There’s a lesson here, in these eyes and behind this smile— a lesson in joy and it’s simplicity. You see, all it takes is eye contact with someone kind in the grocery store, a silly phrase sung a high pitched voice, a bounce or two, splashing water, kisses, hugs, snugs, and waking from a nap—in these small things, our babies find joy. Pure, spontaneous, blissful joy. Even in the midst of a cry, the sadness can melt away in the same breath with just these tiniest bits of love. There are no grudges, no over analytical anxiety, no questioning. There is just love and joy. These babies are smarter than we think and honestly, we could really learn a lot about slowing down, looking around, and letting in the joy.
For the first time since I was 5, I didn’t go back to school this September. How I feel about that varies from day to day. I absolutely miss the work—the quick pace, feeling like I’ve done so much in a day, having such a wide range of tasks, the socialization in meetings & the halls, the beautifully smart kids & the hardest-working colleagues, inspiration, new ideas, and knowing in my heart that I’m making a difference. But on the other hand is this little tiny baby that we created and the opportunity to spend countless hours & days together. Theres no actual plan for how I will balance the motherhood and the working. I don’t know where/when/how they fit together but the opportunity for balance is always there. For now though, its baby & mama 100% of the time and since I’ve heard countless times that you can get back these days, I’m vowing to slow down when I can and breathe in the love of this baby.
“You may discover that you begin to feel lost when your baby isn’t with you. Babies and breastfeeding can give us a confidence we never had, an ability to cut through the nonsense and make solid decisions, to know for sure what’s right for us and our families. Babies turn us into mothers, and motherhood is astoundingly powerful. Yes, we all need to find our network, but don’t forget that your baby is part of it, too, with his smiles, his warm body against yours, his bright eyes focused on you when you say his name.”
–The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, p37
As I reflect and think about this past weekend in Savannah, my first weekend away from the baby, I’m feeling surprisingly grateful. There were parts that were hard for each of us. I worked through the intense feeling of separation and got a glimpse of the balance of self and motherhood. John handled night duty and feedings, learned our babies quirks, truly became a dad. The baby adjusted to the bigness and pace of a family summer get together. John and I navigated these new layers of parenthood with the kind of communication it takes to take listen to each other’s needs and take care of all members of the team.
I heard myself say a few times that I wouldn’t have booked this trip if I had known how hard those moments would be. Looking back, now I know that this weekend was a actually gift.
I’m seeing and hearing the world with a new lens as this baby grows inside of me. I hear podcasts, read books, think about relationships, make new routines, listen, and walk through the world, all with a new layer of big thoughts. There is this back and forth between things feeling so small and insignificant while simultaneously so broad and expansive and alive. I am feeling a shift happen in knowing what is important and why and also how its really small things that lead to big ideas about love and the world.
I’ve said before that teaching gives me the hum–the feeling of alignment, a heightened sense that I am being lifted and experiencing something bigger than I had expected. Its really never the actual content I’m teaching that makes me feel this way. It is always the awe that I have crafted a small space in the world where vulnerable young humans can take a swing at something big. Its playing a part in the guidance of these little brains and souls, showing them how the small things of writing about your reading or taking care of a partner will always lead them to big things of being a person who thinks about the world and sees past the surface of others. I’ve gotten this hum too when caring for the two little boys that I had the pleasure of spending many weekends and summers with, playing and reading and laughing. It is here where my idea broadens and I realize its not just teaching that makes me feel alive, but rather experiencing what is important in this world alongside children.
Cue this baby inside of me.
My pendulum of a mind is constantly swinging. I have apprehensive thoughts about aspects of motherhood–the intense amount of change, the loss of independence, and being faced with the frustratingly imperfect parts of me. It is here with these thoughts that I am working to not get so stuck. It feels as though these are the parts of motherhood I hear most from those around me though–obstacles and difficulty. I know in my heart that mother friends just want to be seen and heard because this is a lot to try to figure out and is rarely done on your own.
At the same time, I am working to remember that these stories of others are places to learn from and grow, not places to fear. And also that I continue to write my own warrior story that is and will continue to be different from anyone else’s because of the simple fact that it is mine. Finding this balance of making space for others while also leaving space for myself and allowing them to look different is hard but worthwhile. Both of our stories are valid; and its okay for them to look different. Its here that I come back to showing myself the same compassion as I show others. However living, loving, and mothering looks to me is not better or more right. Its okay to want and do something different because it feels aligned to me.
Anticipating the hum of motherhood is an overwhelmingly complex feeling. Mostly though, I feel impatient to meet this little person and begin what I know will be some of my most important life work yet. This is a chance for me to experience raw love at new depths. I already feel connected with hopes and dreams for how together we will draw meaning from our experiences and grow together as a team.
Super Soul Sunday Podcast Thoughts // Nate Berkus
I feel aligned when the space around me is aligned. I am in flow when my space reflects my inner flow. I need a balance of a space that feels homey and lived in, while also consciously designed with spirit. If I’m out of alignment, one way to change my energy is to change the energy of the room I’m in—cleaning, decorating, organizing. It’s not a quirk of mine, it’s actually essential.
Also, things matter. They are what we hold and touch everyday. They encase the feelings and memories of the people and places we love. I want for my home to be a purposeful collection of things that remind me of the parts of life that I love. Pictures, blankets, candles, dishes, furniture, closets—these things that surround me are an extension of my own spirit.
I got my first dose of negative feedback today. It wasn’t my idea, but rather my delivery that wasn’t received well. Suddenly, the last 3 weeks are a blur as I retrace my steps through conversations, emails, meetings, notes. I’m working hard to actively change my thoughts from wondering who it was that I upset to being grateful for the anonymous feedback. I’m well aware that this is part of the deal of choosing to work with teachers, but still it feels hard and I miss my old friends. Building relationships with my teachers was recommended but I’m realizing that giving it time and being myself may not be the answer. Maybe it’s time I pull out my literacy leader book and study up.