Bittersweet Returns or Adventures as the Commissioner of Cape Man

I’ve never been great at transitions.  The transition from working full-time to a full-time summer vacation.  The transition from a house filled with a three-year-old to an empty one.  And, then, the transition from an empty house to the return of a house filled with a three-year-old.

While Silas, my three-almost-four-year-old son was away, I was reminded of life before the baby.  Of the freedom to come and go.  Of the time spent with my husband.  Of the space to work and write.  I love my son more than anything in the world, but there was, for me, a sense of loss when my child came into my life.  A struggle to find myself again and to adjust to a life where every move must be planned for and calculated.

Of course, I got used to it.  I learned to embrace the calculating and to replace the vast times alone with my spouse with carving out family times together.  (We  work different schedules to keep the cost of childcare down so sometimes it is difficult.)  I learned to love an entirely new life and to understand the honor of the great responsibility of caring for a child.  It is awesome in every sense of the word.

Still, he was gone for ten days.  I missed him greatly.  But, the freedom set in.

I am trying to readjust to having less time for myself and spending more time as the Commissioner of Cape Man (Silas’ invented super persona), or Captain Mommy the Good Pirate, or Buzz Lightyear to a room full of soldiers.  I admit, I have never been good at these sort-of games.  I often pray for a sense of presence and find myself only tolerating the experience.  Make believe may no longer be my strength.  It is sad.  Yet another loss.

(I should say that I am good at other types of games and activities.  Hikes, art projects, board games, and mopping the floor together.  That last one isn’t exactly a game, but still.  It is a little Mary Poppins. )

I started a post while Silas was gone.  It started with this quote:

Making the decision to have a child is momentous.  It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.  ~ Elizabeth Stone

I talked about how my sister had made me a large framed wall hanging of this quote for Christmas.  I then went into my reflection about transitions and many ponderings about how much I missed my son.

I am so happy to have him back!

Still, the big shift.  There were times I sat looking at the walls and drooling while he was away.  Now I am having a difficult time accepting him back???

Right now, my mom is here.  Silas is watching TV.  He hasn’t watched TV in days, so I thought I’d take advantage of my mom and the television set to carve out a little writing time.

That didn’t really work.  This is three days later and I’m still working on this post…

I’ve pretty much adjusted at this point.  I am realizing how little time I get to myself.  But, I have adjusted.  I’ve wanted to have another baby for some time now.  I often wonder if that notion is simply crazy.  I’ve heard about the amount of time (or lack thereof) one has to oneself with a newborn and a four-year-old.  Still, I’d sign up for it if I could.

That is the thing about motherhood.  It is wonderful beyond words.  It is a choice to go walking around with your heart outside of your body.  (I will write about my obsessive fears about the destruction of that heart in another post.) It is a sacrifice one makes for the sake of a life.  A life that we hope will continue to bring good and joy and imagination and magic into the world.

So, yes, I am adjusting. Have adjusted.  Will continue to adjust.

And, yes, I will love every minute of it.

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1 Comment

  1. slysummaries said,

    June 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    It is a constant process of learning how to live life all over again, isn’t it? i mean, we learned that all years ago, but now the stakes have changed, more people want pieces of our hearts/brains/time.

    Sometimes I wonder if it would have been easier to have kids super early, so that we’d never know what adult life was like with so much time and freedom. I’m sure my mom would say that way was hard as hell, too.

    Anyway, I totally hear you on game playing. I’m terrible at sustaining imaginary play. But I’m great at board games. We just finished two rounds of Eric Carle dominoes this morning, and I felt so proud of myself. Ridiculous, I know. And Henry is the best little cleaner helper there is. They don’t really care what we do, they just want attention!


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