Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Love What You Do

Between the hours of 12:30 and 2:30pm, Monday through Friday, the world is mine.

The complaint of many mothers, to say nothing of humans in general, is that we live beneath the percussion of other people's demands. As much as we each yearn to feel our lives belong to us, in reality they often don't. We belong to our children, our bosses, our spouses, and the needs of our physical bodies. I think these personal responsibilities are a lot like gravity. They keep us steady in our shoes, offering a sense of rhythm, security, and focus against the uncertainty of what comes next. But they can also make us feel stuck.

After I quit my teaching job last month I immediately started constructing a barbed wire fence around the few precious hours my girls are in school and napping. No, I cannot watch your kids, give you a ride, talk to you on the phone, or clean the house, I have insisted. I worried that little waves of unpleasantness might come from this decision, but in fact the opposite has occured. I'm necessarily more efficient during the rest of my day because, let's face it, some one has to do the laundry. And I have about two hundred family members I try to keep in touch with, which is tricky for someone like me who prefers old fashioned methods of communication. When is the last time someone mailed you a letter?

Another sweet side effect of defending this early afternoon appointment is an increased willingness to be present when my kids are around. Yesterday Elisabeth suddenly became interested in kissing. She has been dodging my kisses her entire life, the little stinker, but out of the blue she is crawling on my lap, content to sit there for ten minutes staring into my eyes and offering kisses. Wow. And this is the same child who inspired me to drag an extra carseat upstairs from the basement so that I can strap her into Time Out. I'm learning to appreciate the volatile moods of this little girl. My other babies didn't hug their chubby arms around my neck as tightly as she does, and they didn't choose to go to bed hungry rather than eat something other than chicken nuggets for dinner.

For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so [...] righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness, nor misery, neither good nor bad (The Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 2:11).

The good parts of life mean so much when everything else can feel so incredibly hard.

Most days the brief interlude of "my time" amounts to scribbling and/or dozing off with my nose in a book. So, what's the point of blowing a bit of air into your dreams for a couple of hours each day? I'll tell you. If you blow hard enough and long enough, those dreams begin to rise.

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