With Four Hungry Children

I sort through mountains of laundry, certain that at the bottom of it all waits some time for writing. To prepare for that blessid* moment, I let a playlist of my favorite musicians accompany the clothing segregation.

The music continues to linger as I feed my son lunch, follow him outside repeatedly to be sure of his whereabouts, haul in a couple loads of wood, check on the chickens, break up a cat fight, answer a text, and begin thinking about the phone calls I have put off too many times already.

Phone calls. The anxiety begins to rise when I think of dialing out to someone. I have three calls to make. Four if I want to be social. Even writing about it hours later is agonizing.

But wait. I have a new strategy for working through my anxiety. I meditate. I’m a meditator. Meditater. Meditating mother. At last, some words the spellcheck likes.

So I turn on my next meditation podcast. Just me and Thomas, the instructor.

Thomas: “For this exercise, you want to be somewhere that you can be still.”

Unloading the dishwasher–how can I count this as holding still? Ah, got it. I just feel my breath go in as I unload the dishes

Thomas: “Feel your breath as it goes in. Allow your abdomen to soften…”

I continue to slowly draw in air while I unload the dishwasher. I have a very squishy tummy, but I can’t stretch it out indefinitely. I might black out, so I try not to breathe out as I call into the air: “Thomas? Thomas!! Where are you?!”

I pick up my phone and see that we’ve lost our connection.

Let my breath out while clinging to the counter. I probably should have eaten today.

So I won’t be doing guided meditation in the kitchen. Fair enough. At least it’s a great place for avoiding phone calls. Sigh of relief. Excellent work, Thomas.

Head still spinning and son reappears with third stinky pants of the day…eating can wait.

Perfect timing. 1 pm. Nap time, young man. I’m just going to clean you up, bring you upstairs, and then…

Oh…yeah. You quit taking naps last week.

I look at this crinkly-eyed, mud-mixing master. “What am I going to do with you?”

Yes, this is our new property [squeal of excitement]! Our home progress needs its own blog.

I prepare to try the nap routine just in case he’d forgotten he’d sworn off his afternoon siestas. But then I decide to decrease my anxiety by just facing the truth: the only thing bound to keep this kid out of trouble for an hour or two is his newfound friend, Curious George. Bless you, PBS and Ron Howard.

His face breaks into a grin as I settle him on the sofa. Should a child be this excited about hanging out with a two-dimensional animal that isn’t even a monkey (he’s an ape)? At least he isn’t used to watching a screen.

Well, kid get used to it. I picked a fine time to blog every work day until spring equinox. But at your age, all of your siblings had a little brother or sister on the way, so just think of this as Mom being pregnant with her future life. Some days she can handle being pregnant and a mom to a toddler; other days, she needs George here to keep an eye on you while she gives herself completely to the growing life within her.

Writing for a non-academic audience began with my first baby, and growing alongside each child a mother’s thoughts and feelings on every conceivable topic grew too loud to hold inside. They kicked, elbowed, and head-butted, looking for room to expand. Starting with those closest to her and then moving on to include even strangers, she let you feel the rowdy life through the canvas of her bloggy belly.

Leaving a lot of people to ask, “Wait–is it OK for someone to know that much about a mother? I mean, that’s pretty personal.” I think the only way to really appreciate what a mother does is to get personal. I handed in my privacy card with my first OB appointment, and I don’t plan to get it back.

Eventually this mother will write loudly enough that a new life will enter the world. Some unknown but significant creation that will draw you to it if only to gaze a moment in admiration because it came as such a nice, small package. Or you might settle down and let its breath tickle your neck while you tell yourself you can set it down anytime, for you are not its mother. Until you are so in love that you would willingly deal with sleepless nights, moments of frustration, and piling up laundry because this new little life has brought you new life.

I am Elissa, mother of four and writer of worlds.

*Misspelled to evoke the intended disyllabic pronunciation, “bless-ed”

[I don’t know if I linked to the song parody my mom always referred to when I was a kid, but the title of this post comes from the original by Kenny Rogers.]

4 thoughts on “With Four Hungry Children

  1. Pingback: Can You Hear Me? | the well-rested mother

  2. Pingback: Let Us Live | the well-rested mother

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