mother wants to do is care for her family with whatever means are at her disposal. I want to go back to those last few years of her life, snuggle next to her a little longer and a little deeper, and reassure her that no matter how sick she was or was going to get, she was my mother, and I will never stop loving her and admiring her for all that she was. Even in sickness my mother was the strongest person I have met. I feel so lucky to have been a part of her life. As angry as I am that she was not able to see me grow up, catch my babies, and advise me through motherhood, I know that she is with me and I need to find peace with that.
Thank you for letting me ramble. The tears running down my cheeks are painful but feel incredibly good. I like remembering her. I like remembering what her illness and it's trials taught me. It keeps me grounded in the present. I think it is why I am the happiest person I know. Every moment we spend and communicate together is a gift. Life can't throw at me anything worse than what I have already been through. And if it does, I will face those challenges with lessons learned, and always an ever evolving perspective.
These pictures are for my mother. A glimpse of what is blooming right now in my life on the farm.