It taught me that even when I had summers off I never truly lived the summer with my boys. There was always just too many additives- like other people, their children, crazy schedules and trying to just "find the time" !
Reality never struck so soundly and strongly then this past winter, when four weeks after Noah was born I decided I needed to go back to work. 6 weeks after was the 11 days before Christmas and I worked from 3 in the morning till 4-5-6 sometimes 7 in the evening. By the time I got home I was too tired to take a shower that I had to take before crawling into bed, let alone hold my baby. By day 3, I couldn't hold him even if I had found the energy because my fingertips were already numbing and my arms were all twitchy from rolling dough for hours. I remember crawling beneath my sheets with tears in my eyes. I just wanted to hold my baby before all the new wore off.
School time is such a busy time; between working and cub scouts, winter concerts and spring... we have band kids as well.. same kids, different instruments. All the various school activities and whatever else I told someone I would do. *I really have to stop doing that* I just felt like I had no time for anything and I was floundering and fading. I was an emotional mess, and really it didn't matter that I got off of work at 4 and had weekends off. My body was shutting down on me and I was too tired to think.
The next few months flew by, I was living in a constant brain fog. One moment to the next, I was there but I wasn't and yet no one seemed to notice. They failed to notice my disinterest, the excitement I should have had over every day things was nonexistent. They didn't notice me crying late at night or the fact that I was keeping this last of my children in my room and holding him against me. A thing I had never done with any of the others. They were not seeing the bitterness, the loneliness, the pain that etched my face. It became normal for them and for me, I was just existing!
Spring started to show itself, creeping in slowly like a tide of awakening, then disappearing from sight, with a few last painful cold spells to keep us all guessing if it would ever arrive. I was unfocused and becoming someone I didn't like. Everything and everyone was irritating me, until one day when my boss who became one of my best friends snapped at me. I was not working at my usual pace, I was not rolling my dough thin enough, I was having multiple flare ups and bad days, worse then I had been having towards the end of my pregnancy and worse then I had had the year before. In fact, I don't know how I was functioning at all.
I cried, I actually cried and told her I didn't know what was wrong with me. However, that was a lie. A big fat lie! I was lying to her like I was lying to myself.
I knew what was wrong with me, part of me was battling the hormones still raging inside of me, while the other part was fighting jealousy and rage, depression and anxiety. And a good half of me was fighting the pain which was causing me to shake and twitch constantly at work and at home. I had a whole mess of issues and while we spoke a little bit about it later, it wouldn't be until my husband said I could take a chance and stay home for a while.
The freedom that gave me, the choice of being on the inside with my boys instead of constantly on the outside looking in, made me start to feel better. Sure I was doing the super mom routine while working, but this was my last baby, I wanted to experience it all. Every moment.
I needed that time. I still went back to work for Easter, because I made a promise and had an obligation to my boss, who was so very understanding over my desire to spend more time with my children.
Oh and I did. I was feeling these moments, every tiny moment. I didn't care if Tristan was causing problems a few times a week and making walks home from school nightmares. I didn't mind that I had this overwhelming urge to clean the house and bake all the goodies. I was living it up. I was cherishing the moment.
It was at this time I started to see the transitions in Tristan as he fought the explosive ever changing emotions inside himself for the hopes of a wonderful summer ahead and the same moments that brought to light that Ian would soon be carried away from the nest to experience that one place I could not be with him; school.
I allowed this new found freedom to give me small moments with each of my four boys and I learned from them as they were surely learning from me. It was time to be fun! Time to be proud of the relationships we had.
So then the summer came and with it the overwhelming desire to do all the things. Oh and we did!
We hiked and camped and roasted marshmallows. We played games and told stories and spent time together.
While in the loud crazy moments; I learned so many things; I also learned that my children are my best friends. They support me as much as I support them! They are my cheer leaders and my biggest critics. They can all make me see the truth about myself, not just as a mom, but as a leader and as a person.
When Alexander speaks respectfully, helps others and shows off his leadership skills, I realize I did that, I taught him those morals and values and instilled in him a sense of responsibility. Showing him the importance of being himself while still being a good person.
When Tristan flies into a rage and quickly and silently calms himself down, I realize that is me sitting there, fuming like a steam pipe, just waiting to explode. He inherited his over reactive emotions from me! He also inherited my empathy; as I have seen him cry for other people and experience their feelings and place them before his own. He grows in his imagination and plays with it in the stories he writes everyday! The child I really wanted is becoming the child most like me.
With Ian I have learned how to slow down, how to enjoy the little moments again. He can play one game for hours and in him I have seen my controlling attitude. The one where I have to keep it my way, on my path. He got that from me. He also got my ability to ignore the world around him, which can at times be a bad thing, but I like to call it focus!
Noah has taught me to see the joy in everything, with his chubby baby hands grasping the air in an interpretive dance move. I have watched him grow and change so much in these last month's and because of that he is teaching me to let go and watch the change with wondering eyes. It is amazing being able to experience all the wonders of babyhood all over again. To witness as he learns how to sit, crawl, stand and now walk. He has taught me that while we might be able to slow down, we must never stop!
I have learned that sometimes the small adventures are better then the big adventures with my children. While going to the zoo with Ian and seeing his excitement over learning about animals was wonderful, so was sitting at home and putting together a frog life cycle book or doing a science experiment with sugar, water and food coloring.
During this summer; I have seen more smiles, heard more exciting giggles and ate enough marshmallows for a lifetime! And seeing it all through my children's eyes has taught me that the tiny moments, like teaching your 11 year old to make pancakes or having an impromptu dance party with a 9 year old in the kitchen, make for a very grand adventure indeed!