One of the things I really love about being a mom is reading books to my kids. Partly because I get to re-read all my childhood favourites and partly because they enjoy it so much.
Leila (who’s three and a half), loves Robert Munsch books. Thomas’ Snowsuit, Millicent and the Wind, I Have to Go, Alligator Baby, Love You Forever (that one always makes me cry) and I love them, too. The stories are funny and the illustrations are amazing. I love looking at the detail in the pictures. A picture of Stephanie getting her hair pulled into a ponytail at the breakfast table is so much bigger than Stephanie’s Ponytail. There’s a baby yelling from his highchair, a bleary-eyed dad searching for coffee.
Isn’t that what life’s really like? If we look outside the main frame, we can see so much more.
My best friend battles depression and once she decided to try medication, she told her friends and co-workers. She told me that while none of her friends were surprised, all of her co-workers were. We can be different people in the same life, can’t we?
My life, this Sunday afternoon is children napping, muffled dryer thumping from the basement, dishwasher swishing, studying for exams, sipping tea. These peaceful moments wrap themselves around me. I tell myself every quiet Sunday afternoon that I must bring this peacefulness into the hectic weekdays. But Monday morning’s machinery grinds loudly and life spins too quickly for me to stay on top of the laundry or cleaning. It’s a good week if the toilets get scrubbed and my reading gets done and we have homemade meals most nights.
It feels serene sometimes, to be this mother. To bathe my children, tuck them into bed, to worry about things so trivial as laundry and booster shots. Sometimes I stop and think, Who am I? Am I anyone besides someone’s mother, someone’s wife?
The answer, quite bluntly, is that yes, I am. I’m still the person I have always been, each experience wrapped up inside itself, somewhere inside of me, stuck together to make me who I am. It’s easy to lose oneself in laundry, temper tantrums and teething. It’s easy to lose touch with friends, to let weeks and months go by without phone calls or anything more than a rushed email. It’s easy to lose perspective about the teething, about the screaming, it’s too easy to forget that these years pass heartbreakingly quickly (as I know from my mere three and a half years as a mother).
But this afternoon, while the house is still quiet and the dryer still turns, this afternoon I know that I am lucky enough to be blessed with friends who forgive, with a family that loves and children that just can’t get enough stories.