And life goes on.
I love this time of year in Vienna – flowers are blooming and the azaleas finish their riot of colors. It makes me wish it could look this way year round – like I’m driving through a Van Gough painting with colors blurring by.
Ladybug’s first birthday was already a month ago. It is really hard to believe, as it seemed as though the celebrations lasted for a week. Wait, they did. Now it’s just regular old life. Teething. Walking. Budgeting. Laughing. Scheduling. Arguing. Rushing. Hugging.
Lately I’ve been feeling the crunch that many women (and men) feel between being a parent and their own individual person – the worker, spouse, friend, hobbyist, dreamer. I get caught up in things like worrying that there’s a blueberry stain on Ladybug’s Strawberry Shortcake dress that she got while I was spoon feeding her a blueberry smoothie on my kitchen floor, which matters because that character was my favorite as a little girl. It’s not the biggest issue in the world, obviously, but it gets me down. And then I realize that this can make or break my day. Then I wonder if I’m just another ordinary person, trying to raise a child and not just survive but thrive in the daily grind. I try to keep my work interests going, which easily take a back burner since I’m a part-time working mom. I just wrote a guest blog post titled, Women as Mothers and Ourselves, to try and get further to the heart of it.
I also shared my feelings with a long-time friend who also just became a new mom. I told her I was bored with the minutia of surviving. I told her I adore my daughter (she says, “Ball!” now!). She told me about a “pie of life” pie graph she saw in a book that shows all the big timeframes of life – childhood, college, dating, career-building, childrearing, retirement, etc. The graph shows that the time with your child is just a small sliver of the pie. My friend said to me, “You have done amazing things with your life and will continue to do so. But right now, you are not out in the world as much because you are nurturing your daughter so she too can do great things in this world.”
My friend is right. Now is the time to build for my daughter, and to claim the reward for having carried a life into the world. This is difficult for me, because I also want to continue growing my own individual interests and goals, separate from being a mother. Fortunately, some interests and goals overlap with being a mom. I’ll keep trying to enjoy the moments that someday I will think went all too fast.