five minute friday: wonder

…where a brave and beautiful bunch gather every week to find out what comes out when we all spend five minutes writing on the same topic and then sharing ‘em over here.

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Go:

I feel a pause in the gentle tug and a rustle in the gauzy blanket as she latches on again. I grit my teeth to keep from startling her and mentally calculate how much cream I have left to repair the damage. Enough. Certainly enough for this tear. Shaking my head I sigh and resume typing in the early morning glow of the computer. It’s been almost eight months this time. Six years ago I started learning how to feed my children. Through pain, exhaustion, anxiety and more help than any woman daydreaming about motherhood could imagine ever needing I’ve plodded along. One day at a time. One nursing at a time. Over and over I tell myself just one more time. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. If it’s too much there are plenty of other ways to grow these sweet chubby darlings. Plenty of people are happy to offer them bottles filled with whatever I send along.

No one said it would be this hard.

Or this filled with wonder.

When Zuzu woke I would roll over and she would nurse and ease back into slumber. Eventually the feeding plan wasn’t necessary and the reassurances that a bottle won’t hurt her didn’t raise my heart rate. Two and a half years later I assumed she would have weaned herself, but she knew better than me that her sister would need her help. Somehow.  

When the Quail was born we were filled with wonder as she latched on for the first time. We were filled with worry later when it didn’t get any easier. When every trick and turn didn’t abate the daily struggle. When one referral led to another we plodded along. Just one more day. Just one more nursing. She is growing. They’re wrong. She can do this. In the end one way or another she did receive the milk for 15 months.

This spring, I wondered which time it would be more like. If any of the tricks and turns would make this any easier or if we would start from scratch yet again. If the combined chaos of two rascally doting sisters would keep me from feeding this baby the same way I had fed the others. Either way; one day at a time, one nursing at a time.

It isn’t like either time. And yet it’s the same. It’s filled with pain and irritation. With gentleness and comfort. It’s filled with wonder. Hers and mine. As I watch her easily double in size and snuggle the gauze up to her cheek. As she bashfully grins at me and her dad and sisters from her nest in my lap. As I feel her pause in the steady rhythm I look down to meet her sparkling gaze in wonder.

Stop

fave-O-lit friday: keep calm and mother on

Keep Calm and Mother On Teal Damask 8x10 Digital Printable Image 1006


I raised my voice again. In my defense, I had asked the two of them in my regular voice 3 times already. In their defense; between the stream of the water, the raucous giggles outlining their splashy play and the wails of their tiniest sister outside the bathroom door furious at having been set down yet again; I am certain they didn’t hear a single one of my requests to quiet down and wash their bellies next. In the flurry of the witching hour though, they rarely do. And I’m tired. And I can’t think when it’s loud. And I’m running late and behind in my laundry list of things to do. Not to mention the laundry, or dinner, or the clutter I never seem to get to clearing. It all closes in on me in that bathroom some nights. I’m overwhelmed in those loud, claustrophobic moments we have together before supper in the evening and again before breakfast and the sunrise. No one listens. No one hears. And then I raise my voice. Again. And then a lip trembles, a tear spills out, a spirit breaks and we all sit silently berating ourselves for not getting it quite right. Again. Not exactly the kind of quiet I was aiming for.

I know these days, they hurtle past me and my intentions at lightning speed. I know I’m going to miss these days. I know the day that my rooms and mind aren’t cluttered and the only laundry I have to fold or dinner I have to prepare is my own, the tears that spill from my eyes will be ones of regret instead of frustration. I know there are no perfect mothers, just perfect moments within motherhood. I know I am not the first mother in the history of mothers to wish she could do better. To spend her quiet, late night moments when she should be getting that rest she needs reviewing the guilt racked up from the earlier chaos. I know there are objective reasons why we mothers react the way we do. We are tired. We are spent. We are pulled in every direction except the one that used to be our own before we donned this sash of motherhood. We are expected to know what to do in a given moment. Instantaneously and with certainty. And then someone questions us. Or challenges us. Or goes on their merry way as if we had never spoke. With a voice filled with their own certainty and indignityat our suggestion, our direction, our pleading, they poke the bear with a straw. You know the one, the one that did in that camel?

We no longer belong solely to ourselves.  Our bodies; and our minds with the brain cells our young have feasted on in their getting and growing here, I often fear, are now familial property. Our whole selves now belong to the once tiny egg of a being that is no longer tucked neatly under our hearts. Our bodies have gone through one of the most significant changes it ever will in our lives. Our hormones are rearranging and that fact alone is culpable in our response to those around us.

But yet, for all the objective and understandable reasons for our sometimes rash behavior, our frustration, our anger, our bewilderment and disappointment, we still feel let down by ourselves. And here’s a little secret Moms: most of us, even the happiest, most insightful, competent- appearing, go-luckiest of us; we’ve all been there and felt and reacted that. same. way. Ask anyone. We’ve been tired. We’ve been angry. We’ve been frustrated. We’ve been disappointed. And yet; God willing and the creek don’t rise, we do.

The very next day. And we try again.

It’s a practice. Staying calm and just mothering on. A verse that I stitch and mend over the impulse reactions I’m prone to and hopefully with the quiet refrain of its melody I’ll learn by heart one day.

One breath at a time. One heartbeat at a time.

Keep calm and mother on.

corner view: thankfulness

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. – Innerspace

Corner view is a weekly Wednesday date hosted originally hosted by Jane, currently by Francesca. A topic is given and you can see impressions; be it in photographic or writerly in form from around the world: Jane, Dana, Bonny, Joyce, Ian, Francesca, Theresa, Cate, Kasia, Otli, Trinsch, Isabelle, Janis, Kari, jgy, Lise, Dorte, McGillicutty, Sunnymama, Ibb, Kelleyn, Ninja, Sky, RosaMaria, Juniper, Valerie, Sammi, Cole, Don, WanderChow, FlowTops, Tania, Tzivia, Kristin, Laura, Guusje, Susanna, Juana, Elsa, Nadine, Annabel

Zuzuday

Zuzu did swimmingly on her first report of Kindergarten. Or so her parents praised. When she looked it over though she was concerned that some of the sight words she knew she hadn’t gotten credit for. She was upset. So I suggested that we had to find a kind way to let Mrs. McCainknow. Zuzu said she would write a note and list the ones she knew. I agreed this was a kind way to let her teacher know what she knew.

sunday still life

Sunday Still Life is an evolving mindfulness project; a weekly invitation to pause the busy of our days, to re-center and celebrate the beauty and depth of life. If you are leave inspired to join in, please leave a link in Erin’s comments.

“Family, lets go eat our ice cream on the porch. Daddy, you like watching the rain. Come on let’s go!”

It’s the little things. like when they notice the things that make you happy.