I don’t always treat myself to a meal alone at Panera at 4:45pm but I’m so hangry I am one stomach growl away from burning North Carolina to the ground.
I was sick over the weekend–– a quick fever bug of sorts with a nasty migraine that robbed me only of sleep (hah, only) and left me with a sore throat and a pulled muscle in my calf from the shivers.
(Seriously, thirties, you are so extra with your sickness and sleep injuries.)
After church yesterday I made myself an incredibly delicious smoothie which I was coerced into sharing with both my kids and then today I was looking forward to delicious lentil soup for lunch with a friend and ended up holding an angry toddler who would only relinquish her bad mood for bites of soup.
At 4:15pm my bladder was full, stomach was empty and the four year old announced “DADDY’S HOME!” waking The Grump in my arms and I knew that I had to eat a meal I did not prepare or else I was going to say words I didn’t mean long term. I’d mean them in the moment… this week, this summer, this year… but long term? Nah.
I gotta go husband, I’ll explain later, but basically:
The four year old is stressed AF looking for two legos pieces that he wants to make into “garbage”, the two year old is potty training today (SURPRISE) and the plan for dinner was tilapia salads but they won’t eat that. I’ll be home before you need to leave.
I ran to the car in the leggings I slept in, sent a mobile order to Panera for some Black Bean Soup (literally the only thing on the menu that definitely does not contain WHEAT) and here I am. Drinking cold water, eating hot soup and my eyelids are so heavy I could curl up in this booth right now and sleep for forty days and nights.
Being a mom hasn’t really gotten easier for me. It’s gotten easier in some ways, but mostly just different… and somehow the primal need for a hot meal, shower and time on the toilet has remained at the forefront after four and a half years. Don’t worry brand new mamas, it gets better! It also stays really really really hard. So much better and just as hard.
It’s really beautiful, too I’m pretty sure. Not inside my house though, there’s actual flies flying around everywhere. Partially because I failed at composting two summers ago and drastically altered the insect ecosystem of our small town, and also because I’ll forget to put the tops on the peanut butter and jelly all day long. Also, because it’s summer and it takes everyone one hundred years to get in or outside when the front door is open. Except for me. I’m in and out like light.
But it is really beautiful. This constant, daily, minute to minute giving everything from myself for these two humans. I’m desperate for a moment alone, a moment to think, a moment to just exist for a minute and check in with my body. However, should those moments line up to be an hour, a day, a week, I am desperate to hold them in my arms for just a moment before they are a centimeter larger, lest they forget me and how great my love for them is.
We talk about the trimesters of gestation, and the sacred twelve weeks that follow so lovingly…. we don’t talk about the lifetime of gestation that follows that so often.
Mind and body— I’m still nourishing them, feeding them constantly. No longer with food my body makes, but with food I buy with the money my work brings us.
I’m keeping them clean and safe, filtering toxins from their self talk, environment and friend spaces.
I’m guiding them to the optimal position to be launched from our home into the world, much in the same way I modified my posture and subsequently theirs in utero.
Nothing about this is comfortable, nothing about this is flattering, nothing about this is for me, really.
At my pinnacle of pregnancy with my daughter, I had this euphoric moment on a walk in our neighborhood. I was way over forty weeks pregnant and was walking so fast up a hill (to get it over with, most likely) and I made it to the top, panting and sweaty and felt so at peace with my body and self for the first time, perhaps, maybe ever. I felt in that moment, so complete, so whole, so comfortable in my body that I whispered in my mind and asked God if I could feel that way forever. I knew it was impossible as I would obviously not be pregnant forever, but I remember that moment so clearly and really asking earnestly.
Years later, he whispered back his response.
What if, Kellie, the wholeness you felt wasn’t in pregnancy, but in motherhood?
What if, indeed. That might just change everything that I believe to be true.