Sturm und Mom

The Storm & Stress (& Joy) of Motherhood

Archive for the tag “Time”

Is There Ever Enough?

Baby Girl came into bed at 6:30 this morning, and insisted on sleeping on my neck. But I didn’t mind. The wind was cooling the room, and the sky was the over-cast helmet of a day of rain. Perfect napping weather, except I had to crawl out of my cocoon and start the day. I smiled at my Sweetie as he read his iPad, the blue glow on his face. When I’m like this I’m all haimish and happy. Then, I get up and the spell is broken.

I worry.  And worry and worry.  Will there be enough?  Enough to cover piano lessons, enough milk in the fridge for cereal, enough time to remember the project for school before they dash out the door?  Will I have enough patience not to snap, not to shout, to jump in the air for the 40th time that day and pretend to be surprised when she stomps up behind me and yells “Boo?”

Who will pay for our retirement?  What if something happens to one of us?  Maybe I should go back to work and help out around here.  It’s so hard to always say “no.”  No, you can’t have that.  No, it’s too much money.  No, we don’t have time today.  No, your Father and I don’t think it’s a good idea.  So, no.  Face falls, shoulders slump.  “I knew you’d say that….”

For years now, I’ve been researching the ancient pilgrimage route, the Camino de  Santiago de Compostela (the Way of Saint James), which crosses from France over the Pyrenees Mountains into Spain.  It is my Sweetheart’s and my dream to one day walk it together.  A common thread seems to unite the reflections of the pelegrinos (the name for all “pilgrims” on the route) is that the Camino is life, and life is the Camino.  Everyday you get up and keep walking.  Did you have great day?  Super!  Now, keep walking.  Things going bad and everything’s wrong?  Rats.  Keep walking.   Just like daily life with it’s tiny victories and humiliations — just keep walking.

But what is so illuminating about a physical pilgrimage, is that it’s pretty hard to hide our decision to stop walking.  By Day 3 of your “Rest Stop” sitting in a Pub in some picturesque Spanish village, it has become apparent to everyone, including yourself, that you are going nowhere.  In the river of daily life though, it’s easy to be caught up in some little ebb and happily bob along there until it is too late.  The race was run and all you’ve got to show for it is a really awesome DVD collection, and a decent on-line gaming personae.  Trying to avoid the pain of the step after step after step, you missed the entire journey.  The gnawing in the pit of your stomach that you took the easy way out.

It seems I can walk the Camino without ever leaving home.  (This is awesome, because with trans-Atlantic flights costing what they do, I feel like we’ll be using walkers by the time we save up enough.  But who knows?  Maybe by then it will be Wheelchair Accessible.)  The question is whether I can keep going, step after packed lunch after messy room after bill to pay after step.  And if I don’t look at the big picture, but just do the little bit in front of me, well, I think — I hope — I can.  Just do the next thing and somehow we’ll all get to where we are supposed to go.

Update: I realized that I should have listed some of the Camino resources/reflections that I stumbled across that might be of some interest to you all.  As Brother James mentioned in the comments, there is the excellently reviewed movie The Way, which is hovering at the top of my to see list.  However, the rest of these I have had the chance to check out personally:

I just recently read this reflection by Dr. José Pereira, a Palliative Care Doctor at the Nothing More Beautiful Event sponsored by the  Archdiocese of Edmonton on May 10, 2012.  It is not a description of the Camino but a spiritual reflection of the impact the journey had on Dr. Pereira and his faith.

I was struck by several similarities to a programme on CBC Radio 2 I had stumbled on a few Sundays previous.  The program was called Inside the Music and it highlighted the work of fiddler/composer Oliver Schroer (1956-2008) who walked the Camino and recorded his own work in various Churches along the way  and collected in the album Camino.  The description of “keep walking” was a paraphrase of (what must of been previously recorded) Schroer’s.

Finally, if you are looking for a well-written travelogue with some wry commentary on just how weird thing can get with a bunch of women, get a hold of Jane Christmas’ What the Psychic Told the Pilgrim.  This book has a lot of great information on the nuts and bolts of the Camino, and some “funny now that it’s over” observations on traveling en masse with fellow females.

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Have Yourself a Little Bit Sad Christmas

It’s Christmastime around here, and that means one thing — cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning.  Between decluttering to make way for whatever Santa brings, and the scrubbing and polishing everything else to get ready for Christmas Day company, I’ve had my arms elbow deep in Murphy’s Oil Soap for a week.  All this is made harder by the constant cry of “Don’t go in there!”  whenever I venture toward a closed door or closet.  With 8 people exchanging gifts, the entire house becomes one big booby trap of secreted packages.  One of our Christmas morn traditions is the game “Guess where I hid it?”  I still win with my husband’s 40th Birthday Present.  I merely wrapped the 2′ by 3′ box in colourful paper and placed it on the shelf overhead of his work area.  Here it sat for two or three weeks, in plain sight, as he typed daily at his computer below.  Well, at least I can’t accuse him of wasting time while he’s working, staring at anything but his computer…

This Christmas has me a little pensive, too.  Not regretful or sorrowful, but a bit sad.  As 2011 comes to a close, I realize that another year with my young ones has also slipped pleasantly by.  While I am no big fan of the baby stage, as I made painfully clear in my post on walking 3 kids to school in 90km/hour winds, I still can’t believe that my little baby is closer to 1 year old than she is to being a newborn.  This September will also usher in a new phase for this big brood Mom.  Princess will be 5 and starting Kindergarten.  In 8 short weeks I will be attending the school’s Open House, and filling out her registration papers.  And that first fall day that I walk her into her classroom, will also mark the first time I have the majority of my kids out of the house during the day, rather than at home with me.

2012 will be a year of firsts — and a year of lasts.  This time next year, Tall Girl will be gearing up to attend Junior High Information Nights with us.  The first of our children to leave Elementary School.  But it will also be a year of packing up baby clothes, and sending maternity wear to the local thrift shop.  Baby will stop needing to be rocked to sleep this year.  Big Boy will learn how to zip his own jacket.  Someone will take off her training wheels.  I’ll be hands on mothering just a little big less.

This makes be both happy and sad.  I know many Moms make a joke or a boast about how they’re “done with that.”  And trust me, I get what they mean.  But I still treasure the warm hands in mine, or the little boy who just needs a hug.  These milestones come and go, and you don’t even realize that suddenly, you have a Tween in your house, who listens to strange music, and get’s pinched by the boy sitting next to her.  It was just 5 years ago that you packed her first snack for Kindergarten, and walked her to the bus stop.  Now she’s telling me she wants a bikini, and to dye her hair blue “temporarily.”

That’s why this Christmas season, I know now that no matter how many times the camera clicks, the glasses clink, the children squeal, that no matter how “perfect” the moment is, it’s all fleeting, tomorrow’s memories.  So with all the joy, there is ever the slightest tinge of sadness, because I know that the moment, however wonderful, can’t last.  So no matter what, I will have a Merry Christmas.   Why?  Because all this passing of time has helped me realized that happiness isn’t something you achieve, it’s something you have.  And I have it in spades.

Plus I made two loaves of my kick-*ss Light Cherry Orange Fruitcake.  It doesn’t get any better than that.

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