These Are The Good Times
Here’s the scene: Sitting on the couch, three of us tucked under a blanket huddled over a kids fashion sketchbook, two sets of colored pencils spilling over our laps, the soft shushing sound of 3 hands drawing.
I’m doing the left figure. One of my 7 year olds, the right, and the other “adding a splash of color” to both. In the background, a singer sings runs on The Voice.
One daughter says “This is nice.”
“What is honey?”
“Sitting like this, drawing and watching a show together.”
This hadn’t been lost on me. This sort of contentment is pretty constant. While I’m working during the day, I feel like I’m battling them to get stuff done. I hate that I have to shush them, type in a password for the 10th time, or let them watch TV before 4 — but there’s also the hours when we first wake up, the occasional lunch together and time out for a book or math or marching figurines across a bedspread, and then there’s every evening when they’ve worn themselves out and we arrive at the golden hour of parenting. This is the time when I get to just be with them as they grow too sleepy to hang from the rafters. Cross that with the stage of parenting I’m in: way past diapers, fully capable of taking plates to the sink, showing occasional signs of orderliness and finding myself in lively discussions about life, death, god, art, insects, fashion, and politics.
More and more, they are opening their eyes to the larger world and asking the kind of questions that offer more revelations in the asking than they could ever know.
Of course the history and context of my appreciation of this time is uniquely my own. I’m in a space between relationships, where I’m happy to not have to navigate tense dialogue, confusing projections and emotional landmines. None of that garbage exists in my home.
And then in the evening, we arrive at the golden hour of parenting.
When I was pregnant, I read a book called All Joy and No Fun about the parenthood paradox. I get what she meant, it can be a slog when you’re mostly cleaning behinds and spills and toys with no one to commiserate with and no fun of your own. But I have to say, there is a unique kind of personal peace that comes from parenting.
I get a rush of happiness every morning when they show up at my side in the half light with the entreaty of “mommy?” spoken ever so softly, proceeding to tell me about a fallen doll or a thing the sister did or what they want for breakfast, or something way more hilarious that they don’t realize is hilarious — this morning it was one daughter emphatically telling the other that a broken plastic part of a long lost storage container was “so precious” to her — or midway through the day, when they idle into my Zoom meeting, even if I have to explain why I need 3 to 4 inches of personal space and a moment of uninterrupted thought, that thought itself interrupted with a surge of love and an impulse to hug them right up.It can all be maddening but one thing I am sure of, my home is a joyful one, and definitely fun.
As their awareness widens, I find myself in lively discussions about life, death, god, art, insects, fashion, and politics.
I had a thought too last night. These are no doubt dark times in the world but these are also good times as there’s more time to dig into each moment. We feel an ominous shadow looming just outside — Climate Change, Trumpism.. (to boil it down to two recognizable totems of despair that encapsulate the intense shifts going on in our roles in society and how we live), but inside these walls, there is the concentrated long drawn out moment of motherhood and it’s all it’s cracked up to be.
Day 4 of #The100DayProject