Today Jane came up to me while I was doing my hair and makeup. I helped her on to the counter. She looked at me and said, "Mommy, can I always stay with you?"
"Yes, you can always stay with me," I replied with a hug.
"I always want to be with you."
I just wanted to write it down, because I know that all too soon I'll never hear little comments like that. And in about 14 years she'll be ready to get out of dodge. I know. I've been there. But right now...I'm just relishing this.
Max kicked me in the back today. He got in trouble and I said, "Max that hurt me. That hurt the baby. When you hurt me, you hurt the baby." His remorse was instantaneous. He immediately picked up a blanket and brought it to me in the kitchen. He lifted it to my stomach and whispered. "I didn't meant to hurt the baby. I didn't mean to." Then he gave me a big hug. Sometimes he's rough, but underneath that layer is a whole lot of soft and sweetness. Sometimes we both just need reminding, me and him.
I've started reading "The Mouse and the Motorcycle," to the kids. We are only in the third chapter, but I'm realizing that Jane doesn't ever hold out much hope for her characters. Every time I ask her about a character, in any book we haven't read before, along the lines of, "Do you think he'll get out/get what he wants/solve the problem?" She always replies with a very confident "Nope." Right now Ralph is trapped in the waste basket and according to Jane, he's doomed. In face she went so far as to lay out exactly what would happen between the trashcan, the dumpster, and the garbage truck.
The other day I checked Postsecret. Something I haven't done in a couple years. One of the postcards said, "I think all stay-at-home mom's are just lazy." Of course, it rankled me for a moment. Not that it's something I've never heard before. I know lots of people believe that. But the next few thoughts that hit me were a bit different than usual. I know that my day is not as "busy" as a mother who works. I can fit my housework into a whole day instead of a few hours. Quality time with my kids isn't necessarily anything stressful, many times it involves sitting at a park while they play, making rolls with Max when Jane doesn't want to play, or painting a picture.
Most people don't know this, but I actually was accepted to do biomedical research with a professor at Creighton. After taking the GRE and getting all the letters of recommendation I got the e-mail. He'd love to work with me. Now I just needed to apply to Creighton, which was more of a formality, and I'd be on my way to a Masters. Except I couldn't do it. I had to have the sit-down, honesty chat with myself. We've all had it. The "Why am I doing this discussion?" Because the truth was, while I love chemistry, I hate research. Hate it. So why was I going through all the hoop jumping? Well, because that was what was expected of me! I didn't want anyone to think I was wasting my potential! What would the people back home think? That's when I gave myself a little slap and said "What do you want?"
Well, you obviously know how that conversation with myself went. So when I looked at that postcard I though, "Am I lazy?" I guess that depends on your definition. Isn't it funny how today in our society we wear our busyness like some kind of badge? Like the more we have to do and the more stressed we are, the more valuable we are? I mean, if you're not stressed and out-of-your-mind busy can you really be important? Successful? And yet, so many people, especially mothers, feel like they can't do anything well. Their mothering cuts into their career, their career cuts into their mothering, we are driven to be uber-successful in everything we do from decorating, to parenting, to moving up the corporate ladder and it's either be the best or be a failure. How is this healthy when the truth is most of us will just be normal people, with normal careers, and normal children?
I stepped off that path years ago. Of course, I could try to tout how busy I am and how much work I do to try and impress everyone else. I could put my kids in every activity under the sun so that we spend our days shuttling all over kingdom come. Would that make me "not lazy"? Would that make me productive? No. Over the last year or two I have come to appreciate more and more the beauty of "slow". Slow lifestyle, slow food, slow childhoods, slow entertainment. Slow, enriching, rewarding, with time to reflect, enjoy, savor, and dream.
Maybe that makes me lazy to some. I'm glad to remark with Mr. Butler, "Frankly, my dear. I don't give a damn."