Photo: Motherhood is letting my four-year-old splash around in the frigid puddle on a rainy January afternoon thinking I would teach him a valuable lesson. Instead, we both watched his New Englanderness kick in, squealing with delight no matter how cold the water. Soaking wet from the knees down, he finally came out of the water with a satisfied smile on his face. “Ok, I’m done,” he simply said. “Ain’t you cold, child?” I had to ask. His smile only broadened. “Yeah, I guess I am!”
Two little boys were up until Eight tonight building their new Lego sets. Minor built some sort of Star Wars ship. Major built a ferry boat. The Husband supervised, but helped minimally. Mommy wasn’t invited.
“It’s Lego time,” Minor explained, “and that’s something only Daddy can do.”
There has been a lot of that lately: distinctions between things that Mommy can do and things that Daddy can do. There are questions for Daddy, questions for Mommy, and there is just not enough feminist thought in the world that will convince my two children that Mommy can answer a Daddy question.
I… want to be more angry about it. But… I’m tired, Dear Reader. There are just too many battles.
My Quiet Thoughts, though, are about the inevitability of the evolution. My boys are boys; boys who love boyish things. Where in their infancy the boys wanted little to do with their father, the pendulum is finally swinging away from me and toward his direction.
I’m not completely discarded, of course. The boys know that they need me. Just not for the fun things. Not for the Legos. So it goes. I know that this is a relationship designed to change and change again. Besides, their father deserves to spend this precious building time with them (and, it’s true, Legos aren’t my personal toy of choice). I had a moment, watching the three of them putting block after block together, feeling quite grateful: there was peace in our little farmhouse this evening. Three big brains hard at work. It’s all I’ve ever really wanted and, while it was fleeting (the boys are upstairs screaming and playing through the bath/bed routine), it was wonderful.
I had every intention of writing a post today about what I want to accomplish in this year. I tried a few times and discarded each post. I think it’s because I’d rather not make a list and doom myself to failure. The more that I wrote, the more I kept using the word “deliberate” to describe what I wanted to do. I want to be more deliberate about how I approach this year. I started by deliberately sitting here and watching my sons build with their father, observing their little fingers respond to the cues that their growing brains were interpreting.
I’m neither thoughtless, nor careless, but I feel like I have spent the last two years running from crisis to crisis, obligation to obligation. It’s exhausting and, though I’ve gotten lucky many times, this isn’t helping me get ahead. If I want to gain some traction in this life, reaching the next level of my potential, I have to be more deliberate about how I approach my days. Especially because I increasingly understand that I have absolutely no control over what the world around me is going to do. I need to stay focused on creating my best self through helpful habits and routines, expanding my capabilities by continuing to learn and grow, and making this home a better sanctuary for myself and for others.
So, I have started a bullet journal (my system is different than this blogger’s, but it certtainly was a helpful start), I’ve gathered some resources to help me declutter and reorganize, I have been gifted some excellent reading for the year, and I’ve taken on two meditative practices that have already proven to be helpful. I won’t blog about them all here today, but I’ll be mentioning them as we go over next few weeks. January is about building new habits that can last through the rest of the year.
One of the newer additions I’ll be including in my weekly Quiet Thoughts this year is a snapshot of my embroidery hoop. I’ve decided to take on a year of stitches as a challenge with a friend of mine. She and I started on the 1st after I came across this really cool post showcasing another embroiderer’s year of work. My friend, an artist who I knit with regularly, was looking for a meditative crafting project and thought this would be a great idea.
It’s a tiny start, but a start nonetheless. I had leftover “soil” from all the holiday doll making, and I’ve decided to stitch a little garden in it. My first stitch was a failed french knot (not a good sign!) and subsequent stitches have been… basic. It’s a slow build, but I’m excited to see what it turns into over the course of time. I hope you will also enjoy watching the garden grow and evolve as the weeks go on. If you’re an embroiderer and would like to join in, please share your pictures!
It is a cold, cold night in Massachusetts and there will be snow falling by mid-morning tomorrow. I’m sad to say that I haven’t seen any fox prints in the snow yet. Hopefully tomorrow’s inches will push her over to the barn. The house is warm and finally quiet, and two parents are yawning and considering getting to bed early. There will be pancakes to flip in the early hours, and errands to dash to before the snow gets too bad. This is life during yet another New England winter.
Because it is Friday, the first Friday of the year, you know I have wishes for you. I wish you forgiveness, first. Because you probably didn’t get everything you wanted to done this week. Forgive yourself and get ready for next week. Remember that this is only the start of a long year. I wish you a little quiet, a little stillness, a time to breathe and smile: we’re here, the first week is over, and a lot was accomplished that we can point to. I wish you a simple beauty: A potted plant in your window, geese flying overhead, snow falling on a peaceful lawn, children still happily playing with the toys that got only a week ago. When the world feels too heavy to bear, remember to focus within your smaller world and what makes it achingly beautiful. There is always something. When you are done with this meditation, I wish you good, hearty food. Something to warm you up and shield you against the cold that’s outside. Bonus if it has carrots and parsnips. Extra bonus if you put sprigs of fresh thyme and rosemary in or on it. Yeah, Dear Reader, go experiment in your kitchen this weekend!
Most of all, through this year, I want you to look yourself in the mirror from time to time and find your own simple beauty. Find what makes your beauty haunting, arresting and irresistible. Remember that there are people in the world who think the world of you, who love you profoundly, who know in their hearts that you make the world a better place. You’re worthy of that, Dear Reader, because it’s true. What you do matters, what you give means something. You aren’t just wanted, you’re needed. So be your best self and carry your lantern high.
Until Monday, stay warm, stay safe, and take care.