being present

the only time we have

Noah is in Colombia this week. I’ve been so excited for him ever since he was invited to go.

I consider myself a strong, powerful, capable woman. But I got married to spend the rest of my life with my husband, so when he’s gone, I feel like part of me is missing. When he’s away, I eat a lot of snacks and watch a lot of TV and have a lot of emotions. Before he left, I asked him to download several movies for me and I signed up for a free month of Hulu. But I’m not watching any movies and I canceled my subscription early.

I don’t want to waste my time.

I’m not a “busy mom.” Some people need to leave the house every day or they’ll go stir crazy, but I really like my home (and I really don’t like wearing pants, which are often necessary when going out in public). There have been times in the past when my days are over-scheduled and there will be times in the future when I’ll have more commitments. Right now, I don’t need to create more things to do.

When my days aren’t filled with plans, there is time and space to be in the moment.

Atlas and I are on a babymoon of sorts. Traditionally, a babymoon is a romantic vacation you take with your partner before you become parents. Atlas and I are on an intimate staycation before he becomes a big brother. We get dressed together, we eat together, we bathe together. We read more books (or the same book, many times), take longer walks, and play for hours just because we can.

This is the last time that it will be just us.

Atlas has my complete and undivided attention. No one else to care for, no one else to consider. We’re celebrating our last hurrah by doing special things we don’t normally do. Like going on dates. Wearing matching headbands. Swimming at the neighborhood pool. Visiting the botanical gardens. I also cut Atlas’ hair (and had no idea what I was doing, poor kid). But mostly I’m just savoring the one-on-one time with my little boy.

Parenting a toddler is tiring, especially being 8 months pregnant. If I let myself, I can easily get caught up with the weariness of daily mundane tasks. I can feel lonely without many friends and frustrated with my direct sales business. When I’m single parenting, I can feel withdrawn and overwhelmed. But I can also look at it another way.

This is the only time I have.

The only time I’m a graduate wife with a young family. The only summer Atlas is 1 year old. The only month left before Phoebe is born. Motherhood helps me stay present and appreciate the twinkling moments of time that promise to pass as quickly as the rest. Next month, Noah and I will celebrate our 5 year anniversary. I will turn 29. I will have a baby. And then there will be a new adjustment, a new rhythm, a new normal.

“The days are long, but the seasons are short.” Oh, but the days! These precious days are the only days we have, never to be seen again. And I treasure them.

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What is special about your current season? How can you savor the time you have?

 

six months: what my baby tells me

I have not heard my baby’s heartbeat, I have not had any ultrasounds, nor have I received any prenatal care whatsoever. This is not completely by choice, but a consequence of moving across the country and changing jobs and insurance companies. I no longer need an expert to confirm my pregnancy because I feel my baby move within me all the time, sometimes rhythmic, like a pulse, especially mid-morning and at night, but those just might be the times when I am paying most attention. Though many of my peers rely on a doctor to find out what is happening inside of them, the only information I have from my baby are the clear, insistent kicks, but it is a message of being fully alive and fully present, and it is enough.

Contrary to my usual tell-all tendencies, I didn’t post a pregnancy announcement until my fifth month, and I have felt no desire to share constant updates about what I am craving, what size fruit my baby is, and how my body is increasing in size. Perhaps it is an inclination to keep sacred the limited knowledge I have, or perhaps it is simply the most intimate public experience I have ever had: the presence of this vulnerable, mystifying being I have yet to see, and in the meantime, on display for all to see; this transformative season of womanhood, ubiquitously shared by countless before me, yet so exclusively my own. It is one of the most simultaneously natural and magical transitions I have undergone, and I feel as if I am coming of age all over again, an adolescent with my whole world about to explode into the unknown.

Ten years ago, I was a high school senior, obsessed with purpose and fearful of missing opportunities, excited for adventure and every possibility. It is almost overwhelming to think about how much happens in a decade. I wonder about myself in ten years, if I have a career I am proud of, if I have finally learned another language, if I have gained the courage to call myself a writer. There are still remnants of the 17-year-old in me that sits on the edge of decision unable to choose, that convinces myself it is too late. I wonder what is next, if I am on track with creating the life I want to lead, whether I am taking the wisest steps, but as I feel the sudden jab within me, I am reminded of the wisdom my body holds: that if I am paying attention, fully alive and fully present, it is enough.