On Wednesdays I like to repost a blog entry from my younger life and reflect on the changes in myself, my family and the world.
On August 24, 2009 I posted Longing. I had just returned to the working world after an extended maternity leave with my son Ninja. I was falling apart under the weight of working while struggling with postpartum depression.
Last week was so much harder than I thought it would be. Monday began with excitement to return to the working world, but trepidation at leaving my kids. By the end of the day I had a dull ache in my heart, just a longing to see my babies. Tuesday I went to work heavy hearted, but tried to keep it together. By Wednesday I felt physical effects from missing my children. Thursday night I (accidently) encouraged Twinkle to stay up past her bedtime just so I could have more time with her. By Friday afternoon I was filled with an intense need to hold onto my kids– to sing to them, talk to them and love on them non- stop. I wanted nothing more than to just be fully present, to stoop down to eye level and talk about how amazing ants and bees and dinosaurs are.
Not-Kirk worked an overnight on Friday and a morning shift on Sunday, so we had a full glorious day on Saturday to be a family and a great amount of Sunday for family time, too. We went to the park, trooped around a forest preserve, had close encounters with ducks and leaf bugs, and genuinely lived every moment. Sunday we went to ‘Go Bananas’ for a birthday party and did some grocery shopping. Even shopping for groceries was fun (Twinkle kept taking things out of the cart and talking about them. At one time she took some yogurt, told me yogurt was yummy, pantomimed eating the yogurt, then fake burped to top off the make-believe). Sunday night we were exhausted, but so full of happiness.
I want to remember this yearning for my children. I am sure that as I get used to working again the desire to rush home will start to wear off. I know that it will get easier to say goodbye, or to chose to spend my free time not playing with my kids. I need to remember how my heart melted at the sight of Ninja’s smile when I grabbed him and kissed the top of his head. I need to revisit that moment on Saturday that I teared up when Twinkle said ‘momma house STAY!’. Being a working mom is great, I love what I do and I love that my work will teach my kids how important it is to give all people healthcare and housing. But I need to remind myself always that being a mom trumps being a worker bee, and that the only thing I need lose my head about is raising good children and building an ever stronger marriage. I am only good at my job when I have balance in my life. And the intense yearning I had for my kids last week, and today, reminded me of that.
After Ninja’s birth we moved through a series of quick, life-altering changes to make our lives reflect our desires. I took a job closer to home, then moved even closer to the new job, cutting my commute down to five minutes each way and opening up more time for my kids. Not-Kirk stopped working nights and weekends– we opted to give up more non-essentials in our budget in exchange for more family time.
Then the big changes came. we realized that we were working too hard for the wrong things. Our family mantra is to find your joy and let it show (thank you, Jenn Chapman, your song changed our life). My joy is motherhood, my husband’s is theatre. We found money to restart his company in Detroit, relocated to be close to my family (a support system so full of love and faith it overwhelms me) and started a new chapter. I work less than half a mile from home, spend my lunch breaks playing with my kids, run a girl scout troop and volunteer at their schools. Husband has his theatre up and running again and we are only judging its success by the caliber of art it creates, not the change in our bank accounts.
The moment I wrote about in 2009 was the pivotal moment for these changes. I had no idea at the time, but my renewed determination to keep life focused on the important stuff would change everything about us in less than 18 months, reshaping our world. We live 6 miles from my parents now– they are amazing people and I am so grateful that our children can rely on them as role models for living a good life. We spend time with my extended family, giving my children the experience of being surrounded by 20-40 relatives at a time. I kept my promise to myself, to never forget the longing I feel for my children when we are apart, and built this new life to make it so I need not feel that way anymore.