Tuesday, October 22
I have chipmunks. I know for sure there's one in the front yard and one in the back yard. But I would not be at all surprised if there were a few more in each yard. And I would not be at all surprised if the little signs and leavings of an unknown critter in my basement are coming from Backyard Chipmunk. I think he has found a way to come and go from there. I'm not going to lie--- I get the shudders thinking about ANY critter in my basement. I think there's a mouse or two as well (different droppings), and I've seen a small, calm, cement colored frog down there twice. He was too swift for my 5-year old and his 6-year old friend to catch him. Darn it. So I shudder away, and wait for Joe to rescue me, and I try not to think about it as much as I possibly can. Weirdly, though I do NOT want that chipmunk in my basement, I also don't want him dead. The mice? The frog? I have no compunction about their loss of life, should it come to that. But the chipmunk.... He's really quite sweet. Cute. Not gross to me. And I'd be sad if he lost his life in the battle to reclaim our basement. I just want him to be content in his outdoor world, eating the copious amounts of black walnuts that have taken over our yard. I don't need him inside, keeping me company.
This new home of ours... This neighborhood. It has been good for me. For my soul. So yes, there is a chipmunk sneaking into my basement, and also probably my garage. And the mice. And that cement-colored frog. And oh mylanta, the MOSQUITOES. If I could change ANYTHING about this new home of ours, it would be to NEVER have another mosquito in our yard ever again. That has been the one bitter disappointment about our relocation. For all the glorious yard we have, I feel like we can't relax and explore and enjoy it. The mosquitoes keep us indoors far more than I'd planned to be when we moved here. Maybe next year. I think I want to look into professional mosquito treatments for the summer. I want to love being outside here. (Ironically, the park just .5 miles away, and the wild abandoned house lot just .3 miles away, both places we've played, have ZERO mosquitoes. I get frustrated that so near us, it is no big deal. I've looked and looked for standing water, etc. and cannot see an obvious reason why we have to have them worse than everywhere else.)
Ah, but back to the "good for my soul" part. Beyond the pests... This place has a vast yard with lovely trees. We've been watching my favorite season take ahold of them and work its magic. And at night, I see the moon and the stars far better than I have at any other home I've ever lived at. The sun rises rosy in our bedroom, and sets golden in our kitchen. The squirrels keep busy harvesting the black walnuts and donating every shell to our poor yard. There is a touch of wildness here, even in a place that is the most "suburban" I've ever lived. But for the mosquitoes (who surely will die out soon, yes? Please?), I think we'd be outside every day, for hours on end, soaking it up. Breathing in the Octoberness of these days. (Oh tell me you love Octobers, too. The sky seems bluer, the air smells amazing, the heart constricts then expands... I desperately hold on tight, never wanting it to end, but then I remind myself to let go and keep breathing and just love it. Love it while it lasts.)
It's been a wild ride of a year. And every week, every month has been marked with a sense of anxious overthinking. Of constant movement. (Even when Quinn was so new and there was a lot of sitting, too.) There has been a steady diet of counseling for me from the birth of Quinn on, and a constant sense of imbalance and frenzy. In between all of it has been transcendent beauty-- moments of dailiness so special that, like these October days, I held tight and tried to keep keep keep them so that the less-special feelings wouldn't seep back in. But like October days, you can't keep something going longer than it is meant to go on... And so of course, in between the high moments, the tender moments, the funny moments, and the easy times... there always came back that anxious overthinking and constant movement-- questing for that elusive balance. Peace. Which of course isn't going to come immediately or easily when a new family member joins the gang. It's just one of those things that simply needs the gift of time and practice. Practice practice, practice at living with 5 instead of 4. With baby AND toddler AND kiddo. It just takes time.
And oh, the over-thinking. Constant wondering WHY I didn't have it figured out yet. Constant assessing of my accomplishments or lack of accomplishments. Constant personal berating of myself for not being BETTER at this already. Constant worrying and nitpicking and inner dialog. Constant. Not nearly enough letting go. Though believe you me--- the inner voice CONSTANTLY reminded me to LET GO. Oh, the advice was always handy. My Self had LOTS of it, remembered from others lovingly giving it... My Self repeated all of it to me, and tried to re-counsel me in the days after a counseling appointment. And a lot of that inner dialog was GOOD. Worthwhile messages and ideas and thoughts. But ironically, probably what I needed, more than words and ideas, was STILLNESS and no words. And no ideas. Just true letting go. Like when you meditate and are supposed to empty your mind, and all you can think about is, "Have I emptied my mind? Am I thinking? This is thinking. I need to STOP thinking. No thoughts. Empty...... Am I doing it? Wait, that was another thought.".... Yeah. That was me trying to get used to my new life, but overthinking it the whole time.
Honestly, the inner dialogue is a big part of who I am. So I don't think it's going to stop fully, ever. I just know I'd feel more peace if I could channel it better. And shut it down a little more. Or paint or run or sew myself into brief interludes of quietness. But who has the time to paint or run or sew when little ones are about? Quandary of Mothers.
But I'm going somewhere with all of this. I really am. Are you still reading along? (Of course you are. If ANYONE still reads my starved blog right now, it's because they really like me and people who REALLY like me are patiently familiar with my rambling way of writing myself into well-being. You are used to this. Thank you. Thank you for letting me be utterly me.)
And that somewhere I'm going is this: near the end of the summer, the week Noah started kindergarten, I turned a corner. At the time it was too soon to tell for sure, but now, in my lovely October, I have enough distance from that corner to know with certainty: I'm different than I was for most of 2013. Ive passed through. And in passing through, I've been granted a (who knows for how long) respite from the anxious questing and uncomfortable imbalance of life thrown askance by major changes.
I am at peace.
Not in a "I have it all figured out" kind of way, but more like, "I see my flaws in sharp detail, and yet I'm okay." I have been humbled down to this all year, have been worn down, have been through the refinery of new baby-crazy-road-trips-family-good-family-bad-pack-up-my-whole-life-move-my-entire-life's-possessions-go-through-hormonal-insanity-fail-and-succeed-and-cry-and-laugh and come out the other side a bit more purified. I am less today than I was a year ago. But coming to peace with that, and getting better at living life in this form of me, has filled me up and I am so at peace with being less. For now. Oh, there are, God willing, so many years ahead to add a bit of me back in, and then a bit more, and then a bit more... And I know I will not be happy in this form forever. But today, this glorious October, I am enough, just like this. Flawed like crazy. But at peace.
I love being here, at home. My new home. This place is a haven. I love what work I manage to get done. I love what memories I manage to make. I love the utter dailiness of being here with my three, and then all of us, when Joe comes home. Oh, how I love when Joe comes home (He's nearly here now. I type frantically, racing against nap wakeups and the bustle of evening life). I'm working on fighting (and getting better at it), my new-ish habit of "running away" as soon as he comes home, off to run some errand or another without the three kids needing to be with me. That's still something that I know I need to be conscious of if I am to maintain this peace. So lately as I stay, I am loving even the evening madness of dinner prep and crazy kids and bedtime routines and the countdown to "being off the clock".
So many things could perhaps enrich all of this even more... There are so many things I could improve. But for now.... I am at peace. Corner turned. If I find time later this evening, perhaps I'll write a second little post trying to explain what exactly shifted.... besides just the passing of time. And if I don't find time later this evening, I will forgive myself. There will be more blogging one day. If it's not today, I'm okay with that.
Meanwhile. That photo. Above. Opening this post. Oh, my heart. It overflows. My remarkable, dear friend Katie Benson came to play one weekend and we had the time of our lives. Mostly girl time-- she and I, exploring STL and eating good food and buying flea market treasures... But we also had a family photo afternoon, and I just got my images yesterday. So many tender moments, I don't know where to begin. And so, like every good thing in my life, I hoard them and wait for the "perfect" moment to share them. Such a funny idiosyncrasy of mine. Hoarding moments. Images. Gift cards. Waiting. Holding back. That trait of mine could stand to be overanalyzed, methinks.
But not today.
So I will post just the one image today. And be a memory-hoarder. And perhaps come back and blog a bit more tonight.
That is all.
Posted by Emily S. at 5:28 PM