Odds and ends

We have a lazy weekend routine in our house that started many years before we had children. My husband and I like to loll around in bed, taking our time to wake up. Our weekdays start very early; my husband leaves for work by 5:00 and me by 6:00. By the time Saturday rolls around,  we need a break from our morning madness. Since the birth of our sons, we’ve held on to this tradition as best we could though with a few adjustments. We no longer doze and linger in bed reading, drinking coffee for hours; now we snuggle, cuddle and tickle little boys for as long as they stay agreeable. Our oldest pads in every weekend morning on his own. The youngest calls from his crib across the hall. We take turns braving the early morning cold to fetch him.

It’s my favourite part of the week—I focus on nothing but the three men in my life, wrapped warmly in the cocoon of our bed.

This weekend something extra special happened. My oldest and I were quietly cuddled together when he said:

Mommy, I hit my head on the firetruck at school this week. It hurt mommy, and I was crying for you.

I responded: Oh honey, I’m so sorry that happened and that I wasn’t there.

I was really missing you mommy.

My heart split open wide. I’ve never felt more intensely like a mother than at that moment.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’ve always considered myself to be an outgoing person. I enjoy getting out and engaging in the company of different social groups. I’m comfortable in a crowd, and I happily attend events filled with strangers. I’m not shy and small talk comes naturally.

But in these last few months as I’ve focused on changing bits and pieces of my life, I’ve realized how intensely I need the quiet of my home (I say this quite loosely considering I have two boys under 5) and the comfort and routine of predictability. Dani Shapiro wrote this week about being self-protective. She wrote that “we must protect ourselves from that which throws us off course.” When I read that, it’s like a part of myself clicked into place. A piece of my own puzzle that had been elusive and indistinct.

You may remember when I wrote about my plans for 2011 that I talked about Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project where wrote extensively about of Being Gretchen saying that the idea of the person she wishes she were obscures her understanding of who she actually is. What I describe here is a classic example of me learning what it means to Be Christine. I like to be at home, I like quiet nights and weekends free of obligation. I long to live life simply, but have felt guilt because of it. I didn’t believe that that was the person I should be, what a successful person was.

While seemingly a simply realization, it’s a vital connection to my recovery.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

While we’re on the subject of my plans for 2011, we’ve reached the end of January. How is that possible? More importantly, how is it possible that it’s time for a new theme? In January, I focused on meditation. Toward the end of the month, because of a persistent cold and other challenges, I lost my focus a bit. Ironic actually. I’m in no way done with my meditation practice, I think it’s here to stay. I’m certain I’ll revisit my progress with it often.

In February, I plan to explore food in honour of reading Women Food and God by Geneen Roth for The Maladjusted Book Club. Strictly speaking, I wouldn’t say I have food issues. However this book made me really consider how my life is influenced by food. I’ll be writing about it all through the month.

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18 thoughts on “Odds and ends

  1. Amber says:

    It’s funny, I had exactly the opposite realization about a year ago. I also considered myself very introverted, seeking quiet. And then I discovered that I actually need to be out among groups of people, too.

    I think that maybe both are important, to greater or lesser degrees. It’s just a matter of finding the balance that’s right for us. By which I mean ACTUALLY right, not based on our preconceptions.

  2. Cathy says:

    First, out the door by 6:00 am! Oh_my_gosh! Holy cow, I would find it hard to manage. I am also participating in the Maladjusted Book Club. I haven’t finished the Women, Food and God book but I will be interested to hear your thoughts.

  3. Sometimes we think we must like something simply because we’ve done it for so long….but we change and sometimes we have to look at ourselves from a different angle to see what it is that we like NOW. Change isn’t good or bad – it’s just change.

    Lazy Saturday’s are a good thing. Love those days of cuddling with the kids – but now mine are older again, I’m enjoying leisurely coffee in bed withDH and a book. It’s a great place to make plans too…

    Love that line from Dani Shapiro. I was thrown off course myself briefly this weekend, so it resonates with me reading it today.

  4. I’m interested to hear more about the book. I’m always curious to see what role food plays in womens’ lives.

  5. Corinne says:

    This got me all teary…
    “My heart split open wide. I’ve never felt more intensely like a mother than at that moment.”
    So beautiful. It’s amazing when that intensity hits us.

  6. Ironic Mom says:

    I too have been flirting with meditation (a phrase any Buddhist would tell you is impossible). I too need to find space for quiet. And breathing.

    I’m anxious to hear what you think of the book you mentioned. I’ve seen it and read reviews on it. Might have to download the first chapter on to my Kindle.

    Sending you peace from Calgary!

  7. Christa says:

    Oh, those are all big… but the middle part, about learning more about who you are.. .”Being Christine” – that may be the biggest one by far. Congrats on getting to that place.

    Looking forward to hearing what you think about WFG. I loved it, and everyone seems to get something different out of it.

    Loved, loved, loved Dani’s piece. Still working on figuring all that out, too…

    Have a great week…

  8. It sounds like those moments of clarity are really instructive – that difference between who you think you should be and who you feel you are, for example. That one is a treasure, in particular when the “who you are” includes such precious moments of home and family – which is not a given in many lives.

    I worked long, long hours for 15 years before I had kids, and went back to that life only weeks after each, always feeling pulled. I remember, in one particularly challenging job – though I was 6 or 7 minutes away from home, only, my then 6-year old son picked up the phone and called my boss. (He’s my extroverted man-of-the-world, and was even then.) He got my boss on the phone and proceeded to ask “can my mom work less please because I don’t see her enough” or something to that effect, which my boss told me later. I’ll never forget that. It was a year or less after that that I reorchestrated my life, leaving that job, to do something else, working from a home office. So my kids could “see me” more.

    The “me” I was before children had changed, and I was happy to make that adjustment so there would be a larger place for seeing them and being seen by them, daily.

  9. What a sweet story about your son! It made me a little goopy.

    I’m popping over to the Maladjusted Book Club today to get details on the new book–sounds right up my alley.

    I love the bursts of clarity you’ve shared in this post; it’s great to hear what you’re learning, and that such rich things can come from struggle.

  10. Stacia says:

    We’ve also been sick this last half of January. I’m sorry the germs are at your house, too! I hope continue to get lots of weekend snuggles with your boys. I love quiet weekends at home. Quiet being relative, of course, as you point out. =>

  11. ShannonL says:

    Ah, I love lazy weekend mornings in bed! We do that quite often, too. Although sometimes we get mad at ourselves after we do it because it makes the weekends go by that much faster! 😦
    And we love quiet weekends at home, too. We just had one like that… no obligations, no big plans. Just relaxing and sharing time together as a family. Those are great. xo

  12. Justine says:

    I love that quote you have here by Shapiro – and I see now just how important it is. Whether it’s for the sanity of our self or the longevity of a partnership, it is crucial that we feel we are heading somewhere that we would like to see ourselves in, just so we feel more comfortable with ourselves and each other, knowing our place in this world and relative to one another. Thank you for sharing it – it’s a great piece of essay too.

    As for your son’s comment – I know exactly how you feel Christine.

  13. Amber says:

    It seems we are having parallel moments of motherhood clarity. May there be more in February! (Please?)

    I have a funny relationship with food in that I am very picky. Because of health related issues, I hardly enjoy eating and do so only because it is necessary. But I don’t abhor it because I am afraid of gaining weight, I dislike it because of my many associations between eating and feeling sick. I wonder if the book addresses that?

  14. Belinda says:

    A heart-breaking conversation with your child. I’ve had a few similar ones with mine as a working mom who misses out on some mommy time. And yet I also know, as part of my growth, that I need to work. I need to be part of something beyond my life that can sometimes feel a little insular if I give it too much attention. Having said that, I, like you, love the lazy weekends with the boys when schedules are more loose and only the things we want to do are in the calendar.

  15. Your Saturday morning routine sounds so lovely and peaceful. And what a sweet story!

  16. Rudri says:

    That conversation with your son would give every mother pause. I often think about the moments I’m not with my daughter, the need to reassure her and protect her is something I feel at my core. It’s definitely those instances where I embrace motherhood and its gifts completely.

  17. I really like the idea of learning to be ourselves, of getting out of our own way and allowing our authentic selves to see the light of day. For me to do this, I have to ask for what I need. Which I tend to forget or overlook, because it is difficult for me to acknowledge that I have needs!

    The moment with your son is precious. My daughter has recently been telling me she misses me, and I find it wondrous and amazing to be needed in this way. But I also find it heartbreaking, as it seems inevitable that motherhood involves letting our children down. Or maybe it’s just that the world lets our children down, whether we are there or not. But snuggling is a great way to stay connected.

  18. Charlotte says:

    We are the same way about weekends. For years we stayed in bed and cuddled with the kids. We don’t often get to anymore, but there are still days where we stay in bed and the kids wander in and out getting cuddles and tickles and good, relaxed mom and dad time.

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